Dr. Paul H. Keyes - The non-surgical solution to oral healt - Home
Site map   Send Email to Dr. Paul H. Keyes
Keyes Method
About Dr. Paul H. Keyes
Writings, Articles, Research Papers
Contact Dr. Paul H. Keyes
Links to Related Websites
Barry Solomon, DDS
Back to Testimonials

September 1, 2004

Sometime around 1981, one of my young associates approached me one day and stated, “Barry, I don’t think that you should be doing gum surgery anymore.” Now, I had been taught in my very highly accredited dental school (University of Maryland, College of Dental Surgery, the oldest dental school in America) to perform gum surgery to treat moderate to severe gum disease.

What’s more, I really didn’t want to hear what this young upstart was telling me since I had found that I could mutilate gums and bone just as well as my periodontist-specialist friends could do. All that blood and sutures and bubble-gum packing really made me feel like “a real doctor.” In addition, I found that such procedures were very financially lucrative. I could “cut and sew” and bill my patients and insurance companies a great deal of money, and they would actually pay me for doing so. Of course, the end result of my efforts really did not stop their periodontal disease. Years later, they still continued to lose alveolar bone.

He also showed me a letter written to the profession-at-large from a Dr. Paul Cummings. Dr. Cummings had been the Chief of the Department of Periodontology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In that 13-page letter, he extolled the virtues of a man named Dr. Paul Keyes.

I do remember one of the many profound things that Dr. Cummings said was that he felt guilty and wished to “apologize” to the countless numbers of patients who had been unnecessarily mutilated by the students that I (he) had taught to perform periodontal surgery.” Additionally, he stated, “the conservative, non-surgical techniques do work. Try them, you’ll like them and so will your patients. But I doubt that the periodontists ever will. It is not the road to a second Mercedes.”

Wow, talk about pissing people off. I would encourage all professionals to read that letter from Dr. Cummings.

After reading that letter, my first exposure to the concept of conservative, non-surgical treatment of perio, my curiosity was quite stimulated. I called and made an appointment to fly from San Antonio, Texas, to Washington, DC, to meet with Dr. Keyes. He was gracious enough to agree to meet with me.

At a Chinese restaurant for our lunch meeting, I was immediately in awe of this charming, brilliant giant of a scientist whose credentials made me feel so very humbled.

I truly did not wish to abandon the easy-to-do, highly profitable, no lab fee, periodontal surgery. However, among many profound statements he made, one in particular changed my dental career forever. Dr. Keyes told me, “Barry, periodontal disease is nothing more than a bacterial infection. And you don’t treat an infection with a knife, you treat it like any doctor treats an infection, with some form of medication that eliminates the bacteria and their toxins!” (At least that is the closest I can remember to his exact words.)

Of course, the rest is history, as they say. I became a believer and disciple of Paul Keyes. I returned to Texas, aggressively advertised and implemented the new “Non-Surgical Treatment of Gum Disease.” Well, as you can imagine, as they say in Texas, the “stuff hit the fan.” Almost every periodontist in Texas immediately lodged complaints to the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners about “Dr. Solomon’s fraudulent claims as to the success of treating gum disease without any surgery.”

The Dental Board then launched a major attack against me to attempt to suspend my dental license for advertising “that Keyes technique that doesn’t work.” One of my ads stated, “Gum Disease is Totally Preventable.” Well the Board attempted to punish me because of what they claimed was “false advertising.” I needed to hire a law firm to defend myself.

At that time, I also had treated many of the local news media people, newspaper, radio, and television as patients. We received a tremendous amount of publicity in all forms of the media about “Dr. Solomon’s using a new form of treatment to treat gum disease without causing the patient unnecessary pain and expense.”

Many hundreds of patients, who had been told by their periodontist that they needed extensive gum surgery at considerable expense, called me for appointments. But to add even greater insult to injury, many of those patients first called to break their scheduled appointments with their periodontists and then asked to “have their x-rays and records transferred to Dr. Barry Solomon.” This was one group of really pissed-off guys, God bless them.

I called Dr. Keyes to come to my hearing as an expert witness in San Antonio. He was gracious enough to agree to come. The Dental Board always coordinated disciplinary hearings at the time of the Texas Dental Association meeting in the spring.

The event turned into a media circus. We had coverage from every major local network as well as from CNN and the New York Times. Gee, some have even accused me of exploiting that situation for free advertising, heaven forbid.

One cowboy-investigator for the Dental Board, Stetson hat included, when interviewed by a local television reporter, stated: “W-ai-e-ll, Solomon is just a Yankee who doesn’t understand the way things are done down here!” Great stuff.

The “prosecutors” of the Board, my competitors and adversaries, stated their opinion about “the falseness” of my ads in my stating that periodontal disease is “totally preventable.” When it was Dr. Keyes’ turn to testify as an expert authority, he was beautiful. He stated, “Certainly periodontal disease IS totally preventable. Something is either totally preventable, or it is not preventable at all. Like pregnancy is either totally preventable, or it is not preventable at all.”

The Dental Board showed Dr. Keyes very little respect. Obviously, they were intimidated by his stature and oncoming notoriety. I was so very proud of him and flattered to be associated with him in any way whatsoever.

The Dental Board first tried to suspend my license. When my attorneys made it quite clear that I would carry the fight to the Texas Supreme Court (a major bluff since it was financially impossible for me to afford such a fight), the Dental Board offered for me to “accept a reprimand.” My position was that “why should I accept a reprimand for having done nothing wrong, but for championing a state-of-the-art procedure to better treat gum disease without surgery and without putting the dental consumer to unnecessary expense and suffering?”

My attorney informed me that if we did appeal the Board’s decision to a State Court, we would, most likely prevail. However, in doing so, I would incur additional tens of thousands of dollars more in legal expenses. Reluctantly, I agreed to accept the reprimand, their “slap on the wrist.” To this day, I regret having done so. On hindsight, I should have taken out a second and third mortgage on my home to fund the appeal.

However, as with most adversity, there is always a silver lining and hidden blessing. The attempted attack and persecution of me in this episode of my career and involvement for championing the “Keyes Technique” had some wonderful results.

The day after the Dental Board hearings, the New York Times published a half-page article on the front page of the second section about me and my travails with the Texas Dental Board. They featured a large picture of me (with much darker hair, of course) with a quote that I made to their reporter, “ ‘To cut gums is criminal,’ Dr. Solomon states.”

Even more fun, that evening, I was hooked up by remote television feed for a big segment on the “MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour” on PBS. At that show, they had me debating with Dr. Edwin Barrington, then president of the American Society of Periodontists. He was being telecast from another city, exactly where I do not remember. The commentator of the show, whose name also slips my mind (again, senility creeps in) started the telecast by asking, “Why is all this brouhaha over dental treatment going on?” Of course, Dr. Barrington refuted the fact that gum disease could be successfully treated non-surgically.

By then, my dander was quite up. In front of millions of viewers, I asked my learned debate opponent, “Dr. Barrington, other than putting a great deal of money in your pocket and mine, what good are we doing for our patients by doing gum surgery on them when we are dealing with nothing more than a simple bacteria infection?” Needless to say, he came back with a very lame response.

I received countless calls and letters from all over the world as a result of that telecast and the International Edition of the New York Times from people wishing to know more about the conservative treatment. Even my mother called from Baltimore to tell me that she was worried about my being in the middle of such a controversy. When I asked her what she thought about the actual television show, she said, “You need a haircut!”

There are no words adequate to express my respect, admiration, gratitude and awe over Dr. Paul Keyes. His contributions to our profession and to humanity in general rank among the greatest.

Dr. Keyes, thank you profoundly.

Barry Solomon, DDS
Copyright © Dr. Paul H. Keyes • Web design by Precision Computing Arts, Inc. • Last updated: September 22, 2006