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Paul Cummings, DDS
(condensed from the original 13-page letter)
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In my thirty plus years in dentistry, I have never seen a more concerted effort by a specialty group in dentistry to discredit, to distort and to misrepresent the efforts of a man who has been a giant contributor to the bulk of knowledge of dental disease, dental caries even more than periodontal disease. For forty plus years Keyes’ contributions to my profession, dentistry dwarfs the achievements of 99% of us.

We should be paying homage to this giant of a man and certainly by this time in his life, he has earned his recognized stature as a man of unquestioned integrity and honesty in his research, in his writings and in what he has to say. Would that the same could be said of all researchers.

Too, Dr. Keyes is a man of the people first, and his basic commitment is to humankind rather than being focused solely on the best interests of dentistry. This clearly antagonizes a great many in our profession. Every dentist does not want nor long for effective and simplistic answers to the major diseases dentistry deals with – even if they do exist.

It seems to me that my specialty, periodontics, is currently in a state of panic, in large part secondary to the efforts, the contributions, the observations and the periodontal treatment programs Dr. Keyes currently espouses.

My colleagues are especially in a state of anxiety I believe, because like it or not, Dr. Keyes’ programs really do work – at least as well, and I believe better than the treatment regimes advocated and used by periodontists heretofore.

And Dr. Keyes’ programs not only work, but at far less cost to the patient — without surgery; with far less pain to the patient; without the patient outraged tooth sensitivity periodontal surgery tends to develop; with more effective maintenance, via microscopic monitoring, than periodontal surgery regimes; and in my experience, with fewer subsequent relapses and case failures than any other approach to periodontal treatment I have been associated with previously.

I have tried very hard to understand why periodontists, generally, should be so hostile to Dr. Keyes, a man who has contributed so much over forty years and a man who has a better and a more effective methodology in treating periodontal-pathologic problems today than have his peers.

Part of the answer, I think, is in the fact that Dr. Keyes represents to a great many periodontists, a most imposing threat to take from them their Bard Parkers; their Orban and Goldman knives; their bone burs and chisels, etc. — and more important than any of theses, their very large and impressive periodontal incomes.

Actually, this is a considerable reason to be upset with Dr. Keyes, I concede.

Beyond this, there is an integral part of Dr. Keyes’ writings that Dr. Chase and other periodontists who are outspoken critics of D. Keyes fail to mention. It has to do with Dr. Keyes’ observation that using the conservative therapeutic programs he recommends, the general dentist can treat the great majority of the periodontal patients out to “high-fee” and “knife-happy” periodontists.

Herein, I believe, really lies the rub where Dr. Keyes is concerned. Nothing would exacerbate outspoken hostility among periodontists more quickly than the realistic and valid suggestion that the general dentist can treat the majority of his patients using the conservative treatment Dr. Paul Keyes espouses, and by-pass referring his patients to the “cut-’em-ups”.

Paul Cummings, DDS

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