Monday, April 20, 2015


The age-old battle of fluoridation VS no fluoridation is now invading the internet using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other platforms.  The media-savvy anti-fluoridationists have been making themselves heard via internet sites for several years.  Last fall the ADA House of Delegates approved Resolution 101H-2014, allocating $500,000 for improved public awareness, marketing, and advertising online.   A portion of the money will be used to promote the positive, safe effects of community water fluoridation via social media.

The Resolution, the result of work by local dentists in Massachusetts who have seen increased anti-fluoridation efforts in their state for the past few years, was introduced to the House of Delegates by the First District Trustee District caucus.  Statistics available through the ADA attest that 46 states have faced challenges to community water supply fluoridation since 2011.  The ADA’s media campaign will aggressively promote the positives of community water fluoridation including safety, efficacy, and cost effectiveness, and correct misinformation which anti-fluoridationists are distributing to local officials, policymakers, citizens, and non-dental health care providers across the country.

Your Health: Fluoridation Toolkits are available to help dentists combat the campaign of misinformation alarming the public about water fluoridation.   Developed by experts through the ADA, these kits contain over 30 ready-to-use resources plus tips on social media use and are available to help initiate or retain pro-fluoridation programs.  Contact your local or state dental society for more information about the toolkits.  Additionally, technical assistance for a fluoridation campaign is available from Jane McGinley, Manager, Fluoridation and Preventive Health Activities for the ADA’s Council on Access, Prevention, and Inter-professional Relations at

Monday, April 13, 2015


In the dental office of a client who has been in practice almost 40 years, the staff recently authored a valuable list of ways to save time, motion, and money. He sent me a copy of their list which is quite detailed and impressive. Besides generating savings, the effort shows staff interest in and commitment to the practice.

A few of their ideas are basic, simple reminders from a mindset of thrift. Some others involve materials and medicaments; some, time, motion, and efficiency (which are, after all, money); some, clinical procedures; and others, business procedures.

A few of the staff’s ideas follow, given as examples of attention to detail which work together to strengthen the practice. Perhaps sharing this effort with your staff will inspire them to create a similar list aimed at waste prevention in your office. Remember, every dollar saved can flow directly to the bottom line as profit. When discussing profit, make certain staff members realize that from profit comes money to put back into the practice---for increases in their compensation and benefits, for additional staff members if necessary, for refurbishing the office, for new clinical equipment, a new computer system, a new phone system, etc. Adequate profit assures growth of the practice and, therefore, job stability for everyone.


·         Turn off lights when not in a room.         

·         Fix plumbing leaks such as faucet drips so water is not wasted.      

·         Take care to do things right the first time:                       

o   Avoid re-taking x-rays.  

o   Mix material and take impressions carefully – no repeats necessary.          

o   According to the treatment to be done. If standard trays are prepared, place instruments not needed on that particular patient aside out of the field of treatment so they will not have to be re-sterilized.        

·         Do not open sterilized, bagged instruments until use is certain.                   

·         Avoid duplicating tasks such as several staff members working on the same task, patients asked to complete duplicate forms and paperwork, duplicating chart notes, duplicating data entry, etc.

·         Use all supplies sparingly such as ZOE, dycal, probond, and even floss---reel off the font only the amount needed.      

·         Obtain complete information when a patient calls. A Patient Visit Slip can be a check list to assure all information is taken. If the patient must speak with a different staff member, the slip can be quickly transferred so the patient does not have to repeat information.

·         Do not print out duplicate or unnecessary paperwork.            

·         Have all paperwork together for each type of patient appointment so that a clipboard with proper forms can be handed to the patient at check-in.
On and on---this staff’s list of waste prevention ideas was quite extensive and detailed.
Suggestion: ask your staff members to make notes for a week, compiling individual lists of ideas for waste prevention. Then schedule a staff meeting to discuss ideas, eliminating duplicate suggestions. Separate ideas by topics; for example, Physical Facility, Personnel Issues, Scheduling, Clinic and Lab, and Business Desk. Make print-outs of the final list for each team member and the dentist(s). Re-visit the list in a month to discuss progress, measure savings, and congratulate staff members with some type of small, fun reward for a job well done---maybe a bagel breakfast one day the following week. Add new ideas to the list to perpetuate waste prevention and reap increased profit.

Thursday, April 9, 2015


The January 5, 2015 issue of the ADA News contained an article well worth reading:  MY VIEW---TAKING ONE DAY AT A TIME.  Written anonymously by a practicing oral surgeon in Oklahoma, it is the captivating story of a dentist who became addicted to prescription pain medication and alcohol.

In my almost 30-year career as a practice management consultant, I have witnessed several similar heart-wrenching stories involving clients.  Most have eventually sought professional help and have been able to resurrect their lives and relationships as they achieve and cling to sobriety, one day at a time.

The author of this MY VIEW expresses his victory in remaining sober like this, “Surrender is a word that was not in my vocabulary previously, but now I realize that if I don’t surrender my will and my life to the power of God, I’ll be right back where I started from.  Therefore, each day when I wake up, I ask God for another sober day; I surrender my will to Him; and I live one day at a time.”

Currently 45 states have dentist well-being programs through which help is available.  For more information on your state’s program or other sources of help, call the ADA’s Dentist Health and Wellness section of the ADA Council on Dental Practice at 1-312-440-2500, ext. 2622 or inquire by email: to reach Alison M. Siweck, manager of the Health and Wellness Section. 

Saturday, April 4, 2015


Experts in dental practice management recommend a variety of standards by which a practice should be managed to assure maximum profitability.  One of the standards is a guideline for aged accounts receivable (A/R).  Maintaining these parameters should assure that your A/R does not spin out of control.
  • Current – 50% - 60% of total A/R
  • 30 days – 15% - 20% of total A/R            
  • 60 days – 10% - 15% of total A/R
  • 90 days – less than 10% of total A/R
  • 120 days – sent for outside collection action  (Caution here---the dentist should review all accounts to be sent to a collection agent to be certain there are no extenuating circumstances that would warrant simply writing off the balance rather than turning the account over for outside action.)

Monday, March 30, 2015


The 27th annual meeting of the SCDA was held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Denver, CO on March 27-29, 2015.  Experts in the field of Special Care Dentistry led seminars and SCDA members, all of whom treat special-needs patients, shared their knowledge and experiences.

The majority of dental practices occasionally treat special-needs patients whose needs and problems are varied and demanding.  These patients have a wide variety of issues, including developmental or intellectual disabilities, medically complex treatment needs, geriatric demands, confinement to home, a nursing home, or hospital, or severe dental phobia.  Expertise shared at the SCDA meeting can enhance the practitioner’s clinical and interpersonal skill levels so necessary for successfully treating this special patient population.
Mark your calendar now to attend the 2016 SCDA annual session.  For more information, visit