dentistry

50 "Pearls" from 50 Practicing Dentists & Owners

What would 50 dentists say if you asked them to share ONE pearl of wisdom with new dentists and new practice owners?

Well, I polled some seasoned dentists and recorded their responses...
Here's what they had to say!
 

  • Take CE's early to enhance your knowledge and get a mentor.
  • No good deed goes unpunished. Don't take things personally...
  • Start putting money away towards retirement right out of school or you will work until you are 70
  • Get disability insurance asap while you're healthy
  • Learn to dismiss patients that are constant problem patients. You don't have to treat everything and everyone that walks in the door.
  • Don't be a martyr for dentistry and always stand behind a high standard of care despite what a patient thinks you should do.
  • That you are going to have less spending money first few years out of school than you did while in school!
  • Tell them what they need, but let them own their own fate.
  • Get really comfortable with oral surgery laying a good flap, extractions. If they have extra time at school hang out in OS department!
  • Do it RIGHT the first time.
  • Always try to get better
  • Don't be too hard on yourself .. we all make mistakes clinically . Learn from them.
  • Always ask patient about themselves
  • Remember you can't fix everything or everyone.
  • Know when to sever employment relationships, and patient relationships.
  • Learn that the patients' problems are not your problems.
  • start putting money back for retirement....day ONE.
  • Invest just as much time learning about the business of dentistry as you do on clinical skills.
  • Get a mentor, get 2, get 20, just get em
  • Find a Vision Partner, someone that sees your vision on how you want to treat patients and how you want your practice to be run. Let them lead your team with your vision so that you can do dentistry.
  • Always make eye contact when talking to patients and discussing the treatment plan. 
  • Always have a signed treatment plan!
  • Don't take anything personally, exercise frequently, and throw the ego away.
  • Understand that accepting treatment is an emotional decision. Most patients don't care about the science and the details. (Other dental personnel and engineers might. The rest won't. ) This isn't your dental school faculty who want to know WHY you recommend the treatment. Patients want to know how it benefits their specific wants and how that relates to the things they care about most. Meet that patient where they are mentally and emotionally. You'll help more people because you'll have higher case acceptance.
  • Make the patient feel good and the rest is easy.
  • Not all that you learn will be applicable or implementable with your practice and patients.
  • Set your goals higher than you THINK you can achieve, and be relentless in pursuing them.
  • Read "how to win friends and influence people" and live it. That book and tons of diversified CE will make your life easy.
  • Pursue excellence not perfection
  • 1. Set short (1-2 years) and long term (10 years and beyond) professional and personal goals and write them down
  • 2. Call your lab technicians and build a relationship with them because they can help you build your practice
  • You can't save every puppy in the pound ...
  • Always give your undivided attention, no matter how busy you are. Patients love to know that you care. Treat your staff with utmost respect and value what they bring to the table, they will make or break you. Lastly... stay true to yourself.
  • Treat the patient in the chair the same as if it was your Mom, Dad or significant other.
  • One of my big things at my office is warning the staff about getting too friendly with each other. I recommend them to be friendly but not FRIENDS. Friends bring drama , friendly brings respect.
  • Don't run after money... do what's right for the patient... impress them with your cleanings every time...
  • Be nice and respectful to your staff. Patients see and hear everything.
  • Have your big picture in mind. Set goals-- personal and financial, 6 mos, 12 mos, 3 yr, etc. Work backwards from there.
  • Be intentional about everything. Be good to your staff and patients.
  • Use an intraoral camera to show and educate.
  • Do yoga, get massages every week, PT and any other therapy as needed to help keep your back & hip, and core in tip top shape. If you can take a dental ergonomics class and if possible consider using a microscope for best posture while working.
  • Build a team of genuinely nice people, the kind of people you could be friends with. This sounds so simple but it's really hard to achieve. Some say don't be friends with your team but I say that if you could not be friends with someone, your working relationship with them probably will not last. Watch out for people with a RBF (Resting B* Face - a term coined by my team, not me), these folks never work out for me b/c just looking at them puts me in a sour mood and is poor for pt interaction.
  • Use intraoral cameras for all your new pts and show it to them. It will be the single best technology investment of your career. And you don't have to spend anymore than 150/camera.
  • Start creating your Plan B on day one. Don't wait for "someday." The habit of waiting quickly becomes a life habit that will not serve you well.
  • Be willing to take risk (the opposite taught in dental school).
  • Don't schedule crown seats at prep date...use crown seat appointments to fill holes in the schedule. learned that from the productive dentist newsletter years ago and still do it that way I really like that.