Welcome to the Dentist's Office

Welcome to the Dental Office blog. On this site we will share information on how we conquer the real-world challenges that we each face in our pursuit of running high-quality, successful, profitable and harmonious dental offices.

The Dental Blog invites you to share your knowledge, successes, failures and crazy stories with fellow dental professionals. Sharing our combined knowledge, we can each create our own unique dream practices.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Professional does not mean No Personality

I agree that all dental professionals should 'act professionally' but some dentists confuse that with acting in a sterile or cold manner. Our patients are more comfortable in our offices when we act like ourselves and show our personality.

This does not mean you run around acting like you would on a weekend away in Las Vegas but it means you should let your humor and caring nature come alive in your practice. You do not need to act cold and dead panned for your patients to take you seriously as a dental professional.

A survey of patients showed that one of the top reasons patients chose their dentist was their connection to them. They stated that they liked their dentist's personality and that of the staff. The survey also said that the lighter the mood of the office the less phobia patients experienced.

You and your patients will be happier when you relax, be yourself and let your personality come out in your practice.

Dr. Corey Gold
President - Advanced Continuing Education Systems

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Reward is Doing Quality Work

I remember being a newly minted dentist and getting excited when my work looked great or a procedure worked out just as planned. I also got satisfaction out of overcoming a challenge in the work that I had not anticipated. Heck, in the early days, I got satisfaction out of sending a cosmetic case back to the lab because it was good but not great – I wanted it to be awesome. My patients thought I was too picky – and for me that was a huge compliment.

A lot of dentists lose their “new dentist smell” and the excitement of doing quality work becomes old news. We used to get satisfaction out of the regular, routine work and now it is just Groundhog’s Day. We become stale – the honeymoon is over – the thrill is gone.

The trick to having long-term happiness and satisfaction in your practice is to try to remember why your patients come to you – they come to you because they trust you to use good judgment and deliver quality care. If we are meeting and exceeding our patient’s expectations then we should take great pride in that.

I know a lot of dentist who go build incredible new offices when things get stale and then wind up feeling stale again a few months later. The new office was like a middle age man buying a convertible – we are looking to feel young again (and yes I have a shiny convertible – lol). At the end – the only thing that can make you feel excited again about your work is going back to the mental place you were when you were young in your practice – that is to love doing dentistry and enjoy doing quality work. The joy is in the work being good.

By the way – I am not saying not to build a new office – build your new office and enjoy it, just don’t expect it to make you happy if you weren’t before you built the new office. As for convertibles – I love them J

Dr. Corey Gold
President – advanced Continuing Education Systems

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Themed Offices – Yes or No?

You may be surprised but I am going to give a big thumbs UP to themed office – with the proviso that the theme you choose is something you are passionate about.

If you are a huge Dodger fan, or a golf nut, or a photography expert, or a lover of modern art – it is super to decorate your office around your passion. Your office should be an extension of you. It is fun to let your personality show through at your office.

A themed office opens the door for lots of questions and makes you feel at home in your daily environment. People will like the office as long as your theme is not wacky.

I do not advise creating a themed office around something you are not passionate about. I know a dentist who opened a deep sea fishing themed office and he doesn’t fish. When patients ask questions about fishing he looks bored. The theme does not work because it is not his passion.

I’m a tennis nut – I should have opened a tennis themed office – old rackets on the walls, pictures of past champions, put tennis nets across the walls. It would have been fun and when anyone asked me if I liked tennis – I would light up like a Christmas tree. I love talking tennis. It would have been an authentic theme and would have worked.

Themed offices only work when the theme fits you.
Dr. Corey Gold
President – advanced Continuing Education Systems

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Quit Doing Procedures You Hate

I know lots of dentist who don’t like doing endo or oral surgery but continue to do these procedures for decades. My advice to you, for your happiness and your patient’s quality of dentistry, is for you to STOP doing procedures you do not like to do.

If you dislike a procedure I doubt you are taking a lot of continuing education in that area of dentistry. I doubt you recommend that procedure as much as you should when doing treatment planning. In general we do not do our best work when we are not happy or we are resentful.

I know a dentist who still does endo and they openly tell me they are not good at it. As a patient, I would prefer that you send me to another dentist who is good at it – I deserve that referral.

My advice, you have two choices when it comes to dental procedures you do not like to do; (1) get lots of continuing education in that area and get super good at it (you tend to like what you are good at) or (2) refer all procedures you don’t like doing or feel you are not good at to a specialist.

At the end of the day you will be happier and less stressed when you refer out the procedures you truly don’t want to do.

Dr. Corey Gold
President – advanced Continuing Education Systems

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Staff Taking Advantage of Your Friendship

Being a dentist can be tough when it comes to staff relationships and I will admit that I have been exceptionally lucky over my career. On one hand you are the owner of the practice (or the boss) and on the other hand, you are a co-worker and an active part of the daily work flow.

Most dentist become very close friends with their staff. Luckily, most staff members treat the dentist as both a friend and still respect them as the boss at the same time. This fine line between the dentist being a friend and the boss can sometimes get strained.

The dentist is put into an awkward position of having to enforce his authority as the boss if the staff member tries to abuse the friendship relationship. I know a number of cases where experienced, long-term staff members have turned from respectful staff to taking advantage of their friendship with the dentist. The staff member starts to come in late, leaves early, takes longer breaks, doesn’t pull their fair share of the work load – in essence, the staff member starts leveraging their friendship with the dentist to take advantage of the long standing rules. The dentist typically responds by very low key requests for the staff member to go back to the correct behaviors. In some cases this is enough to redirect the pattern but in many cases it is not enough.

When friendly requests for the staff member to get back in line with their job requirements fail it is a tough moment in the friendship for the dentist and the staff. The dentist must now put on their ‘boss’ hat and have a serious talk with the offending staff member. This is a challenging conversation because the two have not needed this type of chat for a long time. The dentist must say how much he likes and values the staff member but that the individual must get back into the required office norms. You must say that this is a tough conversation for you to have but that you feel it is a talk that had to be had and that you expect a change in behavior.

Often this talk ends with an apology and a change in behavior – the staff member might even feel bad about taking advantage of the relationship once it has been pointed out. Other times the staff member is not at open to the coaching session and we learn during this conversation that the individual has many other issues they want to address with you and that these behaviors have been a sort of passive aggressive conduct. If the staff member’s complaints are legitimate – then it is an opportunity for you both to take corrective actions.

At the end of the day, you need to have your staff members follow the established rules of the office. In most cases the staff member will go back to their regular and positive working format. In the odd chance that the staff member continues to act against the rules of the practice it might be time for you to let that staff member go. Their acting up even after a conversation about the poor behavior might be their way of forcing your hand in ending the employment.

Sorry – no one ever said being the dentist / boss was going to be easy.

Dr. Corey Gold
President – advanced Continuing Education Systems