It’s the little things that count
You get into dental health for various reasons, but we all do the same things to stay relevant in the profession. If you are going to open your own practice, or work for someone else, you must remember that it is a business and you need to attract and retain clients for your practice otherwise, you will not be a dentist for very long.
So I came up with a list of things you need to do to be a great dentist. Some are relevant to the profession, others step out a little bit, but overall, they should steer you towards having and running a successful practice.
Think about the officeYou may be so focused on getting the right equipment that you don’t pay attention to the ambience created in your office and reception areas. Get someone to do some interior design work for you that will put your patients at ease (they are already nervous anyway), and presents a great image for your practice.
What about your personality?Try as much as you can to be empathetic and kind. The aim here is to, again, put the client at ease. Don’t be too severe and rush straight to the point, and don’t be too forward as to be misunderstood by your patient. Be professional and help your patient relax first before starting any work on them. It will certainly make the procedure easier for both you and the patient.
Hiring capable staffImagine the patient’s perception of your practice if you get an assistant who is making too many mistakes within a procedure. It can be pretty scary. So make sure you hire the most qualified dental assistant you can find. They should also be professional and kind to the patients. You can check out DDS connections to find one. And the same goes for everyone else on your staff.
Stay currentThere will always be some new development or other that will come up and you need to be on top of it. Read up on the latest technologies and procedures to see which you can assimilate. Patients are also better informed nowadays so be ready to answer questions about these latest findings in oral health. It will certainly make you look good.
Talk to your patientsOne of the tasks of any health professional is to educate the patient about proper health practices that will keep them healthier for longer. So you need to sharpen your communication skills so you can educate your patients on oral health in a simple, clear manner that they can understand. It also helps to tailor your tips to their situation, so get to know them a little bit so that your recommendations are feasible to them.
Good with your handsYou need to be good with your hands to work all those instruments in the small space that is your patient’s mouth. Make sure your skills are on point and that you have the stamina to concentrate through long, intricate procedures. You also need to be able to do ‘difficult’ procedures while causing as little discomfort as possible (you will get lots of recommendations for this). Think of it as a musical performance: every note must be perfect until the end of the song.
Is this your passion?Do you love what you do? Does the thought of going to your office to treat people and educate them on oral health fill you with joy, most times anyway, or do you wish you were doing something else?
You see, even with state-of-the-art equipment and the best staff members, if you hate what you are doing, it is going to show in the quality of your work or at least in your attitude. On the other hand, if this is your passion, you may not have good equipment, but you will make it work and do a great job.
So like they say at weddings, this is not to be entered into unadvisedly. Be honest with yourself; do you really want to be a dentist?
Michael Holmes is a Professor of Orthodontics and an owner of several dental practices across the country. He has been featured often on DDS connections.