Letter: Dentist

In the 1840s dentists were fighting over the use of gold verses silver-mercury fillings. Even today arguments over dental topics are as heated as political disagreements and dentist friends/colleagues can easily become enemies for life.

My battle has raged since 2005 when I began advertising a new brand of orthodontic treatment that I felt could often be an excellent alternative to porcelain veneer makeovers. Years later the treatment option I introduced locally is commonplace – 75% of these specialists may be ‘caught’ advertising something similar. Even ‘cosmetic dentists’ are now straightening teeth prior to placing veneers to reduce the drilling away of health enamel.

Just because something is now common doesn’t mean the rules keep up with the times. The Alberta dental authority non-dentist lawyers used the fears of several competitors (one filed an 87-page complaint) and the fire of a disgruntled former associate’s complaint to make something out of nothing. Words.

The authority knew about a dangerous fad of extreme over-treatment in the name of cosmetic dentistry, which was particularly common in this province. There was a business connection between the Alberta dental authority and the dental lab that promoted dentist-training programs that pushed porcelain work. Could this be considered a serious breach of the public trust? By writing a book exposing the problem I was targeted for punishment. CBC Marketplace and ABC’s 20/20 purchased my book and it inspired several television investigations-one that is ongoing. Words can make a difference.

I appreciate the support of patients who understand the true nature of this dispute. Health professionals need to be able to openly criticize authorities when they fail to perform their duties and should speak out when concerns are hidden from the public. This is going to be a battle and if I lose there will be fewer words.

Michael Zuk, DDS, Red Deer

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