Friday, February 27, 2009

Hi all,

I went to the Chamber of Commerce "Business after hours" last night. I compare it to like a dating service get together. Everyone knows what everyone else is there for. But not everyone likes to go up to others and introduce themselves. Some people are walking around and just as bubbly as you could be. You know the kind with this huge smile on their face, "Hey, how are you doing? I am Sally from Blind Design. What is your name?"
Oh my gosh does this make me uncomfortable. I told you I am so bad at this.

I saw another dentist there. He was hanging out at the bar. This guy goes to about two events a year. He looked bitter. Like I am so ticked that I have to be here. Things really suck at my office so I am forcing myself to be here.
But you know if you are sitting at the bar and not conversing with anyone then why go.
Well, I kind of fel the same way about myself.
Did I tell you how much I hate doing this stuff?

One thing about Dentistry from the Heart that was cool was having 14 different dentists come through your doors. And on more than one occasion some of us were able to just talk shop.
How do you do this? What material do you use for something like this? You got to try this instrument.
It was so nice.
But you know what was weird is how different some of us were.
There was a dentist that didn't extract teeth.
There was a dentist that said she would volunteer as long as she didn't have to work with amalgam.
There was one dentist that does all his extractions with pedo forcepts.
It was like a dental forum right here in my office.
I have this elevator that I really love to use and really hate doing extractions without it.
I walked around with this sterilized elevator telling some guys, "here use this and see if you like it."
I heard of a couple of instruments that others were using that I didn't have.
I started to think what it would be like to work in a group practice. Not a father/son partnership but a group of friends getting together and opening up a practice.
A group of dentists that were passionate about dentistry.
That would be cool.

But then I thought about it for a while.
Partnerships break up all the time. Why?
Plain and simple. Because we are a weird bunch.
If you are a dentist don't get all upset with me...just think about it.
You like it the way you like it. That is it. It is not up for discussion. And if another dentist does it another way, well then they are wrong.
Here is a perfect example. My assistant has been my assistant for 12 years.
Do you think she could leave my office and jump into another office? No way.
First of all, at my office at least, I have brainwashed her and the rest of the staff into thinking that my way is the only way.
We see other forms of dentistry and I say, "Look at that, you see what he/she did here. Can you believe this?" (I would never bad mouth another dentist. But if this dentist is doing it differently than me....they are wrong).
Then after a year or two, the my assistant is saying something like this, "Dr. John look at what this other guy did. It is exactly like you say how it shouldn't be done."
Officially brainwashed.
So they are going to go somewhere else and think every other dentist is a shmuck.

Back to my original point, you wouldn't think it would be hard to work with other dentists.
I mean when I talk to some of my classmates they are all alot like me. They are going through alot of the same things I am. They are struggling with the same things I am. They are family men and like teeth.
Well what would be so hard about this?
Well, I don't know but I think maybe people change. I think people get into dentistry to help people and because they love teeth. But people change and their ideals may change.
Now some of them start to loathe the people they were trying to help.
Now the house and the kids are sucking the life out of the person and the joy of work has been lost. He/she has lost his passion for teeth. A career slowly becomes a mean to an end.
This is not the same person you started this partnership with.
Then it becomes hard to work with this person.

I don't know why I decided to talk about this today.
I just came to me.
I have a patient that is starting dental school in August and we have talked about working together in four years.
I picked him because he is so much like me.
He loves Gator sports. He is a family guy.
He has already been on three dental mission trips before dental school started.
He joined a Christian fraternity in college. Great personality.
Now I can tell you how hard it is to work with your father...imagine how hard it is to work with someone that is not your family.
I want so much out of this kid. I want it to be like Dentistry from the Heart. I want to come over to his side of the office and say, "Hey what are you guys doing over here."
Or say, "Hey come into the office I have these awesome pictures of the teeth I worked on yesterday."

Anyways, let me think about this so more and maybe I will write more on this.
Do any of you have any thoughts?
Did you join an associateship that just was terrible?
Are you a boss of an associate that things didn't work out?
Let me know,
Have a great weekend.
My basketball team lost again last weekend while I was away.
So we are 3-2. We play another 3-2 team tomorrow.
It is going down 9am. Don't sing it....bring it.


Anonymous said...

That's really cool to hear how the "other side" operates. I've just begun my Assistant career. I'm working for a big office. Dr. Mac does pedo and Freedman does General. Anyways, Dr. Mac's temper is out of control. She snaps at me and my co-workers and even when she's totally wrong she is totally right. There's no point arguing with her. She's never once told me that I did a good job or gave me any encouragement. I'm the only guy there and they've made me the resident sterilizing bitch. Not only does Dr. Mac treat me like dirt, some of the other assistants boss me around as well. Wow! This profession can't be that bad, right? I've worked at crappy retail stores in my day but I thought this was going to be different! I've never seen someone so miserable and angry! I think it's the constant exposure to radiation and amalgam, I really do!

gatordmd said...

I am no therapist but you have a couple of choices.
1) you can do nothing. Then you internalise it, then go home and yell at your wife and kick the dog. Beat the kids. Go to therapy.
2) You can sit people down and tell them how you feel. You can tell them you are trying to do the best you can and will not tolerate, within reason, being treated this way.
3) you can look for another job.

I appreciate you writing and if you need any advice in private you can email me at


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