From a dentist- Michael E. Ross, DDS, FAGD


For the past 35 years our restorative dental practice has continually searched for ways to grow and to deliver the finest dentistry possible.  Over the years we have found that I most enjoyed the complex restorative and esthetic cases.  Over more than 20 years our dentistry has evolved as technology has likewise developed and offered patients more treatment choices.

We have been doing both implant treatment and porcelain veneers since 1983.


Throughout all those years of practice one thing has remained the same.  From the patient’s point of view, the excellence of the case depends on the laboratory technician.  We can offer our patients an excellent experience during treatment and strive for the best technical aspects of our treatment results.  But in the final analysis, patients will judge the appearance, comfort and longevity of the case as the ultimate criteria for success.


For many years I admired the world-class laboratory results that I saw in continuing education courses that I attended, such as the Newport Harbor Academy of Dentistry.  But, frankly, never felt that my patients would be willing to pay the fees to justify using such a laboratory.  So I did the best I could with the technicians that I was using at the time.  Gradually over time I saw some of my colleagues occasionally using an upscale lab for certain “special” patients and getting amazing results. 


I noticed that some of my colleagues would only offer “their best” to certain patients who they thought could afford to pay the premium for the best treatment possible.  So I began to do the same.  I began to see that many more patients that I had imagined were willing to pay for the best.  I finally realized that the only true roadblock for offering the best to ALL of my patients was my own fear that my patients would reject treatment if I offered them the best.  I am so thankful to one special patient from a blue collar neighborhood with modest means who asked me if she could have full mouth implant-supported bridgework.  I never imagined that she was interested and could afford such treatment.  She taught me an invaluable lesson.


After that experience I began offering the best to ALL my patients, not prejudging them, but allowing them to decide.  Of course not all patients wanted this type of treatment.  But it was surprising how many did.  And still others wanted the best and asked how they could do their dentistry over time or in phases to eventually have the best results in a way they could afford.  It was then that I started a search for a local laboratory technician with the skill and training to provide world-class porcelain and implant prosthodontics.


For the past several years, I’ve been privileged to work with Gordon Russell.  It has been a superb experience!  I can always count on Gord to deliver consistent, on-time results.   His genuine, calm personality has added greatly to our team and he is liked and admired by all who know him. His training with Don Cornell and others has allowed him to truly deliver amazing results.  Patients always comment that “these look like real teeth” and have been always thrilled with their treatment outcome.  Consequently, our patient referrals have increased through word-of-mouth.


From a practice management perspective, I just added the additional laboratory fees to my total fee presentation.  I never would have guessed that patients never questioned the difference.  We have worked hard to educate our patients on the VALUE of excellent dentistry from the very first appointment.  And I’m sure this has also made a difference in our patient’s acceptance of the best. 


The pride of delivering this type of dentistry has reinvigorated my enthusiasm for dentistry and has energized all the staff to more enthusiastically discuss dental treatment with our patients and even acquaintances outside the practice.  I wish I had taken this step many years ago.  I will be forever grateful for that one patient who taught me that I was the only real roadblock to moving to the next level.


Michael E. Ross, DDS, FAGD    (