'Confessions of a Former Cosmetic Dentist' Author attacked by Dental Authorities over his book?

Letter sent to the Health Minister of Alberta (Dec. 2016)

Dear Honourable Minister Sarah Hoffman,

As you know I have a substantial amount of information related to administration problems at the ADA&C which I feel should be investigated by an independent review committee. 

After I appeared in an episode of CBC Marketplace - Money Where Your Mouth Is - viewable here online - http://www.cbc.ca/marketplace/episodes/2012-2013/money-where-your-mouth-is I called the ADA&C president to state I had participated and his reply was ‘I wish you hadn’t’. You may recall it was an undercover investigation into dentist treatment planning which relates more to the cost of care than individual fees, so it may be very important that you watch this.

The mystery shopper was screened by a couple professors from the University of Toronto including Dr. Dorothy McComb as seen in the photo below. Her contact:

https://www.cde-utoronto.ca/online/dental-emergencies/

The profession hates to be embarrassed by these kinds of investigations and maybe 20 years ago Reader’s Digest did the same thing and found many different treatment plans for the same person. This can be explained by a dentist’s training, experience, perception of the patient’s ability to pay and simple greed. 

In my segment I provided a second opinion for a mom’s 15 year old daughter who was told her sensitive teeth needed to be ‘capped’ or removed and replaced with implants. The problem was all she needed was Sensodyne toothpaste and she was better in a few weeks. The other dentist’s treatment would have been an example of GROSS OVER-TREATMENT which my book ‘Confessions of a Former Cosmetic Dentist’ warned readers about. The capping would have been about $18,000, but the lifetime cost could easily have been $100,000 - and lawsuits against the dentist could have amounted to $800,000 (if we use US judgements as a comparison). Most dentists would be shocked at the suggestion of drilling down her health teeth, and even more disgusted that removal and replacement with implants would have been suggested. 

I hope you are reading this.

The ADA&C asked me to pull my book from publication.

It naturally is difficult to speak out against a segment of one's own profession that seems to run amok, but I made the decision and even with all the backlash I am proud that I did. An upper level member of the ADA&C reportedly fielded questions from dentists at a visitation to a regional society and he (reportedly) stated my criticism of the other dentist’s treatment plan may have been professional misconduct.  He also (reportedly) stated he felt like reaching out and punching Dr. McComb in the face (presumably referring to the scene below). 

The ADA&C provided no comment to CBC Marketplace and did not contact me with questions about the dentist who recommended the abusive, reprehensible or over-treatment as it may be called.

This is yet another example of where the ADA&C has demonstrated the placement of importance on reputation of the profession as being greater than the importance of protection of the public and freedom for health care practitioners to speak out when abuse is occurring within the profession. Yes- it implicates the highest members of the ADA&C as being unworthy of their roles, and if you think they are doing everything in their legal powers to stop me from sharing the ugly truth you would be correct. However you would be wrong if you think that I will allow you not to take this seriously and am reporting this to the media to increase the chances your office will be held accountable for the conduct of the authorities at the Alberta Dental Association & College.

Michael Zuk DDS

Red Deer, AB.

PH 403-347-8008


Note:
In August 2015 Dr. Zuk faced disciplinary charges from his provincial dental authority for writing his 'Confessions' book.
 The ADA&C lawyer made the argument that using the term 'Veneer Nazi' was harmful to the reputation of the dental profession. The hearing tribunal which were selected by the dental college agreed (The dentist-author has founded a lobby group and a public awareness website to protest the unfair treatment of dentists and plans to appeal the prejudicial verdict which was guided by a lawyer who had a vested interest in the case). The author is extremely disappointed with the verdict and his criticism of the dental authorities has attracted a $9,000,000 defamation lawsuit. The lawyer investigating and suing the dentist pushed for an unprecedented 5 year suspension and payment for the $270,000 investigation. The dentist appealed in November 2016 and is now going public with a long list of serious concerns with misconduct within the organization. The battle continues.

The author is 
extremely concerned
 dental authorities are hiding the truth and selectively 'over-policing' aesthetic dental treatment in an attempt to make it appear they are protecting the public. This can subject good cosmetic dentists to malicious prosecution in an attempt to limit the use of porcelain veneers simply because a few have overused the procedure with inadequate consent. The point of the book was to explain the has been a style of care that pushed veneer treatment while downplaying the importance of alternatives such as orthodontics and composite bonding.

Patient should be able to get whatever treatment they wish after they are informed of their choices.


 
All treatment has risks and it is irresponsible for dental associations to try to punish dentists who have gone to great lengths to educate their patients.  Root canals and loss of the teeth are severe examples of complications that can occur following veneers, crowns, orthodontics and deep fillings. The dispute with the dentist is not usually the risk that a complication may occur, but who is responsible for the fees dealing with the complication.

READER QUESTION:
How can you choose a good 'cosmetic dentist'?
Answer: 
To begin with, as discussed in the book, there is not a recognized specialty in cosmetic or aesthetic dentistry. Any dentist may call him/herself a 'cosmetic dentist' and it simply implies the doctor has an interest in promoting services that are appearance related. While some situations can be treated appropriately with porcelain veneers, it is important to know when other choices may be better. Check out some of the author's insider tips on this website.


 
  

Insider Tips

These are a few insider secrets that could help you avoid a smile makeover disaster:

  1. STOP and understand just because a certain celebrity or your best friend had porcelain veneers does not mean they are the best choice for your individual situation.
  2. Be sure to ask the dentist if you can whiten your teeth as a 'pre-cosmetic' improvement. Affordable tray whitening can often provide results comparable to the faster in-office treatments. 
  3. Whitening can take longer in certain situations so delay the rush to veneer your teeth if you haven't tried a few techniques.
  4. Straightening crooked, healthy teeth without seriously considering orthodontics first is a common error made by many cosmetic dentists.
  5. If the dentist downplays the importance of orthodontics or aligners it could be a signal to get up and get a second opinion. Many cosmetic dentists exaggerate the time needed to straighten teeth.
  6. The 'Big Thing' as discussed in the Confessions book is the wave of short term braces systems that are now available. This treatment can reduce treatment times and improvements down to months. If the dentist says it will take three to four years in braces consider a second opinion.
  7. Be wary of a dentist that brags about doing 'thousands of veneers'...and has limited or no skills in orthodontics. 
  8. Many dentists can treat crooked teeth with plastic aligners, but some situations can be much faster if pre-straightened with 'braces'. 
  9. If you visit the dentist without any concerns about your smile and find the dentist or members of their team beginning to pick you apart cosmetically don't be too quick to be seduced. Many people have more character with smiles that are a little different.
  10. One technical tip that the author recently learned from a very respected aesthetic dentist (specialist in prosthodontics) is whiten first, replace any discolored white/composite fillings in your smile second...THEN you could choose to live with the result or proceed to the porcelain veneer option. A very important change is the veneer design may be extremely conservative and not need to extend to cover the fillings on the back of your teeth. This will greatly increase the amount of healthy tooth that is preserved (see photo below):
 
There are many other tips in the book but the top ten should give you an appreciation for the importance of being informed about your options.
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