Festivus will soon be upon us and in keeping
with the spirit of the holiday, I wanted to take a
moment of your time for a brief "airing of grievances."
I'm using this as a therapy with the intention
of removing these annoyances from my life
permanently and moving on to something else.
After you read my list, immediately write down the
things that come to mind about your practice life. I
promise you will feel better before Halloween,
unless number three applies to you.
1. There are many reasons we take alginate
impressions on our patients. When I look at the
counter in our office lab and see three sets of
poured-up models with no names next to them, I
want to scream. Do assistants keep this information
secret so we can't fire them?
2. I hate doing employee reviews. However,
they need to be done at least once a year and they
do not always come with a raise.
3. Every Halloween, dentists around the country
offer a candy buyback program. This is where
they offer kids $1 per pound, or some nominal fee,
to turn in the majority of their Halloween candy. It's
bad for them anyway, right? Then, what do they do
with the candy? Send it to our troops overseas where
routine dental care is scarce. Next month you guys
can do a cigarette buyback program with your adult
4. Whenever I have to prepare a single anterior
tooth for a crown, I always send the patient
to a local lab for a custom shade. I tell them
that having the lab person see them will give
the best information on color, contour,
character, etc. When the crown comes back
and the shade is off, I realize that some people
think the art of dentistry is more impressionism
5. I fully understand that making cold
calls to business phone numbers is one way to
make a living. However, interrupting the operation
of my business is the worst way
to make a first impression. The volume of cold calls
coming to the practice some days is enough to keep
me from doing business with anyone who uses this
method of prospecting.
6. An instrument (example: implant wrench)
goes missing in the office and nobody knows where
it went. I think this was a recurring theme in the
Family Circus cartoons. It's not as cute with adults.
7. The other day I spent 14 minutes on hold
with a dental equipment manufacturer to determine
the part number for a small piece of plastic in my
operatory. Next, I had to call the distributor to order
the part; the cost: $57. I chuckled and the guy on the
other end said, "I know, this happens all the time
with these plastic parts." Then we both laughed as I
8. Nothing hurts more than the patient who
says, "My tooth didn't hurt before you worked on
it." I will never enjoy this phrase, but I have
learned to identify potential problem teeth in
advance and I have never recommended replacing
amalgam fillings just because they are old.
9. I'm convinced that if your front office staff is
angry with you, they will schedule more than three
Class II composite patients in the same day. I loathe
the tedium of multiple Class II composites in spite
of the fact that I routinely use the rubber dam. My
solution was to limit the number of Class II composites
that can be scheduled in a single day.
10. I take my responsibility to my patients very
seriously and there are two after-hours calls that
drive me crazy: Patients who cannot reach their
dentist because no after-hours option exists, and
patients of record who call for treatment that was
recommended but they never scheduled.
Perhaps this list has sparked a few grievances
that you would like to share with us on
Dentaltown.com. You can add your comments
to this article online or reach me via e-mail:
firstname.lastname@example.org. If Twitter is your thing, follow
me here: @ddstom.