We Must Defend and Protect Our Patients and Profession

  • by Neil J. Gajjar, DDS, MAGD
  • Apr 26, 2019, 10:58 AM
AGD Responds to Unwarranted Attack on Dentistry

Dentistry has been under attack in recent weeks. I’m sure you’ve seen the articles that went viral — one about a dentist’s alleged unnecessary dental services and fraudulent billing and one about a fatal reaction to toothpaste by a child with milk allergies. Maintaining good oral health should be easy and accessible. We must continue to strive to be partners to our patients who put their trust in us.

As a general dentist facing the daily challenges of running a business and keeping up with the changing dental profession, these stories strengthen my commitment to organized dentistry and working with Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) members to serve the oral health of our communities. We must continue to have dialogues with our patients about diagnoses, treatment options and the reasons for our recommendations so that they can make informed decisions. We recognize the connection between oral health and overall health, and we must provide answers and insights so our patients and communities value the benefits of maintaining good oral care.

 I felt that AGD was compelled to respond to the recent story in The Atlantic, “The Truth About Dentistry.” This week we submitted a letter to the editor, and I wanted to share it. The article’s headline alleged that the profession of dentistry was devoid of scientific relevance and evidence-based practices. To paint a picture of the entire profession this way is incorrect and misleading. We used our response as an opportunity to clarify details on the value of dentistry and the importance of strong communication between dentists and patients. We also recognized the perseverance of the dentist who exposed the alleged actions and took on the challenge of informing patients. 

I don’t expect that the editor will revise the story or run a new one, but we wanted to provide additional information to will educate readers. You may also want to respond. As a professional organization, it is our responsibility to maintain an open dialogue on topics discussed by the general public. 

I hope that you will reach out to me with your ideas on how we can strengthen the profession and support oral care. I can be reached at president@agd.org.
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