2nd April 08:29
Ten questions for dentists
Thanks for your reply. The thrust of my message didn't address whether
ADA membership was a measure of "good" dentists. The intent was to
emphasize that if the patient entrusts her health to an ADA member,
the patient has far better recourse when a problem arises.
My message addressed the fact that, if a patient chooses to use a
NON-member dentist, that patient eliminates any chance of utilizing
the free, unbiased, Peer Review system. The patient (unknowingly) is
left with only the ***bersome, expensive, unresponsive court system of
A CDA (Calif.) member dentist has to answer to a panel of peer
examiners. I know of a number of dentists in my area who have chosen
NOT to join the ADA because they simply do not want to have their
treatment quality reviewed by other dentists when their patients have
IMHO, the Peer Review system is worth more as a membership benefit
than almost ANY other ADA benefit -- with the probable exception of
the legal/political work of the ADA, which is just about the only
reason why dentists in this country are not the chattel slaves of
government that both the federal and state establishments would like
us to be. (Check the news regarding the recent Aetna insurance
settlement -- it's about time, and it would never have happened
without the ADA.)
Here in California, the State Insurance Commissioner is on record as
favoring a "one-payer" system, whereby all dentists would be forced to
relinquish private practice, and work for the state (under the
supervision of his department, of course). And this guy is considered
to be a "mainstream" Democrat, in a heavily Democratic state!
Dentists in California really have only the ADA and the CDA to thank
for keeping us independent. If the state government had its way, we
would be nothing but minimum-wage slaves for the ruling party. Who
else but the CDA and the ADA have the resources to stand up for the
That having been said, I'll have to say also that my perceptions of
dental quality rendered by CDA member dentists here, vs. non-members,
differs greatly from your experience, when you said, "> Most of the
ADA dentists I have met, were less well skilled than the Non-ADA
dentist I have met."
My own experience definitely has been the opposite! Perhaps things are
different in your part of the country.
Although California has a substantial overlap between the populations
of member-dentists and non-member dentists regarding their quality of
treatment, my 30 years of examining thousands of patients from
different offices have shown a basic trend of quality in CDA-member
dentists. That seems to be due, in part, to the fact that any dentists
who have good reason to avoid the potential review of their treatment
by their peers, stay away from joining the dental association.
In California at least, that definitely tends to skew the population
of the dental association towards quality.