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The Ultimate Productivity Tool

May 11, 2015

Filed under: Art of the Examination — Tags: , — Barry @ 10:00 PM



Most dentists are always on the lookout for ways to increase their productivity.  Today’s marketplace is overloaded with new tools to make the dentist more efficient.  An alternative to efficiency, and one I have been obsessed with since reading Covey’s 7 Habits twenty five years ago, is effectiveness.

Becoming more effective trumps efficiency everyday, and it doesn’t require a huge investment in technology.  Efficiency is the language of hardware, machines and computers, but effectiveness has its own language…the language of human interaction.

Years ago practice management people taught dentists to “fill their chairs” with warm bodies.  Ergonomics, the study of people’s efficiency in their work environments was all the rage.  I was there when four-handed dentistry was actually a fresh concept.

I started in dentistry when most of my colleagues were still standing.  Ergonomics in dentistry helped dentists become more productive while staying pain-free (their back pain, not dental pain).

Today, we have all kinds of gadgets and devices that promise to make our work easier, but I’m not sure if it will make us more productive.  Production is a function of effectiveness.

That is why I placed so much emphasis on the complete examination…because it is still, when done correctly, the most efficient way to create effectiveness in a dental practice.

Yes…the complete examination is and always has been the Ultimate Productivity Tool available to a dentist…and it’s so cost efficient.

For many dentists it sounds counter-intuitive to spend so much time doing a complete examination when they could be producing real dentistry.  I agree that the exam is not very productive, but it gives the dentist the capability to produce so much more dentistry.

How would you like to spend every morning doing implants, crowns and veneers?

Not only is that dentistry more effective for the dentist and the patient but it is meaningful as well, and when a dentist spends time doing meaningful work…well that’s just what happy dentists do.

So what is the rationale for doing the complete examination?

  • It allows the dentist to slow down and create a trusting relationship.
  • It allows the dentist to think…to take the time to make the most rational decisions about patient treatment and care.
  • It is sacred time, so that it can’t be interrupted with distractions, allowing for more focus.
  • The dentist preserves his or her mental energy and can preserve energy for when it’s most needed.
  • The exam helps the dentist organize and align the practice so everyone knows exactly what their role is at all times.

I could go on and on…I actually have in my book The Art of the Examination, because it is an art.  With practice this art becomes the Ultimate Productivity Tool.  I felt I needed to write this blog post to remind dentists of the importance of the comprehensive exam in this rapidly changing world of dentistry.  This will never change.


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