Price is right.
Once upon a time, there was a man named Price, who wrote a cautionary tale. That story has been re-told since, yet unheard of for a 100 years. My education was ‘Price-less’, there was no mention of this pioneer in Dental School. Upon graduation, I was left with more questions than answers and the ‘you owe plenty’ feeling, since it is jokingly said, U.O.P – University of Pacific, stands for ‘U O Plenty’! Great school though and jokes aside, I am forever indebted to all the Schools I have attended. Indebted, both money wise, and for the questions I got to ask, I did ask the right questions, and refused to sell out even when the price was right. When IS the price right ? I knew two things, one, that I didn’t know what I didn’t know and two, that the karmic currency did not always pay off the financial debt. Financial gain could be karmic loss.
Being married to a Physicist ensured that concepts like ‘singularity’ and ‘consilience’ were small talk on long walks. Seamlessness, the term I prefer, was not an excercise in futility and found it’s way into my work, my play, the days and the nights. I was certain of one absolute truth, my ‘out of the box’ approach would come at a price, and I was prepared to pay it. The karmic goals were non-negotiable. Non-conformists are always controversial, as was Dr. Price. Controversy also sells, I am told, armed with that knowhow, here I am, selling an idea, that insurance companies have no code for, Wall Street has no profit price, to tag it with.
I flirt with fiction but love facts, and the fact is Dr. Weston Price was right, still is. He discovered that dental disease is man-made. Gum disease, decay, crooked teeth and yes, dental phobia is the price we have paid for modern life. A solution that is part of the problem is not a solution. It is a problem. I did not have to look too far to confirm Dr. Price’s findings. I turned to Proffit!
Dr. William Proffit is the Guru of contemporary Orthodontics, he wrote THE textbook on the subject. Chapter 1, page 14. “Diseases of civilization” include crooked teeth, dental diseases, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and high blood pressure. Corrucini, studied the rural ancestors of city dwellers in Punjab, a region in north-west Indian subcontinent (the land, where I was born!) and confirmed what Dr. Price wrote in early 1900’s. In a nutshell, anthropologically speaking, hunters and gatherers had straight teeth with plenty of room for wisdom teeth, no gum disease, no cavities and yes, no dental phobia. Whole foods was/is the Universal insurance coverage.
Today, I play at work and work hard at play, I love what I do. It was not always this much fun, a year out of Dental school, I almost quit and planned to go to Culinary School. I found myself packing mercury fillings on a assembly line of patients, defined by the type of insurance they had, yearly ‘benefits’ allocated and their thresholds to put up with pain and the ‘alleged greed’ of the ‘dental providers’. That was a price not worth paying, for the kind of lifestyle I wasn’t buying. Shifting to the karmic gear, where my personal journey’s cruise control is set, I was lead on to a road less traveled. As luck would have it, I took the first exit, at the beginning, the birthplace of life. The ‘first stop’, was not nutrition, just a little shy of the Culinary School, the object of my desires. It was oxygen. Science, spirituality, seamlessness. Intuition, morality, reason. And I wasn’t even cooking up anything yet! Encouraged, I moved on to find nutrition was the next ‘stop’ on the road map of survival and prevention of disease. Price was right. Food is medicine. The nutrition saga begins with the nursing of a baby, who is an obligate nasal breather. Breathing and eating is possible simultaneously for a human child, upto the age of about six months. The ability to sit up unsupported, eruption of teeth and the ability to eat soilds is well timed. Breathing, nutrition and posture. ( Hint! I just gave away the next stop! ) Please do NOT try eating and breathing at the same time, take my word for it. The nutrition story is not fiction, it’s as real as reality gets. The fact is, the dental realm has been and is, quite sadly, a foreign land that one takes expensive trips to, besieged with adventures gone wrong, a eager escape and with bad taste left in the mouth. Nature did not design humans to see a dentist, the ‘avoidance reflex’ is natural, an evolutionary wiring.
The equation of industrialized lifestyle, low insurance coverage and high cost of dental work, makes for a grave problem with no sustainable solution. The net result is an unstable equation with unhappy consumers who deem the insurance companies as ‘necessary evil‘ and more often than less, the Dentists as the money hungry villains, quite unnecessarily. I did the math, and it was not adding up. My financial debt and the moral burden drove me, no, not to drinking, but to hit the pause button, to listen.
Listen to the story Dr. Price told.
Dental disease, with the exception of trauma and teething problems are all man-made. The solutions to these problems are also man-made. Small wonder that these solutions are pricey. Is the price right?
These are the most commonly asked questions in my office –
1. How much will this cost and will my insurance cover this crown?
2. How long will this crown last?
3. Are you single? (No, no, just checking to see if I still have your attention!)
My answers to them is always the same – “I don’t know”. I like my clients to be in the driver seat, in the journey of their health, it is after all, their health, their insurance. I diagnose and treat the dental condition, not the condition of their finances or the insurance ‘benefits’. I am a health care provider, literally, my job is to ‘care’ about their ‘health’. Care begins with information. Ignorance is blissfully expensive. In this world of too much information and too little time, a time when average reading age of Americans is 8th grade and the attention span, 6 seconds, I care enough to take the time to ask of people, not to listen to me, but to pause. Listen to the innate intuition and intelligence every human comes inbuilt with, listen to your bodies.
Insurance, at it’s inception was a great idea with good intentions, like everything else, it grew up to be ‘adulterated’ by greed and other failings of free will. As far as guarantee of dental work I perform, I redirect my clients to the original manufacturer, Mother Nature.
These are the questions I ask my clients –
1. Can they guarantee to be guardians of the excellent dental health gifted to them by their genome?
2. How long will they guarantee a natural tooth will last?
I always get the same answer – “I don’t know”.
In this picture of modern dentistry being out of the budget for most people, insurance companies playing the “necessary evil” part, I am merely playing the ‘supporting role’ and the only one who gets to play hero or heroine is, none other, it’s you. This is your health story, you get to write the script, cast the parts and name the price. The price of Dental health is rightly in your hands, not the hands of your dentist. Dental health is yours for a bargain, the price is right for your taking.
With a perspective and smiles,
This blog is dedicated to all dental clients and dentists on earth. I can feel your pain.