The kids and I have been going to communities state wide getting signatures and circulators for the Wyoming Denturism Act initiative.
The issue is, freedom of choice in denture care and affordable denture care. We are still in need of circulators state wide especially in the bigger counties.
The Wyoming initiative process is difficult but it clearly shows the power of it's people as "We The People" to put an issue on the ballot for the Wyoming People to vote for or against. It sends the message that we care.
Please help by being a circulator in your county. Thank you for your consideration and thank you for being here.
Let's Come Together on This One People. It's another way to encourage competition to get prices down. We need your help getting signatures for the Wyoming Denturism Act initiative for Freedom of Choice in Denture Care. The 2006 Silver Haired Legislature gave their support to bill (2006SHL8) entitled "Wyoming State Denturist Act" during their session held September 21-22, 2006 in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The 2008 election isn't that far off. Each petition circulator needs 100 valid voter signatures. For one week, a few hours a day, I stood in front of the grocery store (WITH THE OWNERS PERMISSION) to get 100 voter signatures for the Food Tax Exemption Initiative. There is nothing wrong with denturist giving the dentist some competition for affordable denture care for Wyoming people on fixed and low incomes. It's a good thing. There is no reason for dentist to have the monopoly on dentures. We can get the prices down so those in need can have affordable service. Dentures are like any other prosthesis. They need to be maintained. There are many people with broken denture teeth, cracked and worn dentures in need of repair. Relines or new dentures are needed so the chin and nose aren't so close together and the corners of the mouth and lips are fuller. As educated, licensed denturist, we offer these services to the consumer. We spend time listening to what you need for denture service. Wyoming's a big state when your moving an initiative. We got a few calls from volunteers and I'm thankful for you. We still need volunteers in a number of counties. Please pass the word to friends and relatives in other counties and give out the toll free number at 1-888-Dentur1 or 1-888-336-8871 and I'll send you a petition for signatures. The Wyoming Coalition for Freedom of Choice in Denture Care is registered with the Secretary of States Office. The Wyoming Denturism Act, initiative is registered with the Wyoming Secretary of States office. Thank you for your consideration---gary
Help Wanted; We The People
Need volunteer circulators in each county to help put the "Wyoming Denturism Act" initiative on the November 2008 general election ballot. Then the people of Wyoming can vote on Freedom of Choice in Denture Care service. This is a service that will be utilized by many people. We need to carry 15% of registered voters in 16 counties and 15% of the total registered voters in the state.The Wyoming initiative process is next to impossible to be sucessful and I had no idea that it was this difficult. I feel it was made this way to discourage citizens from going this route to make changes to better things for the Wyoming people. We can not succeed without your help. The initiative process is all about we the people, and I don't care how difficult it is, we need to make it work and then take the necessary steps to simplify the initiative process for future initiatives. Thank you for being here and thank you for your consideration. May you have a blessed Easter.The Wyoming Denturism Act, initiative can be seen at the Wyoming State Denturist Association website at http://www.wysda.org/ Thank you for your support and consideration in giving Wyoming people the same options that our neighbors Idaho and Montana have received for decades in Freedom of Choice for their denture care. For further information and an initiative to gather signatures, please call the Wyoming Coalition for Freedom of Choice in Denture Care toll free number at 1-888-Dentur1 or 1-888-336-8871.--------------In His service, Gary W. Vollan
What Denturists Do
From the Faces of Denturism brochure
The process that denturists follow to make dentures for a patient follows these steps........
*Performing a comprehensive oral examination and evaluation. This includes obtaining a complete medical and dental history........
*Taking impressions, selecting the artificial teeth to be used based on color and appearance, and design of the denture........
*Fabricating and inserting the denture in the patient's mouth to test for fit, appearance and to meet patient expectations. Necessary changes are then made before the final denture is created........
*Performing any follow up services, including adjustments, relines or repairs. The goal is to ensure the denture fits comfortably and satisfies the patient........
When you seek the services of a denturist you will find that as a patient you play an active role in the creation of your new dentures. Remember, you are in the hands of a professional who specializes in making full and partial dentures........
A denturist knows that patient input is necessary to ensure that your dentures fit properly and meet your full expectations.
Choosing a Denturist
The Faces of Denturism a brochure by the Oregon State Denturist Association, OSDA. www.ordenturists.org
Once you make the decision visit a denturist for a new or replacement denture the question becomes who to see and what criteria to use to make the choice.
Most denturists will gladly schedule a free, no obligation appointment to evaluate and discuss your needs and answer any questions you may have, including those about price and delivery. Many will be able to show examples of their work and provide patient referrals. This is a good way to get to know the denturist as a person and to judge their capabilities.
As with other healthcare providers, the quality of the relationship between you and your denturist will ultimately be determined over time and through personal experience.
Arizona Dental Board Approves Bate's Denturist Program
February 5, 2007
The Board reviewed the denturist program at Bates Technical College located in Tacoma, Washington on February 2, 2007. Bates Technical College is the first denturist program to meet the legislative mandate of a recognized denturist program in the state of Arizona.
In an effort to anticipate applications for denturism, the Board is proactively requesting assistance from WREB in preparing a didactic and clinical examination. Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.), § 32-1297.02 states that an “examination shall be on subjects prescribed by the Board and shall be conducted by members of the Board who are licensed dentists, or by designees of the Board, or a testing agency approved by the Board.” Thankfully, the Board did not want to administer the examination. The Board voted unanimously to ask that WREB be designated as the Board’s testing agency for this denturist examination.
This examination must have both a didactic and clinical portion. Dr. Robert H. Foster, immediate past President of this Board, very graciously offered to work with Board staff and WREB experts toward accomplishing this goal.
I have contacted the other the state boards that regulate denturists so everyone is aware of the acceptance of the school as well as hopefully working with your organization to design and administer the denturist examination for certification.
Please contact me should you have questions or concerns. I can be reached at 602.242.1492 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Julie N. Chapko
Cc: Dr. Robert H. Foster
Sharon McCollough, Executive Director, Montana Board of Dentistry
Anita Merrow, Executive Director, Maine Board of Dental Examiners
Vicky Brown, Administrator, Washington State Department of Health, Denturist Board
Tina McAllister, Administrator, Oregon Board of Denture Technology
Carla Wofrum, Chairman of the Idaho Denturity Board
Maulid “Mo” Miskell, Executive Director, Colorado Board of Dental Examiners
Gay Woodhouse and Associates Instrumental in Passage of the "Wyoming Denturism Act", Initiative
I would like to take the opportunity to publicly express my appreciation to Attorney Gay Woodhouse and her associate Monique J. Ojeda, for working with the Wyoming State Denturist Association in the fine tuning stages and final presentations of the "Wyoming Denturism Act", initiative, to Wyoming's, Secretary of State, Joseph B. Meyer.
Just an awesome professional team to work with, picking through the smallest details of Wyoming's initiative process, for the success of the "Wyoming Denturism Act", initiative; enabling Joe Meyer and the staff of Wyoming's Secretary of States Office, to give approval to this well written denturist initiative, and to start the signature drive, for placement of the denturist initiative on the 2008 general election ballot, to serve the people of Wyoming, giving them Freedom of Choice in their denture care needs---gary
*please see the "Wyoming Denturism Act", initiative at http://www.wysda.org/
About the Denturist Profession
(Content provided courtesy of The Oregon State Denturist Association)--------------------------------------------------A denturist is a licensed professional dedicated solely to providing removable full and partial dentures to their patients. Denturists are an important part of the community of dental care providers, who have been serving the public in Wyoming since 1992, While you can go directly to a denturist for treatment without a referral from another health care practitioner, most denturists make every effort to develop close working relationships with dentists and oral surgeons to ensure that their patients receive the best oral health care possible.
A denturist is a recognized health professional who constructs, inserts and adjusts removable dentures as well as over dentures. A full denture is one that replaces all of the patient's natural teeth. A partial denture is one that replaces one or more teeth but not all of them.
Becoming a licensed denturist is not an easy task. Before obtaining a license a candidate must pass comprehensive practical an written examinations. The written examination challenges candidates to show their clinical knowledge of oral health issues, including microbiology, physiology, oral pathology, head and neck anatomy and more. The practical examination requires candidates to demonstrate their ability to take oral impressions, design a denture from the impression, create a denture from the design, and fit the denture in the patient's mouth so that it works well and is comfortable to wear.
When you seek the care of a denturist you will find that as a patient you play an active role in the discussion of the creation of your new dentures. Remember, you are in the hands of a professional who specializes only in the making of removable prosthodontics. Your denturist will involve you in the steps necessary to ensure your dentures fit properly and meet your full expectations.
Denturists provide a cost and time effective service. Unlike other health care practitioners who provide dentures, most denturists' laboratory work is done in-house by the denturist who sees the patient chair side.
About the Wyoming State Denturist Association
(Content provided courtesy of The Oregon State Denturist Association)-----------------------------------------------
To be the authoritative voice of denturism in Wyoming; to pursue advancement of the profession through education, communication amongst members, act as a liaison with external agencies; and encourage excellence in provision of denture services to all Wyoming residents.
To promote professional unity and advancement of denturism on the national level.
To represent the interests of members of both the Association and the profession to all levels of Government and the public.
To disseminate information that is of value and interest to Association members.
To encourage and facilitate standardization of education and examination.
To be proactive in the development of denturism in the United States and throughout the world.
To develop, promote and maintain standards of professional ethics for the denturist profession.
Canada 1961 thru 1976,
Australia 1958 thru 1995,
Did You Know?
Did you know? Licensed denturist work directly with the public providing denture care. Did you know? The denturist profession is regulated across Canada and in seven states in the US.
Did you know? Wyoming will be the eighth state to regulate denturist and hopefully your state will be next, so denturist are able to provide quality and affordable denture care.
Guest Speaker Duffy Malherbe
Hi Gary......This will probably come as a surprise to you to get support from as far a field as South Africa. As you might know, the fight to establish the Denturism-profession has become a globalized effort. Often it is becoming customary to provide support and encouragement from one Association to another, regardless of where the fight happens geographically. In reality, due to electronic communication the whole world has become a global village/town, with all would-be denturists virtual neighbours. Fortunately you have the NDA that is a strong umbrella Organization for the whole of the USA, with excellent leaders and experience to guide newcomers to the struggle. I recently made contact with the Oregon State Denturist Association and were fortunate to get access to their Newsletter where your efforts were described. I promptly asked Joe Coss to forward your e-mail address to me, so that I can provide some moral support. I believe you have single handedly taken on the challenge of getting Denturism established in Wyoming through a ballot measure campaign. In the Newsletter, OSDA President, Phil Dahl were reported to have said that "If one man, virtually on his own, has the courage and ambition to attempt such an effort, his colleagues across the country should rally around him". I sincerely hope the dental technicians of Wyoming are also as supportive. I recently had communication with Dr Carl Ebert (Robert Wood Johnson Community Health Leadership award in recognition for his work to ensure dental care for Minnesotans with limited access to services, especially those with special care needs) who with the support of Senator Sheila Kiscaden took the matter to the Minnesota Legislator where it was eventually rejected. Though the anti-denturism campaign was brutally misleading, sadly they got little support from those that were to get the biggest advantage in the form of career-development from the matter, if denturism were legalized. In his explanation Carl said: "The dental lab people here in Minnesota practically hid under rocks and did not lend any meaningful support when the denturism bill came up. Some that I talked to who were candid admitted that they feared being boycotted by dentists if they supported the bill and who knows what organized dentistry may have been doing behind the scenes to foster that fear." We have recently posted a website about Denturism (www.denturism.co.za) to create a resource of information about the profession and to allow access to the facts to all stakeholders in oral health services. If we hope to impress our Government of the necessity to implement the category locally, we will need to show the success and opinions from other parts of the world with an established Denturism culture. We will need to demonstrate the efficiency and popularity of the profession. We will have to prove a substantial benefit of functional and aesthetical quality improvement and a potential downward pressure on prices due to competition; and an increase of accessibility in the rural areas through mobile services. We also need the reflection from practising professionals elaborating on the direct and measurable advantages denturism offers the denture wearers themselves, but also the extent of workload relief and specialized focus it affords to other oral health professionals especially dentists and even oral hygienists/ therapists. Another advantage that comes to mind is the different cost-levels of training the various categories of Oral Health Human Resources. For that reason, we encourage all visitors to our Website to post their comments on the implementation of denturism on our Visitors Comments area, and to those that have firsthand experience of the practice to convey the advantages it offers to their communities from their own experience. The comments posted so far are most interesting and confirms what we motivated throughout the Website. Some dental technicians in South Africa are providing dentures directly, in the absence of a clinical training program to upgrade them to become clinicians and the absence of a CDT Register to regulate them and their practice. These dental technicians can provide a link to their patients to create a voice for the denture wearing public on our Denture Wearers Petition. In view of the fact that organized dentistry is the common opposition globally to the introduction of the category; it is strategically valuable to gain access to pro-denturism dentists for their views and testimonials. Therefore we perceive the opinions of dentists who have seen denturism in action, advocating the advantages to dentistry in general and to their communities, to be especially helpful to our cause. We really appreciate the posting of Visitor's Comments by enlightened dentists whether they are in private practice, educating denturists or at the forefront of trying to get denturism legislation established in their own countries. This can have a positive effect on the one-sided and archaic propaganda that organized dentistry have in the past distributed in South Africa to protect their monopoly against the "threat " of Denturism. In reality and in the final analysis it is a win/win/win situation for all, including: * Dental technicians who want more from life than what being a career laboratory technician can offer, can go through career development and improve their qualifications to become a direct denture practitioner. * The deployment of denturists will free the hands of many dentists to rather focus on procedures that they are better qualified for and generate much more by rather cutting more crowns and placing implants instead of the clinical procedures of providing dentures, and thereby also provide more work for crown & bridge technicians. * Denture patients will benefit by direct communication with the manufacturer: improved denture satisfaction, aesthetics, function and downward pressure on overall denture prices. * Referrals of denturists' patients to dentists for fillings, rest preps and other dental needs, will more than offset the potential loss of income from seeing less denture patients (claimed to be sub-economical anyway) * The introduction of Denturists will displace the practice of illegal provision by Quacks through unhygienic procedures, exposure to transmittable diseases and criminal access to materials. * Etc. etc. We have received a lot of enthusiasm globally for our efforts to push for Denturism in South Africa. Sadly, I cannot always say the same for my dental technician colleagues for whom we are fighting to get denturism legalized locally. We have not seen substantial support, with only a small number of individuals joining our ranks. I will admit that we have neglected that constituency, as we took them for granted, without sufficient feedback about what we are doing. It appears that many dental technicians feel intimidated to get exposed to their clients as pro-denturism. It is really not justified to be paranoid, not now when it really matters to be counted. However, there seems to be sufficient support from non denture-wearing members of the public openly supporting us. We will certainly need to sharpen our campaign efforts to target the denture wearing public and the dental technicians themselves. That is where one need loyal support of members to whom one can delegate some administrative and communication tasks in order to function more efficiently. I started participating last week in a Task Team set up by the Department of Health with nominees from all the other Stakeholder groups to RESTRUCTURE THE ORAL HEALTH PROFESSIONS IN SOUTH AFRICA. It is going to be long process, but I am quite positive after the first meeting that the participants are serious and honest to find solutions to the challenges to cater for the oral health needs of our people. Soon enough we may depend on the input provided by Visitors posted on our website. Please tell me more about your efforts to rally public support behind you in a ballot measure campaign. This is one of the weak areas of our campaign that still have to be developed. Maybe we can learn some valuable lessons from you. Who knows, for all we know, you may find some arguments or explanations on our website useful to your own campaign as well. This introduction may well the beginning of a win/win relationship. Good luck with your campaign and keep me informed. Hoping to hear from you soon! Regards... Duffy Malherbe (SECRETARY)>> The Society for Clinical Dental Technology>>>> Address: 71 Duminy Street, Boston, BELLVILLE. 7530 Republic of South>> Africa>> Tel: (+27 21) 592 1342/3>> Fax: (+27 21) 592 1344>> Alt. Tel: (+27 21) 948 9728 (home)>> e-mail: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org>> Website: www.denturism.co.za>
Guest Speaker Samuel E. Whisenant Regarding Older Denturist and Education
Sam is a licensed denturist in Washington. He wrote this letter, June 18, 2006, as a presentation for the older denture technicians and denturist for the 2007 Wyoming Denturist Conference on June 23. Steve Grass, Technical Support Advisor of Alpine Dental Laboratory will be teaching the Staub Cranial Technique and offering 3 CDT CE's for the master event. Guest speakers during lunch will include Eric Hansen L.D. of Washington State and Tad Brunzinsky L.D. of Oregon to talk about the success of the Denturist Profession.
Sam is a professional and a true inspiration to those who meet him. Thank you Sam---gary............................................................................................................
S&W Denture Center
25052 104th Ave. S. E.
Kent, WA. 98030
The heart of the Prudent acquires knowledge, the ear of the wise seek knowledge. My journey to becoming a Denturist started in 1958 at the age of 16, (after dropping out of high school). I thought that I had all the education that I would need for the future.
I was introduced to the dental lab field by my nephew who was working as a dental technician at that time. I went to work sweeping floors and doing pick-up and deliveries to the dentist, then to flasking, mounting, then to set-up and waxing for five years. I then went to work for a dentist as his private technician for over eleven years.
This dentist encouraged me to finish my high school education; I passed my college entrance exams. The next step was to be certified as a CDT dental technician in dentures, which I completed in 1970. I started obtaining continuing education in the field of dentures though the South Eastern Conference of Dental Laboratory. In 1975, I started my own dental laboratory, making dentures for private dentists. Shortly there after, I was made aware of the Denturist movement and meet with other dental laboratory owners in Atlanta, Ga., and other Denturist to establish denturity in the state of Ga., through out the United States with the help of the National Denturist Association. We were informed that we needed classes in the health sciences pertaining to head, neck, anatomy, biology and other courses pertaining to the dental field. A group of us were given courses in these subjects by professors and dentist that were professional in this field. Were given tests, and completed the qualifications and than were certified as, Certified Denturist in 1978 by the National Denturist Association.
That started the long battle to get recognized as a legal profession. We introduced bills into the legislator several times. Each time we were stopped by the Dental Association, who did not want the Denturist working directly with the public. The dentist wanted the Denturist to make the dentures just for the dentist so they had complete control of the dentures delivery system.
At that time several states were Initiative States. The initiative states started gather signatures and going to the public, for the purpose of educating the public to the benefits of Denturist. Idaho, Maine, Montana, Oregon, Arizona, Colorado and Washington, these states passed the initiative for the profession of Denturist, but they still required a certain level of educational requirements. Canada has had licensed Denturist since the sixties, and they established the Denturist College curriculum through out Canada.
Although, the United States had no schools for Denturist, Oregon established the first school, The Oregon Denturist College and Washington with Bates College followed. George Brown College in Canada developed a distance education curriculum in 1995 to help the dental technician to be come Certified Denturist, without having to go Toronto Canada to be enrolled in the college full time, we could take it at our own pace as most of us had to work full time and had families as well. Four from Georgia and other from different states, started educational journey in 1998, I was 55 years young at the time and graduated with a diploma in 2003. We received our license to practice to Denturist in Maine. And I at the age of 61 years young.
I came to Washington 2005 to open my own practice, as a license Denturist. For the past 38 years I have been making dentures, partials and servicing the public. Being able to deal directly with the public and to receive credit for your own work and compensation for the art that you perform and the satisfaction and accomplishment. There is no greater feeling than seeing the smile of a satisfied patient, and knowing that this is your work of art, as a Denturist.
Education is essential for being a professional in any field, and it is not as hard as you might think to obtain an education through distance education program no matter what age you start at. There was a 95 year old women that just graduated from the University of Washington and got her diploma. Colonel Sanders start his business at 65 years young.
I encourage any one at any age to continue their future in education. “ A wise man will hear and increase in learning, and a man of understanding will obtain wise counsel.” “ Give instruction to a wise man and he will be still wiser, teach a just man and he will increase in learn.” Proverbs.
When you are making a denture do you see just a denture or do you see a vision of a person with a smile and who can laugh, and most important, enjoy being able to eat again.
Samuel E. Whisenant, DPD, LD
Guest speaker Mike, Denturism: a perspective from the UK
Cc: email@example.com ; firstname.lastname@example.org
Sent: Monday, April 30, 2007 11:11 PM--------------
Subject: Denturism : a perspective from the UK -------
Dear Mr. Vollan,
Perhaps this input (received from an old friend in the UK) may be of interest to your readers and hopefully a source of support for denturists in the USA.
Firstly let me say that I am not a denturist but a retired dental surgeon with over thirty years experience of treating patients in both the hospital (emergency department) and in the everyday surgery environments (or within the dental office as I understand it is called in the USA).
I studied at a UK dental school whose course was six to nine months longer than most other university dental schools as we took an extended course in prosthetics : the dean of our university was an extremely well qualified prosthodontist and it was in fact his books that were used during our prosthetics course and he was an external examiner for other universities during the final dental examinations. My point here is that I had upon qualification more than a passing appreciation of the appropriateness, construction and fitting of most prosthetic devices. I will stand to be criticised highly by other dentists for what I say in the following paragraphs but it is nevertheless the truth in my not inextensive experience : whilst all dentists are suitably qualified to examine the oral cavities of patients and to diagnose oral pathologies they are not at all well qualified to construct dentures. Without the services of a dental technician they would be in very deep trouble being quite unable themselves to construct (say) an ordinary F/F set of dentures, and I must state that they would also be totally unwilling (words purposely chosen !!) to make a set of dentures for the same amount as they pay to their technician.
Bluntly, dentists gain little experience of denture construction during their training and would not spend their valuable time on such construction even should they have sufficient experience when they can have the work done "on the cheap" by a dental mechanic or technician who has undeniably vastly greater experience and knowledge in the area than himself.
I had my own very experienced dental technician on site in my own surgery, and he was my colleague and not an "under qualified poor cousin" as the vast majority of dentists would have regarded him - we worked together and I learned a great deal from him over the years. Without a good dental technician and a good nurse (or three) I could have provided very little actual dental care despite my professional qualifications. I was part of a team, we were all tools and contributors to the whole : without a team the dentist is a but one of a pair of shoes and just about as useful.
The argument that dental technicians or denturists are insufficiently well qualified in oral anatomy, physiology and pathology is both a moot point and pure sophistry : a denturist can and will refer a patient with questionable oral (or other) signs of possible pathology to a dentist for examination. He himself is not and does not claim to be a dentist and one wonders why a dentist claims to be a prosthetic expert : it is equivalent to an architect who has briefly handled a brick calling himself a bricklayer. I have no doubt that the reason for the resistance to denturism is not based upon any professional or altruistic concern for the patient but an overwhelming concern to maintain his income at the cost of patient care.
Many patients (and an ever increasing number) cannot afford the high costs of dental care, do not visit the dentist regularly for just this reason and thus are denied the first line of medical defense : I was taught that as a dentist I would be responsible for acting as one of the first lines of such defense by recognising the signs of not only oral pathologies but others that may not yet have presented the patient with symptoms and for which the patient had not sought the services of a general medical practitioner. To repeat the point for it is of great importance - poor patients who cannot afford standard dental care by a practising dentist are denied this first line of medical defense. This is most emphatically not in the best interests of the public nor does it represent the stated intent of members of the medical profession. It does however ensure the continuance of their income at the level that they feel appropriate to their services.
Now I will purposely insult many medical professionals : how much is your work worth? As much as you can get for it !! How many medical offices have been seen advertised for sale as "a goldmine" ... far too many ... but that is the nature of the beast. I believe it is called greed and I will not pull that punch or retract those words.
When I joined the profession I was proud of what I could do for my patients, but that was back in the days of a real state supported medical program that patients (like it or not) had already paid for out of their earnings. By the time of my retirement the free dental care system had all but broken down and many people could no longer afford the care they required; the ghost of an edentulous society was rising from the '40's in complete contradiction to all that I had been taught and believed.
"I can't afford a root filling and a crown so you'd better pull the tooth." Terrible thought : when do we start to amputate broken legs,arms or fingers !!
The financial position and medical needs of the public should of course be considered and done so extensively but accurately and without bias or agenda on the part of those performing such an evaluation. Providing the denturist is willing and able to refer the patient to a suitably qualified professional (if he is not already so qualified) for further examination before treatment is provided then there is no valid argument that can be raised by any source against the services that a denturist provides to the public. Denturists are always willing and are actively seeking to raise their ethical standards and the services that they provide to the public and yet it will be an uphill struggle to see legislation passed that allows them to do so.
Where money is involved it does seem that the powers-that-be will always seek to protect their own rather than members of the public. Until such hypocrisy is acknowledged for what it is the profession of denturism will need to fight on until their extremely valuable contribution to the health of a nation will be recognised.
To (some or many) of the dentists who may read this missive I would add this single question regarding priorities and medical ethics : what matters to you most - the condition of your Porsche or of the patients you will never see.
Dentist, B.D.S., B.A.
Name and address withheld for obvious reasons - I am too old to fight the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune (or autocracy) - the baton has been passed to the young tigers who both can and will fight for what we all know is morally right. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Thank you Mike for sharing this with the dental community and thank you Doctor for sharing your thoughts with us. I wish more dentist would speak out as you did sir.I'd like to take this opportunity for special recognition to Dr. Robert W. Christensen, D.D.S., O.S. for his recognition of the denturist professsion as providers of quality and affordable denture care service. I'd like to give special recognition to Dr. John N. Thibert, D.D.S., founder and instructor of The Oregon Denturist College, remembering his expectation of his students to be professionals and educated as denturist. A special thank you to Dr. Ken Kais, D.D.S., director and instructor of the denturist program at Bates Technical College in Tacoma, Washington. Thank you---Gary W. Vollan
Guest Speaker Ron Olson
DENTURISM IN MONTANA as I experienced it's beginnings; by Ron Olson----------------------------------------------------
It was early in 1984 that I received a letter pertaining to an initiative being placed on the ballot in Montana called "Freedom of Choice in Denture Care." We were living in Lewistown and we had a dental laboratory which was experiencing some "down trends" due to my recently raised prices which I was "forced" to lower. I attended the next scheduled meeting of these men and threw my hat in with them in March. I did not do a lot of traveling to acquire signatures for the initiative because we mainly used seniors at senior citizen centers in the smaller and more remote counties, and a lot of this was lined up and being done when I joined the men. The men involved were: Brent Kandarian-Kalispell, Lee Wiser-Livingston, Dave Comer-Great Falls, John Mateskon-Bozeman, Frank Stone-Butte, Frank Brisendine-Kalispell, Everett Vanden Eaton-Billings, Ron Olson-Lewistown, Rob Carnahan-Missoula, Cliff Christenott-Libby, Gary Vollan-Kalispell. In July we went to Pocatello, Idaho at the Idaho State College and took very concentrated & comprehensive classes by Dr. Ron Gerghety. We took additional weekend classes and some long distances courses as well. The bill was written primarily by Lee Wiser & Brent Kandarian and they also did the work in Helena at the capitol with legal affairs. Our attorney was Jim Bartlett from Kalispell. By August the Montana dentists got very vocal & nasty! The ADA gave the MDA an undesignated check for up to $l million and said, "Defeat this denturist bill in Montana." Their strategy was to bring confusion in the minds of the public as well as a fear that denturism would ruin people's health. Their advertising and articles were filled with lies. The dentists in Lewistown also put together their own strategy and came to me with a proposal if I would not become a denturist, but all of my respect for them was wasted and I could see right through them. For us, money was very slim and the future very uncertain. We prayed and trusted God for the outcome and to provide for our family of 4 teenagers. The night of the election will be forever in our minds as we called polling stations and called in numbers to our "headquarters." When the TV stations signed off the air, they each said, "The denturist initiative is defeated." In the morning, the papers said it passed by 51%, but as the absentee ballots were counted, the margin was higher. This was a very real miracle! In December we again went to Pocatello and took our license exam both written & practical. If we thought the stress of the initiative was difficult, we were in for only more struggles! We opened our doors to the public on December 1, but people were not eager to come to us. We lacked experience in every area of the business as well as confidence in our abilities. Insurance companies wouldn't pay us, and the dentists got ready to attack in every way that they could and sent in patients to "frame us." Every day was difficult and we needed support from family and wisdom from God. I realized we would not get enough business in Lewistown for me to become competent as a professional denturist, so I opened another small clinic in Billings in July 1985. I worked in Billings M-T-W, and I was open in Lewistown Th-F. I worked this way until July of 1988 and then was in Billings full time. Yes, it was a slow, rough start, but in many ways it was rewarding feeling we were real pioneers and forged some inroads for those who would follow. I served on the state Board of Dentistry being appointed by the governor as the denturist representative, and I served as the president of the Montana Denturist Association as well as president of the National Denturist Association. I also took the exam from the BIA in Oklahoma to have an Indian denturist license along with my son, Grant, who had a practice in Roosevelt County on a reservation. I have also been involved with the former Oregon Denturist College and George Brown College in Toronto. Today as I look back on this very accepted and worthy profession, my feelings are as they have always been. We need to do our very best for every patient. We must have a real desire to help people and find things that make people comfortable. I feel we should use the very best products and techniques available and be looking for ways to improve. Yes, education should excite us, and we should communicate and be united within our state, within our region, nationally and internationally. It does seem to me that too many of the denturists are mavericks and not professional enough. This concerns me greatly. I feel that these last 22 years for me have been a challenge and gratifying, but it really doesn't matter about me. What I see now is that dentists and oral surgeons acknowledge and accept us as colleagues, and the general public are confident and respectful and complimentary every single day. Yes, the change is drastic, and we have come a long ways in Montana. For this to be a very accepted profession nationwide is imperative!
Your friend and brother Denturist, Ron Olson
Ron Olson is a well respected denturist among his peers. He owned West Park Denture Clinic in Billings, Montana but is now semi-retired. His son Grant has taken over the clinical responsibility. Grant and I graduated from the Oregon Denturist College in 1992, and each of us holds our profession in standards as high as those of his father Ron Olson ---- Gary W. Vollan
Denturist encourage denture patients to see their dentist or oral surgeon for cancer screenings