Monday, May 20, 2019



The Swedish word fika means to take a coffee and a pastry break with family, friends, or coworkers. It's a time, an invitation, to enjoy one another's company, to linger a little away from the rush of "busyness" we all experience in the hectic pace of work, and of life in general.

Fika is the spirit of "We care." This spirit can permeate a home, a family, a work team, a business, a house of worship, or even a dental office if the people involved are willing to show an extra measure of interest in those around them: patients, teammates, and dentist(s).

How can your dental team develop and share in the spirit of fika? Consider forming a "We Care" Team to bring fika to life in your office. Allocate an adequate budget for a few months to test the idea and watch to see the positive changes that result.

The second message I'd like to share is one I received by email, and, normally, would have been deleted immediately. For some reason, I read this posting top to bottom, and I'm glad I did, because I was struck by the thoughts stated. I still pause for a quick thought of gratitude each time I read it.

This is only a portion of the whole, a discussion of gratitude for the blessings in our lives that often go unnoticed, or that we regard as "coincidences." I have come to agree with George Washington, the first U.S. President, that "coincidences" are not happenstances, but rather providential interruptions. There are no coincidences.

"How does one acknowledge God's blessings?" I asked. "Simple. Just say, 'Thank you, Lord.' "
"What blessings should we acknowledge?" I asked.

If you have food in your refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead, and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75% of this world. If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish, you are among the top 8% of the world's wealthy, and if you get this on your own computer, you are part of the 1% in the world who has that opportunity.

If you woke up this morning with more health than illness, you are more blessed than the many who will not even survive this day.

If you have never experienced the awful fear in battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation, you are ahead of 700 million people in the world.

If you can attend a church, synagogue, mosque, or temple without the fear of harassment, arrest, torture or death, you are envied by and more blessed than three billion people in the world.

If you can hold your head up and smile, you are not the norm—you're unique to all those in doubt and despair.

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

Monday, May 13, 2019



There are fundamental principles by which successful, prosperous practices operate. Dentists who emphasize these ideals are several steps ahead of colleagues whose primary goal is pumping out dentistry in pursuit of the almighty dollar:
  1. Commit to your practice and your team. Make certain your staff fully embraces your practice mission of Do Right, Do Better, Do Together as you care for patients. Establish a cohesive sense of "We're one team." Make time for daily huddles, monthly team meetings, and an annual planning retreat off-site. Also consider hiring motivational speakers and/or team-building coaches.
  2. Share your knowledge. Make training and continuous learning a habit in your practice. This is a golden opportunity for your entire team to grow professionally.
  3. Establish performance standards for all team members as appropriate for each role. Be consistent in your expectations and schedule regular performance evaluations.
  4. Listen well. Value staff and patient input and act on suggestions that are feasible and appropriate. Show staff members how much you appreciate them, their loyalty, and their dedication to quality patient care.
  5. Exceed expectations, for both patients and team members.
  6. Organize work systems and insist on adherence to efficient, effective patient care and business systems.
  7. Set goals for production, collections, new patient visits, hygiene appointments, etc. Adapting the old adage, "You don't need to floss all your teeth, just those you want to keep," we can say, "You don't need to set goals for every system in your practice, just those you want to improve."
  8. Create an annual budget for your practice and stick to it. Control overhead. Raise fees at least once a year.
  9. Don't be afraid to swim upstream. Stay open to new ideas, methods, materials, work systems, etc.
  10. Celebrate success!
Be sure to check out our Free Resources for Your Practice for additional insights, information, and practice management tips.

Monday, May 6, 2019



Can you tell how fast your car is going without a speedometer? Or how far you've driven without an odometer? Can you tell how much gas is in the tank without a gauge? You might have some idea, or at least a guess, but can you trust these instincts as you fly past that state patrol car on the freeway, or cruise by that last gas station for 200 miles?

Just as you can't be expected to "guesstimate" how your car is performing without "reports" from various instruments, you can't monitor the business of your practice without a report of what was accomplished each day in the office. This Daily Activity Report can tell you at a glance how your practice is functioning on a daily basis:

Daily Activity Report
Date:  __________
# of patients scheduled  __________
# of patients seen  __________
% of patients seen as scheduled (show rate)  __________
# of broken appointments  __________
# rescheduled  __________
# of patients scheduled  __________
# of patients seen  __________
% of patients seen as scheduled (show rate)  __________
# of broken appointments  __________
# rescheduled  __________
Production and Collections
Daily production goal$__________
Daily goal adjustment$__________
Collection total (goal: 40% to 50% of day's production)$__________
Collection over the counter$__________
Collection by mail or online$__________
Collections to Production ratio (goal: 97% or more)  __________%
Adjustments and write-offs$__________
Bank deposit$__________

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

Monday, April 29, 2019



A wise person once said, "You can't please all of the people all of the time." And isn't that the truth! Coined to apply to the realm of manufactured goods as our culture moved beyond handmade and homemade items, this phrase can be applied to all sectors of work, including dentistry.

The vast majority of dental teams work diligently to provide the best clinical care for patients; to make each patient feel special, appreciated, and welcome at every appointment; to listen to and reassure patients in order to lessen their concerns or fears; to explain treatment plans in layman's terms; to make financial plans that encourage acceptance of proposed treatment; on and on. However, in spite of our best efforts, most dental offices have an occasional dissatisfied patient. How much do a few unhappy patients matter? How significant is the negative effect on the practice?

Let's examine a few myths about dissatisfied customers (patients) which emphasize some surprising truths put forth by marketing and public relations experts:
  • Myth: If our office doesn't receive complaints, it means all our patients are satisfied.
  • Truth: Most dissatisfied patients do not register their complaint. Every complaint received represents another 26 problems, at least 20% of which are significant.

  • Myth: If patients don't complain, they can't be that displeased, and will likely remain with the practice.
  • Truth: Unhappy non-complainers are the least likely to return for services.

  • Myth: One or two dissatisfied patients don't mean much.
  • Truth: In these days of social media, one displeased patient can post negative comments about a dental practice that are read by hundreds or even thousands of people.

  • Myth: The practice has plenty of patients. If one or two leave, we'll replace them with new patients.
  • Truth: A lost patient can mean thousands of dollars lost per year, plus the loss of production for the patient's family members. Word about unsolved issues spreads quickly from dissatisfied patients to other patients and to the general public. On the other hand, a dissatisfied patient whose problems receive prompt, courteous attention to solve or clarify the issue is almost certain to remain with the practice and tell others about his or her positive experience, whether via word of mouth or online posting.
A good guideline for every dental office: Even one dissatisfied patient is one too many. Therefore, dental teams must address every complaint as if it were their own, handling it to the patient's satisfaction. If unable to satisfy the patient, the dentist and team, when appropriate, should apologize, hoping to retain the patient's respect even if he or she chooses to leave the practice.

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

Monday, April 22, 2019



Let's start out with some facts:
  • Implants are placed by 18% to 20% of dentists in the U.S.
  • Dentists in this group each place an average of 55 to 60 implants per year.
  • Approximately three million people in the U.S. have implants, with an additional 500,000 people having implants placed each year.
  • Worldwide, the combination of dental implants and prosthetics produced $7.68 billion in 2017 and is expected to reach $13.01 billion by 2023.
Furthermore, consider the volume of people in the U.S. who are candidates for implants:
  • 120 million U.S. residents have lost at least one tooth.
  • 36 million people are completely edentulous, and 90% of this group has dentures.
  • Another 12 million are edentulous in one arch.
  • 2.3 million crowns to fit over implants are fabricated annually.
With such numbers, it’s no wonder about one-fifth of dentists in the U.S. are now placing implants. Increasing numbers of patients are becoming knowledgeable about implant dentistry and are requesting the procedure. The science of implant dentistry is being continuously enhanced by digital technology. CBCT, intraoral scanning, and 3D printing are among the recent innovations that have made diagnosis and treatment planning for implants more precise. In addition, many insurers now cover implant procedures, up to about 50% of typical fees.

According to market research experts, the demand for implants is projected to grow at a rate of 8.8% between now and 2023. The increase in geriatric populations with age-related dental diseases, the popularity of cosmetic dental procedures, the increase in decay and periodontal problems, and the growing awareness of the effects of dental disease on overall health all work together to result in increased demand for dental implants.

Implants have been used successfully for 25 years, with studies showing a 98% success rate. If you’ve not yet joined the flood of general dentists offering implant therapy, consider investigating the possibilities. As you weigh the decision, calculate the impact of the significantly increased production on your overall office production. Investigate the best facility and faculty from whom to receive training, and include the cost of tuition, travel and per diem expenses when comparing increased production against added costs. Next, consider the up-front investment required for new equipment. And remember, the costs are an investment in your practice that will be amortized over a few years. Once up-front costs are paid, the profit margin will increase dramatically. These steps will help you decide if adding implant therapy is a positive for your practice.

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