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Dental Industry Leader Vows to Lead Crusade Against 'Corporate Dentistry'

Class action lawsuit filed against Aspen Dental Management and their majority stakeholder, private equity firm Leonard Green and Partners, causes a leading dental expert to speak out.

MISHAWAKA, Ind., Nov. 19, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Late last month, a national news story broke concerning a class-action lawsuit filed against Aspen Dental Management and their majority stakeholder, private equity firm Leonard Green and Partners. Filed on behalf of 11 people from 11 states, with the potential to provide damages to thousands of additional patients, the lawsuit claims Aspen dental clinics operate illegally and engage in aggressive, misleading practices that cause patients harm according to the Associated Press http://abcnews.go.com/m/story?id=17514434&sid=81.

This is on the heels of a PBS Frontline story produced in tandem with the Center for Public Integrity back in June, which exposed corporate-owned dental chains including Aspen dental clinics for unethical business practices, including preying on individuals by recommending unnecessary treatment and saddling them with heavy debt http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/dollars-and-dentists/.

Now a leading dental expert is speaking out. "I can't believe we let this happen," says Dr. Roger Pecina, owner of the largest solely owned one building dental practice in America and a staunch supporter of private practice ownership for all dentists. "Corporate chains with their production quotas and hard sell tactics as alleged in the case – that's no way to provide healthcare. "

"The general public has to understand these allegations and make sure this type of practice does not continue. There are far too many people that have been abused by this financially motivated and quota based dentistry."

"I'm not staying silent anymore. When I became a dentist, I took the Hippocratic Oath. I swore to practice dentistry ethically and honestly. I've built my office first and foremost by providing exceptional dentistry and meeting people where they're at in regard to their financial situation. We see over one hundred new patients every week at my office where the average dentist might see that amount in an entire year. The majority of our new patients are recommended by their family and friends. We put people first, what we have termed "Patient Friendly Dentistry®."

"All dentists can and should experience the fulfillment of private practice ownership if they wish to do so. That is the reason most of us chose this great profession, and it's where patients can receive the highest level of dental care without worrying if their dentist has to answer to a group of investors who set demands for quota based care, which often times leads to unnecessary treatment and dental expense that is not within the reach of the majority of the population. Patients then get confused and choose to do nothing. This creates lingering problems and mistrust in the doctor-patient relationship which is the basic foundation of private practice."

Dr. Pecina believes that the American Dental Association has to help curve the mindset of the traditional dentist to serve the underserved, otherwise private practice as it has been known will eventually cease to exist. "We are about to embark on what is going to be the greatest period of time (for dentistry). The amount of dentistry that needs to be done is going to be the most that it's ever been," Pecina stated in a recent speaking engagement before the Indiana University Dental School. "Underserved patients are going to be in your chair. You're going to have to make a decision, are you going to help these people or are you just going to disrespect them because they aren't quite your kind?"

Dr. Pecina believes if this mindset doesn't change, this impending multitude of people will be driven to the venture capital backed, quota based dentistry model, signaling a death knell for those in private practice. "The mindset must change," says Pecina.

About Dr. Roger Pecina

Dr. Roger Pecina is a 1977 graduate of the Indiana University School of Dentistry and founder of Afdent located in Mishawaka, Indiana, the largest solely owned one building dental practice in America. The second largest practice of its kind in America also bears the Afdent name in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  Afdent is dedicated to providing the highest quality dental care with the friendliest, most capable team of dental professionals – a philosophy Afdent calls Patient Friendly Dentistry®.

SOURCE Dr. Roger Pecina

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