Dr. Howard Farran and Dr. Howard Goldstein on everything Dentaltown.com!
Howard Speaks Audio Podcast #23 with Dr. Howard Goldstein
Howard Speaks Video Podcast #23 with Dr. Howard Goldstein
About Dr. Howard Goldstein:
Howard M. Goldstein, is a general dentist and a 1980 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine. He completed a general practice residency at the Wilkes-Barre VA Medical Center and opened his private practice in 1982. He has always been an advocate of continuing education, but was often frustrated by the lack of opportunities to dialogue with others in the dental profession. That changed in 2003 when he discovered Dentaltown.com. Interactions with others on Dentaltown, provided him with the knowledge and stimulus to add new technology, products and techniques into his dental practice. He is grateful that he “no longer has to practice alone.” As message board manager, Goldstein maintains Dentaltown.com as the prime site for everyone in the dental profession to discuss all aspects of dentistry openly. As director of continuing education for Farran Media, he continues his passion for CE by making sure all Townies have access to accredited, relevant courses that enhance their practice. He has a full-time dental practice and lives with his wife, Deborah, and their son in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. In his free time, he collects single malt scotch whisky, enjoys running, and likes hiking in the Pennsylvania woods with his Labrador retrievers. Email Howard at HoGo@dentaltown.com.
Podcast Transcription (Download Here):
Howard Farran: It is a huge honor today to be talking to the real Howard.
Howard Goldstein: Stop it.
Howard Farran: Howard Goldstein, DDS.
Howard Goldstein: I’m a DMD.
Howard Farran: Oh, you’re a DMD?
Howard Goldstein: Not that it makes a difference, but I’m a DMD.
Howard Farran: Yea. We could do a whole conversation on that. I think it is very confusing to the consumer. I noticed the last six dental schools that opened were all DMD and the medical school deans are telling me there will never be another DDS school again. And I still have patients that come in and ask me well, I am going to this physician, but it’s a DO. Is that a real doctor? Should I go to an MD? And in Phoenix people are always asking me well, I don’t know if that was any good. He was a DMD and the dentist before that was a DDS and I’m not going to a DMD again. I think that the – I think on behalf of the consumer we should all be the same thing we should be a DDS.
To everybody out there I have 18,000 posts on Dentaltown. Howard you have what? 30,000?
Howard Goldstein: I had 30,000, but you deleted 2,000 of them so I’m down to 28,000 now.
Howard Farran: I deleted 2,000?
Howard Goldstein: Oh yea. We had a whole political purge back in 2004. They weren’t any good anyway. Don’t worry about it.
Howard Farran: To the viewers what that was is there was some political feud going on between dentists from Israel and Palestine and I did a key search word in a post for Israel and Palestine and just deleted them all. And what I didn’t realize is a lot of the dentists had the word Israel in their signature or Palestine in their signature, so I deleted a bunch of non-political posts.
Howard Goldstein: It was the right move at the time.
Howard Farran: What it was it was a move and I was running 30 minutes late. I had hygienists begging me for a check. I had this big Dentaltown thing blowing up on me and I had like one minute to solve it. That was my solution. Hogo you came in and you corrected my single biggest mistake I have ever made on the Dentaltown website and that is I was a registered libertarian. I thought all dentists – I had seven years of college. I had three years of college, four years of dental school. These dentists have seven to 12 years of college if they are specialists. I thought we are all adults, we are all doctors. I thought it was an insult to go in there and edit your post and this or that. I just said I am a libertarian. Let free market forces. What I completely did not understand at the time because no one understood message board communities back in ’98 is that the way humans are hard wired and it doesn’t matter if it is Dentaltown or a programmers website or an engineers website there is a ton of research on community websites and the bottom line is 99% of the people go there to read and maybe will ask a question but they don’t’ even have the guts to post a case they did. Because how can you post a root canal, final fill and have everybody like it on Dentaltown? How could you post anything – and what I did not understand is cyber bullying. Now all four of my kids started wrestling at age five so we didn’t have the bully issue, but now it is all over the news. There are kids going to school to pick on some kid and there are people hard-wired at birth maybe not hardwired at birth maybe through their shaping or whatever that are mean, nasty bullies and I didn’t check in – you came on about what your three year anniversary with us?
Howard Goldstein: Well, I came on in 2003. I started working for Dentaltown in 2009.
Howard Farran: Yea. And you came in and the big problem was people they were stressed out by their patients or staff, their insurance company – went on Dentaltown just to relax and chill like Facebook or something like that and it wasn’t fun anymore. People were being mean. We were losing townies saying they are just mean, nasty people. And you came in there and the greatest thing any business can do is attract and retain great people. You were the number one person we wanted. We got you to sell your practice and come on board full-time. You cleaned house. You basically laid down the rules and said hey this is – dentists would say things like well, it is freedom of speech. It is the Constitution. Well, you know, the Constitution is a contract between you and your government. You have a right to free speech between you and your government, but you don’t have a right at my house or my dental office or my private website that is not government owned or has no government money and be mean to my guest. And three years you – I mean you cleaned it up overnight and three years later when I am out there lecturing I still hear the feedback of the old days of people saying yea, you know. They would name the specific guys and you know who they were and just crazy, dysfunctional, unhappy, miserable people who were just sitting there saying mean things. And I think that it just takes and enormous amount of self esteem to sit there and post a clinical case that you did knowing that everyone doesn’t have hands of Beethoven or Mozart on the piano, but you can still go to a piano recital. You don’t need to hear people say well, you are not Beethoven. I know I’m not Beethoven. I’m at a piano recital. I practice one hour a day.
I don’t want to – so why don’t you come in and what I want you to do is tell them what is the – you are in charge of the message boards. You are in charge of online CE. I would like all of these townies to hear from the man himself. This is your department. Every time you ask me for advice I say it is your call baby doll. I mean it’s yours.
Howard Goldstein: I love when you call me baby doll, by the way.
Howard Farran: You do or you don’t?
Howard Goldstein: I do.
Howard Farran: Okay. It’s a gay thing.
Howard Goldstein: It makes me feel special.
Howard Farran: Tell everybody what your vision is. What are you trying to achieve on the message boards on online CE.
Howard Goldstein: What you started talking about how Dentaltown used to be. When I first joined Dentaltown in 2003 it was the wild west. I mean, someone would post a case and instead of saying well, I do things a little bit differently they would say how did you ever graduate dental school? You suck. You are like a menace to your patients. And it was just a matter of people doing things a little big differently than the way that you did. It just drove me crazy to see that. That is the way it was. It was the way people used to respond and so on. You kept saying at every lecture you presented people were coming up to you during break saying I am not going to post on Dentaltown. I am not going to get my head handed to me and that drove your crazy. Rightfully so.
I came aboard first as an administrator and there was about 10 or 11 of us. Our jobs were to change things.
Howard Farran: Explain to everybody what an administrator is.
Howard Goldstein: It is a volunteer of Dentaltown, a dentist that if you see something inappropriate that can change it or can contact the person saying hey that wasn’t cool. They can delete the post or edit the post for whatever reason. You made it clear about 2006, 2007 that your vision of Dentaltown changed. You no longer wanted these abusive posts. You no longer wanted the spamming posts saying go buy this product. You wanted a message board where people can interact. As an administrator I thought you made it loud and clear what your vision was. I felt it was my job as an administrator to help implement these changes. Not all the administrators agreed with me. We were having debates like no, your vision is wrong, censorship .I’m saying no. Guys the debate isn’t whether it is right or wrong it is how we implement Howard’s vision because that is what he wants and that is what it should be.
Howard Farran: Can I interrupt one thing about censorship is almost every party or get together I have at my house almost every time someone starts going into a dark area of politics or religion and I just say look, dude. I am 52 years old and I don’t want to have an all night discussion on Putin invading the Ukraine and everybody upset because there is nothing I can do to change anything. I trust our government ahs good people making the best decision and there is a football game on. We have food. Can we talk about anything other than sex, religion, politics, violence, FOX news? I don’t want to hear it. It doesn’t make me happy.
Howard Goldstein: The sex part is okay though.
Howard Farran: It’s true though. I mean I am always having to cut people off and say I don’t care. I don’t want to obsess all day long about the worst things going on right now with ISIS. I don’t want to spend my day debating ISIS.
Howard Goldstein: You are never going to change anyone’s position politically. It’s not going to happen.
Howard Farran: Or religiously.
Howard Goldstein: Or religiously. Exactly. What’s the point. If you enjoy that sure, do it. We don’t enjoy it. I start changing things. Some of the administrators gave me some kick back. Lorie Xelowski who is your right hand man, person, president of Farran media. She said to me, hey, I really felt bad that you are arguing with fellow administrators. It is really not fair for you. You know. I said well, I know a way to make it fair. She said how is that? I said pay me. So she ended up hiring me. Then I had the authority to really make – put in writing the changes that needed to be done. And I felt comfortable doing it now because I was officially a part of the Farran Media team. I am also a full-time dentist with a full-time practice. So here I am treating patients. Between patients running back to my computer, doing my thing on Dentaltown and my hygienists say Mrs. Jones is still in the chair waiting for you to do the check up. Come on already. Oh yea. Okay. Right. Right. I was realizing I was into the Dentaltown part of things more than the patient part of things.
I had my own private practice for 29 years. It wasn’t like I just did it for a couple of years and got tired of it I did it for 29 years. Okay. If I am going to enjoy this more. I feel like I am doing more now. It is time to make a change in my life.
Howard Farran: You know how I know you enjoy it?
Howard Goldstein: How?
Howard Farran: I can list out of 50 people on our team the people that are still sending emails at 11:00 at night, Saturday and Sundays and every single Sunday you, Laurie, Ken I mean we carry the – we have email discussions on Christmas and Easter and Thanksgiving and my gosh. We’re crazy. It must be a big part of passion.
Howard Goldstein: It is. We have always enjoyed it. I get something out of it, money, I enjoy doing it. I spent three years a volunteer.
Howard Farran: That’s pretty nice to have a job that you did the first three years for free.
Howard Goldstein: Right.
Howard Farran: I mean how many people right now employed in America would do their job the next three years for free?
Howard Goldstein: It wasn’t my plan to have a job it just turned out that way. I think – we have made big changes on the message board. People are aware now that you can definitely disagree. Definitely debate. That is the main part of the message board. But does it matter – there is a way of doing it in a respectful manner.
Howard Farran: I learned a lot of that. My older sister is a Catholic nun and you said you are not going to change people’s mind on religion or politics or whatever. You couldn’t send my sister to a one day seminar and make her a Jew, a Muslim, a Hindu, a Buddhist. But you know what? When people debate her she is so sweet and she just sells her position and she makes you feel better and she is not demeaning. I mean she has her beliefs and they are as hardcore as you could get for a Carmelite Cloistered nun. You are not going to change her mind, but like Mother Teresa it is about love and about respect. I think on Dentaltown if someone is posting a case that is not right you should be taking him under your wing with love and trust, respect and nurture. You start off saying five nice things about the case and then you say a little thing that maybe you would add. And then one thing I would add, which no one would ever talk about and no one would ever say this is that in my practice – yesterday I saw a dozen patients. I see dentists getting mad at the outcome of their filling or their crown or their root canal. They are all upset because maybe the margin wasn’t quite right and I see them throw instruments or get mad and run off their staff and snap at people and make them cry. On a patient who doesn’t ever floss, who came to his appointment with a Mountain Dew. I have extracted so many hundreds of perfect gold crowns with perfect margins that are extracted because of blown out perio. Never flossed in their life. Won’t come back on their cleanings. And sometimes dentists are critiquing dentistry on Dentaltown on their own work on the patient and the patient doesn’t give a shit. When the patient doesn’t give a rat’s ass why are you torturing yourself?
I would do A dentistry on Howard Goldstein and I would do it three times to nail it perfectly and you would do the same for me. But gosh, when you got a patient in the chair who has missed three appointments, never flossed in his life and maybe the filling isn’t an A plus. Maybe it is a B minus. You know what? It is good enough for that guy. And no one will say that publicly. There is nothing wrong with C dentistry on a D-, F patient.
Howard Goldstein: There you go.
Howard Farran: Should that be a quote?
Howard Goldstein: On your tombstone. It is interesting. Besides that yea, we want to critique some work on there. Also, there is more than one way of doing things right. Many dentists too many of them say my way is the only right way. I mean the whole amalgam versus resin debate is ridiculous. The people who are pro amalgam say no there are patients where you can’t do it. That is bullshit you can do it. Pro composite people say amalgam is an outdated material. No. It is not outdated. You still can use it. It is just different ways of doing things correctly. That drives me crazy. You can debate on that more, but you can’t call someone a hack or a schmuck for doing it that way.
Howard Farran: Let’s get personal with that. That is one of my most controversial columns. You tried to give me fatherly advice to not run the article that I did. I should have ran it through you. I still stick to my original message that is if you had – if you didn’t place an amalgam last year to me that is extremist. You got a patient with Alzheimer’s, dementia, rheumatism and you are doing these class 5’s on root surface decay and you know an amalgam is going to release 10 ions and be antibacterial. And you put an inert plastic composite in an area that you couldn’t get dry that was sub-gingival, especially on the backs of the buckles of two and three. And you place a cosmetic restoration of inert plastic with no antibacterial properties on a woman who doesn’t even know her name and can’t even brush or floss her teeth and is in a nursing home. Maybe it could have been a glass ___ to have some antibacterial properties. And those are huge in Japan and Australia. Not very common in the United States. And I always argue this with a friend that we both know dearly, his kid was 10, had an occlusal pit and he placed a composite. I’m like dude the research is that is going to last probably 7 to 10 and an amalgam would last probably 30 to 40 and nobody would have ever seen the occlusal surface of a pit. Why did you go in there with plastic.
I have had some very positive conversations with the CEOs of the biggest composite companies in the world saying you are always coming out with new composites and you always advertise the bonding strength and the wear rates. We don’t have these fillings falling out. We don’t have them wear down. They are inert plastic. They die from recurrent decay. Can’t you put anything in there to make them antibacterial? You got 60 PhD scientists and you keep going with bond strength and wear rates. I want biology. I want antibacterial. I want a rat trap in there.
Howard Goldstein: Everything else, I disagree with you. Okay. You know, you can get things dry back on second molars and third. You can. It takes a little bit of time. Rub it down. Isolate. The core the cheek retractors you can do it. I want that material that is going to bond in there. If that tooth cant’ stay dry I don’t want to put an amalgam in there either. I mean it’s not sanitary. I want to know that tooth is totally dry and I am bonding to that material. As you said earlier, some people are going to be the Mountain Dew people that aren’t going to take care of their teeth. As far as I’m concerned that is under their control. I am going to put what I think is the great material and they have to keep it clean. And if they don’t work can be done – I’m sorry. I think teeth should look like teeth.
Howard Farran: That is another thing that we have been talking about the future of Dentaltown is that Americans – American dentists of all the people you will ever meet – I have lectured to people in 50 countries and when you go talk to any dentist in Europe he can tell you the name of any president in 20 countries and their world history and all that. Here is America ___ Canada to the north which is just kind of like the upstairs loft in an apartment complex. They are no different. And Mexico to the south. I think the 150,000 American dentists forget all day long that there are 2 million dentists around the world and these lurkers that are watching you through about your dentistry they often times are from Asia and Africa and Latin America and they don’t get the luxury of all the resources we have. They don’t get CBCT. They don’t get Cerec. They don’t get digital X-rays and I think that what you are doing, Hogo with your online CE is trying to make all the American dentists 1 or 2% better through online CE. It is a difficult feet, but it is a little marginal gain. But we have the chance to make dentists in Africa, Asia and Latin America twice as good. Faster, easier, lower cost, higher quality. I want to tell these dentists that are out there that are posting cases on dental school. I have lectured at dental schools in India and China and Kathmandu, Nepal where their entire curriculum I mean the entire curriculum they are called private ___ was Dentaltown and those online CEs and those cases. I want to tell the dentists that being raised Irish Catholic St. Patrick is always known with a three leaf clover. That was his teaching prop to teach the trinity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. And when they opened up the missions in California to the people – you go to California and you see Disneyland and Universal Studios and Hollywood well, read the books of the Jesuits that got there first and started educating these people.
And these dentists right now that are posting cases on Dentaltown from America, mainly in Canada and England and Australia they are educating the other 1.5 million dentists and they are changing lives all around the world. And now that we just started with the Dentaltown app because almost 500,000 dentists in America have access to a desktop computer. But now we came out with that app and the other 1.5 million dentists our research shows they pretty much all have a cell phone smartphone. And I think that this app, which just passed 20,000 downloads and you look at the downloads and half of those are from Africa, India is our biggest download. And so right now, Hogo, you have an immense burden of responsibility of being the St. Patricks of Ireland. Where it is going to be you – you are the dean of the biggest dental school in the world. Like University of Phoenix online. Everybody talks about Penn State, Ohio State, ASU and I think California has got a school out there. I think they got one out there a Trojan or whatever that was. But right now on Dentaltown oh my god. You are the dean of the largest dental school in the world.
I was in Tanzania, Africa and I always stop – any time I see a dental office I stop, get out, go in there and everything. He was telling me, he just went on and on He actually got verklemped in tears when he found out it was me. Oh my god. His whole world is Dentaltown. Everything the guy thinks and believes and is practiced in Tanzania he learned on Dentaltown. And these Americans think they are posting a case and arguing with four other dentists in Texas and California and they don’t realize that the dentists in Africa are hanging on every word these people are saying.
Howard Goldstein: This is why getting back to the message board, we have to make sure things are civil. We want to show off the best light. Show off that it is not controversy. There is more than one way of doing things right. If it is not shown right explain to people why it is not right in a civil manner.
Howard Farran: And the other direction I would like to take on online CE is we always get these brand name superstars like Hornbrook and these big flashy names that do – Sameer Puri or – they do these high tech cases and high composite and high dose, but what we need to encourage and I hope this podcast gets it is these guys – these 1.5 million dentists in Africa and India and China and South America and everything we need just an average American dentist doing average work. Like when I go to Africa they say I wish you did more stuff on extractions. I just want to see more courses on like an MOD amalgam. Or adding a tooth to a partial. But when you talk to a cosmetic dentist and say will you do one on a flipper they look at you like what and tarnish my brand of Lamborghini, Mercedes? I am not going to do a flipper and neither should you.
Howard Goldstein: I’m really trying hard to get more idiots guide to dentistry those type of courses. Good refreshers for people who do a lot of dentistry, but also help the people that as you say in third world countries that need to see how we do things in a practical way. You need a mixture of both. The high end how to augment bone for implants and so on that maybe 1% of dentists are doing. But you also want to show 95% of dentists how to do a simple, partial denture or simple restoration. A lot of our courses are that. Shows you bread and butter dentistry. I think that is important.
Howard Farran: And trying to get the townies to post bread and butter dentistry is the most important – when you and I go from standing 5.5 feet above the ground to being lowered 5.5 feet below the ground I think the biggest impact our life’s meaning will be professionally will be capturing the bread and butter dentistry from the 20 richest countries and using the internet and the smartphone to transfer that knowledge to the 1.5 million dentists who have never seen bread and butter dentistry in the world’s richest countries.
Howard Goldstein: Absolutely. I am reaching out to people for more bread and butter courses because we want to do that. I want to get these foreign dentists too on Dentaltown to present cases and so on. I think that would be good. Dentaltown for some reason we have people from all over the world, someone from every single country is a member of Dentaltown yet, I say what did you say like 95, 98% of the people that post are from the United States. I would like more people to feel more comfortable.
Howard Farran: I talk to those people. Last month I was in four continents – I lectured in four continents in 29 days. Oh my god there were so many 15 hour flights in there. I feel like I am a flight attendant. Just brutal. And what they always say to me is they always say oh, I could never add to that discussion. I just read it. I just read it. But getting more American’s to post bread and butter dentistry from Canada and Australia and England. God, it is life changing to a dentist in Tanzania or Belize or in Brazil. It is just literally life changing.
What is also need about the app is the app technology you can open it in your own language.
Howard Goldstein: I’m not sure what my language is, but I’ll try it.
Howard Farran: Josh Wren’s course he just put up is a classic example. I mean this guy –
Howard Goldstein: That is bread and butter – that is how to do stainless steel crowns. That is how to do pulpotomies. Telling them how to do space maintainers. All the things that general dentists from all over the world need to know how to do to treat kids.
Howard Farran: Let me tell you about that course from 30,000 feet or from sitting on the moon. So in last year I met the first pedodontist in Hong Kong, the first pedodontist in Kathmandu, Nepal and the first pedodontist in New Delhi. All of the dentists – I am 52 next week. All of the dentists that were my age or older said that the first five or 10 years they practiced they never saw a cavity in a child under 10. They never saw one because they are poor countries they just drank water. Now the whole world went from drinking water to Coke and Pepsi and now the three fastest growing diseases in the world are dental decay, obesity and diabetes. In fact, when I was in Nepal this dentist fixed up a dinner with these older physicians they say they will believe you because you are an American. But when kids were going in there and bed wetting and full blown diabetes they were spanking them like a behavioral issue. You are wetting the bed you get a spanking and you need to knock that off. In their mind they never saw this disease. And now there is an endocrinologist in Hong Kong who treats diabetes he opened his doors and quit accepting new patients in like three days and was booked six months in advance. China still doesn’t know what diabetes is. They are all drinking Coke. China is the worst. Know why China is the worst? They have the one child per rule, right? So one child has a mom and dad and two grandmas and two grandpas. And the two grandmas and grandpas are eating traditional diets, the kids are eating traditional diets, but they all think to spoil this kid to buy him treats. So this kid consumes 90% of all the sweets of the mom and dad and two grandparents combined. So six adults they are all feeding it to the kid and they have no idea why their little kid is a little porker and just has cavities all around his out because in their traditional China they never associated that you could eat something and it would make you fat and need a pulpotomy. And Josh Wren’s pulpotomy courses and how to do pediatric dentistry is just spot on what the planet needs.
Howard Goldstein: He is one of those guys I am so happy we have. He is a young guy, a young dentist, a pedodontist who never presented CE before. Knew he wanted somehow to get involved in this. A lifelong ambition of his to do this and we just started talking one time. He said I guess I can do that. Can you guide me? He recorded something, sent it to me. It was a poor quality recording. He was you know, not really sure what he was saying. I felt funny, but I said Josh, can we do this over again and do this and that? He was so grateful for the advice. To be honest, so many CE presenters don’t have that ego level that they can handle advice. He took it. He is going to be one of the top speakers in the next 10 or 15 years. He is amazing.
Howard Farran: And he is doing Iron Man next week in Mississippi. He is doing his second or third one.
Howard Goldstein: Another guy I am so proud of is John Nosti. This guy is going to be Frank Spear and John Kois in 15 years. He is presenting these cases. He is a moderator, administrator on Dentaltown. With no ego.
Howard Farran: No ego. Totally approachable. He would talk to a guy on a park bench and Obama the same conversation. I mean the guy has no ego.
Howard Goldstein: He is just amazing. If I knocked a front tooth out I would go to John Nosti. That is who I would go to. And he is just that is a great position to be him. So many people learn from him on Dentaltown. We have so many people on Dentaltown who are just superstars like John Kanca. The guy basically invented bonding. He is in there posting regularly.
Howard Farran: He has 40,000 posts too.
Howard Goldstein: Only 10 of them are good.
Howard Farran: Only 12 of them have nothing to do with the Republican Democratic debate.
Howard Goldstein: Exactly. John, we are kidding.
Howard Farran: He is a great guy.
Howard Goldstein: We could go on and on about the great people at Dentaltown. The bottom line is the bread and butter dentists that are the superstars of Dentaltown.
Howard Farran: Hogo, what I am going to do we are half done. 30 minutes down. 30 minutes to go. I get literally gazillions of emails a day and – I will give you an example – they will say I heard your 59 forms that you use to run your dental office in Phoenix you email them to people they don’t understand that all they got to do is go to more and click downloads and they are all on the website. When I am out there lecturing in the field most – half the questions are I really wish Dentaltown would do this. I’m like dude, we have been doing that for 10 years. They just don’t know the basic things. In fact, what surprises me is you look at the – you know half the people that go to Dentaltown don’t go to the message boards?
Howard Goldstein: I see people at conventions that say oh, you have a message board? I just read the magazine.
Howard Farran: Every seminar at least two people say yea, I love Dentaltown. I love the website, but where do you go where the people are talking to each other?
Howard Goldstein: I don’t get that.
Howard Farran: Why don’t you – we have 30 more minutes and a lot of people listening to this are probably hardcore Howard Goldstein fans that think they are Townies and everything. Why don’t you go through the low-hanging fruit of the things you can do on Dentaltown that these people probably don’t even realize?
Howard Goldstein: The main thing is the message board. If you have a question. I mean so many times I am sitting there I have a question about something how am I going to find out the answer to that? Well, wait a second I’m going to post it on Dentaltown. I mean I posted like these headphones the best kind of headphones that are still portable and lightweight – I started a thread on Dentaltown a while ago what are the best headphones and I got 27 replies and I was able to check it out and see which ones I liked.
Howard Farran: Another interesting thing is you don’t even have to ask the question because in our search bar just like Google when you start to type out our search it will prompt the previous searches. Say like how do you find a MB2 or this or whatever you start typing it in your search and all of the other dentist who are searching something starts popping up in that search – I almost can’t think of a question that you could ask on Dentaltown that if you didn’t start typing in the question in the search bar you would find a thread that already has discussed this.
Howard Goldstein: That is the second best thing about our message board. The best thing is this – I have been on dental message boards on Facebook, okay? Somebody posts a case on Facebook and it is discussed for a couple of days and then I just scroll down and it is gone forever. I never see it again. On Dentaltown it is archived. You can go to look up implants on central incisors. And then there will be a whole list of discussions in the past about it. You can click on any one of them and read about them and see it again. Facebook is gone. That is what I love about at Dentaltown.
Howard Farran: I was at a fork in that road in 1998 and I was – I was looking at the email forms. What I didn’t like about the email forms say Root ZX someone would ask a case about an endo – the first time that question is asked everybody went in with enthusiasm and answered it. Three months later someone would ask the exact same question, there is no archive, no one could go back and find it. And then only half as many people would go in. Then three months later someone would ask the same question and nobody would answer. That person would think, well this is a lame group. And it is the same thing on Facebook. What I also don’t understand on Facebook is back to St. Patrick is these people are posting all of these cases on Facebook to like 300 people. It is like at the same time Dentaltown just passed 182,000 members. If you would have had that discussion on Dentaltown there would have been more people that could have benefitted from this just from Africa alone. Just from Asia alone. Just from Latin America alone to benefit from this. There is no scale of economy and again like you said there is no organization. You go to their page and that conversation you have to scroll back forever to find it.
Howard Goldstein: On Dentaltown you will see people, especially now that they know they are not going to be abused people will post a case or a situation and say hey, how can I improve on this? I had a little trouble here as Facebook does they post their best stuff. Basically it is look how great I am. Please tell me how great I am. That is the feeling I get. I mean they are great cases, but it is more like it is being posted more for platitudes they want to get.
Howard Farran: They will have like the initial tooth, the occlusal, the access prep and two angles of the final fill showing three lateral canals and they are like look at me. It is like well you didn’t explain anything. I didn’t learn anything. You just basically showed everybody look at me. I got a medal. Here is my gold medal. Look at my medal.
Howard Goldstein: Every time I see Facebook Dental Street that is what I get. It is not learning. It is like showing off. Yea, it is some showing off, of course. It is also learning. People can ask questions. We had a – now we had a superstar periodontist and you know who I am talking about who would post these great surgical cases on Dentaltown for years and years. And someone would ask him a question hey, how would you do that? And he would slip out and say how dare you question my expertise. They just wanted to learn from them. Finally, we had to get rid of the guy because you know, he just wasn’t letting people discuss his cases. It was more like look how great I am. And that is not what Dentaltown is about. Dentaltown is about learning.
Howard Farran: Let’s discuss another thing. We have had this debate many times. I won’t change my mind because Rella Christensen sold me on it that is anonymity versus the name. And a lot of people don’t like the anonymity. They want you to say I am Howard Farran or you are Howard Goldstein and a smiley. I talk to a couple of mothers out there in dentistry where I confide in. And Rella Christensen said to me she goes the greatest service you can do at Dentaltown is there has got to be a place to go where a dentist can ask a stupid question. And as lecturers Rella said you are a lecturer, I’m a lecturer she goes you notice you ask the group does anybody have any questions no hands. You say okay let’s take a 10 minute break and everybody can go to the bathroom. And then you are stampeded by 15 people. Then when they ask that question half the time I just say I would like to go into that for 10 minutes, but I would like to go into it for the whole room so we can all benefit. I want you to talk about that debate there. People especially hate being critiqued by someone anonymous. But gosh, if we made everybody be transparent with their name no one is going to raise their hand and show a bad case or ask a stupid question. By the way, when people say there is no such thing as a stupid question – no. There are stupid questions. Okay? That’s a joke. That is a comedy joke.
Howard Goldstein: I totally agree with you.
Howard Farran: I am an amateur comedian.
Howard Goldstein: You do very good from what I hear. I have seen you ___ sometimes you don’t intend to be, but you are. To be anonymous is important. Sometimes you just want to know you want to ask that question that everybody says you should know, but you don’t know.
Howard Farran: By the way, you do know they are anonymous to you and me we know who they are.
Howard Goldstein: Right. We make sure that every single person in Dentaltown is a real person. We don’t share this information with anyone. We want to reassure everyone about that. Robert Redford come in maybe big names come in here we don’t let patients come in here.
Howard Farran: Everybody that registers has to be approved. So every single and Millie we have a full-time person Millie approves every single person. And some of it is pathology. I will never forget that thread where a guy had registered in like five different names and then started a thread and was answering himself. He was having a conversation with himself. It is like what is that?
Howard Goldstein: We have a lot more control over that than we did in the past. We do some – we hired Millie. We never had a full-time person checking to do registrations. As it is there are still people grandfathered in from back then that we catch every now and then. Every time I see someone post something a little bit controversial I had never seen someone post before I immediately go to the registration just to make sure it is a real person. We ask for the dental license number and I will look up on the State of Nevada and see if that person really is registered at the state of Nevada. And we catch people every now and then unfortunately. We give them 24 hours to change their registration to update it for correct information. They can’t post in the next 24 hours. We give everybody an opportunity to fix things. They might have just done it wrong or something like that.
Howard Farran: There is also the report abuse button. Tell them about some features. Tell them about the report abuse how to follow somebody.
Howard Goldstein: In every single post there is a little button there that says report abuse. Now if you suspect someone that ah, this person doesn’t sound like they are really dentist. I think this is a fake person rather than calling them out on the board hey are you real. No. Don’t do that. Hit your report abuse button. IT will come to me. I can check it out and I can either delete the post or not. It just keeps things more civil.
Howard Farran: How often do you get a report abuse?
Howard Goldstein: About two or three times a day.
Howard Farran: Seriously. And how many of them are mine? I only know one about me. I said a joke oh it was Bill O’Reilly he said killing Kennedy, killing this, killing what was it Kennedy, Jesus, Lincoln I said I want to read Killing Bill O’Reilly.
Howard Goldstein: You know what is amazing is the number one thing we get report abuse on is not from personal attacks, which we get. Not is someone really a dentist or not it is SPAM. People hate when someone comes on there and says hey, buy our dental widget it is the best in the country. This month we are having a special 7 for $9.99. It drives Townies crazy to see that. ___ they should come on there. Give helpful advice. Then in your signature in the bottom put your contact information, what you sell. When Townies see this guy knows what they are talking about then they contact you.
Howard Farran: Let’s talk about that we also have Ortho Town. So there is nine specialties the mnemonic device the only thing I can think of for all nine specialties is POPOODO[ph] those are nine specialties the orthodontists are the only ones who wanted their own. All the other eight specialties were fine with Dentaltown. I just want to remind everybody that we own Dentist Town we could have called it Dentist Town, but we specifically went with Dentaltown because I think there is about 1,000 dental companies that if they closed their doors and went away we can’t do rock and hut dentistry. We wouldn’t have CBCTs, digital X-rays ____ locators, 300RPM ____ I so desperately wanted them to be at the table of the conversation because if you are a dental company and you sell red and blue and everybody says they don’t like red because it is too thick and they don’t like blue because it is too thin I mean they need that feedback. And I tell those people the best way to sell your stuff on Dentaltown is to go in there and be helpful. You can have in your signature hey, I’m not a dentist. I work for a dental company and here is my contact information, but go show your advice. I think the all star who did it the best was actually a dental lab by the name of Sean Keating. He was a dental laboratory guy and he would just go on there and people would be bad mouthing the lab and Sean is like blowing up the picture of that impression that still had a cotton roll in the gum. He is like dude I can’t even see the margin. You are sending me an impression with a hepatitis germ filled HPV cotton roll are you crazy? And look at that margin. There is no reduction. And he just went in there and engaged and never once said – he never said oh why don’t you send it to my dental lab. Now his lab does like $5 million a month and he told me the whole clientele is Dentaltown townies. And most of them just wanted to have a long distance lab person that they actually knew that was accessible that they had a conversation with.
Howard Goldstein: Nothing turns a townie off more than when – use me, use my product. It is more like helping people and people say oh, I am going to use that guy. He is very helpful. He knows what he is talking about just from what I can see. That is how a company can use Dentaltown to grow their practice – grow their company or product. I mean ___ practice management she is giving so much helpful advice. Jason Woods legal advice, Tim Lott in terms of accounting advice. They are not saying – they never once post use me. They post use your 401k to do this and that then they go wow, this guy knows all about 401ks. I am going to ask him for some accounting advice. That is how they get their clients.
Howard Farran: That is what I have been arguing with practice management consultants because a dentist want to hand you 30,000 and have no idea what you are going to come into the office and do. Then people like Sandy Pardue[ph] I don’t know if you have ever seen her office, but she has her work computer and then she has another screen that is the message boards on Dentaltown. She is doing her work and she is over here – and what she did and the reason she is the busiest consultant and hired consultant and lectures seven, eight times a month is because she would from her heart answer the questions and all of these dentists could see how she thinks. Then they realize I like the way she thinks and I know I’m not going to get it done in my office. I can’t lead my team to do this. When I tell them to do it, they won’t do it. So all I am doing is writing a check to have your thinking implemented. I tell people that whether it is an isolate don’t go in there and say buy isolate go in there and show cases and comment on how to use it and go in there and solve – and show feedback about man, this would be a great case for this and do that.
Howard Goldstein: I sold my dental practice two years ago and I needed a dental attorney. I went to Dentaltown. The best dental attorney on Dentaltown was Jason Patrick Wood. I mean he never said use me. I just saw this guy is giving great advice. He knows all the answers. I needed a dental accountant. I went to Tim Lott. I switched my whole account thing. He went back through my previous five years of local accountant and he found like $20,000 worth of errors in my favor I got reimbursed from the IRS. It is just you know I could go on and on how much Dentaltown has changed my life.
Howard Farran: Go into that story about selling your practice. I forgot the details. You had your license taken away so you had to sell it the next morning so you needed an attorney?
Howard Goldstein: She told me she was over 16. Okay? She looked over 16.
Howard Farran: Jason Patrick Wood is so funny. He is so smart and every time I see him I give him a big hug and I say thank you so much for everything you have done for Dentaltown. I mean you answer all of those questions and you have non-lawyers disagreeing you are so polite saying well, according to the law. You just pour this stuff out from the heart and thank you so much. That is what he says. He says I do it because I love it, but I have to tell you I get a ton of business from that. I get a ton of business. It is a win/win situation. What people don’t understand is when I went to MBA school one of the teachers wrote the book the Law of Reciprocity that is the more you give the more you get back. That humans are hard wired for empathy and sympathy. So if I buy you lunch you are hard wired to say well, next month I want to buy you lunch. And if I give you a donut you will hand me an éclair we are hard wired. They have always said in religion whatever you want more of give out. If you want more love, give out more love and just give out what you want back. And the more you share, the more you show you care the more you will get back and it is a beautiful deal.
Howard Goldstein: When I was in practice so many changes I made in the last – because of posts I saw on Dentaltown. I ended up buying a Cerec I ended up buying a Periolase I saw what great results it was getting on there. I started using Surpass as my bonding agent. I started – I became a firm believer in isolites. All of these things I had never heard of before Dentaltown.
Howard Farran: I was surprised you went with ____ because you are a big scotch drinker and John Cago likes champagne. How can you buy a champagne product?
Howard Goldstein: That is the least of John and I’s differences.
Howard Farran: I want to go back to you bought a Cerec and a message of how you do the Dentaltown boards is that people who bought – then there is now one major competing system, the E4D. But now there is three or four lining up in the rafters from Korea and Japan. So ___ is going to explode to a lot of new players. You did something very genius again about your new philosophy is that people who had already passed the decision about whether they are going to buy a Cerec or E4d. Bought the E4d and then ask the question about E4D and then these idiot Cerec users go in there oh, he should have bought a Cerec. You know, dude we are passed that. I mean I am at piano lessons. I didn’t get the Steinway. I got the Yamaha and every time I have a piano question I don’t want to hear that I should have bought a Steinway. I bought a Yamaha. Get over it.
Tell them how you handled that.
Howard Goldstein: I made separate forums for E4D and for Cerec. We had a question sure Cerec if it was a generalized question about what block to use a Serac user could answer for a E4D user but if you wanted to talk about which is better E4D or Serac or that debate we left one thread and one thread only. And any time anyone posts on a different thread or tries to hijacking say go to that thread over there to discuss it. Everyone that does go over there to that thread it better be in a civil manner. Discuss the pros and cons of one machine versus another, but we are not going to have every single E4D or Cerec thread enter this debate.
Howard Farran: It would be like sending you an email saying Hogo what is 2+2 is it three or four and you would say well you are on a Microsoft if you would have asked me this on an Apple you would have known the answer.
Howard Goldstein: A better example is the endo threads. Back in 2006 it was the most contentious forum on Dentaltown. And the reason it was so contentious was because every time someone posted a case it was a dentist that said you should use my file instead. I am not going to name names. Use my file it is a lot safer, okay?
Howard Farran: Was it safer or safe sider.
Howard Goldstein: There is no subtlety with you is there?
Howard Farran: The deal is I love Barry. I love him to death. He is a great guy. What I love about him is he has an open door policy. Any stranger dentist off the street walks into his endodontist practice and he just teaches you endo. But his – because his ultimate problem is breaking a file. And for the other 99% of dentists that is not the main issue. I can’t even remember the last time I broke a file. It has been years. The file has gotten better. The engine drivens they are torque measured so if it gets too much it starts going backwards. It stops. But you’re right.
Howard Goldstein: There are dentists that are great for dentistry, but they may not be best suited for a message board for obvious reasons.
Howard Farran: The other thing I noticed on the message board is when I started Dentaltown I assumed all the great lecturers would be the perfect fit on the message board and that is a different skillset. The great lecturers almost none of them converted to the message boards. And all the –
Howard Goldstein: They don’t want the interaction. They want to be on a pedestal too many of them. They want the pedestal and they don’t want to be one on one Joe Shmoe being able to ask them anything.
Howard Farran: It is like why was OJ not on the witness stand. They did not want OJ on the witness stand because he hacked his wife and her boyfriend to death. And the people on the pedestal don’t want to be cross-examined. They don’t want a follow-up question. And I was really amazed that the greatest people that develop on Dentaltown the message board and digital talking was a whole different skillset than the lecture world. And today now Dentaltown has been out how old is it? 98 to 2014 16, 17 years and now it is still different populations of educators. There is the internet world and there is the bricks and mortar convention world and those are just two different groups of people.
Howard Goldstein: Yea. Some lecturers just don’t want to have that interaction. It is unfortunate, but so be it. That is the whole new generation. Like you said John Noste he loves it. He gets off that pedestal. He wants the interaction with Joe Shmoe on Dentaltown. Every day dentists. He loves to answer the questions. I admire people like that so much. And you do too for that matter. I mean you are on there all the time giving advice and helping out dentists.
Howard Farran: You know, it is funny a lot of people ask me they say how do you post so many times a day? I think I posted 400 times last month or whatever. I founded Dentaltown in 98 because I am addicted to this product. I just love it. I love – my family always thinks it is hilarious because I loved every time the boys and I are all together we could be eating sushi, but dad always to take a picture and he wants to send it to grandma and the family. Some people just like to share. I think it is amazing. I mean you worked your job the first three years for free and I am addicted to my own company. I have been asked to sell it a few times by some major players. All I can say is it would be exactly like me selling my four boys. I don’t know – by the way you always told me you had one child. I am looking at the picture you have two children. I see – I see all these pictures of these two dogs.
Howard Goldstein: We have lots of dogs. We have four dogs right now. Don’t ask. We have two very old ones that are on their way out and we got their replacements before they are on their way and right now it is an overlap. It is a lot. I have one child. He is 25 years old. He wants nothing to do with dentistry. Like your boys. I don’t think any of your boys want to be a dentist do they?
Howard Farran: I don’t know. I still got a sophomore and a senior. They change – you should go through – they have gone from dentistry to geneticists to world religion to business. The only one I am concerned about is world religion. I am like can we go on monsterjobs.com and find a job where you are needed with a degree where you are needed with world religion? That might be a hobby.
Howard Goldstein: Like the old Steve Martin joke he said he went to – he was a philosophy major and he figured he would open up a philosophy shop when he opened up.
Howard Farran: Yea. Now everybody is a communications major. I say move to Phoenix. I hear they are opening up a lot of communication manufacturing plants. Hogo I am down to just five minutes with you. Wrap this thing up. I am going to pose this question – I am sure most of the people listening to this are big Hogo fans of your 30,000 posts and everything.
Howard Goldstein: Enemies too.
Howard Farran: I have never met one. Everybody loves you. Everybody I have ever met loves you.
Howard Goldstein: I don’t understand that there is no such a thing as censorship. This is a private forum and there are things that are inappropriate to say. It is not free speech. And some people think that if we delete it it is personal. No. You and I have – I have more posts deleted than anybody. You know? It’s like yea time to be deleted. Don’t take it personally. It just wasn’t appropriate. It might have been the wrong time. It might have been the wrong thing to say. Just deal with it and move on.
Howard Farran: You know another great thing that I request for townies a lot of these people might have a contentious relationship with another poster and all of this stuff. Then this year’s townie meeting we are coming up on ’12 or ’13 or whatever you know how many times I have been to a townie meeting and dentists are all part engineer, part scientist, part dentist, part introvert and they are I’m Dr. Fred from Texas and they go I am Dr. Frank from Colorado. Well, what is your name on Dentaltown? Oh I’m Smiley. Oh my god you’re Smiley too. I recommend to these guys when you are sitting there posting digitally with someone every day for years go meet these people in the flesh. It is so fun. And for me, I had no idea I always get tripped over this – I never expected the person to look or sound or talk in person like they were on the message board. So my brain has this image of this short, fat, bald guy then it turns out he is 10 years younger. So many of the townies that have freaked me out is you think this is some intelligent, mature 50, 60 year old dentist. You meet them at the Townie meeting and they are like 32. You are like what? I got kids almost as old as you. I never would have guessed. The townie meetings are awesome.
Howard Goldstein: It is. I remember a couple of years ago a dentist comes up to me and says hi I am Extractor. Now Extractor is this far right win Mormon from Kansas.
Howard Farran: Well I am born and raised Wichita, Kansas.
Howard Goldstein: He comes up he is afraid how I was going to – he was scared to introduce himself to me. He came up to me and put his hand out. I push his hand out of the way and I give him a big bear hug. He just had a big, shit-eating grin on his face. Someone you just know all of these years. Just friends of yours.
Howard Farran: I love Extractor. His real name is Tim, right?
Howard Goldstein: Tim Adams.
Howard Farran: I love him. Yea, obviously he is a little right wing, conservative Mormon guy but god dangit he has got a heart bigger than a grizzly bear.
Howard Goldstein: And there are so many people like that on Dentaltown. The meetings you meet somebody and once you meet them in person it is like really hard to argue with them online too. It is like you see them in a different light then. That is what is so good about the meeting.
Howard Farran: I want to end on this – I don’t know if a lot of people know the original story of Dentaltown but when I started Dentaltown I was lecturing 40, 50 times a year. It wasn’t HowardFarran.com it was Dentaltown. It wasn’t Dentist Town, it was Dental. If you work full-time in dentistry I don’t care if it is a lab if you are a hygienist, dentist, everyone is invited. I did not post at all for the first couple of years. I did not want it to be perceived or as the Howard Farran show. It was about you guys. When I am doing these podcasts we are about user generated content. Dentaltown is not about me. Every one of those threads –now you can upload a podcast or a video on any thread. And what Hogo and I are doing we are just Skyping each other. Microsoft bought Skype a couple of years ago for $8.9 billion. We dialed into each other. All this is is a little $10 microphone and a little videocam that you showed me from your pornography days. So this is easy. So anybody could Skype someone and upload this video on Dentaltown. I would like to see and I would like to challenge more dentists to start creating Skype videos, conferences because I really believe that if they could see, scratch, hear, smell, hug the person they are talking to they will bond deeper and deeper and then they will be nicer and nicer. This is just a new form of digital communication that I made available for everybody a couple of years ago. So I am going to start doing a lot of these to start a trend. And hopefully my goal is that all the podcasts I do that a couple of years from now that my podcasts aren’t even 1% of the total audio/video podcasts on Dentaltown.
Howard Goldstein: Everyone that does this can upload it on Dentaltown. It is free to do it. We want it.
Howard Farran: And then Hogo is going to censor the crap out of it, delete half of it.
Howard Goldstein: This one is coming off.
Howard Farran: Hogo seriously you are my idol. You are my mentor.
Howard Goldstein: It is my pleasure to work for you, Howard. You really are a great person to work for. I love your vision.
Howard Farran: When we had two Howards they call him Hogo and me Howfar.
Howard Goldstein: I was Howard for 58 years and all of a sudden I became Hogo.
Howard Farran: And I became the other Howard. And you are a mentor of mine. You are a role model. Thank you so much that you have done for dentistry. Thank you so much for joining the Dentaltown team and thank you for all that you have done for Dentaltown.
Howard Goldstein: Thank you, Howard. I will be in Phoenix in a couple of weeks.
Howard Farran: See you on the boards.
Howard Goldstein: Take care. Bye-bye.