Wednesday, August 31, 2011

In reference to Facebook group “Bakersfield Dentist DOES NOT ROCK!!!- Does it begin and end with the dental boards?


I'm finding all kinds of problems with the dental community, most of which starts with state dental boards.  They are not there to keep the public safe, they exist to protect incompetent dentists and wall street corporations.

In most states the Executive Director is NOT a dentist, nor ever has been.  Most are appointed by bureaucratic state administrations; a friend of a friend recommended them to the governor and so forth.  However those "friends" are lobbyist!  After appointment, they are seldom removed from office.

New "board members" are elected, but those member only meet once a month, sometimes less and do the business recommended by the Executive Director, who is there to draw a paycheck and little more.  People are mislead into believing dental boards administer testing for new graduates to measure their competence, that is NOT the case any longer.

Places like WREB have set up regional agencies to do the testing; such as NERB or CRDTS.  These agencies are made up of regional state dental boards, they say.  But what is considered the "dental boards" remains illusive.  Is it really the Executive directors meeting and setting the standards for a passing grade?  If it truly is actual dental board members, what happens when one wants the standards high for their state and another wants the standards sub-par for their state.  I imagine majority rules.  (this needs to be looked into). 

So the question at hand is who investigates your complaints?  Are they even taken seriously, or are you, the parent,  simply dismisses as being over protective?  From what I've seen over the past several years, it's the latter in most cases.
So how do you know if people have complained about the same problem with any one dentist?   Unless some action was taken by a strong state board, you won't.   If you are lucky enough to find the area at the State Dental Board's websites to "verify a license"-these links are designed to make them hard to locate on may state board sights- you may find "actions" taken by the board against a dentist, but then you may not.  It depends on what kind of action was taken many times. 

Plus, many times the compliant investigations by the board are done in such a way to exonerate the dentist from wrong doing-I've seen one state that has taken less then 20 actions against dentists in their state since the 1960's!
Sometimes, if it's been more than 5 years the official records are gone.  I don't mean wiped from the system, I mean the files are burned and deleted!  (In Ohio a dentist recently killed a child under sedation and it took court documents of a lawsuit filed several years ago to find out the dentist had killed another patient from carelessness/incompetence, when the Ohio Dental Board Executive Director was asked, she reported they burned those files after 5 years!)

How do you know if any action was taken after your complaint, well, you may not.  
Surely there is a agency to police the state boards.  I'm afraid you will find the only agency to do so is another lobbyist, the American Dental Association.  In fact many states specifically state in their Dental Acts the catch phrase "according to the standards set by the American Dental Association".  In other words, state lawmakers leave it up to them to police themselves after they also write the laws they want to follow.  The ADA makes it's money from dues.  It's not in it's best interest to have standards or rules that limit it's membership in any way. 

I don't have an answer to these issues.  I also realize I might not be spot on with everything I've stated above, but I'm pretty darn close.  Maybe what is needed is a centralized agency to take complaints from across the nation, from all states and follow through and follow up on them.  I suppose that is what Health and Human Services is for, but I bet unless they receive a massive number of complaints about one particular dentist, they do not look into it.  And let's take Dr. Dove for example, even if every patient he had ever seen complained I doubt it would get HHS's attention, not in a timely manner anyway.  They have bigger fish to fry, I get that.

For now, social media seems to be all patients and parents have.  Maybe we can change that soon.

There are good dentists out there.  I promise.  But they are becoming obsolete and is not longer the rule.  The good ones are now the exception.