Letters to the Editor (August 01, 2003)

Re: Viewpoint, Dr. Janice Goodman March, 2003 and Letter of Dr. Cooper-Lall, May 2003.

I have been actively involved in organized dentistry, in several provinces over the years and especially in Alberta the last two decades.

I never felt the urge to write in response to your articles, nor viewpoints, which tend to be useful and informative for those of us in practice.

However, I greatly appreciated the views of Dr. Janice Goodman. She talked about personal development and growth, the true value of education.

Education is expensive and time consuming. I have completed three master level thesis graduate degrees, after graduating with a periodontal degree from the University of Connecticut, and started up the Head and Neck Clinic at Yale Medical Hospital in New Haven, CT. I cannot tell you what I spent in these courses, or the hours I have spent to successfully complete these degrees, and requirements, nor do I think it is anyone else’s concern.

My formal education I completed for myself. I want to learn. I hope it helps me to be a better person, understand the people I treat better; to listen better; and therefore satisfaction in my daily work is better.

Bertrand Russell said that ‘education is a privilege meant to raise society, if shared.’ Do not take courses to put yourself above others as ‘that suggests that you have learned nothing’ (Rogers).

I could talk about the ‘objectivity’ of the AACD courses but that is self-evident.

Most dentists take courses on a regular basis to improve themselves and their enjoyment at work. We all deserve recognition for that. Dentists I know strive to do the best they can, even when they fall short. In all my years, I have not seen a dentist work to make a patient unhealthy, unhappy, or unaesthetic.

Milton H. Erickson said that ‘people, who need public strokes for their own ego, tend to be beaten down in time, as those strokes eventually become blows to the head’.

Provincial associations and organizations are there to ensure a minimum level of competency. They have never prevented and in fact, encourage and insist on continuing education, and with new Provincial health acts coming, as we already have in Alberta, areas of weakness will have to be addressed specifically by individual practitioners.

Please continue, as our own Ralph Crawford said, ‘to strive for excellence’. Do not fragment dentistry by threatening other dentists with court action. In the end the public will not be well served.

Dr. Malcolm P. Miller

Calgary, AB


Re: Predictable “Gum Lifts” Made Easy by Lynn Jones, DDS, April, 2003 Oral Health, page 65.

The last pair of ‘before and after’ pictures in this article, 15A and 15B, were not of the same patient. A different patient was shown in the mistaken ‘after’ picture. The patient was only one-week post op and the redness was the initial bruising and trauma from the surgery and suture removal. The flap had been replaced to create a three-millimeter sulcus from the start rather than a 0mm sulcus that would then grow back to cause a biologic width violation. I have enclosed the after picture that was intended to go with 15A illustrating a ‘gum lift’ procedure when it is fully healed, three months post operatively.

Lynn A. Jones DDS