Letters: Dental turf wars and no excuse for abuse

Dental turf wars

Red Deer has been an orthodontic battleground for many years with a few orthodontic specialists attempting to interfere with the expansion of competing services provided by general dentists. On a national level the Canadian Association of Orthodontists were, until last month, sponsoring negative advertising directed against general dentists. The Academy of General Dentistry, which has many general dentist members across North America recently announced legal steps forced the orthodontist association to discontinue their attack ads.

The Alberta Dental Association & College has been dragged into the turf wars. Eighteen orthodontists in Calgary were reported for ‘falsely advertising’ quicker treatment, but only one general dentist was selected to be disciplined. Oddly, shorter times in orthodontic braces has fewer risks, but the dental authority lawyers prevent a dentist from explaining this fact.

Now there are companies attempting to straighten teeth through the mail. You can take your own impressions and sent plastic aligners, bypassing ever seeing a dental professional. The risk of unsupervised orthodontic treatment includes having treatment neglecting tooth decay, chips and gum disease- not a smart choice. Using rubber bands to close spaces is another do-it-yourself mistake that can lead to tooth loss, but when a multi-million-dollar company decides to get into the dental business it can take years for a profession that is bogged down with in-fighting to step forward and protect the public.

Next month the dental authority will be in provincial court regarding a concern it has been over-zealous in its enforcement. Eventually the authority may see the importance of allowing innovation (which is a banned word) and competition (which they attempt to police) to work its own magic without excessive outside interference-especially from lawyers who know next to nothing about real-world dentistry.

Michael Zuk, Red Deer

No excuse for abuse

There is no excuse for abuse. The moment you excuse, you approve it.

In the news lately it’s all you hear about. Abuse is rampant and there was little anyone could do. The united voice of victims is having a huge impact. Finally we are being heard. There are many forms of abuse. The saddest ones are seniors and the very young – children. As a nurse, I saw many instances of senior abuse, be it financial, emotional or physical verbal abuse. The common thread amongst all was fear and helplessness, submission and self blame – they did not deserve what happened to them. Emotional and spiritual, verbal abuse shreds the spirit and the soul. Then you ask yourself – what kind of people do that? For it is truly the insane who by abusing others – satisfies the emptiness within them for a moment. The most silent suffers of abuse are the medical staff including doctors, nurses and even the most vulnerable of all the housekeepers. Being abused was in the job description (no it wasn’t). Nurses especially were open to verbal, sexual, physical abuse. This profession is the most under reported abuse there is. I saw and I experienced it. When I retired I vowed to speak up and I have. I swore to myself that no one should be subjected to any abuse. All need to speak up, contact agencies, government for only in unity can we halt the spread of this insidious behavior – laws must be made to protect the innocent from the power seeking, insane, predators. It must stop.

Lucille Gaumond, Red Deer

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