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TRANE AIR CONDITIONER BOYCOTT / FREE STREET HARP COURSE / DENTAL IMPLANT REFORMS NEEDED



BOYCOTT TRANE AIR CONDITIONERS FOR DECEPTIVE TRADE PRACTICES: DENIAL OF VALID WARRANTY CLAIMS



Trane's warranty claims process and policies seem to consist of anything to "stack the deck" against consumers with valid repair claims. With TWO FULL YEARS remaining on our extended warranty, AND FULL DOCUMENTATION TO PROVE IT, our 

Trane air conditioner needed $2,280.00 in repairs after only eight years (by comparison, the generic unit the condo's builder used lasted over 18 years with only minor repairs). Trane's advertising slogan, "It's hard to stop a Trane," crafted to imply quality and longevity and justify their high prices, is nothing more than hollow hyperbole, and meeting their standards for warranty compliance and reimbursement is only slightly less complex than a Constitutional Amendment!

Trane starts the fraudulent claim denial by falsely telling the repair company representatives, "There is no coverage on the unit; the customer didn't register it properly." When challenged by the customer, Trane responds with allegations that the company that sold and installed the unit failed to forward the necessary fees to Trane. An investigation by our State Contractors Board proved that to be untrue, and my own records - containing original documents sent to me by Trane acknowledging and confirming coverage shortly after the purchase and installation of the air conditioning unit - proved the allegation of "not having properly registered the unit" equally absurd. Sellers and servicers, take note; Trane is not above impugning your reputations as well.

Repetitive submissions of clear, clean copies of this documentation to Trane were ignored and

finally answered with flip, patronizing explanations: "You didn't submit the correct policy number, etc." Layer upon layer of lies and unfulfillable requirements. Ever have a teacher or a professor or a boss who keeps handing back a document, "Sorry, that won't do ..."? Trane's warranty procedural goal and clear self-serving ulterior motive is to ignore, deny, accuse and implement ever higher compliance requirements, etc., until customers just "give up" and eat their repair losses along with whatever upcharge they paid for the worthless extended warranty. A double-profit whammy. What a clever business model!



Trane's warranty claims process is overly and unfairly complex, supposedly requiring detailed breakdowns of labor and parts that must be provided by the company doing the repairs, few of which will agree to the additional hassle and hoop-jumping. 

These requirements - indeed, unfulfillable on the face of it, due to their changing, "customizable" nature - go far beyond standard practices requiring a bona fide repair invoice (which after three-and-a-half months they're now saying was an "estimate," not a final bill, and have subsequently "closed" my case - are you jivin' me?) and a valid warranty certificate for reimbursement.

The end result? NO reimbursement for repairs that are among the most expensive in the industry. This complaint process is in its fourth month, and in the interest of full disclosure I am asking that Trane be required to pay the entire repair bill of $2,280 + $900 in clerical fees. Most customers can't or won't put up this kind of a fight, nor should they have to. These types of complaints are time-consuming, stressful and expensive. The offending company needs to pay for that, above and beyond their original obligation.

Remember, this isn't a dipute about how much they paid; THEY HAVE REFUSED TO PAY ANYTHING ON THE CLAIM GOING ON FIVE MONTHS! Sure, it's an old company - point in fact, the Trane family invented the air conditioner a hundred years ago - but corporate by-outs in the 1980s seem to have left the company with no moral compass or sense of business ethics. TRANE'S HANDLING OF WARRANTY CLAIMS NEEDS SOME SERIOUS HOUSECLEANING and CRIMINAL ACTIONS AGAINST TRANE PRINCIPLES INVOLVED IN THE FRAUD.



Please warn your friends and 

associates and ask them to join our BOYCOTT against Trane Air Conditioners for irresponsible and unfair warranty reimbursement avoidance tactics until such time as they settle any and all documented warranty reimbursement claims, past or present, and agree to modify an obviously one-sided, unconscionable business model for the future.

This has to be just the tip of a very large, dirty iceberg. Considering this company's reach - operating all over North America for decades - Trane's warranty avoidance tactics could constitute one of the largest collective consumer frauds in U.S. history. It blows my mind that this type of ongoing consumer fraud - with such clear intent - using illegal profits to fuel the machinery for more of the same, doesn't meet the criteria for indictment and prosecution under federal organized crime (RICO) statutes. A brand name, established as it may be, does not entitle such criminal behavior to a "free pass." This sort of blind favoritism makes a mockery of the corporate immunity concept.

Moreover, I think the size and scope of this deception begs the question as to whether or not Trane's legal counsel is complicit in the scheme as well. What responsible, clear-thinking officer of the court can so continually and callously turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to such amoral business behavior? I know I sure can't.

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“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 short-but-focused music course is for anyone, young or old, male or female, who wants to earn part- or even full-time income as a "grass-roots street musician" playing the harmonica. The course was first designed to help substance abusers get clean and do something more productive than panhandling and shoplifting, so expect some "tough-love" shots along the way, but anybody (and I mean "anybody" ... even if you've never even touched  a harmonica) with an interest in the "harp" and the concept of street performing can have some fun with the course ... and make money, too.

The lesson plan is complete in its purpose, even to the extent of including short segments on instrument funding for the financially challenged and entertainment psychology for the timid. Suggestions about brands and types of harps (from someone who isn't trying to sell you anything, so you'll have a truly objective viewpoint) and some helpful music terms and principles are also covered. If you've ever wished there were a "speed course" for performing, this is it, Babalu.

Relax. There is absolutely nothing for sale on this website; no offers for additional lessons, memberships, etc. Just COMPLETELY FREE, PROFITABLE MUSICAL PERFORMANCE INSTRUCTION!

Mickey Parker  cool  Las Vegas

 

"FREE STREET PERFORMER HARMONICA COURSE!"
 
There's no gimmick, no trick, no joke, and no charge. I can teach you how to earn tips - good ones - playing the harmonica as a street musician. With some honest effort you should be in "earn-as-you-learn mode" in about an hour.
 
If you're happy in your work and don't think you'd ever want to be a street musician, I hope you'll read the course anyway; consider it "something to fall back on" or an interesting and rewarding hobby. My wife and I are retired and doing well, praise the Lord, but people with fortunes that make our net worth look like "lunch money" have been wiped out by the I.R.S., medical bills, judgements, etc., virtually overnight. I just can't be so arrogant as to believe that "that can't happen to me" ... or anyone. If it does, you will not  see me begging for spare change with a little cardboard sign; you'll see me smokin' it on the harp somewhere and trying  to "get it together again."
 
Anybody can be destitute and desperate, I've acknowledged that,  but when I see people embrace panhandling as a (usually) drug or alcohol-driven career and lifestyle, it sickens me. For what it's worth, I make a clear distinction between panhanders and street perfomers. Hey, if you're good at it, enjoy it, and want to travel the world  playing a harp or whatever ... go for it ... with my blessing. You are not a bum; you are not a panhandler. You are an entertainer!
 
You don't need talent to play chords, articulate, and improvise on a diatonic harp to make nice tips and possibly fall into some other opportunities along the way. And, believe me, your skill on this instrument will take off like a rocket, if you'll just give it a chance and your best effort. But you do need the motivation to get cleaned up, sobered up, plan for weekends and holidays, learn where the best crowds are, etc. You can do this ... if you want to.


The most important point is, 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 uninspired 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 - usually three - or even four holes at a time. True mastery of the harmonica, like any instrument, can take years, but you can learn enough to get into your own little "paid apprenticeship program" in just a few minutes. Really.

Lee Oskar, in an interview for Ben Marks' article in the July 2015 issue of Craftsmanship Quarterly titled "The Return of the Harmonica," had this to say in that regard: "The harmonica was originally designed for the musically hopeless. It's one of the few instruments you can just breathe in and out of and sound like you're making music. I failed music in school, in Denmark, as a kid. But when I was six years old and put a harmonica in my mouth, it sounded like a symphony."

 

 



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.


Jonathon E. Brickman, writing on harmonica instruction, suggests students 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. Excellent advice. 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";  keep your lips moist and glide very lightly from one note or chord to the next and, basically, 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. Buddy Greene, arguably one of the greatest harp players in the world, demonstrates a technique moving neither the harp nor his head ... just sliding his lower jaw back and forth.

Many songs won't work at all in chordal style; a few that work well are listed below. Some are cool, some are corny, but starting with familiar tunes helps learn your way around the instrument by ear and helps you build improvisational skills without having to concentrate so heavily on the basic melody and rhythm.

Remember, many very lively and familiar jazz tunes - When the Saints Go Marchin' In  is a fine example - were once very somber spiritual songs. Louis Armstrong made that his trademark song and musicians have been "tearing it up" ever since! Pete Seeger totally changed the character of Down By The Riverside, another fairly mundane spiritual song, when he began playing it as a Vietnam protest song in the 60s.

When you play a tune, it can be anything you want it to be - with all the grace notes, ghost notes, run-ups and turnarounds your music teacher or your parents wouldn't let you use ... just as fast as you feel like playing them! The harmonica is the perfect instrument to do just that, even if you have no musical training ... or some you'd rather forget.

For me it was strict, forced, "oom-pah-pah" accordion that I was even forced, by my parents, against the advice of the principal, to play over the P.A. system, in the third grade (Schumacher Elementary, Akron, Ohio - subsequent classes are probably still laughing about it 60 years later) and absolutely hated. Parents, don't  force your children into a "trained monkey" role. Let them  pick the instrument (or none at all) and have some fun with it. Here's a light-hearted lyric I wrote along those lines; use it after any segment, instrumental or vocal:

Now, you can have a million bucks, or just what's in your shoe ...

You'll feel better either way, when you play the blues.

You don't need a slide trom-bone, don't need no clar-i-net.

"Mississippi sax-a-phone" is what they're gonna get!

Oh, you can bring a vi-o-lin, a drum or a gui-taaar,

But if you bring an accordion ... please leave it in the caaar! (Cajun and Zydeco styles exempted, welcomed, encouraged ... I'll buy lunch! As a matter of fact, I'm currently interested in some Cajun or Zydeco lessons here in Las Vegas, preferably from a fiddler, that I can adapt to the harp.)

Red River Valley (up-tempo, jazzy, choppy: "dit-dit-dit-dit" not "daaaaah daaaaah" droning; it's more fun for you, more entertaining for your listeners, and imperfections and adjustments are a lot easier to just gloss over and keep going)

When The Saints Go Marchin' In (same as above - tear it up - use it for experiments with embellishments you can use on other tunes)

He's Got The Whole World in His Hands

You Are My Sunshine

Ob-La-De, Ob-La-Da

Camptown Races

Piano Man

Blowin' In The Wind (I tried this on a lark, having heard it played on one of the old Johnny Cash specials, really didn't hold out much hope for it working well with the fairly restrictive chord system; easy to play, with plenty of room for articulations and creativity, and so much cooler than traditional "campfire" songs)

Down By The Riverside (played up-tempo and embellished - see articulations below - this becomes your "generic fiddle-type music" and has become my absolute favorite; play any short tune, go to Riverside almost as a chorus, a different tune, back to Riverside, another tune, etc.)

I've always admired accomplished musicians who start out with a few phrases from a familiar tune, then go off on an improvisational trip  that has everybody slack-jawed for several minutes, and end up back at the same familiar melody they started with. You can create a similar effect with Riverside.

Turkey In The Straw (similar to above, familiar and fun, but don't over-use it)

Ode To Joy (instead of thinking of this as boring, public-domain music-lesson stuff, think: "How would Louis Armstrong play this song?" Played up-tempo and combined with your articulations, some quick trills, and the right attitude, this tune can become a weapon, no kidding!)

Sentimental Journey (same as above - up-tempo - lots of trills and articulations - great place for the "train whistle"; piece o' cake: two long draws around your 5-6-7 or 6-7-8 chord with a sort of "wee-o-weeee, wee-o-weeee" articulation, maybe two sets of those within the song - again, make it a surprise and a treat, don't overuse it)

For He's

a Jolly Good Fellow (use this if you're asked to play "Happy Birthday," not a good chordal tune)

Row, Row, Row Your Boat (for participation and excitement at a children's party, etc.)

Three Blind Mice (corny? maybe, but spice it up with lots of articulations and trills and have some fun with it)

This Old Man (simple, familiar tune, excellent for precision breathing and articulation drills; kids - and mommy and daddy - will love you)

Again, you’re going to be playing, basically, any 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.)

Here are some articulation licks you can use to add embellishments 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 playing multiple-hole chords while you do them, so they're easy to learn and a lot of fun. You'll soon be making changes and improvements on the fly to mesh with whatever you're playing; it adds variety and interest to your show, and it's a great way to stretch out a limited repetoire.

An Irish jig is a favorite of harp and fiddle players to really "show their stuff." I'd never have thought I could play anything like that, but I had the basic melody in my head from a YouTube.com video earlier in the day, so I started messing with an articulated chordal adaptation for it recently. Not the easiest - the draw/blow sequence isn't as automatic as some other melodies - but I still had it down pat in about 20 minutes. Articulations are key in this course and system.

I'm not going to try transcribing the myriad harp articulation possibilities and spoon-feeding them to the reader; that misses the point. Invent your own, string a bunch of them together, and that's your show, experimentation and practice go along for the ride. As I wrote earlier, you can do this if you want to; if you're still in rejection mode a full scholarship to Juilliard  probably wouldn't help.

Deet-doe deet-doe, 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-doe
Heep diddle-diddle-diddle deet doe-doe ...
Wah-DEEEE wah-du!

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 experimenting, you'll do fine. The key to this system - for simplicity, speed and harmony - seems to be the "diddle-diddle" articulation (the first letter varies), which works well on blow or draw, and makes it sound like you're really "burning it up." (To commit that to memory, think of the nursery rhyme: "Hey diddle diddle, the cat and the fiddle, the cow jumped over the moon.") 

 After a few phrases of your tune (chorus, verse, bridge, whatever you've got), repeat the final phrase once or twice, slowing 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.

Start right now with any 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 brand, 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 $10 (sometimes half of that!), including shipping, brand new from online 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 your next buzz. Wake up! We're talking about a tool  that can make you hundreds of times its cost, over and over again. Geez!

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 layout  makes them completely inappropriate for our goals here, which are to have absolute beginners earning tips right away playing chords. 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, bulky, fragile and difficult to play. You want a standard diatonic, Richter-tuned, 10-hole harmonica, also called a "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 generally not returnable unless there's a clear defect, because of the germs ("cooties") factor, so 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 a slow-mover) and get it faster.

If you're buying a harp just for chordal street performances and it's available, E (towards the high end of the pitch range) seems to work especially well for the chordal style I'm advocating here (I'm not an expert on music theory, by any means, but I think it has something to do with fewer overtones  as we go higher in pitch - keeps all that chord work from sounding too muddy, and "micro-mistakes" are less noticeable), but C-major harps are mass-produced, always in stock and will work just fine.

If you connect with other beginning harpists, they'll likely have C or G harps, which will harmonize perfectly with your E, a pleasant bonus. Just so you'll know, here's the standard range and sequence of harp keys, from low to high: G,A,B,C,D,E,F.

Other than relative pitch range, low to high, if you're going to play alone the key doesn't matter. But staying in the middle range (C or higher) helps avoid the possible growls and buzz at the low end. The sweet spot - to my ear - is E or Eb (pronounced "E-flat"; a lowercase "b" is not the true musical type symbol, but it is accepted as such). That said, I've got an "A" Suzuki Bluesmaster I'm trippin' on here lately; if something sounds good to you, use it, rules and recommendations are starting points, not lifetime mandates.

The economy harps mentioned earlier (Suzuki Easy Rider, Swan) 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). Performance-quality harps like the Suzuki Bluesmaster (mellow) and the Lee Oskars (brassy) come in at around $35 and $45, respectively.

Fortunately, none of these models has those horrible, protruding brass reedplate edges along the mouthpiece (sometimes refered to as "sandwich style," as if it were a virtue), which can really hurt if you're going to be playing and practicing several hours a day. Avoid any harp with such protrusions; the reedplate 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 ("Let's look at the harmonicas!"), 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 (most beginners tend to hold the harp by the ends, like an ear of corn - with their pinkies sticking straight out, no less - dead "rookie" giveaway), opening and closing them to vary the sound, and wail on that baby like you've been doing it for years! Confidence. Showmanship ... 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." If you're asked to move along by some authority, politely do so. Your instrument fits in your back pocket like a comb. Keeping your act mobile and avoiding any negative attention is easy.

Sure, it might be

 awkward and embarrassing at first, but it can’t be any more embarrassing than panhandling! If you're drinking or snorting every dollar that passes through your hands because it's a familiar "path of least resistance" - a vicious circle by any other name - stop right now. 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 almost a century!

Blow and draw chords using holes 3-4-5 together, 2-3-4 together, 3-4-5 together, 4-5-6 together, 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 can be one of your most powerful tools.

For an easy "trill" effect, short or long, to add some excitement and interest, roll an R, "rrrrr," while blowing and either using it for one note/chord or moving simultaneously 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 or four adjacent holes), then another quick blow chord, same location, higher, lower, it all works). Finishing with a "draw-then-blow" sequence will create "tension" then "resolution." Smile. Eye contact. That's it; tip time.

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. 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, ladies?" Practice the whole sequence until it feels natural and produces the result (folding money!) you're looking for.

Couples are naturals for this and can make a bundle taking turns, one "passing the hat" while the other plays. If the one playing messes 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 to collect, joke, comment, sing, scat, etc.

Even if you sound terrible you can still make it work: hold out your tip container and say, "Maybe a little help for some music lessons?" If you make people laugh 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 (but if that's your goal, good for you); it's about interacting with folks and earning some money in a pleasant, honest way - and it's much more about attitude than talent. Don't be overly self-conscious about your playing, just be enthusiastic and remember: at the end of the day, music is a subjective art-form. "Number one, please yourself. Don't learn how to play it, just enjoy it. If you do it every day and it feels good, well, then you're bound to develop technique." - Lee Oskar*

Street performing, "busking," isn't a bad gig. You're not likely to be the next Bob Dylan or Stevie Wonder, 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?" If you meet someone you like, who asks what you do, which sounds better: "I'm an entertainer" or "I'm a panhandler"? No contest. One thing's for sure: your opportunities for something positive happening in your life will be far greater than they would be just 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 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 in a pocket, purse, tool pouch, etc. ...  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.

_______________
*Harmonicas, Harps, and Heavy Breathers,
Kim Field, 1993, Simon & Schuster

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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 it 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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