The Baltimore City Dental Society

President's Message

Welcome to the Baltimore City Dental Society’s (BCDS) web site. It is a work in progress and your suggestions are welcome. They can be sent to me at smiledds@aol.com. Thank you in advance. If you are a patient with a complaint or a concern about a dentist that has treated you, please contact Peter Holmes at the Maryland State Dental Association (MSDA) headquarters at 410 598 1368.

     The BCDS represents organized dentistry in Baltimore City. Most notably over the last few years our efforts in Annapolis and Washington, D. C. have protected the practicing dentists and their patients from some insurance companies and professional state boards  that have put their bottom line or self interests ahead of the patient’s health and welfare. 

     I have wondered in the past why the American Medical Association has allowed the insurance industry to basically run their profession and dictate the benefits patients should receive.  Young physicians coming out of their residencies into private practice get jobs with their incomes dictated by the insurance companies who decide what procedures and drugs are best, and what treatments and how much will be reimbursed. This is not the way it works in dental practices except those heavily involved with HMO or DMO care.  In the traditional health care model, dentists and patients discuss all treatment options and the patient decides what is best. Financial arrangements are made to encourage the best care for the patient’s needs.

   Why are medicine and dentistry so different in this regard? Could it be that the insurance industry does not dominate the dental profession as it does in medicine?

Possibly one reason that this has occurred is that organized dentistry (70% of all US dentists belong to the American Dental Association-are you a member?) has managed to keep the insurance companies at bay, but in medicine the American Medical Association (only about 20% of all US physicians are members) has not been able to restrain the insurance industry. There are certainly other factors, but note the large difference in membership participation which could be a significant factor. If you are a dentist reading this I hope you are considering attending Dentist Day in Annapolis this February. Several years ago a law presented by the pharmacy board to the state legislature was passed and dentists lost the privilege of dispensing prescription products at there offices such as high Fl toothpastes and professional mouth rinses. For several years afterwards, the dentist would have to give the patient a prescription and hope the patient would be compliant, go to the pharmacy and also hope the pharmacy had the specialty product. The patient was inconvenienced, and the pharmacy frequently did not have the product. Last year dentists in Annapolis reversed this legislation and dentists can dispense products again! Every year the dentists in Annapolis effect positive changes.

   Big business, such as insurance companies and corporate dentistry, are powerful forces with strong self interests that we have learned again and again in recent history if un-supervised and un-regulated can cause serious consequences for everyone. From oil spills to sub-prime loan catastrophes. Corporate regulation is mediated through the government and frequently either influenced by lobbyists from the corporations or vigilant private sector organizations. Professional societies and private agencies (Environmental Defense Fund, Sierra Club, AARP, ADA(American Dental Association), etc.) and their lobbyists (with our support which includes our time and money), create the checks and balances in our society. It’s important that we all get involved in our community organizations that have powerful voices that can be heard to promote positive change to take better care of each other and the planet. You can make a difference by getting involved! You can move in this direction as an ADA member and BCDS would love to meet you at one of our meetings! Your first meeting is on us.