Cliff's Notes

The Business of Dentistry

Dentistry’s Failures, An Observation…

Cliff’s Notes Special Report

My Year End Observations about Dentistry’s Failures

Cliff Marsh, Henry Schein ……Cell: 201-321-7494……Fax: 201-262-2210…..E-mail:

The reason we do what we do, is so that we can to do what we want to do, when we want to do it!

It’s a tongue twister, but working as a team and making informed decisions, will get us there.


 “The Question is Why?”


“How many times can a man turn his head

and pretend that he just doesn’t see?”

Bob Dylan  


The Root of It Commentary………………

 I really don’t know who reads my newsletters or if they provide any insight to improving your business or your life. This week’s issue is the last of 2012 and I hope that it inspires you to change the way you look at your profession and understand the responsibility you have as a “front line” healthcare provider.

In last week’s newsletter I spoke about dentistry’s failure and how those failures are not in the objective, but in the process. Our industry is changing at lightning speed and how you adapt to the changes and relate them to your patients will determine your future success. When I talk about success, I am not just referring to money; success is a very personal goal.

Regardless of your position on Obama Care, same day dentistry or the advantages of advanced dental technology it’s time to ask yourself WHY. Why aren’t you advancing the social and healthcare responsibilities you have along with your clinical skills? Your patients see you more often than any other healthcare professional. Maybe it’s time you started thinking outside the box and asking yourself WHY!

Your world is more than just fixing teeth, it is fixing lives. WHY don’t you strive to be the extraordinary healthcare professional you are? The residual affect is that your practice will grow, your income will grow, you will earn a new level of respect within your community and you will sleep well at night knowing that you made a difference in the world. As small as it may be, you can do it one patient at a time.

Connection Between Dentistry and Family Violence Intervention:

Research indicates that most physical injuries resulting from family violence are found on the head and neck, areas that are clearly visible to the dental team during examinations.

For example, dental professionals may observe physical injuries such as chipped or cracked teeth, poor dental hygiene, a broken jaw, a black eye, a broken nose, bruises on the earlobes or chin, and finger marks on the neck, upper arms, or wrists. Multiple studies confirm that head, face, and neck injuries occur in more than one-half of child abuse cases.In cases of partner abuse, one study of 218 female domestic violence victims who were examined at a hospital emergency department found that the most common injuries were bruises (70 percent), and the most common location of injury was the face (68 percent). A similar study found that 94.4 percent of domestic violence victims had head, neck, or facial injuries,and a third study of 98 battered women found that 58 percent had injuries to the face and head.In elder abuse cases, the types of abuse most frequently reported included bruises and welts, broken dentures, fractured and avulsed teeth, and abrasions and lacerations.

Given that dental professionals routinely assess the head, face, and neck of patients, they are in a unique position to identify the signs of family violence. In fact, these victims may seek out dental treatment for injuries related to violence. A 1998 national survey revealed that 16.7 percent of women who sought health care for rape injuries visited dentists, and 9.2 percent of women who sought care for physical assault by a partner saw a dentist. In addition, routine dental visits may alert dental professionals to evidence that patients are being abused and lead to early intervention.

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We know that dentists and hygienists are not thought of by the public, and do not think of themselves, as people who engage in the saving of lives. After all, they are not ER doctors. But when either of these dental professionals finds an oral cancer in the course of their examinations, especially if at an early stage one or two, they have undoubtedly saved a life. OCF would like to raise the visibility, awareness, and recognition of these individuals who, through two simple acts, educating themselves about oral cancers, and taking the time to screen their patient populations for oral cancer, actually save lives. 

To read more, log onto the Oral Cancer Foundation:

Heart disease will claim more than half a million lives this year. Most adults know heart disease is the number-one killer of Americans, however a consumer survey reveals 60 percent don’t know that a sore or painful jaw is one warning sign that may indicate an impending heart attack, reports the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD).

Educating consumers on the link between oral and overall health, including warning signs in the mouth that may indicate a larger health problem, can help save lives.

Researchers are finding possible links between periodontal (gum) infections and other diseases throughout the body. Current studies suggest that there may be a link between gum disease and cardiovascular disease. In fact, some research suggests that gum disease may be a more serious risk factor for heart disease than high blood pressure (hypertension), smoking, high cholesterol, gender and age. Studies suggest that people who have gum disease seem to be at a higher risk for heart attacks, although no one is certain how this relationship works. Your oral health affects your overall health

Regular dental exams not only help to decrease a patient’s risk of oral diseases, such as cavities and periodontal (gum) disease, but they may also help to diagnose other, sometimes life-threatening, medical conditions.

Dentists are able to assess a patient’s overall oral health and may recognize symptoms of serious diseases, including diabetes, cancer, and eating disorders, which often manifest as signs and symptoms inside of the mouth.



More than 25 million people in the United States alone suffer from diabetes.

“Because diabetes reduces the body’s resistance to infection, the gums are at risk for gingivitis, an inflammation usually caused by the presence of bacteria in plaque,” says Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) spokesperson Julie Ann Barna, DMD, MAGD. “Additionally, those with diabetes can experience high incidences of oral fungal infections and persistent bad breath.”


Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is one of the most common cancers, with approximately 35,000 new cases reported annually in the United States.

“Indicators of oral cancer may include bleeding sores, lumps, or thick, hard spots, as well as changes in the way teeth fit together,” says Dr. Barna.

Oral cancer is sometimes difficult to self-diagnose, so routine dental exams are recommended. A dentist will feel for lumps or irregular tissue changes in your neck, head, cheeks, and oral cavity and thoroughly examine the soft tissues in your mouth, specifically looking for any sores or discolored tissues.


Eating Disorders

“Eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, can rob the body of much-needed vitamins and minerals,” says Dr. Barna. “Without proper nutrition, the gums can lose their healthy pink color and become increasingly soft and tender, bleeding easily.”

Disorders that involve excessive vomiting, such as bulimia, can cause discoloration and erosion of the teeth due to constant contact with acid from the stomach. People who have eating disorders also may experience swollen salivary glands, dry mouth, sensitive teeth, and loss of tooth enamel. 

Diseases negatively impact your general health, but they also can damage your oral health.  Regularly scheduled dental exams allow dentists to detect or monitor your health.

“Patients should inform their dentists about any and all medical conditions and medicines that may affect their oral health, as well as any changes in their medical history,” says Dr. Barna. “Remember, maintaining a healthy body includes taking care of your oral health.”

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The problem with patient Snoring:

Of course you can provide an anti snoring device or you can recommend to your patient to go to the pharmacy and get something over the counter. After all, their insurance won’t cover it and they don’t want to spend the money. However, WHY aren’t you investigating the cause of the snoring, it may be a life threatening condition? WHY aren’t you reaching out to the patient’s primary care physician to alert them to your concerns? Isn’t it your responsibility to be concerned?

The nightly racket is more than a potential relationship strain. According to the latest research, an increasingly older and heavier population may make this condition an even greater a health risk than we previously thought. For Maggie Moss-Tucker, successful treatment for a longtime snoring problem came almost by accident. One fall morning in 2005, she saw a sign at her local gym seeking snorers as volunteers for a study at Boston’s Brigham & Women’s Hospital. Moss-Tucker, now 56, was intrigued. She had started snoring nearly a decade earlier. “I’d tried everything to stop,” she says, from sleeping upright to using nose strips or a mouth guard. But to her and her husband’s dismay, nothing worked. When she signed up for the study and spent a night at a suburban Boston sleep lab, she found out why.

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A Conclusion to 2012:

If you read this newsletter in its entirety, then you have taken the first step in changing who and what you are. The “Total Health” concept is so much more than what you just read about. Throughout 2013 there will be seminars offered to explain how to correctly introduce your staff and patient base to the new age dental professional, why not get involved, it costs nothing.

The Mayan calendar marks 2013 as the beginning of a new age, and the stars are aligned. Think outside the box and you will make a difference to your family, friends, patients and yourself.

“Lord, save us all from a hope tree that has lost

the faculty of putting out blossoms.”

Mark Twain

A New Year’s Wish………………

To all of my friends, my New Years wish for you is that whatever God or greater power of nature that you believe in, looks with kindness on you and your family and your power to help and heal others.

December 30, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment