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.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Being the Boss / Owner is NOT EASY

By far the greatest amount of negative feedback I receive in writing this blog is from staff members who do not like me talking about the dental office in terms of an employer – employee relationship. They get mad at my depiction on the staff working for the owner. They prefer to think about the office as being a perfect team / partnership relationship with each person just playing a different role on the team. In their depiction, the dentist is just an even employee with a different job.

While I am strong believer that there should be a friendly and congenial relationship amongst all those people working in a dental office, it is naive to think that a dental office is not the same as any other regular business with an owner and employees.

The dentist / owner goes to school for many years, borrows the money to start and grow the practice, and is financially responsible for all the action of the business. Ultimately the dentist hires the staff, determines the salary levels and benefits and if necessary fires the employees.

The dentist is also solely responsible for the ramifications of legal suits against the practice, regardless of which staff member may have committed the problem. The dentist /owner is financially liable for all events that occur in the office.

Staff should not be angry at the depiction of the dentist being the boss and that they work for the boss. It is not a demeaning statement to say the staff works for the dentist. It does not negate any skills the employee has or the value they contribute to the success of the office. It is not fair to the dental owner to try to tell them that they are not in fact the boss and the buck stops with them – it does.
Dr. Corey Gold
President - Advanced Continuing Education Systems

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Patient Who Harassed Staff Member

If you practice long enough, you will experience a situation where a patient touches or sexually harasses a staff member. Most staff members are young and often attractive women and every blue moon you will have a patient that thinks your office is the local gentleman’s club. I don’t understand the logic but I have seen this behavior happen a number of times over my career.

Normally, the dentist can stop this behavior by nicely asking the patient to cool it. It takes a little finesse and humor but the offender typically backs down once it has been pointed out that he is out of line.

On one occasion the offender would not stop being inappropriate. We changed staff members working on the patient and finished the procedure at hand and then we dismissed the patient.

Next, we sent an official letter from the office informing the patient that he should seek further treatment elsewhere. We said that we would be happy to send his records and X-rays to his next dental office and wished him well.

We did NOT mention the reason for asking the patient to change dental offices. We figured that the patient knew and there was no reason to inflame the situation further. We just wanted the patient never to return to our offices while leaving the least amount of collateral damage. The patient never inquired as to why we asked him to leave.

If you are wondering why we finished the dental treatment and just did not kick the patient out of the office at the time of the offense – there are several reasons. (1) We did not want to escalate the situation by accusing the patient of sexual harassment. He might have started to argue or become a larger problem in the office. (2) We did not want to be left with a patient abandonment problem – a legal problem.

Dr. Corey Gold
President - Advanced Continuing Education Systems

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Should I Buy It?

I love new gadgets! I want to have all the newest and coolest dental equipment. I am guessing that you do as well.

The real question we need to ask ourselves is what are the costs and the benefits of upgrading equipment. A new x-ray unit or imaging system might have new features but does it justify an expenditure of $30,000 when the older unit you are currently using works fine and is paid for? The answer is usually NO!

You should have great equipment that allows you to make a quality diagnosis and treatment plan for your patients. You should have equipment that allows you to deliver quality dental care. After that level a lot of what we buy is just for our ego and for fun.

If your profitability is 20% and the new piece of equipment costs $30,000 then you will eat the profit on the next $150,000 in production you just generated - and the cost is more if you are financing the equipment.

I just has a friend upgrade his sterilization systems for a cost of over $10,000. He said he will no loner need to buy test strips. The test strips cost les than $40 a month. The old system worked fine and was reliable. He will now have equally clean instruments for more money.

I may sound a lot like Suzy Orman but most times upgrading equipment is not the smart business move.

Dr. Corey Gold
President - Advanced Continuing Education Systems

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Inappropriate Staff Dressing?

I received an email from a male dentist who was unsure of how to handle the situation of a young, attractive dental assistant who was dressing inappropriately.

The first thing I asked him was to be more specific as to what he meant by inappropriate dress. He said she was well endowed and would wear revealing clothe that showed too much top and shorts that did not cover enough bottom. He said that her attire would work in a night club or on the beach but was not what he wanted for his office. He was worried that by talking to her that he might offend her or get a harassment law suit. Additionally – the rest of his staff was not happy with her appearance either!

I told him that he could choose to create a dress code that demanded that the entire staff (or just clinical staff) wear scrubs while they work. If he did this he would have to either provide the scrubs or uniforms for the staff or give them a uniform cash allowance.

Another option was to create an office dress code that allowed more freedom of choice but set limits as to sleeve length, cleavage exposed, stomach exposed, pant or skirt length, etc… This method would require more staff buy in but would also work. The dentist might have to give the staff a clothing allowance because staff would be ruining their own clothe during work. I personally opted for having scrubs and providing them for my staff. I let the staff pick out the outfits and we all loved them. They often picked really funny colors or patterns.

Dr. Corey Gold
President - Advanced Continuing Education Systems

Friday, October 20, 2017

When Business and Personal Goals Conflict

Did you just go through a period of personal reflection that included setting new goals for your practice? It is very common for people at this time of year to try to determine what would make them happy and also accomplish their financial goals as well.

It is very common that people find themselves at odds when their personal goals and business goals are conflicting. Most people set goals to be better husbands/wives, to be more involved parents, to become healthier, to get in shape, to be more involved in the church and community – these worthwhile goals require additional time – LOTS of additional time. To accomplish the new business goals also take the allocation of additional time – this is where the conflict arises.

It most cases it is not possible for us to simply fix all our problems with allocating more hours – because we don’t have endless hours to allocate. We have to make carful, thought out decisions of where to spend our hours.

While I love building big and productive offices, I also believe in building healthy families and healthy people. I cannot imagine too many scenarios where a more profitable practice is a better goal than being a more involved parent. Be careful what you choose as your metrics for success – don’t let money be your only or most important measuring stick.

Dr. Corey Gold
President – Advanced Continuing Education Systems