With the Coronavirus pandemic upon us, now is the time for you to lead your practice proactively and with courage. Based on that, here are a few things you can do:(more…)
Dynamic Dental Communications Blog
March 19, 2020
March 9, 2020
Do you have a mentor? Do you have someone you can call or meet with to help through the challenges of dentistry? For twenty-five years of my private practice life as a dentist, I had a challenges of dentistry? For twenty-five years of my private practice life as a dentist, I had a mentor. His name was Dr. Jack Reever. Jack helped me achieve more than I ever would have imagined. Jack provided a second set of eyes to help me provide the best treatment for my patients. Jack helped me laugh at myself and enjoy dentistry more.
Did you know that an ox by itself can pull one ton? When it’s yoked with another ox, together they can pull six tons. I’ve always been amazed by that statistic. I believe that with a mentor, you will be able to accomplish a ton more in your dental practice than if you tried to do it “all by yourself.”
In July 2000, my family and I vacationed in Breckenridge Colorado and went on a guided 5-mile white water rafting trip down the Colorado river, one that would take us on a journey through some Class III rapids (moderately difficult). I remember starting out feeling both scared and excited at the same time. I had the basic equipment: a helmet, a life jacket with a whistle, proper shoes, and a paddle. I had some paddling experience from living in the Lakes region of NH. My family and I would spend many of our summer weekends canoeing and kayaking on the ponds and rivers in our area, but always in calm water.
For this rafting trip, I was very grateful that we had someone to guide us through the turbulent rapids, someone who had experience, someone who knew the river, and someone who could help us avoid the rocks, giving us directions when we needed it. Our trip went without a hitch. We all had a lot of fun and everyone managed to stay in the boat. During my practice life, Jack was “my guide.” He was the one who helped me through some turbulent times. He was the one who helped me with some difficult cases. He was the one who helped me become a better dentist.
To be honest, the first few years of my private dental practice were a bit turbulent. Despite receiving a great education, along with eight years of experience (the basic rafting equipment), I was challenged by the complexity of the dental problems that were presented to me. My practice was located in Wolfeboro NH, a tourist town known as “The Oldest Summer Resort in America.” Basically, Wolfeboro was a retirement community were the average age of my patients seemed to be around 70 years old. We all know that as we get older, we tend to have more medical issues. Well, the same holds true for our teeth and I was challenged to the max.
At times, I felt like I was drowning. I knew I needed someone to help me navigate these complex cases and that’s when I sought the help of a mentor. Honestly, I should have done it a lot sooner than I did. For way too long, my ego got in the way. I was so ignorant thinking that I could do it on my own. I found Dr. Reever by asking some of the specialists I worked with who they thought would be the best general dentist to help me.
Jack was 20 years older than me and he had been in private practice for over 25 years. His practice was a model of excellence. Not only was Jack a great dentist, he managed his practice well, had wonderful patients, and a dedicated team. He really was the total package having what I call: the hands, the head, and the heart. He had great hands and did beautiful dentistry. He used his head and managed his team and the business-side of his practice well. And he had a heart, a great passion for his profession, a passion for people, and a passion to help me. He’d often say, “Robert, what challenge are you bringing me today. Let’s put our heads together and figure this one out.” We did that for many years. When we got together, we always had fun.
Over the years, we often traveled to dental meetings together. Jack was a great communicator. He always asked me thought-provoking questions rather than jumping in and telling me the answer. He’d say, “You really think that’s what you want to do?” He would then come back and ask, “Have you thought about this approach?” While at the same time challenging me, he also encouraged me. At times, he’d let me struggle a bit and then eventually, we’d work on the solution together. Like the guide on the rafting trip, he helped me through some turbulent water, some turbulent times, and some complex cases. I am forever grateful to my mentor Dr. Jack Reever.
Another thing about Jack was that he was generous with his time. I could call him on the phone anytime. Frequently, we’d get together at our local component dental meetings. Many times, Jack would drive to my office to help me. We lived about 40 miles apart. Not only was he my mentor, he was my colleague, and my friend.
The last thing that made are relationship special was that Jack treated me like an equal. Often, he would thank me for the teaching him a few things along the way. Ours was a very collegial, open and authentic relationship.
It takes courage and it takes guts to be open and authentic with another colleague, to open yourself up to feedback and criticism. However, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Sometimes, it meant sometimes having to admit, “I don’t know.” Or sometimes it meant confessing, “I messed this one up.” But truthfully, that was where the “laboratory of learning” took place; it was also the place where the fun began. It was similar to going through the rapids on the Colorado river frightened and scared, and coming out at the end invigorated, smiling, and saying, “Let’s do it again!”
If you don’t have a mentor, I encourage you to get one. Ask the specialists you work with who they would recommend. Or consider joining a local study club. Your practice life will be a lot more fun as you and your mentor learn from one another. You’ll develop close friendships, and like the yoked oxen, together, you’ll accomplish a ton more. And like the rafting trip down the Colorado river with a guide, you will, in the process, avoid a few rocks.
February 21, 2020
“Rob, no one is responding to you because of who you’ve become.”
Dr. Rob Maguire is a dentist recovering from “taking-himself-too-seriously-itis” and couldn’t be happier about it. For years, he struggled under the assumption that the harder he worked, the better things would get. “When I took over my practice in 1990, it was a chaotic mess. Patients weren’t accepting my treatment recommendations and my schedule was stress-filled with mostly singe-tooth dentistry, lots of emergencies and many broken appointments. Often, I was running behind schedule. I had no systems; I was busy but not productive. I often felt frustrated and unhappy and as a result, so did my team and many of my patients.”(more…)
January 24, 2020
For twenty-eight years, I had a fee-for-service solo private practice in Wolfeboro, NH. For twenty-six of those years, I had a dentist coach who helped me fathom the challenges of owning my own private practice. My coach was twenty years older than me and as a result had a lot of knowledge, wisdom, and experience. Not only was he well versed in the technical aspects of dentistry, he also was an expert in the areas of leadership, practice management, and people management. He was an excellent clinician with a proven track record, one who loved his work, and one who provided comprehensive care for all of his patients. He had a great team, many staying with him for many years. He ran his office with the same precision he used to prepare a tooth for a crown. He had clear and concise written systems and policies; his overhead never exceeded fifty-two percent. As long as I knew him, he was an avid reader and student, he did beautiful dentistry, and was financially successful and happy. Over the years, he continuously sought education from people like Dr. Thomas Basta, Dr. Peter Dawson, and from places like The Pankey Institute and The Schuster Center. I felt blessed to have him as my coach.(more…)
January 7, 2020
A few months ago, I visited my optometrist for an annual eye exam. Prior to visiting him, I thought my eyesight, with my existing eyeglasses, was fine. I could see the street signs while driving my car and was able to read the words on my computer screen. Based on those two factors alone, I thought my vision was perfect. During my examination, I was shocked when I could not read several of the letters on the eye chart. I was totally unaware that the vision in both of my eyes had weakened and that my eyesight had worsened during the past year. I was grateful I had gotten a check-up. Now with my new glasses, my eyesight was back to normal; I was able to see things more clearly.(more…)
December 19, 2019
Bringing Life Back to Your Dental Practice
Just as performing CPR or cardiopulmonary resuscitation can bring a person back to life, CPR or in this case a Comprehensive Practice Review is a great way to bring new life to your dental practice. In other words, a CPR gets to the heart of what matters most.(more…)
DISC- It’s More than Just a Frisbee
A Great Way to Help Your Practice Soar
What is the DISC? DISC is an easy to understand personality assessment system that looks at observable behaviors. For me, it was one of the keys to my successful solo, fee-for-service, dental practice of 28 years. How does the DISC work and what does it measure? The assessment measures how direct or indirect someone may be in their communication. For example, you may ask yourself if the people you are talking with are more open or more reserved in their communication? Does this one person like to talk or are they better at listening? Also, the DISC identifies peoples’ priorities. Are they more oriented towards completing tasks or they a “people person?” What about a person’s pace of life? The DISC assesses that attribute as well. Do they tend to talk, move, or make decisions quickly or do they operate at a slower pace, tend to be quiet, and need more time to think about things? The DISC helps you see and identify these different aspects of behavior. In the DISC system, there are four basic styles of identifiable behavior: The Dominant/Driver or the “D”, The Influencer or the “I”, The Sustainer/Steadiness or the “S”, and The Conscientious/Analytic or the “C”.(more…)
November 9, 2019
It seems like dental offices are a dime dozen these days. Most dentists want to establish their own practice, be their own boss, determine their own hours, etc. All of those things are great perks for you as a dental professional — but you cannot just assume that growing a dental practice is easy or automatic. A major key to having a successful, long-term business is having qualities that make your practice stand out as unique. Let’s discuss some things you may be able to do to make your practice a true standout amongst its contemporaries.(more…)
October 24, 2019
Every dentist that contacts me basically says the same statement in one form or another, “I want to know how to grow my practice.” Often, the previous advice they’ve gotten revolves around taking more continuing education courses, getting more certifications, or spending more time at the office. At Dynamic Dental Communications, I’ve helped dentists and specialists increase their profits and their fulfillment without telling them to simply “work harder.” Sound too good to be true? In essence, the secret is effective communication, which is largely lacking in many offices without the doctor or staff even realizing it! Here are just a few ways great communication is essential for growing a dental practice.(more…)
September 4, 2019
If you plug “How to grow my practice” into a search engine right now, you’ll find plenty of “gurus” who basically all offer the same advice. Take more continuing education. Get to the office earlier. Offer more services. Market to get more fee-for-service patients. Every year, countless dentists take this approach, and yes, they might see their profits go up…but they are still miserable.
I found myself in the same position for years as a successful but unhappy dentist in New Hampshire, and after doing a lot of research and soul searching, I figured out that going for better numbers isn’t the only way to improve a dental practice. Eventually, I came up with my Hands, Head, and Heart philosophy, and it was a real game-changer, both for my day-to-day experience in the office as well as my balance sheet. Today, it’s at the core of what I teach my clients, and you can learn a little bit about how it works by reading on below.(more…)