Monday, January 6, 2020

FROM 1980 TO 2020


In my wildest imagination, I could never imagine writing a "last" blog; or article; or dental textbook chapter; or newsletter; or consulting report; or seminar outline.

Writing is what I do, and so much of who I am. It is how I communicate with the thousands of dentists and team members with whom I have interacted over the past 40 years. Writing to help dentists, their practice, and the profession itself is as natural to me as breathing.

I still recall a conversation with a long-term client about 15 years ago in which I laughingly assured him I'd never retire, but simply keel over at my desk one midnight as I pushed to meet some deadline.


There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, …a time to weep and a time to laugh, …a time to be silent and a time to speak… I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all toil—this is the gift of God. —Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, 12-13

I have found supreme satisfaction in my toil for dentists and their profession!

But the time has come to lay down my pen, put aside my computer's use for professional writing, and focus instead on email, USPS mail, or cell phone to stay in contact with friends and clients.

I treasure the invaluable friendships I've formed with dentists and team members these past 40 years; I look forward to continued contact. Dentistry and dental professionals have enriched my life beyond measure. Words simply fail me when I try to describe what the profession and its practitioners have meant and continue to mean to me.

Thank you for allowing me to become a part of the finest profession populated by the kindest, most caring, concerned, skilled practitioners in the world. I appreciate your years of support for my consulting and writing work and for our company, Practicon, Inc.

As many of you know, my three children, my son-in-law, and one of my grandsons are among Practicon's 65 associates. Our awesome team is dedicated to the profession and to each dentist and his/her team, as well as to each individual practice. Our tag line, Practical Innovations for Dentistry, describes our product line while our company values describe the way in which we serve clients and customers: Do Right; Do Better; Do Together.

Please remember that many practice management tips/pearls, statistics, forms, letters, and insights are available at the Practicon website under Free Resources for your Practice. And be sure to peruse past blogs and articles in the archives for topics of interest.

My heartfelt thanks to each of you for 40 years filled with wonderful experiences that have generated golden memories.


Monday, December 23, 2019



What in the world does a piece written years ago by a Catholic nun in India have to do with my dental practice?
I can imagine you asking such a question. Just as your office is way more than a mill to churn out dental treatment, and your dental team is way more than a group of wage earners, Mother Teresa's words are way more than jargon from a religious woman.

People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered. Love them anyway.

If you do good, people may accuse you of selfish motives. Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you may win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.

The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.

Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway.

People who really want help may attack you if you help them. Help them anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you may get hurt. Give the world your best anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.
Worldwide, Mother Teresa is one of the most admired human beings in modern history. Born Anjeze Gonxhe Bojaxhiu in Skopje, Ottoman Empire, she left home in 1928 at age 18, moving to Ireland to study toward becoming a missionary. After completing her studies in 1929, she moved to India, her home for the remainder of her life.

On September 10, 1946, Sister Teresa experienced what she termed the call from God "to leave the convent and help the poor while living among them. It was an order. To fail would have been to break the faith." She settled in Calcutta, India, living among the hungry, naked, orphaned, homeless, crippled, blind, and leprous to establish the Missionaries of Charity, an organization that has done untold good for untold thousands of human beings around the globe.

Monday, December 16, 2019


In the busy pace of today's world, we are seldom without an electronic device somewhere on our person: in our hands, in a pocket or purse, or hanging on a belt. We have become so accustomed to dealing with business processes, communications, schedules, news, and social interactions on our computers, smart phones, or other devices that we often grow careless in protecting our office, home, and personal devices from cyberattacks. It is time to remind your team about the necessity of vigilance, and about updated methods of maintaining security.

Dental offices across the country have fallen prey to cybercrime by hackers and thieves determined to threaten, steal, sabotage, or completely destroy office computer systems. Two of the most common attacks are in the form of phishing and ransomware.

In a phishing expedition, a hacker sends an email, often created to resemble a trusted email source. The purpose is to trick the email recipient (your office) into providing account information or clicking on a link or opening an attachment that deploys ransomware. Ransomware is software that encrypts the target data in order to hold it hostage for ransom. The cybercriminal demands payment for decrypting and restoring the affected data, but often fails to do so once a ransom has been paid.

Where can a dentist get information and materials for training the team on cybercrime prevention? Where can you go for advice in case the office has been attacked?

Answer: The ADA Center for Professional Success provides resources to help dentists protect the office from hackers and cyberattacks and protect the practice from ransomware.

The Federal Trade Commission website contains information to help small business owners, including dentists, fight off phishing and ransomware attacks and advice about what to do if a business/dental practice is attacked.

Every dental office should have a locally based IT expert on whom to call in case of an emergency. Cybercriminals often put a deadline on payment of ransom or other demand so that a local resource to fight the attack immediately is often necessary.

Be sure to check out our Free Resources for Your Practice for additional insights, information, and practice management tips.

Monday, December 9, 2019


Morale in the workplace is an often under-recognized factor in the success of any business. When morale is high:
  • Patient care and customer service improve dramatically
  • Workflow is smoother
  • Production increases
  • Loyalty and cooperation among team members is stronger
  • Every workday is more enjoyable, and, perhaps most importantly,
  • Profit increases!
As we have all experienced at one time or another, low morale among team members produces the opposite effects.

Consider the following list of ideas to stoke morale in your office. Involve your team members in these efforts and enjoy the benefits of improved morale among your entire staff.

18 Ways to Boost Morale in Your Office
  1. Create a team-authored mission statement for the practice. Frame and hang it in the office, visible daily to staff and to patients.
  2. Provide proper orientation and training for new team members. Allow senior auxiliaries to participate in the orientation and training.
  3. Provide and encourage continuing education and ongoing training for long-term staff members. Display some of their certificates, diplomas, and awards in the office and compliment them when patients are present.
  4. Apply the same personnel policies, evaluations, and open communication for all staff members.
  5. Schedule regular one-on-one discussions with each team member (at least two times per year), covering job performance, growth opportunities, and skill development.
  6. Start each work day with a morning huddle to review patients and treatment scheduled. Rotate leadership of huddles among team members. Conclude with a positive thought for the day or a short prayer.
  7. Schedule monthly area meetings in which business team members meet together while clinical team members do the same. Each group will benefit from focusing on the specifics of their work area.
  8. Schedule monthly team meetings with planned agendas, and include all full-time and part-time team members. Follow up on suggestions, changes, and activities discussed whether or not implemented. Act promptly on feasible ideas so that the team observes the dentist's responsiveness.
  9. Provide a supply of simple stickers that say "I appreciate you!" to be exchanged among coworkers when one is particularly grateful for help or attention given by a team member. Also, patients will be impressed by the display of congeniality and cooperation among your staff members.
  10. Provide a supply of "Appreciation-Gram" forms so one team member can thank another in writing and post the message on the office bulletin board.
  11. Plan for and enjoy staff and doctor appreciation days. Or hours. Or special events. Remember that expression of appreciation is a two-way phenomenon—doctor to staff and staff to doctor.
  12. Schedule patient appreciation celebrations with the team as hosts/hostesses.
  13. Display staff photos, plaques, certificates and awards in an area of the office were patients can also see them.
  14. Undertake charity dental projects, chosen by team members in rotation. Involve everyone on staff and make certain the event is noted by local media and in office social media postings.
  15. Have an annual group photograph made by a professional photographer to display in the office and to print on notes, cards, and pamphlets distributed to patients and community-wide. Invite staff to sit for individual portraits as well.
  16. Keep an office scrapbook maintained by one interested team member. Pleasant memories enrich morale.
  17. Plan and budget for fun times together—birthday celebrations, family picnics, shared salad bar lunches, holiday celebrations, etc. A “We Care” team can plan and coordinate such events.
  18. Name a We Care Team of two or three to plan, organize, and facilitate events like those mentioned above. The dentist can supply the money for events within the limits of the office budget. Participation on this team can rotate among staff.
Be sure to check out our Free Resources for Your Practice for additional insights, information, and practice management tips.

Monday, December 2, 2019



From its humble beginnings as a one-day program in Cleveland, Ohio on February 3, 1941, National Children's Dental Health Month (NCDHM) has grown to a month-long event focusing nationwide attention on the oral health of children. In 1981, the American Dental Association named February as NCDHM, encouraging dentists, other health care providers, educators, teachers, legislators, and others to alert children and their caregivers to the importance of oral health, and to emphasize preventive measures to help children keep their teeth for their entire lifetime.

A cornerstone of NCDHM is Give Kids a Smile Day (GKASD), a nationwide initiative that allows dental offices a practical way to participate in the effort to keep kids free of dental disease through hands-on dental treatment and preventive education. Tooth decay is the Number 1 chronic disease affecting children in the U.S. Left untreated, tooth decay can cause a variety of health problems into adulthood. GKASD and NCDHM together help children break the dental disease cycle.

It is vitally important to support the programs that serve children in your area with quality oral health care and preventive education, and now is the time to plan how you and your team will participate in GKASD and NCDHM in your community.

The NCDHM campaign slogan for 2020 is Fluoride in water prevents cavities! Get it from the tap! Materials to support community programs are available from the ADA, including a 12" by 18" poster with English on the front and Spanish on the back, activity sheets for children, a planning guide, publicity suggestions, and resources to help you publicize your oral health messages, activities, and events.

So join the effort to make dental disease in children a thing of the past.

And be sure to check out our Free Resources for Your Practice for additional insights, information, and practice management tips.