Monday, May 5, 2008


I was a senior at the University of Florida (undergrad) and I had already been accepted to dental school, so I did what everyone does, I signed up for a blow off class. Ceramics.
Unbeknownst to me this was NOT a blow off class. These people take pottery very seriously.
I was in the ceramics lab more than I was studying for all my other classes and still pulling a low C.

But this is not what the blog is about. One night, I started home about 2am after working late on my final exam. I was taking a short cut through the higher level ceramics lab (instead of ashtrays, they are making dinnerware) when I came upon a trash can.
In this trash can was a very cool set of mugs (they might have been chalices but to a college student every thing that hold a liquid is a beer mug) and a matching pitcher.
I thought to myself, “Self, you have just scored some awesome fine china (if it is not plastic it is fine china)”.
So I started to dig into the trash can and gathering up my booty. When out from the senior ceramics lab came some dude screaming, “You can’t take that.”
I said, “The heck I can’t. It is in the trashcan and I am going to take it”

What he said has will affect the rest of my life.

He said, “What I meant was, I wish you would not take that stuff. You see I am the artist that made those. It is a big deal to me that they are not out in the world. If you turn those things over you will see that I have signed all of the “mugs” and the pitcher. (I indeed turned them over and saw his signature).
He continued, “I was not happy with the way they turned out and I wanted to throw them out. You see when I sign something, it has my name on it I want it to be good. Now people will associate the product with the maker. I don’t want people associating this product with me. Hence the trashcan.”
He said, “I will tell you what, I will trade you. I have some other stuff and if you give me the crappy ones I will GIVE you these that I really like.”
I thought the guy was totally off his rocker at the time. And at the time all I cared about was getting free fine china. So I made the trade.
I got the china but it was the lesson I learned from him that was the real jewel.

This guy was so adamant about not having work, that he was not proud of, out in the world. So much so that he would basically pay me not to take it.

So this is the motto I live by in my practice. Every thing that goes out of my office has my signature on it. Trust me this is not as easy as it sounds. It means redoing stuff. I means working harder on benign procedures.
And I try to make my staff feel the same way. Meaning, everything that THEY do has MY signature on it.

From sealants to bridges I make sure things are good (more like great) when they leave. I know I have talked about this before but I feel this strongly about this.
Imagine you are doing a root canal and you have a couple extra minutes in your schedule. So you go ahead and do the build-up. You tell the patient that you will bring them back for the crown next week
You throw something on there knowing they are coming back in a week.
Anyone ever used the thumb print method of build-ups.
What if you do a sloppy job on this build-up and they don’t come back?
This is what haunts me. I do something sloppy and they don’t come back.
So in order to not have this problem, I micro manage everything that goes out of here.
This is not always good either. My assistant says I am going to have an early heart attack because of it.
But I think better to be known as a perfectionist and die early than a slouch and be around for awhile.

Here is a build-up I did

How about kids teeth. Do you say, "Well they are going to come out in four years anyway."
NO WAY. Same thing.
Here is a quadrant on a kid. I did a sealant on the molar. I did a pulp and a big filling on the 2nd molar and a DO on the first molar.

Don't forget you can double click on the picture and it will go to life size.
Do you think this is easy? No.
Do you think this takes a lot of work? Yes.

Now you can take this to crowns and implants and bridges.
Well I think this work is above average so I charge above average prices.

I am going to pick this topic up, starting at pricing, on Wednesday.
I want to show you more photos too.

Hope you are having a great Monday.
I am going to see the movie 21 today.
I let you know how it is.

No comments:


PLEASE NOTE: When commenting on this blog, you are affirming that any and all statements, and parts thereof, that you post on “The Daily Grind” (the blog) are your own.

The statements expressed on this blog to include the bloggers postings do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), nor do they imply endorsement by the AGD.