SunshineBulletin.com

 EARN TIPS PLAYING JAZZ HARMONICA / DENTAL IMPLANT INDUSTRY NEEDS LEGISLATIVE REFORM



 

 

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day.
Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

Note: This course was designed for homeless people to earn tips as improvisational "grass-roots street musicians" playing the harmonica (instead of meritless "panhandling" for spare change), but anybody with a beginning interest in the "harp" can benefit from the material, too. Organizations involved with related social services are encouraged to promote this course on their website or social media. The lesson plan is complete in its purpose, even to the extent of including short segments on instrument funding for the very poor and entertainment psychology for the timid. There is absolutely nothing for sale on this website.

Mickey Parker  cool  Las Vegas

 

Homeless? Broke? Busted? Disgusted?

A quick, free lesson on earning tips – lots of 'em – as a street musician  playing freestyle jazz harmonica, even if you've never played the harp or believe it's a child's toy or a tired novelty act from the Vaudeville era. (That was never really an accurate description, but it's hard to believe anyone would even consider it as such more than 50 years after the most famous entertainers in the world have so continually proven its positive contribution and lasting impact. Anyone interested in harmonica performance history should read Harmonicas, Harps and Heavy Breathers by Kim Field, far and away the most in-depth study on the subject.)

 

 

Don't start out trying to play single-note melodies. They’re difficult to play on the harp, especially for beginners, and no one is going to tip you for struggling with old campfire songs or ice-cream truck tunes, anyway … although they might pay you to stop. Just relax and play the tunes as you remember them in your head as chordal melodies, two or three holes at a time. True mastery of the harmonica, like any instrument, can take years, but you can learn enough to "fake it" during your lunch break.  

Don't forget to breathe both in and out. Yeah, there will be people who bark back, saying, "Anybody knows that." Well, smarty-pants, Rod Stewart, by his own admission in his autobiography, played harp for a year before he got that (he described the sound as that of a chicken being strangled repeatedly). So, if you're more musically inclined than Rod Stewart, bark away; otherwise just accept the fact that we're all starting from a different knowledge base and lighten up.

Use your best stuff in public (mostly chords, which are pretty much automatic and foolproof on the diatonic harp); practice in private (single-note skills, which do take a lot of work but are a real source of pride and a lot of fun once you get past the initial learning curve); and bring polished material into the act as you're comfortable doing so.


Jonathon E. Brickman has written some brilliant material on harmonica instruction, a significant part of which - to me - was the advice to just pick up the harmonica and start experiencing the location of the notes by ear, as opposed to trying to learn from charts and written material. That approach will not only help you learn faster, it will help keep it interesting and fun, a huge consideration.

Whether you're playing single notes or chords, don't "jump and peck" (does anybody remember the In Living Color episode where Jim Carrey is hypnotized to act like a chicken and the hypnotist, played by David Alan Grier, dies of a heart attack before snapping him out of the trance? Poor guy is stuck pecking at everything like a chicken! Hilarious mental image of a "Chicken Man" pecking at a harp like that, but definitely not good technique); keep your lips moist and glide very lightly from one note or chord to the next.

Move the harp back and forth while keeping your head still, as opposed to constantly moving your head back and forth, which can give you a sore neck.

Many songs won't work at all in chordal style; a few that will work quite well are listed below. Some are cool, some are corny, trite, etc., but starting with familiar tunes helps learn your way around the instrument by ear:

Red River Valley
(up-tempo, jazzy)
When The Saints Go Marchin' In
(same as above)
He's Got The Whole World in His Hands
Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
Piano Man
Michael Row The Boat Ashore
Down By The Riverside
(played up-tempo this becomes your "generic fiddle-type music" - see articulation below)
Turkey In The Straw (same as above)
Ode To Joy
For He's a Jolly Good Fellow
(use this if you're asked to play "Happy Birthday," which is surprisingly difficult)
Row, Row, Row Your Boat
(use this for participation and excitement at a children's party, etc.
Deck The Halls
Angels We Have Heard On High
and

Sixteen Tons
(Your "main attraction," this song works best with a minor key harp, as mentioned later on, but it can work with a major key, too). You can actually sing the words of the chorus while playing the simple tune (see articulating below) as chords - piece o' cake - singing or speaking the verses, depending on your vocal skills. It's a familiar song that everybody can identify with; easy to make up new verses. Here's how it goes, first verse as originally written, mine to follow (feel free to use them):

First verse:
Some say a man is made outta mud,
Poor man's made outta muscle and blood,
Muscle and blood, skin and bone,
A mind that's weak and a back that's strong.

Chorus:
You load sixteen tons and what-y-ya get?
Another day older and deeper in debt.
St. Peter don't call me 'cause I can't go,
I owe my soul to the company store!
I OWE my soul to the company store!
Heep-ma diddle-diddle shippity-oo,
You gotta keep on kickin' and singin' the blues!
You gotta KEEP on kickin' and singin' the blues!

I wake up in the morning while the sun don't shine,
Grab my shovel and walk to the mine,
Work all day, move a mountain of ore,
Gotta come back tomorrow and do it some more!

(Chorus)

Woke up this mornin' and the bed was so cold,
my woman done left me, so I been told.
She don't understand I gotta work this mine,
If I don't pay my bills, I gotta do some time!

(Chorus)

Now I understand women and I have for a while,
Ya gotta have money and ya gotta have style.
Ain't no woman gonna follow you,
If you got no prospects - or just a few."

(Chorus)

Don't forget, folks, this could happen to you,
No more jewelry and fancy shoes.
No more cars and gourmet food
Your good karma starts with you,
and Somethin' fo' the man playin' the blues!

(Chorus)

Now if you know what you want and what you wanna do,
You gotta keep on kickin' till they give it to you!
Keep on kickin till they give it to you,
Ya gotta keep on scattin' and singin' the blues!

(Chorus), etc.

Attitude. Expression. Growls. Sell it, man! If you don't make $50 to $80 in an hour at a high foot-traffic location with a performance like that, you're not trying. And don't tell me you make that much with that little sign! Sure, everybody's got a story or two about "lucky hits," but we also know they're few and far between. You can't pay today's bills with stories from the "good(?) ol' days."

Undoubtedly there are many more such songs, and it only takes a couple of measures to get a pretty good idea if a particular song is a contender or not. If a tune "makes the first cut," experiment, work out some refinements, etc. Along with every other part of playing the harp, you'll learn how to make certain stock changes to avoid "trouble" areas, making the whole process a little smoother each time. Oftentimes a stubborn, "sour" note can be soft-peddled or just omitted, doubling up on a previous or following note. If a song still doesn't work, dump it, go on to something else. What did you lose, a couple of minutes? It's a rush (and increased revenue [tip] potential) every time you learn a new tune, and again every time you make even small improvements to previous arrangements.

Get started by just experimenting with your harp, then, as soon as possible, and a little bit each chance you get, go to YouTube.com and search “harmonica instruction” video clips. Beck Wenger, one of my favorites, doesn't say a word on her video ... just lets the harp do her talkin'. And does it ever! I can't stop watching it and apparently I'm not alone. It's had over 4.7 million views! There’s a ton of free harp videos, both performance and instruction, out there from seasoned pros to amateurs who can really wail. All available for viewing on free computers at recreation rooms, senior centers, libraries, etc. Indiara Sfair's harp performances, with Milk 'n Blues and many other artists, are absolutely stunning. Hakan Ehn, Rockabilly Boogie Harmonica, is my current nominee for best harp player in the world!

Again, you’re going to be playing any two or three holes at once; you’re going to alternate blowing (exhaling) and drawing (inhaling) to give it melody and interest. And you’re also going to articulate while you’re doing it. (Note: if you're giggling and making faces every time the word "blow" or "hole" is used . . . grow up or go away; this probably isn't for you.)

Articulating, talking or scatting (whispering), while playing the harp produces many interesting effects, and is used by harp players everywhere. Rock musicians, notably Peter Frampton, often use an electronic talk box, sometimes called a talking synth, for a similar effect. After playing a few phrases of whatever song you've chosen, whisper something like "heep-ma diddle-diddle shippidy-oo, ya gotta keep on kickin' and playin' the blues" behind your harp playing to stretch out your song and really make it yours.

Here are some articulation/scatting licks you can use to add some skillful-sounding "meat" to your performances. They work best with a sort of up-tempo, bluegrass, square dance, fiddler-type feel and rhythm. Down by the Riverside is a perfect tune for this. You'll be blowing chords while you do them, so they're easy to learn and a lot of fun. You'll soon be making appropriate changes and improvements on the fly to mesh with whatever you're playing, wherever you want some variety, originality, spice.

Deet-doe deet-do, diddle-diddle deet-doe
Dit diddle-diddle-diddle, deet doe-doe.
Di-dit-doe dit-doe, diddle-diddle deet-doe
Dit diddle-diddle-diddle deet doe-doe.
Yo-ee yo-ee diddle-diddle deet-toe
Heep diddle-diddle-diddle deet doe-doe ...
Wah-DEEEE wah-du!

After a few phrases of scatting, go back to the original melody lines (chorus, verse, bridge - whatever you've got), repeat your final phrase, once or twice (you'll get a feel for what fits in terms of repetition), slow it down towards the end, vibrato out your final note/chord. It's a simple formula that's actually harder to explain than it is to do, and executed correctly, you will come off as something of a sidewalk virtuoso. The more you experiment, the better you'll get; it's like a drug with no down sides. Make practicing and innovating on that 1-1/2-ounce harmonica your new addiction; it'll change your life.

Lots of "notes" from one breath, in or out, long or short as needed. Don't worry about textbook explanations and diagrams about how it works; as Mr. Brickman would say, just start practicing and aquiring muscle-memory, you'll do fine.

Start right now with any cheap harmonica you can get your hands on (but don't buy one in the toy aisle in a department store; they sound terrible and often cost more than a real instrument - a notable exception being the Swan, which is sometimes sold in toy departments). True beginner instruments that you can make tips with like the Suzuki Easy Rider (G) or the Swan (C) go for less than a six-pack of beer or a pack of smokes on E-bay ($5, free shipping, brand new from dealers), so don't tell me, "Can't do it; ain't got no money." That’s crap and you know it; you've got the money, it's just earmarked for addictions. But if you're looking for an excuse to stay in your comfort(?) zone, that's as good as any.

If you really want to sound like a jazz pro in a hurry and can come up with about $40, get a Lee Oscar harmonic minor harp (Bbm or Cm) online or at a local music store like Sam Ash or Guitar Center. Skilled harp players do some breathing manipulations called note bending that creates interesting sounds, as well as filling in some missing notes on a diatonic harp; it's not easy to learn, but don't get too hung-up on it. Think of it as an additional skill, not an obligatory one; be prepared to be ridiculed by the insensitive who have acquired the skill and don't be discouraged by it, as I was ...

I remember a bonehead clerk in a music store here in Las Vegas on E. Charleston Blvd., in the late 80s, who remarked - completely unsolicited - to anyone looking at the harmonicas, "Aah kin bend eh-n-n-n-y note on the har-MON-ee-cuh." I couldn't bend the notes - still can't - and didn't touch the harp for almost 18 years after that. Thanks for the pep talk, Jethro.

A minor key harp can give that illusion, even when played by a beginner, but it gets old - for both artist and audience - so sooner or later you'll also want to work with major key harps. Nevertheless, the harmonic minor harp is an excellent start-right-now vehicle and a quality instrument you won't want to part with.

Don't buy a so-called "melody maker" harp, regardless of the brand. They do have merit and special applications for experts, but their altered note arrangement makes them completely inappropriate for our goals here, which are to have absolute beginners earning tips right away. The same can be said for chromatic harmonicas (they'll have a button/lever on one end to raise every note a semitone); they are expensive and difficult to play. You want a standard diatonic, Richter-tuned, 10-hole harmonica, also called "blues harp." This is the most popular, best-selling harp, and economy of scale usually means the best selection, quality and price, whatever the product.

This might be a good time to mention that harmonicas are absolutely not returnable because of the germs ("cooties") factor, so stay within the recommendations given here and buy carefully. Best bet? Buy online (through E-bay or Amazon). The prices will be better, you'll find exactly the model you're looking for (without any pressure to buy something a retailer just wants to get rid of) and get it faster (minor key harps will most likely be special order items at brick-and-mortar stores).

Minor key harps not only let you improvise like a pro, they also let you play interesting tunes like Summertime, Sixteen Tons (an incredible song for endless scatting and improvisational possibilities), and Hungarian Dance No.5 (classical "gypsy" music, rarely heard on the harmonica). It will blow your mind once you realize how easy and effective simple chordal arrangements can be on the diatonic harp, even for a beginner.

All you need is 30 seconds' worth of a familiar song (people don't have to know those few bars are all you've got: you're busy, your job is to play little sound bites, most of which can be improvisational) to get a nice tip!

Keys can seem confusing, but aren't really. C major harps are right in the middle of the pitch range, mass-produced and easy to find. Whatever key of diatonic harp you have, make sure you have a copy of the note layout for the "C"; it will give you a clear indication of what notes are "missing," notes that are repeated, and note orders that are reversed at the high end. Regardless of the key, all diatonics are laid out the same, just apply that information to your key of harp. In fact, most manufacturers will include a "C" diagram with any key of the same model.

We like our toys (and think we "need" them) so if you want another harp later on, Bb major or harmonic minor makes sense. If you're playing with other musicians, you'll want harps that go with the keys of the music they're playing. If you get to that point, or even think you might, don't get in a panic about the potential cost. Hohner, for example, sells a set of three keys, called "Blue Ice," "Hoodoo Blues," or some other catchy title, for less than $15.

Other than relative pitch range, high or low, if you're going to play alone the key doesn't matter. But staying in the middle range (Bb, C or D) helps avoid the "sick moose" sound at the low end and the "dog whistle" at the high. The sweet spot - to my ear - is Bb, any brand, major or harmonic minor key. (There's also a natural minor, but to my taste the harmonic is a little happier and - for our purposes here - more versatile in the long haul.)

The economy harps I talked about above can certainly get you started, but won't have the volume and projection of the better harps (this can be a plus if you have to practice very quietly somewhere), and won't be available in minor keys. Performance quality harps like the Suzuki Bluesmaster (soft and mellow) and the Lee Oskars (loud and brassy and available in minor keys) come in at around $30 and $40, respectively. Fortunately, neither of these models has those horrible, protruding brass reedplate edges along the mouthpiece, which can really hurt if you're going to be playing and practicing several hours a day. Avoid any harp with such protrusions; the brass reed plate edges should be flush and smooth if they can be seen at all.

If you're seeking financial help from a friend or family member for "gear" remind them this isn't just a pricey toy; it's a musical instrument and, effectively, a business expense. I'm not telling you to manipulate anyone; if you get money from someone for a harp or whatever be sincere about it and follow through. But I will suggest that it might help if you actually just "happen" to get them into the music store with you ("I wonder if they have those Lee Oskar minor key [a little esoteric name-dropping usually helps, too, but as I've said, use these persuasive superpowers for good, not evil, Grasshopper] harmonicas here?"), as opposed to just scoring the cash and off you go. You might get even more help than you expected, with the benefactor feeling even better about their increased involvement.

If there's a secret to success here it's to not be wimpy or bashful about your performances. Cup the harp in both hands, opening and closing them to vary the sound, and wail on that baby like you've been doing it for years! Confidence. And discretion. Let's not kid ourselves, most municipalities frown on or outright prohibit street performances of any type. Don't make a big show of staking out a location and making it "yours." Keep it mobile: that's where the harp's small size makes it shine.

Sure, it might be

 awkward and embarrassing at first, but it can’t be any more humiliating than panhandling! If you're drinking every dollar that passes through your hands because it's a familiar "path of least resistance" ...  as Dr. Phil says on his TV program, “How’s that workin’ out for ya’?"

Get it together, man; stop pushing back and looking for reasons why this won't work. People have been proving it will work for more than half a century!

Blow or draw chords using holes 3-4-5 together, then 4-5-6 together, back to 3-4-5, etc. Wah-wahs sound good using low to mid-range notes. Vibratos work well anywhere on the board, any time you want a note to last a little longer, and it can be your most powerful tool. Depending on a lot of factors (the key, brand and model of harp, and the skill of the user) holes #1 and #2 can honk, buzz, wheeze, etc., especially when played as a single note, so until you've had some practice, avoid them in public.  (Try softer breaths, not harder, and with just a hint of the feeling of air escaping through your nose or over or under the harp.)

Breath in as well as out to get the sounds/notes you want and balance out your breathing so you won't be too empty or full of air. If you feel a section sounds better starting on a draw instead of a blow, by all means experiment with it that way and go with what you feel works better. Private practice is your "workshop"; the real training comes "on the job." If and when you can get constructive advice, take it. Face-to-face instruction can be a big help, but watch out for ego-trippers whose negative comments are only meant to bring you down.

Hand cupping and opening and closing creates an impressive vibrato effect, a big part of any harp performance at any level. For

 an easy trill effect and an effective end to a performance segment, roll an R, "rrrrr," while blowing and moving from one end of the harp to the other, low to high (a glissando - you'll hear musicians just call it a "gliss") in one long, smooth motion. Wherever you stop, a quick (staccato) draw chord (any three adjacent holes), then another quick blow chord, same location, higher, lower, it all works). Smile. Eye contact. That's it; tip time, Babalu!

Don't start playing again too quickly; leave some time for the folks to "get it": music stops, put money in container, music starts again!

Don't worry about the technicalities of these moves; there’s really no wrong way to do this. You've listened to music all your life, and even if you've never studied concepts like resolution, you'll know what it should sound like and improve at it quickly. You're

 not going to have a lot of material just starting out - don't let it get too repetitive in front of the same folks. After your best few musical phrases, another good technique involves slowing down (ritardando in music-speak) and varying the tempo (called "rubato") and resolution (end of tune); repeat your last melodic phrase, and finish with a vibrato (experiment with it - learn to watch people's reactions, responses, body language, etc.), at which point you're holding out your tip container. "Help a struggling musician, folks?" Practice the whole sequence until it feels natural and produces the result (folding money!) you're looking for. 

When you’ve got a nice jazzy rhythm going, invent more scatting sounds, accents, dynamics (change in volume), trills, shakes. You’re already getting your show “polished” and it’s only been 30 minutes or so! Stick with it - you'll be smokin' at this, able to teach others. Couples are naturals for this, taking turns, one "passing the hat" while the other plays. If you mess up you can just blow it off or work it into the act. Roll your eyes, point at your partner, smile and say, "Can't take him anywhere!" Then it's your turn to play, the other's turn to pass the hat, make gestures, comentaries, sing, scat, etc. If you entertain people they're likely to open their wallets. I'm reminded of what Jim Carrey said about the late Jerry Lewis: "That fool was no dummy."

Remember, this isn't about being a harmonica virtuoso; it's about entertaining folks and earning some money in a pleasant, honest way.

Street musician isn't a bad gig. You're not likely to be the next Bob Dylan, but you'll make enough to get by, you’ll still have your independence ... and who knows when somebody will stop and say, "Hey, we're gettin' a group together ... wanna sit in?" One thing's for sure: your opportunities for something positive happening in your life will be far greater than they would be begging for spare change.

The harp has much of the same coolness of the guitar without the problems associated with that instrument's size and weight. Sure, it's a romantic and nostalgic notion, the old photos of beginning artists making their way to their next coffee house gig or just bummin' it around the country, guitar case strapped to their back. But nowadays, with so many incidents involving explosives and large automatic firearms, using suitcases, backpacks and similar storage gear, even if you could play the guitar, its large case would not be a welcome sight in many places. The "Mississippi saxophone," as the harp has been called, on the other hand, fits stealthily in a pocket or purse - nobody's beeswax until you want it to be.



Questions, comments and suggestions are welcome and may be sent to:
Mickey Parker, bongos@netzero.com.

 # # #

 

Dental implant promotional methods, procedures need legislative review, reform, enforcement . . .

DENTAL IMPLANTS, being offered by virtually every licensed dentist in the country (and, conceivably, even some who are unlicensed), should be much more carefully regulated. At the very least dental implant procedures should be limited to installation by oral surgeons only - and even then, only those with additional, special training in the procedures and the myriad of serious potential complications involved. Even oral surgeons should be held to strict standards regarding minimum staffing and specialized equipment for implant procedures. These complex procedures cannot be safely and effectively done in small, squalid "general practitioner" surroundings by dentists who "went to a seminar" or "read a trade magazine article about it."

Allowing inadequately trained general dentists in minimally equipped, understaffed dental clinics (I believe there are even mobile dental clinics - run from large vans - doing the work) to perform these risky, invasive implant procedures is as absurd as allowing general practitioners to perform open-heart surgery on an out-patient basis. What's next? Dental implants at the mall? Dental implant "salons" at the Big Box stores? Hey, Mom can get her nails done while Dad starts his dental implants procedure "nightmare" at the booth next door! Don't laugh - under current law it could happen!

I have permanent nerve damage because a Las Vegas dentist (who claimed to have "more than 20 years of experience with dental implants") "experimented" with these dental implant procedures on me in 2010 and BOTCHED the job . . . big time. There is no effective treatment: not implant removal, not bone reduction, not fancy-sounding laser beam treatment (ridiculous in this application, as if burning the surrounding flesh would magically make the severed nerve endings mend themselves). Bottom line: there is no cure for nerve damage received during faulty dental implant procedures. Good job, Doc!

The first of three implants was drilled so deep it pierced my mandibular nerve; I wish I could return the favor ... with a rusty railroad spike! The other two were so high, there was no clearance for the necessary abutments, and they had to be removed as well (X-rays taken the next day confirm all this). So much for those "over 20 years of implant experience" the dentist claimed to have! My implant placements looked as though they were done by an auto mechanic!

Web graphics and videos in dental waiting rooms, using the most beautiful artists' renderings of colorful, even layers of tissue, bone and nerves, depicting the bad teeth flying out and dental implants "floating gracefully up and over and into the gums," are carefully crafted to make the public believe that dental implants can be done quickly, effectively and safely by any dentist. Clearly, false and misleading advertising. Why it's not subject to Fair Claims Practices Act continues to blow my mind.

Truth be told, the symptoms only get worse: the drooling, the spitting, the lisping, the tongue and cheek and lip biting and lack of muscle control while eating (I basically have to eat with my face stuck in a bowl - like an animal - I think there's food stuck to that side of my face, and nothing's there, or I do have food stuck to my face and can't feel it), above and beyond the constant feelings alternating between numbness and electrical charges - all horrible and permanent symptoms.

My experience is not unique or even rare. The 98% success rate* cited by the implant industry sounds impressive, but that 2% failure comprises over 60,000 patients, all unfairly influenced by questionable marketing tactics, ambiguous competency standards, and subjective qualifications. Patients who experience pain, numbness, feelings of electric shock just under the skin, etc. (the collective term for which is "paraesthesia"), following implant procedures are immediately and continually told, as I was, that "it will go away - you'll be fine." And isn't is amazing that how, when pressed, they each had "one" patient with the same problem - "but it went away." Right. On one hand we're told, "this almost never happens," but then after the fact there are these supposed "professionals" who have performed myriad corrective procedures for anomalies involving dental implants. If complications are so rare, where did they get all this corrective experience? If mishaps and injuries are so unlikely, why are patients required to sign a multi-page waiver prior to the procedures?


Dental implant clinics, promoted in the most deceptive manner: "Teeth in one day," with smiling models supposedly biting into an apple immediately after the implant procedure (truth be known, you'll probably be limited to a very soft diet for a year or more), etc., ostensibly a legal and ethical violation of informed-consent obligations, are the new physician-run "pill mills" and should be approached with the same regulatory zeal as the "pushers" running those types of grey-area drug clinics. And, similar to the "feel-good clinics" that exploit the law and human weakness for the sake of obscene profits, the time can't be far off - if it's not happening already - that we're going to see implant "pushers" migrating from state to state when things get too "hot" in a particular jurisdiction.

 Anyone who thinks this doesn't affect them, because they're not senior citizens (the principle target market for dental implants) is missing the collective, downhill implications here. Traditional dental treatment as we've known it for the last several decades is being eroded by the big-buck promise of dental implants. The mantra of "Save the teeth, if at all possible" has changed to "Let 'em rot - the implant replacements will pay for my new Porsche!" (Yes, folks, a full set of uppers and lowers is $50,000+!) A local periodontist actually has "Periodontist/Implantologist" on his signage and business cards. No surprise that he wasn't "able" to do anything for my gums but "check 'em again next month" ... and suggest some implants(!) for the affected area. Is anyone so dense that they don't see the conflict of interest involved there? We're looking at a system that encourages these people to do nothing - fraudulently and deceptively - so they'll have a shot at a bigger payday on down the road. 

The current, overly permissive and irresponsible policies and actions of the dental implant industry remind me of what Harry Markopolos (chief fraud investigator and whistleblower in the Bernie Madoff case) said in his book No One Would Listen: "The health-care industry makes Wall Street look honest."

Legislators, seriously, please do what you can to introduce legislation that will re-define and restrict these dangerous procedures, especially in the hands of under-trained, under-equipped, under-staffed general dentists (or simply deem implant procedures by general dentists as "illegal practice drift" under existing regulations), and limit the negative impact on public health that will continue to rise as the current regulatory shortcomings, as well as the considerable financial incentives, make the procedures more and more widespread. Your families and friends are out there and subject to this treatment, too.

THE UNDER-REGULATED DENTAL IMPLANT INDUSTRY that continues to allow dentists to misrepresent and perform these delicate and risky procedures has caused me years of pain and suffering. The collective dental implant industry (with projected U.S. revenues - notice I didn't say "earnings" - of roughly $6.4 billion for 2018*) needs to clean up a very deceptive business model and settle my malpractice-injury claim for $3 million.

Ray Parker, Coalition for Dental Implant Reform

 bongos@netzero.com

*Dental Facts and Figures, American Academy of Implant Dentistry

Why teeth implants may be the most painful (and costly) mistake of your life, Jane Feinmann, The Daily Mail, February 17, 2014

The hidden danger of the gray [zirconia] market, Dental Products Report, Digital Esthetics

Dental implant manufacturer Nobel Biocare to pay $1.3 million to settle $450 million lawsuit for misrepresentation of dental implant products, Law360, New York, April 16, 2013

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