Lessons from Jamie Dimon, Jon Corzine, J.P. Morgan/Chase and BIG BUREAUCRACIES.

At issue in the latest 2 BILLION DOLLAR snafu was something called “risk management,” or how large corporations and even government police themselves and protect themselves, their clients and citizens from unfair and possible hurtful practices.

Jamie Dimon’s a smart man.   He’s known to be one of Banking’s Top Risk Managers.  Why didn’t he or other big companies control their risks better?

Perhaps they can’t.   Perhaps it’s inherent with growth.  Perhaps the mantra shouldn’t be “Too Big To Fail” but “Too Big is Destined To Fail”!!  Is that what happened to Countrywide, Lehman Brothers, to The Roman Empire?   Will it happen to the USA?

These are scary thoughts and beyond the scope of this blog.   What lesson can we learn regarding your health and particularly your oral health?


Ultimately, you have to be responsible, which is why reading my book is so important if you’re going to find a new dentist.   You have to take responsibility for educating yourself and finding a caring, compassionate and skillful healthcare provider.

All Dentists Are Not Created Equal

From 30 years in academia and 35 years in practice, I’ve met many dentists.   I can categorically tell you that all, myself included, have various levels of expertise, natural talent, communication skills, motivation and compassion.  Most, go into the profession because the want a one-on-one opportunity to help people.

Most Dentists want to help people.

So, if that’s true what gets in the way?  Often, it’s money.  We’re a capitalist society.   It’s part of the culture of our Country.   In the US of A, if you work hard you can succeed.   We believe that we’re rewarded for our efforts.

Insurance Companies are trying to change that.  

Insurance companies, big bureaucracies, try to make healthcare a commodity, like milk, sugar and oil.   Similar procedures are equally compensated.  Similar levels of expertise are equally compensated.  And worst of all, different results are rewarded equally.  It’s the only way they can control the “risk”.

Insurance companies have a mission.   It’s to make money.   Let me repeat that.   Insurance Companies just like Banks are in the business of making profits.  They have shareholders to whom they are responsible.   Their executives’ compensation is calculated based on these profits.  This is a huge issue, one that I will address at another time.

Insurance Companies are NOT the agency to act in your best interest.  If you get sick…they lose money.   Yet, their strategy isn’t to help you prevent disease, it’s to control payments to Doctors.   Does that make sense?   Not to me.

What Does This All Mean For You?  Who should you TRUST?
Let’s look at Mary.   She (not her real name) came to me because she was told she needed a huge amount of costly and perhaps even painful treatment.   She had been going to the same Dentist for 8 years and the same office for over 20.   Suddenly, she was told that she needed all this “work”.

Mary did the smart thing.   She went for a second opinion.

What I told Mary after taking a scan (that her previous dentist never took) is that she’s in terrible shape.   She has gum disease that will result in the loss of 3 or 4 teeth that will need to be replaced.   The amount of money she will have to spend to re-build her mouth and get it into health is nearly 7-8 times what her previous dentist quoted.   More important, the treatment recommended by the previous dentist wouldn’t solve her problems.

Where did Mary go wrong?

She chose poorly.  She put trust in the wrong person.   That trust was misplaced and caused her to ignore the sign she had that something was amiss.  She could have read the signs better if she were educated about oral health.

Some of the signs that something’s wrong:
Bleeding gums are not normal.

  1. Discomfort while chewing is not normal.
  2. Uncomfortable hygiene visits are not normal.
  3. Getting food caught between your teeth is not normal.
  4. Bad taste and odors are not normal

Mary had some of these signs, yet she ignored them because she trusted her Dentist.

What can YOU learn from this?

  1. Educate yourself about yourself.
  2. Ask questions.
  3. Tell your healthcare provider about ALL your symptoms and other healthcare issues including ALL medications, supplements and diet changes.
  4. Find a healthcare advocate that will help you do a RISK ASSESSMENT.

Risk Assessment?
That’s right.   What J.P. Morgan Chase was supposed to do with their investments is just as important for your health.  A good healthcare provider will base their treatment recommendations on a thorough assessment of your health and a subsequent risk assessment.

Risk determines treatment.   Risk management determines outcome.   RISK ANALYSIS IS IMPORTANT.   RISK MANAGEMENT IS CRUCIAL.

As a Dentist, I’m charged with assessing (doing risk analysis) several potential diseases and functional issues.

  1. Oral Cancer
  2. Systemic interactions
  3. Periodontal (gum) Disease
  4. Decay
  5. Bite issues
  6. Digestive efficiency
  7. TMJ, joint function
  8. Facial Pain
  9. Sleep/Snoring issues

10. Cosmetics/Esthetics

RISK MANAGEMENT is our mutual responsibility.  That’s not a cookie cutter approach.   It’s individualized.   It’s not part of an insurance-driven model.  It’s time consuming.   It’s the RIGHT THING TO DO.  Most importantly…


I became a Dentist because I want to HELP PEOPLE.  If it were money I was after, I’d have gone to business school and worked on Wall Street.  I chose a different path.  It hurts me that some in my profession don’t take the “TRUST” that people place in them seriously enough.  I’ve written letters to Organized Dentistry.  I wrote this book to help.   HELPING OTHERS is what it’s all about.

It starts by helping yourself.  Read the book!

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