April 8, 2012
A new patient waited for me to do her examination. She held a book in her hands. When I entered the room, the first question I asked was, “What are you reading?” She told me, and so began my preclinical interview. I learned she was an avid reader and she was recently diagnosed with diabetes. Audrey H. became my patient. I completed her dentistry twenty five years ago.
Audrey never missed a dental appointment. She always carried a book with her, and we traded reading lists. My first questions to her were always, “What are you reading and how is your blood sugar.”
Through the years she slowly lost her ability to read. First she went to Large-print, and then to audiobooks. She had a difficult time controlling her blood sugar and eventually had to go on dialysis. Through all of this, she never missed an appointment. Audrey couldn’t drive after a while so she would take a taxi to her appointments.
Eventually she went to an assisted living facility.
She still came for her hygiene appointments. (more…)
January 5, 2012
About a month ago there was a blog post that got a lot of attention. It was titled 10 Reasons Your Dentist Probably Hates You Too. It created quite a stir and wrote a post that I called 10 Reasons Why My Patients Love Me, in response. The author of the first post wrote it with her tongue firmly planted in her cheek, and I wrote my response to sho
Wild Wild West Dentistry
w that our profession needs more relationship building in an age where the professions have tipped toward business rather than health car
What is the truth about dentistry these days?
There are many ways to practice dentistry. Every dentist is faced with the problem of balancing the paradox between duty and desire...the desire to live a great life and the duty to be a great dentist. We live in a material world and as much as we claim that less is more…so many of us still want more. Yet I truly believe we also want to to find meaning in our dentistry.
It gets confusing for the dentist as he tries to earn his daily bread in an age where the business of dentistry is like the Wild Wild West.
I try to practice in a manner that helps balance the paradox…some might call it “business ethics.” I am truly bothered when I see the breakdown of ethics in our profession…so I give you these things that I see some of our colleagues doing on a fairly regular basis…that I think patients, and the powers that be should know about.
- Your dentist sees you as a profit center rather than a patient. Everyone gets the business thing. Football players tell us this all the time…but this is health care and an ethical dentist MUST put the patient first. That is the real definition of professional. Dentists who do this usually relate everything to the “time is money” philosophy. They usually run behind and are over-scheduled.
- Your dentist just took a weekend course in an advanced surgical technique—-and you (more…)
August 8, 2010
The nice thing about dentistry is that you have the opportunity to choose your own culture based on your own set of values. I am fond of the expression by Boston Philharmonic maestro, Ben Zander: “It’s all invented anyway.” In his book The Art of Possibility, he describes the meaning of that expression: (more…)
May 19, 2010
WHO ARE YOU?
The dictionary defines the word “philosophy” as guiding or underlying principles: a set of basic principles or concepts underlying a particular sphere of knowledge. Developing a philosophy is the starting point of developing a winning lifestyle or business. There is an order to everything in life. The vast majority of people are behaving randomly without any organization. The philosophy that a person develops becomes her or his fixed star. The philosophy is developed from a set of beliefs – about life, about yourself, about others, about relationships, and yes, about business principles. Those basic beliefs guide the day-to-day activities of people who are philosophically based. Their actions tend to be congruent, and their actions are the foundation for a life filled with integrity.
A mother brought her young son to Gandhi for advice in disciplining the child for (more…)
April 20, 2010
Working out your own personal philosophy is a starting point. Imagine a dental case where the dentist incorrectly determined the mandibular plane. Everything from that point forward will be effected, from function to that very popular buzzword – cosmetics (form). The only way to correct that mistake is to start again. When you start with some very simple, but big objectives, in mind, you will see that every strategy you employ begins to create a culture within your business. As you will soon see, having a system or a process is the key to success.
Throughout my career, countless patients have told me that my practice has a very (more…)
April 11, 2010
Look at Everything
GIVE BIRTH TO A NEW CULTURE
When I first began to search for ways to improve my practice, I was distracted by promises of quick wealth and easy rewards. The “gurus” promised to show me how to make more money through trickery and manipulative “strategies” that would make patients say “yes” to treatment. I tried to follow their advice but I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t convince myself to do things to patients that I would object to myself.
I couldn’t become someone else by modeling their behavior or style – or worse yet by copying or mimicking their vision. I truly wanted to be (more…)
April 1, 2010
- Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
My practice began to remind me of the poem by William Wordsworth, Intimations of Immortality. I was building a prison for myself, like the one Richard Cabot wrote about in his description of drudgery. The practice wasn’t serving me. I was losing sight of my values. The values that I was more in touch with as a child watching Willie. Wordsworth was a master at describing life through natural metaphor. You can almost feel the cycle of life I was in when you read Wordsworth’s poetry:
Shades of the prison-house begin to close
Upon the growing Boy,
But he beholds the light, and whence it flows,
He sees it in his joy;
The Youth, who daily farther from the east
Must travel, still is Nature’s priest,
And by the vision splendid
Is on his way attended;
At length the Man perceives it die away,
And fade into the light of common day
You see, the reason I became a dentist (more…)
March 23, 2010
PART I : IT’S THE PROCESS STUPID !
CHAPTER ONE: Process- The Key to Success
“All happy families resemble each other, but each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
I conceive that the great part of the miseries of mankind
are brought upon them by false estimates they have made of the value of things.”
–– Ben Franklin
“Try not to become a man of success, but rather a man of value.”
⎯ Albert Einstein
I grew up in New York City during the fifties. Baseball was my passion, and back in those days, you were either a fan of Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, or Duke Snyder, depending on where you lived. I lived in the Bronx, just a few miles from Yankee Stadium, but I gravitated toward Willie Mays as my hero. When I grew up I wanted as much to be just like Willie as kids today want to be like Lebron James or Alex Rodriguez. I knew I would never be a great baseball player like Willie, but I envied how he made a living doing what he loved. Even at age eight, I knew that living the dream was a rare occurrence, and I sensed that making a life was more important than making a living.
Like Willie, I wanted to do what I loved. (more…)
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