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The Presidental Chair 4: Alam ko na ‘yan!

The Presidental Chair 4

Alam ko na ‘yan!

As chairman of the committee on continuing education for the last two years, I’ve always been searching and pursuing for lectures/lecturers who would draw interest and rev up attendance during our scientific seminars.  Something substantial yet something new.  Something basic yet still interesting.  Basic, hmmm … a word we’ve heard for years yet easily ignored. What with all the post-graduate courses, symposiums and seminars we’ve amassed through the years.  We seem to think that the basics of dentistry have been eclipsed by modern trends and techniques.

Dr. Achacoso once confided that today’s dentists are always hungry for new topics, lectures and materials.  With the basic subjects, however, the usual response was, “Alam ko na ‘yan, wala bang bago?” The thing is, most of the basic techniques and methods we’ve readily imbibed during college are easily drawn out, modified or worse, totally forgotten as we start our practice of the profession.  The materials may change and improve yet, the basics in operative dentistry (keep a dry field, contour the matrix, etc.) and other fields remain.  As established dentists, it is our duty to guide our new and budding dental assistants on true dentistry and not on what we’ve usually adopted and gotten used to.  For new dentists, be keen in the procedures employed by your “boss”.  Absorb new knowledge which can be useful but don’t get influenced by faster yet ineffective methods (don’t use a matrix band for Class II).

In our age of fast-paced lifestyles and instant gratification, it is still important to go back to the basics in life, something substantial that would last through the years.  And that goes for dentistry, too.


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The Presidental Chair 6: “Ang huling El Bimbo”

The Presidental Chair 6

“Ang huling El Bimbo”

I recently got hold of a questionnaire for outgoing chapter presidents and one of the query that caught my attention was, “What was the best accomplishment of your presidency?”.  It took me some time to give an answer (not that I have a lot of choices) but when it came, I knew this was it – the Denta Marikina newsletter.

Even during the time of Dr. Saliendra, I’ve been toying around with this idea by inserting features/snippets of information on the Society invitation.  Perhaps, it was fate that Pascual Laboratories (then, still inactive among dental circles) sponsored for the printing of all the issues of our newsletter (then, still unnamed).  Assembling a skeleton staff which was also involved with preparations for the induction ceremonies and the souvenir program really stretched our budget, our time, our patience, even our temper – it was indeed my true baptism of fire.

I won’t get to the details of the ordeal and the birth pangs that we went through in coming up with every Denta Marikina issue (the Editor has already related on it) but six issues later, we are still breathing and our sanity is still intact.  I don’t know if it’s proper but I actually enjoyed the experience, every minute of its conception and development.  This is not to say that I’m a sadist but I always look ahead and consider the result and the end rather than the process and the means.  For in the end, it is not just the six issues of blood, sweat and tears of everyone involved but the transformation and maturation we’ve gone through which matters.  Sa Wakas!


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The Presidental Chair 5: Sharing A Vision

The Presidental Chair 5

Sharing A Vision

Dr Portia dela Paz once shared with me her vision of one day forming a pool of speakers from our own society so we won’t need to borrow lecturers from the outside.  The idea seemed quite far-fetched then.  But with the strides we’ve made during the last few seminars, I feel that the vision is beginning to take shape…

With the limited budget we have, scientific seminars have been greatly improved with the purchase of a slide projector, an improvised white board and screen and lately, a 2-horsepower airconditioner.  Our recent Periodontics symposium took one notch higher with the use of audio visual aids such as 2 televisions and VCRs and a handy camera.  Long tables were also used for the hands-on seminar on sharpening using tile J-Chenny kits and cow jaws.  For me, only one word can best describe that syposium: a runaway success (modesty aside), gauging from the response of the participants.

This vision is shared with a core group of officers who do the planning and organizing of every monthly scientific seminar.  They are Dr. Julie Avellana who does the cleaning and preparation of the building, Drs. Maricel Vinluan and Tess Alafriz for the food, Dr. Benjie Perez for the drinks, Drs. Glenn Espejo, Ann Jane de Guzman, Beth Perez, and Jeanette Tiopez for the reception, Drs. Nilo Asuncion, Meyen Ortinero, Pinky Rivera, Ed Quitevis, Dick Manalo and many other volunteers who have one way or the other helped in making our scientific seminars a truly learning experience.  To all of you, thank you for joining me in this journey.  No matter how low key or difficult, everyone plays an important role for making these monthly meetings meaningful.


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The Presidental Chair 3: How Lo Can U Go?

The Presidental Chair 3

How Lo Can U Go?

With clinics densely concentrated in so small an area, the Marikina Dental Society is surprisingly still hounded by indifference and differences in regulating the practice of the profession among its constituents.  So it is but normal to see a widening gap of the dental rates among dentists, even in one area.  A dental extraction can range from P35 to P250 in Marikina.  Note that rate differences transcend beyond the status and years in practice.  It is a wonder how certain established clinics can have the nerve to bring down prices if only to increase patient output.

So why the need to regulate or at least establish a minimum rate within our society?  Perhaps to gain a greater respectability (than the beauty salon industry), or professionalize our ranks or even to maximize monetary gains.  For me, what matters most is to upgrade the standard in the delivery of service to the patient.  How can a dentist improve or at least, strive to improve the quality of his practice if patient fee is just enough to suffice his investment in materials and utilities?

Note, however, that increase in service rates is not an assurance of delivery of better service.  However, a dentist who charges higher most probably would not scrimp his P2.50 for a pair of gloves, nor “cheat” on sterilizing techniques.  These are just very basic requirements for a “proper” dental service which some clinics have easily ignored or forgotten.  Nakasanayan na kasi.

There’s never been a quick solution to this problem which has remained with us through many administrations.  During Dr. Saliendra’s time, a list of minimum rates was released to guide our members.  Regulating and enforcing it, however, is another story.

Despite of this, the Committee on Ethics will be releasing a new list if only to reorient the old and guide the new members.  This list might not change the rates scenario within the society but it will definitely make a lot of dentists think.  Where do I stand?  Am I jeopardizing my neighboring clinics?

History in enforcing these rates have only resulted to enstrangement, polarization and increased arrogance of the guilty party.  On the other hand, keeping a blind eye on this very salient issue won’t solve the problem, either. If we can’t take them by force, maybe we can tickle their conscience.


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The Mina Administration, 1995-96


President, 1995-96

The Mina administration could easily be summed up as a series of adventure, sparked by inspiration and creativity.  Most of the programs were not crazy or ill-concieved experiments so it was not by chance that most of them took off and broke new grounds for the society.  Since the society started to sail under the helm of its youngest captain, it has always set its sights in improving and innovating on the scientific seminars and monthly meetings.

Sure enough, it was able to ignite the enthusiasm and participation of the new members (some from far-flung towns of Antipolo, San Mateo and Montalban ) by providing new, interesting , even basic topics for the symposia and lectures.  During the length of the journey, 11 scientific sessions were conducted starting with a 3-lecture symposium on the day of the induction ceremonies and continued with hands-on seminars, CPR session and table demonstrations.  The concept was simple – increase  participation by bombarding members with worthy lectures.  Improve the knowledge and skill of the dentist to increase the standard of dentistry in Marikina.

The inception of the newsletter, Denta Marikina, during those turbulent yet exciting times only further strenghtened the relationship among those who joined in the voyage.  The society organ kept the buzz among members of the organization’s accomplishments, on-going activities and future endeavours.  Three years later printed word is still alive and has become part of the MDS culture.  Years later, the members who dared and ventured will long remember how they entered unexplored terrains, scaled higher plateaus and reached new destinations during the journey of their lifetime.