Sunday, May 29, 2016

How to Fix a Gummy Smile

Research has shown the incidence of so-called "gummy smiles" to be as high as 26% in certain populations, and that women exhibit this feature at twice the rate of their male counterparts.

Gummy smiles are mild malformations of the human face, and typically arise through abnormal growth and development.  In most cases, they are not genetically determined.  They typically manifest early in life during crucial developmental stages and may or may not be associated with other health conditions.  They are universally viewed as being less aesthetically pleasing.  Often, patients with gummy smiles feel insecure about their smiles and seek to cover or hide their mouths when they smile fully.

Now there is a non-surgical solution that can completely eliminate a gummy smile in as little as 9-18 months.  It's called the DNA appliance, pioneered by Dr. Dave Singh.  It is available only through specially trained dentists located around the world.

This unique and proprietary technology activates stem cells in the mouth to remodel and redevelop the dental arches and remodel the jaws.  This realigns and restores the normal genetically coded placement of teeth and jaws, and by so doing, the gummy smiles just go away.

Go to for further information on Dr. Singh's amazing scientific discovery.

The Case for Non-Extraction of Permanent Teeth

I'd like to make the case for why, as a parent, I would never allow permanent teeth to be extracted from my child's mouth.  What follows are my personal opinions formed over many years of direct involvement with patients and dentists.  I am not a dentist.  However, I do have over 300 hours of continuing education in traditional orthodontics, functional orthopedics, epigenetic orthodontics, and craniofacial growth and development.

First, we should acknowledge that BY FAR the most prevalent reason for extracting teeth has been cosmetic, i.e., a desire for straight teeth.  Many doctors (even so-called specialists) have believed that some patients are simply born with either a mouth that is too small for their teeth, or teeth that are too large for their mouth.  To such doctors, the solution seemed simple enough--extract some of the teeth to create space for the others to be straightened and placed in a neat little row.  And if all one is attempting to do is straighten teeth, then we would concede that extraction therapy can be very effective.  Unfortunately, there are other serious considerations and implications.

What is rarely considered in such cases is the potential compromise that extraction therapy can have on other aspects of the patient's anatomy--particularly the airway.  Many excellent clinicians have observed that when permanent teeth are removed, and then braces are applied, both the upper and lower jaws can be retruded (pulled back) or are at least prevented from growing properly forward.  Jaws placed too far back in the craniofacial complex can impede on the functional space of the human airway and give rise to numerous other health conditions.

So the first issue against extracting teeth is that doing so may cause a compromise in a patient's airway.

The second reason is that extractions are almost never medically necessary.  The old adage of the teeth being too large for the mouth or the mouth being too small for the teeth is no longer a valid diagnostic paradigm for 99.5% of the population.   Moreover, excellent clinical techniques are now available which can guide the proper growth and development of the jaws and orofacial complex, widening dental arches while keeping things forward and preserving crucial upper airway space.  These techniques can often render traditional braces unnecessary.

One such treatment modality is the DNA appliance, pioneered by Dr. Dave Singh.  Dr. Singh spent 15 years in clinical research and development, and discovered that using epigenetic principles, it is possible to activate the body's own genetic code to remodel the oral cavity, expand the nasal cavity volume, and remodel the human airway.  His patented technology has successfully treated many thousands of patients around the world, including many adults who were suffering terribly from the effects of bicuspid extractions which they had earlier in life, and which they believed were now contributing to their Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

More information on this exciting and relatively new treatment can be found at

Finally, I would argue that patients who have received 2 or 4 bicuspid extractions have distinctively flat or even sunken facial features which are far less aesthetically appealing than if they had a full set of teeth with jaws placed properly forward.

The Surprising Root Cause of Your Child's Health Issues

Research over the past 20 years has linked many common childhood health disorders to a surprising single root cause.  These conditions range from ADD/ADHD to chronic allergies, to bedwetting, to swollen tonsils and adenoids, to snoring, to crowded or crooked teeth, to restless sleep, to daytime drowsiness, to aggressive or oppositional behaviors, to difficulties in school, and more.  One study even showed that as many as 9 out of 10 kids suffer from at least one of the disorders linked to this single causal factor.

You may be surprised to learn what's behind all of this--a compromised airway.  That's right.  For many children who suffer from one or more of these disorders, the fundamental issue is that your child's airway is underdeveloped and they can't breathe, or at least not as well as they should or the way they should.  

Further research has shown that when you fix the breathing issue, the other conditions will often simply go away.  We experienced this first hand in my own family when my nephew (age 11) experienced bedwetting episodes 4-5 nights a week.  Once his breathing issues were addressed, the bedwetting stopped completely and permanently within a week.  He's now 13 and has never since had a relapse.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Thoughts on why things sometimes go well...

Fortunately, in the ebbs and flows of life, things will sometimes go well--perhaps extremely well.   And when they do, the tendency is to focus on the success itself, basking in the validation and accolades that often accompany such things.

There may be good reasons for this.  If you're a successful business owner or entrepreneur, chances are you had to overcome plenty of obstacles, including all the naysayers and others who refused to believe in your vision.  So to finally realize your dreams and experience that sense of accomplishment is a powerful feeling.  Taking time to consider well the fundamental principles that got you to that point is essential.

When I think back on the successful businesses I've had, I can see several things that I believe they all shared.  So here are a few of my top rules for success:

  1. Stay within your area of expertise.  Years of preparation and plenty of actual experience in the trenches were essential foundations on which I could build.  
  2. Test and prove the model before trying to expand.  Find your model and get it right--first.  Then grow.  That seems simple enough, but I've seen plenty of entrepreneurs violate that principle, and most have lived to regret it.
  3. Get the culture right from the beginning.  Startups are hard.  Everyone pays a steep price.  People put in long hours as they "live the dream".  It's during these formative stages that the true culture of an enterprise takes shape.  Start with "why" and lead by example.  Turning around a bad culture is incredibly difficult and painful.  Getting it right in the beginning pays dividends for a long time.
  4. Take nothing for granted.  Not your partners, nor your employees, and especially not your customers.  Express appreciation for those fellow soldiers who are likewise making sacrifices and contributions.  You'll need them when things get rough--and they will.
  5. Alignment.  Every successful business I've ever had has exhibited high degrees of alignment--between the company and it's customers, among senior management, and throughout the organization.  Where there is alignment, there is high levels of trust, and trust is the lubricant that allows an organization to run fast, run hard, and grow properly.
I'm sure there may be more I could add to my list, but those would definitely be among my top attributes of successful ventures.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

When things don't go as planned...

It is somewhat of a maxim among entrepreneurs, angel investors, and venture capitalists that no one gets it right all the time.  Sometimes, despite the best laid plans and every good intention, things just don't go as planned.  The hard truth is that companies fail.  Losses happen.  Not every startup evolves into Microsoft or Apple.  Some, perhaps most, end up as hard lessons in life for founders, managers, and investors.

Having myself experienced a few nice wins as well as some painful losses, I've found the losses stay with you longer.  They definitely take their toll--emotionally, financially, mentally, and even physically.  It's really hard to put your heart, mind, soul and fortune into something only to see it hit the wall and pass away.  It's hard to explain to your wife.  It's hard to explain to your employees, your vendors, and your customers.

Another thing I've found is that, more often than not, there's no one who you can talk to about these things in any sort of meaningful way.  People who haven't been through it, don't really comprehend what you go through when your business fails.  And it's not something you even want to talk about with just anyone, so you tread the winepress alone, so to speak.  The isolation of it all tends to make things worse.

I remember well when a few years ago I had a company that failed.  In that particular case, we were made aware of some extremely serious allegations of ethical and perhaps criminal violations that were happening in one of our locations.  We immediately moved to investigate the situation, and once we had confirmed what had happened, we terminated those responsible.  In the process, and in an effort to be totally transparent, we notified our bank as to the nature of the things that occurred, and tried our best to do the right thing for all concerned.  Unfortunately, the damage done was extensive, and the perpetrators held key positions in the operation.  Replacing them proved extremely difficult, and the revenues collapsed.

We tried suing them, but before long our legal fees approached $100,000 per month, and it was unsustainable.  So we had to drop any hope of recovery via the legal system, and decided to focus on saving the business.  We might have made it too, except our bank panicked, refused to play ball, and actually made matters worse by first cutting off all of our working capital lines, then moving to foreclose not only on that practice, but all of our other performing locations as well.  The irony there was that our other locations were performing quite well and were in no jeopardy whatsoever.

Before we knew it, things had begun to spin out of our control, despite our best efforts.  Eventually, the bank forced us to sell off all company assets at a fraction of their true market value, and we lost every ounce of equity.  In a little over seven months, we had gone from having a profitable, growing enterprise with a bright future, to having lost everything--our incomes, our dignity, our reputation, and millions in equity.  It was a complete nightmare.

However, even though the assets and remaining operations were sold, the nightmare was far from over.  Creditors demanded payment.  Vendors who had legitimate claims for products they had delivered and services they had rendered were understandably upset.  Unfortunately for everyone, there was nothing left.  The bank took practically everything from the sale.  Of even greater concern were the dozens of patients who were left hanging without knowing who to call or where to turn to get their work completed or their deposits back.  And the amount of money they were out was no small sum, either.  At the time, we didn't really know how big that number was, but we knew it was at least several hundred thousand dollars.

So some very hard decisions had to be made.  One thing that becomes very clear in situations such as this is the wisdom of our corporate laws and legal structure which provides individual owners and investors protection against claims against their LLC or corporation.   It's for precisely these situations that those laws exist.  Knowing we weren't going to be held personally legally liable was one small comfort, but it's all still really hard.  The whole affair is heartbreaking and just plain hard.

One call that needs to be made in these situations is whether or not to file bankruptcy.  In this case, we decided not to.  I can't recall why our lawyers gave us that advice, but every situation is different.  I've often thought since just how much easier it all would have been to just take that step.  It would have been infinitely easier to have a clean break and move on.  But we chose not to do so.

What I do recall is that most of the company vendors had to write off at least a portion of their invoices.  The patient claims, however, just felt different to me.  They had been our customers, and it didn't seem right to leave them hanging without any sort of settlement or closure, so one of my partners (my son in law) and I personally paid back or settled up with each and every one.  By the time we were done, we had spent many hundreds of hours and over $400,000.  It took us over a year to see that everyone got made whole.  But we did what we thought was right.

In these situations, it's important to recognize early on that you aren't going to be able to please everyone, and you may not be able to please anyone.   In the case I've just described, the bank was mad at us for allowing such a thing to happen (in their view), and in turn we were mad at them for completely abandoning us when we needed them most, and making a bad situation far worse.  Vendors were upset that they wouldn't be paid in full.  Employees were upset when they suddenly became unemployed and didn't get their last paychecks.  Our attorneys and accounts and landlords were upset.  Patients were upset.  I was upset.  My partners and our investors were upset.  My wife was upset.  Everyone, it seemed, was mad about the situation and needed someone to blame.

Well, it's really easy to blame the owners--you know, those rich guys who must be responsible, and who everyone is certain must have somehow made out like bandits.  I understand that.  The buck has to stop somewhere.  But very few people actually knew the facts, and in the absence of all the facts it is all too easy to draw conclusions that may not be accurate.

Moreover, as one of the guys in charge, I also felt responsible.  Why did I place my trust in people who could do such things?  How did I not see it in them?  Why didn't our operations people have better systems to detect such activities before they got out of hand?  The inner recrimination goes on and on, and can sometimes be worse than the criticism that a comes from outside.

When it was over, I had lost just about everything.  That's hard to admit, frankly, but it is true.  This was no small matter, as I'm certain every business failure is for those who risk everything to try and make something good happen.  It irrevocably alters the course of your life.  It changes you and those around you.

I write this here with the hope that someone out there who may be going through something similar may know that eventually things do settle down.  While you're going through it, it doesn't seem like it, but they will, and life will go on.  Don't despair.  Be patient.  See what the lessons are and vow never to make the same mistakes.  Pick yourself up.  Dust yourself off.  Give thanks to God that it wasn't worse.  It could always be worse.  Count your blessings and focus on the future.  You'll be alright.  The sun will come up tomorrow and it will be a new day.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Where does the money come from?

One surprising aspect of the current political circus is the degree to which Americans, and particularly young Americans, are buying into the notion that it is the proper role of government to provide for the welfare of its citizens, and indeed, that the government owes its citizens the unbridled enjoyment of certain entitlements arising out of their "rights".   

I say it is surprising, but shocking is more apropos.  How could it be that so many have lost sight of how the world actually works?  Is it possible that our educational system has deteriorated to the point where we've raised a generation so utterly clueless of basic economic realities, and bereft of basic math skills?  Apparently.

So let's break it down by asking some basic questions and positing some basic answers.  

When government spends a dollar on any government activity--police, armed forces, entitlements, or whatever--where does that dollar come from?  

There are three and only three sources of government funds by which every (national) government on earth carries out its functions:  (1) Tax receipts (including fees, tariffs, tolls, penalties, fines, etc.)  (2) Borrowed funds (sale of Treasury or Municipal bills, bonds, notes, etc.) (3) Printed or electronically created funds (including actual cash, coins, etc.)

So when our government spends a buck it has either (a) first taken it away from the citizens via some form of taxation; or (b) borrowed it from some investor; or (c) created it out of thin air, paper and ink (or a computer terminal, as the case may be).

So when the government purports to provide "benefits" to its citizens in the form of services or outright payments ("benefits"), it is actually either giving back some small portion of the dollars it has first extracted from those very citizens, or borrowed from someone with the promise to repay at a later date (with interest, of course), or with new money it has just created.

We could argue here that the third category of newly created money is itself a tax of sorts, an inflation tax whereby as the money supply grows beyond a certain point, the money supply itself is devalued in such a way that the unit value of currency is necessarily worth less because it buys less in the open market.  Print too much money too fast, and one gets the hyperinflation of a Weimar republic, or a Venezuela.

The fundamental dilemma and central problem of all governments is that they are incapable of taxing their citizenry sufficiently to satiate their appetite for expansion of authority and power.  At some point and at some level of taxation, the citizens revolt and demand transparency, accountability, and proper controls on government spending.  Of such sentiments came our own American Revolution.

Recognizing the above dilemma, governments discovered that they could actually shift the burden of taxing their subjects onto the backs of some future set of mostly unborn subjects who have no current vote, and certainly pose no threat of opposition.  In other words, governments discovered they could readily fund current spending and fulfill all manner of campaign promises ("more free stuff for you because you deserve it") and generate all manner of short-term goodwill among the citizenry without any real consequences.  By the time their borrowings would come due, they would be long gone from office.  

This is why almost all State governments in the US have state level constitutional prohibitions on deficit spending, i.e., borrowing money to fund operating costs of the state government.  

So when any politician runs around promising free stuff, whether in the form of more services (healthcare), education, or direct payments, it is always good to ask where they plan to get the money.  Will they increase taxes?  And if so, on whom?  Will they borrow it from future generations?  If so, is it ethical and moral to do so?

Progressive socialists finance their government expansion programs primarily through increases in deficit spending (borrowing).  This gives rise to a rapid expansion of the federal debt, which the laws of physics and economics tell us cannot continue to expand without limit.  There is a natural limit on how much any society can safely borrow, and that amount is precisely how much its economy can safely repay over time, with interest.  When total debt exceeds the ability to repay, bad things happen.  Just ask Puerto Rico, Greece, or Venezuela, where the worst is yet to come.  Will we be there too someday?  Probably.

So why can't we get the rich to bail us out?  Because it has been the experience of practically every attempt to "soak the rich" with higher taxes, that the rich simply find ways to relocate their capital and themselves into more tax-friendly societies.  The latest example is France, where upon announcing new liberal progressive confiscatory taxes on the wealthy, the wealthy simply left town and actual tax receipts dropped.  The US discovered this same phenomenon once again during the Reagan years, when a significant DROP in marginal income and capital gains tax rates actually resulted in both an expanding economy and HIGHER government tax receipts.  

This is known as the Laffer Curve, named after the economist Arthur Laffer.  The Laffer Curve reflects an economic reality just as gravity reflects a law of physics.  Does no one teach this to these American youth who support what Bernie and Hilary are selling us?

By way of summary, a government cannot give its citizens anything it hasn't first extracted or borrowed from them.  By definition, they must first take it away before giving part of it back!  Therefore, We the People always end up paying the price for our neighbor's free government benefits, and he or she in turn ends up paying for ours.  There is no one else, and no other source to pay for the bills we rack up--except once again, the silent and nameless souls of future generations who will be born into our debt and asked to pay for our lack of discipline in spending.  

One has to think that if everyone knew this principle, NO ONE could possibly swallow the socialist propaganda.  One would think.

We can never forget that for every dollar government extracts and then processes through the "system" in order to dole it back out to us in some form of "benefit", the return to us is always a fraction of that original dollar.  This is because the government process is inefficient, costly, and not subject to the rigors of market competition which force efficiencies, spur innovation, and drive costs down.  Who among us would gladly give away a dollar in order to get back 50 cents?  Yet that is the very proposition that government makes, and wants us to be happy about.

We almost always get less back from government than what we put into it.  The exceptions to that rule are few, and they include the extreme situations such as war and police protection, etc.  At one point in this country we could say that our education system was something that evoked an incalculably positive Return On Investment, but in light of the shear economic ignorance on full display in today's society, I'm not so sure.

So where does the money come from that government entices us with?  IT COMES FROM YOU AND ME, OR OUR GRANDCHILDREN YET UNBORN.  That's your answer.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Asking the right questions...

Why is it that no one ever seems to drill down on the policy proposals being put forward from the various political party candidates to get specific answers as to how and why their proposals will work in the real world?  Candidates should be asked to connect the dots.  Policy A will induce result B, which will lead to outcome C, etc.

For example, Ms. Clinton, you claim your economic proposals will add jobs and lift the middle class. Please explain to us specifically how a larger government, greater regulations, more unskilled foreign laborers, higher minimum wages, and higher taxes and costs on businesses will actually create jobs?  Seriously.  Walk us through it.  Please.

For the businessmen and women who must wrestle with the encroachment of progressive government largesse, how exactly does adding more rules, and higher regulatory costs help create jobs?   Can you please cite examples of where making life more complicated, more costly, and more risky for entrepreneurs and business people ever created more jobs?   Please.

Do you comprehend in the slightest degree how and under what circumstances actual real jobs are created in our economy?  Do you understand that government doesn't really create private sector jobs?  At best, it can minimize its intrusions and limit the number of artificial barriers it throws up that prevent the private sector from thriving to the degree it should.

And further, Ms. Clinton, please help us understand how your promised liberalization of our immigration laws, which effectively open wide our already porous borders to whomever, fails to deport the actual criminal aliens we capture, increases support for sanctuary cities, and blind support for an artificially high minimum wage will actually work to help the poor and unemployed who are already among us?  

As to your energy policy, please explain specifically how the interests of all Americans are served by creating yet another bureaucratic group to "monitor Climate Change" when there has been no discernible increase in mean global temperature since 1998?  And in light of the current administration's undeniable policy failures with respect to alternative energy, please explain how your proposed continuation of those policies can be expected to produce any different result?

As for you, Mr. Trump, please explain how your form of protectionist international trade policies will have any different economic impact than the ill-fated Smoot Hawley Tariff Act of 1930--which many economists argue was a proximate cause of the Great Depression?

When will someone pose the following questions or challenges to Bernie Sanders:  

Please, if you would Mr. Sanders, name a single example of a country where progressive socialist policies have led to lasting economic prosperity.  Cuba?  No.  Venezuela?  No.  North Korea?  No.  Argentina?  No.  Russia?  No.  Spain?  No.  Greece?  It's a total meltdown.  And as for the most recent example of leftist corruption and failures:  Brazil?  Not so much.

China?  Only when, at the end of the Cold War, China's communist leadership decided to support economic freedoms and capitalist market principles did their economy take off.  Yes, Mr. Sanders, it was capitalism and principles of free enterprise which lifted close to a billion Chinese out of the abject poverty of Mao's failed revolution.  It was never collectivist socialism.  Was it principles of socialism that created the economic powerhouse utopia of Hong Kong?  No.  

With so many examples of failed socialist states, each and every one with their own version of "Bernie Sanders" running around promising the folks something for nothing, what could possibly make us believe that such policies will somehow magically work here in the U.S.?  

And Bernie, please explain specifically how the evil "big banks and Wall Street" have actually ripped off the average American citizen?   What have they done?  Have they broken a law?  Which one(s)?  Please be specific.  And how, exactly, are you going to take them down?  And if you do "bring them down", what will you replace them with?  Who will supply the funds for my next mortgage, my next auto loan, or a loan to expand my business?   Who, Bernie?  

I'm also wondering who is going to actually foot the bill for all the freebies you and Ms. Clinton have been doling out.  Free college education, free healthcare, and more--a "free" handout for every newly created human "right".   Where does it end?

If I have a natural "right" to healthcare, then why not an equal claim on food, on housing, on transportation, energy, internet, clothing, etc. etc.?   Where do my rights and entitlements end, Bernie?  Where?  Where exactly will the money come from to pay for everyone's entitlements, and how will we sustain it?  Why don't you explain to your disciples that there really is no free lunch, and someone always pays.  

In this case, that someone is us--all of us.  We all bear the burden of our neighbor's free lunch, and in turn, they bear the burden of ours.  That being the case, how is anyone better off?   There is no one else!  For too long now, we've been playing the game of pushing forward the true costs of our current expenses onto the backs of future generations.  Eventually, that gravy train will come to an end.  Then what?  Someone should ask.  Surely, the candidates have thought through all of this, no?