Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. I am going to use this platform not to complain about the few crazy patients I have. I am not going to complain about the one out of 100 material problems I have. I am not going to call out people that have ticked me off in one way or the other. I am going to use this platform to be, well, thankful.

With the risk of sounding too much like Tim Tebow (who is kicking butt lately), I would like to thank God for choosing me and sending His son to earth to save me. I thank Him for blessing me with most of what I am thankful for.

I am thankful for my wife. We just celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary last week, and I love and respect her more and more every year. She is my best friend (even though I don't act like it sometimes), and I love being her husband.

I am thankful for my awesome, healthy, smart-aleck kids. They are the apples of my eye. I can say that I don't think I could love kids any more than I do. And being a dad allows me to see a glimpse of the love that the Lord has for me. I am thankful for my extended family. I have two brothers and two sisters, a mom and step-dad, and a dad and step-mom (oh yeah, a Jerry Springer show waiting to happen) that are very meaningful in my life and my kids’ lives.

I am thankful for the ability to do dentistry. I love dentistry and love doing dentistry more than I ever have. I feel terrible for people that "love dentistry but hate being a dentist." I have been there and am very thankful that I am not there now. I am thankful to my dad for being an awesome partner and I am thankful for the practice that we have together. I appreciate having him in my life and walking alongside of him.

I can say that I am not only a dentist, but I am still here 50 hours a week. I am thankful for the friends that I call my staff. They make my work fun (most of the time). I like coming to work, and that has a lot to do with us liking each other and having the common goal of helping people.

I am thankful for my health. I can still do dentistry that allows me to make the money to have an awesome home, pay for my kids’ school, and have food on the table every day. We have enough to go out and celebrate when the time comes. I am even thankful for my old cars that made it another year and cost me almost nothing to have them. (To all of you with fancy cars and fancy car payments: how do you like me now? I paid $0 in car payments this year.)

I am so thankful for my patients and the community I live in. And my church. I am thankful for my friends who seem to stand by me, in spite of me.

I am thankful for this blog and what it means to me and dentistry. I am thankful for the AGD and the platform we have in this and the people behind the scenes that make it all happen. I am thankful for Dr. Jackson and Dr. Joyce coming onboard. I am thankful for all of you readers (just found out this week that we had 1350 people read the blog last week in addition to the 165 subscribers). I think we are getting somewhere. The blog IS bringing people together. The blog IS making people feel less alone (even if they write in contradiction to me).

We go through the year and sometimes it gets tough, but we can't forget how good we have it. I know you could be swimming in debt. I know the practice continues to decline. I feel it, too. But we are dentists and it really is a good gig. I mean, we could be in construction (almost no building in central Florida). I know it is a grind some days, but we just can't forget to count our blessings. Use tomorrow to do that. Eat, drink, watch football and be thankful. I know I am.

Thanks you guys,

Monday, November 21, 2011

Going Organic

Monday! Are you kidding me? Four days to Thanksgiving. That means only four short weeks until Christmas. They say life is like a toilet paper roll: starts off going slow and then it just takes off. I believe that now.

It is fall (you wouldn't know it here, where it was 84 degrees yesterday) and there are tons of church fall festivals. It seems like I have been asked to be a part of them all. Most of the time I do it with a smile, but what gets me is when it is kind of a cold call.

Someone just showed up off the street and asked me to be a part of her thing. I told her how busy I am, but she wouldn’t have it. I bent for this woman because her church is right up the street (I think I told you about her a couple of weeks ago). Well, I did it last weekend and I want to tell you about it.

I got there a couple minutes late (being passive-aggressive) and found her and told her I was sorry. She said, "No problem. The guy before you was having AV problems so he is running a little late."

It looked like he was just getting started and it was 8:15pm on a Friday night. So we (my wife, my two oldest boys and I) took our seats and listened. This guy was unbelievable.

He is a chiropractor. I know the opinion about this profession is very polarizing, but I don't want to get into that today. He talked about eating right. He was definitely speaking my wife’s language, talking about how the foods nowadays are running us, how obesity is running rampant, how kids are eating a bunch of crap that is literally killing me. My wife was nodding her head in agreement.

I have to tell you: most of his stuff didn't sound too off. He was very animated, jumping up and down with a lot of hand motions. He is a conspiracy guy too. “The government, man. The government wants to force us to have to use modern medicine to treat cancer”. He was citing studies on how chemotherapy will kill you.

He has 6 kids and they live on a farm, and the whole family eats only what they grow. They all have chores: picking vegetables, feeding the pigs, churning butter and whatnot. My wife was totally digging this. Preservatives are bad. MSG is bad, Additives are bad. I get all that. I get that natural stuff is better, but I think he was just going a little over the top.

He talked about how we need to eat more bran and oatmeal in the morning and then spelled out what a good diet looked like. He talked about how if you are eating right you start having more bowel movements. Awkward! Not only was he talking about bowel movements, he was giving them adjectives. Great bowel movements.

Then he started to get a little weird (if the above was not weird enough). He said he doesn't carry health insurance for his family. They eat right and they exercise, so why would they need it? This is when I started giving my life the look. He went on to say that he doesn't teach his daughters how to do a self breast exam because that is backwards thinking. "Why would I teach them how to do something that is backwards? You do the right thing first, then you don't have to worry about breast lumps."

He was saying this with just as much passion and arm-swinging. I looked over at my wife and the head-nodding had stopped.

And then, "I went to the dentist…" Okay, here we go. "I needed a wisdom tooth out. I told him I didn't want any anesthetic."

He said the dentist said, "Chris, I am going to have to cut your gums and drill some bone away."

He told the dentist that he trusted him. "I have a relationship with him. I know he loves me and I love him. It is going to be okay. And then I had my tooth out!" I looked at my wife and she was in a full head shake.

He finished up and I had to go after him. Being the smart aleck that I am, I couldn't leave well enough alone. "I totally agree with loving your dentist. And if you come to my office, I am going to love you like Dr. Crazy (not his real name) says, but I am going to love you with lots of anesthetic." I went on to say that I am glad I am dentist because in all my schooling and in my 16 years of practice I have never had to say “bowel movement.”

We talked on the way home we talked. I was okay with the natural stuff and trying to take less medicine, but the guy lost all his credibility with the insurance and anesthetic stuff. I don't care what you say, modern medicine is good. My wife didn't know what to say. People are crazy.

Have a great week. Don't get rid of that insurance just yet.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Good Luck, Young Dentist

As I come to a time in my life where I am going to be the boss and I am going to have an associate under me, so many questions arise. I do not have a practice that is bursting at the seams, but I have one that, when firing on all cylinders, can handle two dentists without a problem.

I have told you about Wayne before, but let me update you. I have been working with my dad since I graduated from dental school in 1995. We are 50/50 partners and he plans on retiring in 20 months. At the present time, he and I are working out a buyout of the building and the other 50% of the practice. But that is beside the point.

I have been thinking of Wayne (the guy that is going to join me in about 18 months). Wayne is a young man that has grown up in our practice, shadowed me in high school, and in college began thinking he wanted to be a dentist. He now is a 3rd year dental student (at the best school in the world — the University of Florida). We both have agreed that he is going to be the heir apparent here.

Anyway, I was thinking of Wayne and brainstorming a bit about the future. He tells me he is going to be $200,000 in debt coming out of school. Man, when you think about that, it is a HUGE number. I think nowadays they amortize this over 30 years but…

He is going to come out of school with a house attached to him for the next 30 years. This is kind of a burden on me because I realize he has needs. When I got out, I had $38,000 in school loans. My payment was $280 each month. This is not earth-shattering. This is not "change the way you practice" money. But with $200k to pay back, there is so much pressure on him right out of school to perform.

As I think about this, I wonder what how much a new dentist makes. I made $300 a day for about the first year out. I imagine it went higher than that and now might actually be coming down again. I am assuming that there are not a lot of great jobs out there. If you want to do corporate dentistry, there are probably a bunch of jobs out there. And this could be good, especially for a young dentist who wants to improve his speed and see a bunch of stuff, but the associate job where you are mentored and learn to be part of a team? I think this kind of job is hard to find.

Let’s say the per day salary is somewhere around $400. That is a good living in any job. I think he is going to work 250 days each year. That is $100k his first year out. Does that sound high? Let’s just say $100k.

But after taxes that $100k becomes more like $80k. Then he has to pay all his insurances, loans, etc. Now he is done to $40k. Then he has to live somewhere and pay for gas, which brings him down to $20k. So he basically has $1,500 a month to live on (food, electric, Gator games, clothes, furniture). That is doable, but that is living like he lives now (like he is in college).

One of the things that a new dentist can get sucked into is all the expectations of what a professional is supposed to have. Nice clothes, cars, house, watches, the list goes on. I can't tell you how many of my classmates got out of school and bought a sweet ride THAT WEEK, because they deserved it. I bit into that poison apple too (but not that bad). Rolexes, Ruth's Chris, and designer jeans. You know, champagne and caviar. So then this new dentist starts using credit cards to manage his lifestyle.

What does that look like in 3 years when he wants to buy in? Let’s just say I have a $1.5million practice, and the going rate is 60-70% of production to buy. Conservatively, to buy 50% of this office, he is going to need to come up with $420,000. Wow!!!

So, three years after practicing (okay, maybe 5 years), add $450,000 to his debt. I don't know for sure, but I think this is basically an unsecured loan and would be at a higher rate than if he bought a house. Welcome to the real world, bro.

I don't know how a new guy can handle all this. What if he wants to settle down with his new wife? No bank is going to give a guy a home loan that has $650k in unsecured debt. They used to loan money on potential, but nowadays it is much harder. I just shake my head. Then kids, minivan, tuition....arghhh.

The mentoring has to start early. Wayne is a pretty down-to-earth guy. He is not really self-centered; just last week he asked if I wanted to go on a mission trip with him. But his expectations of what a professional looks like have to be real. And his work ethic is important. You eat what you kill out in real life.

I have to tell him that competition is fierce and that the squeaky wheel definitely gets the grease. You have to work at YOUR business. It isn’t going to come to you. And whatever you do, don't live beyond your means because that changes everything. You come to work having to make a certain amount.

I don't know. I am just running off at the typewriter today. Any thoughts? Are you in a world of debt? Tell me about it.

See you Friday,


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

New Year observations!

Well I have been doing this blog thing for several months now and I have noticed a few things. I have compared most of my posts to Dr Jackson and Dr John. I personally think I am pulling up the rear as far as this writing thing. I should not be surprised I always pulled out a C maybe a B in my writing classes and the University of Florida. I never thought I would have a career in journalism or anything. So hear are some of my observations! My blogs are much more straight forward and medium in length. Dr. John obviously spends a lot of time developing and thinking about his blogs and he shares way more personal info than I fell comfortable putting out to the entire cyber world to read. Dr Jackson's blogs are sometimes short but are usually very witty and funny.
So lets take blogs and compare that to dentistry. I like to think I am a good dentist. I have seen others work and have been wowed and wished I could do that kind of work. Lets use composites for an example. If you read this blog often you know all about Dr John's obsession with composites. I have seen some photos and they are nice. I have seen lectures of absolutely amazing composites that took hours to do and the fee was close to my crown fee. About 70% of the work I do is PPO insurance based. There is no way I could stay in business and spend that kind of time for a $170.00 two surface composite. I will use 1-2 shades and place primary anatomy and if I have time and get crazy place some secondary grooves. Even if I had the time and ability to charge $600-900 for a composite I am not sure I would have the patients to get that detailed and meticulous to do that level of work. I think my results are good/above average but not great like the journals and magazine covers. Most of my patients would not let me take two hours to do one composite. They are working folk and need to get out to take care of the kids or get back to work. I guess my composites are like my blogs; I do put some time and thought into them but have a hard time making them exceptional. I have just figured that out about myself and how I work.
I guess in many ways I am a jack of all trades but a master on none.
What do I do great? Well I would like to think my ability to listen, communicate and make patients comfortable and cared for. I hear many times patients are very pleased about the time I spend and the way I explain and communicate things.

I like to think I am great about following through. I mean when I get my mind set on something I will usually keeping pushing hard until I get it done. Sometimes this can drive myself, family and friends crazy but I get it accomplished.
What do you do great?

Happy New Year,




Are you familiar with the show Chopped? Basically, four experienced chefs are faced with the challenge of opening a basket of surprise ingredients. They have to create an appetizer, main course, and a dessert within a certain amount of time. Judges then critique each chef’s creation and begin the elimination process by “chopping” the loser in each round. For instance, they may have twenty minutes to make a dessert from sea urchin guts, tootsie rolls and cottage cheese. A daunting task for any chef, I would think. Frankly, I wouldn’t want to be a judge, if you know what I mean.

Sometimes, I feel like I’m on that show when I walk into an operatory because you never know what you are going to find. Room 1: denture sore spot adjustment, disgruntled daughter (who happens to be the unwilling driver), and her quiet husband. Try getting in and out of there in 15 minutes!

Room 2: texting teenager with attitude, frightened father, and younger brother with gauged ear lobes. You have 30 minutes to do a root canal on #9. Go!

Room 3: female patient, baby in car seat on floor being rocked by mother’s foot (whole chair is moving), older brother throwing Mr. Potato Head parts all over room. Try to do a DO composite resin on # 31 in 20 minutes.

Remember that I used to be a cook, so I am familiar with this pressure. Now, there is another element of surprise that sometimes gets thrown in. Maybe the ice-cream maker will not work, or maybe another chef took all the honey! Now what? We face the same thing in our operatory. The water may shut off, or the compressor will stop working. This is not a time to panic.

It takes a seasoned chef (and a seasoned dentist) to overcome adversity. You may have to improvise on a moment’s notice. For example, go ahead and let the girl text while you re-group. You can even suggest she do a little Facebooking while you get your act together (there is no shame in that). I must admit, even though there are no judges to evaluate what we do in those situations, sometimes I would like to tell the patient, “You’ve been chopped!”

Have a great week.


Monday, November 14, 2011

What I Learned From Our Survery

I don't know if I have told you, but there is more than meets the eye when it comes to this blog. We, the authors, write our blogs. Then we save them and send them off to the AGD, and they review the blogs.

They are tasked with making sure we don't offend anyone. They make sure we don't sound like idiots. And they clean up our grammar and mispronunciations. So sometimes I am really busy and sometimes they are really busy (and no, they don't have a staff member just sitting at their desk waiting for the blog to be finished). So if I get the blog in late or if I get it in and they are swamped, sometimes there just isn't enough time in the day to get the blog done. That is why you might have gone to the blog on Friday night and it wasn't there.

It would be great if I had a bunch of back blogs written so that if I was late, the AGD staff member could just use another one, but I like to fly by the seat of my pants. So sorry if there was something missing in your life when you hit the pillow on Friday. But just think: two blogs in two days. You know you like it.

Well, I wanted to talk about the survey. It told me a lot of things. I don't know about you, but I was very impressed by the return. Everyone seems very well grounded. There was an awesome range. We had a 27 year old and some as mature as 60.

What does that tell you about this blog? It is really reaching out to all folks. Not just the young, more technologically-advanced dentists, but dentists that have been around a long time that are still looking to get better. This blog has reader dentists from 6 months out of school to 34 years out. Pat yourselves on the back.

I found the younger guys are a bit more stressed at work. I didn't do the survey, but I am stressed at work. Of course, it is self-induced. If I was just a dentist and not a blogger and not a soon-to-be-lecturer (trying to take over the world), this job would be cake. I could drill, fill and bill all day and read my journals when I was slow. But I think being crazy busy is where I like my life. I say I don't, but I keep putting myself into crazy spots. I am starting to see who I am.
To all of you younger, stressed out dentists: we all went through the same thing. The uncertainty, the not knowing all the ins and outs, the wondering if it is going to get better, if you are going to get better.

Did I ever tell you guys that I almost quit dentistry? I was 5 years out of school and I hated dentistry. Like one of the dentists wrote, he/she loved dentistry but hated being a dentist. That is real folks. I hated doing it so much that I came home and asked my wife what she thought about moving back to Gainesville and me going back to school.

I wanted out. I loved doing dentistry, but totally sucked at being a dentist. Patients were complaining for the first time in my life. I was broke. I was reading magazines and it appeared that everyone except me had it all together. It was bad. All I can say to the young dentist is that it will get better. I do not know how to make it better, but it does get better. No one, and I mean no one, has it all together.

As far as hygiene, it seems that everyone except for one corporate dentist allows 50 minutes to an hour for their hygiene appointments. Wow. I am impressed. I do too.

I think we all kind of do dentistry in pretty much the same way. There was one dentist that does 600 crowns a year. But for the most part we are just doing what comes in (I am not judging, I am just saying). Being conservative and giving the patients a choice is what we are all doing.

The last question was ambiguous on purpose. It seems that we are all the same in this regard and I don't think that it differs much from our society. Paying the bills is great and everything after that is cool. We like doing what we do and being productive and helping people makes us feel valuable.

I have noticed that the more people I am helping and the more valuable I feel to society, the more money I am making. But it is usually not the money that makes us feel valued.

I have been thinking a lot about the new dentist lately. In 18 months, my associate is going to come to my office because my dad is going to be transitioning out. I know that the kid is going to want to buy in. But how? He has $200k in debt before he drills his first cavity prep. Then in two years, I am going to tell him that he if he wants a piece of this, it is going to cost him another $600k. He really isn't going to make enough to carry this kind of load. Is my practice worth that? A lot of dentists are selling their practices to corporate entities because they are the only ones that can afford to pay. I guess it is worth only what someone will pay for it. I will talk about it on Wednesday.

Have a great week. Thanks for being great readers.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Atta Boy!

Hey all. Hope you are having a good week.

Good news here. I just booked my first lecture! Signed the contract and everything. Only one problem — I am going to speak in my own back yard. The meeting is the Florida National Dental Conference in Orlando. I am thrilled though.

There is not backing out of this now. The tri-fold is at the printer’s now, and I am still waiting on the content for the DVD. He promises any day now. But we are very close (I know I have been saying this for awhile, but that is what you get when you are working with a guy who already has a full time job).

And another good thing. The Best of Apopka contest came and went this year. Remember last year when I was ticked that they kept calling me to buy ads and to come to the dinner and all that stuff? Well, I refused to buy all the stuff and I didn't go to the dinner or anything. Turns out, I won best dentist. I was pretty proud, but I refuse to buy all the stuff for this thing they have created just to make money.

I wish all of the above would lead to groves and groves of patients coming here, but that has not been the case. Pretty slow around here lately. But what can you do?

Before I forget, I am going to comment on the surveys on Friday.

Do you guys read the AACD's magazine? This last magazine was devoted to composites.
I read it cover to cover. The content in this magazine was awesome. The guys who write for this magazine are great technicians and great photographers. And this one was no exception. They had guys I have heard of before (like Jason Smithson, who has a big following on DentalTown) and a bunch of guys I have never heard of.

I liked the stuff so much that I wrote the editor. Am I alone in this or do you all feel compelled to do these things? When I see someone promoting the kind of dentistry I think is right on, I feel led to tell them.

I told editor that, although I am a cosmetic dentist, my practice consists of mostly "meat and potato" kind of stuff. Also, being conservative is a big part of the way I practice. I told him that this magazine was right on the money and I read it cover to cover and that I would appreciate more articles like these. I received a response the same day telling me that he was honored to receive my letter and he would share it with his staff.

Also in this magazine, I saw THE BEST COMPOSITE FILLING I HAVE EVER SEEN! Now, there are some dentists that are good and there are some that shame me and there are some that stain their composite fillings that I just don't like. But there was one picture that I almost made me fall out of my chair.

I read the article and then looked at the picture. Then I put the magazine away, only to come back to it the next day. Dang, this guy is good.

I sat down at my computer and found this guy’s website. I had to write him. I had to tell him that the ‘after’ picture in his article was the best picture I had ever seen. I told him that I work hard to make a natural- looking filling and I thought I was doing a pretty good job. I told him that he, in one article, made me a better dentist and that I would, for a long time, work harder to do better work because of his article. I told him thanks and to keep it up.

I mean, you all do a very good job of commenting on this site. I get a lot of “atta boys” here, and I can tell you they go a long way. You all know how tough it is to keep doing this every day. Some days you just get beat up. You get stepped on. You get eaten up and spit out.

But I can come to the blog and people tell me that they love it, and then I am okay. I know I am not supposed to get my encouragement from others and I am just supposed to love myself enough to know that I am okay, but sometime that get old.

What does it for you? How do you get your encouragement? Is it the fat pay check? Your patients? Your staff? Your spouse? This blog? How do you go home some days and not want to just punt the dog?

Hey just think, next time we talk it will be Friday. See you then.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Hit the road, Jack!

You’re fired! That is how Trump does it. But how about you? How do you fire someone correctly? I have read articles and heard speeches about the best way. I guess there is a right way and a wrong way, especially depending on the state you are in.

Do you have two people in the room? Do you have the office manager or the doctor do it? At the end of the week or the beginning? What about the time of the day? What about a severance package?

What is the reason? Downsizing, poor job performance, patient complaints, tardiness? Florida is a right-to-work state, so other than a few federal laws against discrimination, you can terminate someone for just about any reason you want.

Some people go into long drawn out reasoning. Others say just make it quick, short and final. I would think you want to try to be nice about it. You hear all the crazy stories were someone comes back and shoots up the place. It happened just a few years ago down in Orlando.

I guess in the ideal scenario, everyone would shake hands and tell each other everyone is great but it just did not work out. But that is probably not the normal scene. Sometimes there are nasty words and anger; other times, crying and shock. I have seen even indifference where they seemed to know it was coming.

Afterwards there employee dynamics temporarily shift. I swear that a third of the remaining office staffs (we have about 14 staff members) are glad the person was terminated and know all the reasons. One third does not really care and go about their week almost like nothing happened, and the other third are upset and just cannot believe you did that.

I have never regretted letting someone go because they just were not doing their job well enough to warrant them remaining. I thought some were nice people but it just did not work. Some were just not nice people and I was glad to see them go.

What always works is when someone that you were preparing to fire leaves on their own. Then you can always be nice and act sad when you are really jumping for joy. That is always the easy way out.

I really stress out about terminating someone because I do not like to deliver bad news. But every time is has proven to be the right choice in the long run.

The responsibilities of being an owner and leader are not always fun. It is a tough job, but someone has to do it.

Have a good week.


Friday, November 4, 2011

She Doesn't Care About Me

Hey all. Hope you are having a good week. I changed the picture at the top to the after of the last one. This is an access filling through a crown. Turned out real nice, didn't it?

Thank you all who commented on Wednesday's blog. I still want more, so if you are reading this and didn't get to Wednesday's blog, go back and read it and fill out the survey. I am going to wait for a couple more people to fill out the survey and then we will talk about it.

To the young dentist that commented, bro (I don't know why but I assumed it was a man) we have all been there. Read the other surveys and see the correlation between age and happiness. We all know how hard it is being a young dentist. Know this: it will get easier. It gets easier and you learn how to deal with failure better. Did I tell you that somewhere in my 4th year out of school, I came home and asked my wife if she wouldn't mind me going back to school? I was miserable. So hang in there. I love that you love doing dentistry.

I watched “On Golden Pond” with my wife and oldest son last night. I remember how influential it was to me as a kid, and wanted my son to see this movie. Have you seen it? It is just plain AWESOME. I don't know if you know this, but Henry Fonda won his first Best Actor award for this movie but was too sick to accept the award (he ended up dying). This movie is so good. When I have seen about 15 really crappy movies in a row, I like to remind myself that there are good ones out there; this is one of them.

Here’s something funny. Do you have something on your body that you wish you could change? Maybe it is a mole; maybe teacher’s arms; maybe 100 pounds. For me, it is my back. I have a hairy back. I know, I know - TMI. But I have finally made an appointment to do the laser hair removal. In the past I have shaved it but it comes back. I have waxed it (by the way, this hurts like a mutha) and it still comes back. So I am going to bite the bullet and do this thing.

My wife keeps saying it doesn't bother her but it is not her that I am trying to please. It is me. I don't like it and I have the means to do something about it, so I am going to do it. My appointment is next Monday so I will let you know. It should be fun. I know you are shaking your head right now.

Okay, I don't know about you, but I have been busy. Not busy like I am producing a lot, because I am not. But busy like everyone wants a piece of me.

My wife has gotten us all iClouded up at our house. All our phones and iPads and computers are all synced. So our schedules are synced. I have to admit, this is a good thing. I am now using a calendar for the first time. My life is getting so crazy lately. I look at our calendar and there is something EVERY DAY. Sometimes there are three and four things that we have to do after work.

I don't know about you, but these Fall Festivals are going to kill me. I have a request almost 2-3 times a week to be at or speak at some church’s Fall Festival. I went to one this past weekend and it was a total bust. The people were super nice, but there was NO ONE there. And I am not exaggerating. My kids were the only three kids there.

But this week I have been seeing notes about this one Fall Festival that is next weekend. I think the girls up front have been trying to fight this woman off. I had a booth at the Apopka Taste of the Town and this woman came up and told me she was the one trying to get me to her Fall Festival. I told her I would look at my schedule but that I am extremely busy. She said okay and left.

The next day she was at my office. I asked her to let me look at my calendar. "I am busy at baseball practice from 5-7, then I have a party to go to from 7-9pm."

"Well, we have a 9pm time slot. Do you want me to put you in there?"

"As long as you don't mind me being a bit drunk because that party from 7-9pm is a drinking party." (Again, the AGD does not condone drinking to solve all your problems.)

I started looking on Saturday and told her nothing on Saturday would to work. I’ve got running, a baseball game, my son’s birthday party, etc. She kind of laughed it off but was wondering if I could come between the 7pm baseball and the 7pm party on Friday night.

This lady does not care about me. She cares about her. She is not going to take NO for an answer. She doesn't care about my family or me running from place to place. But I did end up saying I would do it because her church is literally just down the road (I could walk there).

She asked me to speak and I asked for how long. "How about 45 minutes?"


"What do you want me to speak about for 45 minutes?"

"How about how the mouth relates to the heart and how having a bad mouth can be bad for your heart?"

"Perfect. Now what do you want me to talk about for the last 40 minutes?"

I decided to go to her thing between my two things on Friday night and said goodbye. Next thing I know, I hear her up front talking about stuff up there with my people for another 45 minutes. We are trying to run a business here! I know she only cares about her thing, but she has to recognize that we are in the middle of our day and she can't be talking to one of my front desk people for 45 minutes.

It sucks because I want to help and I want my name to get out there, but not this way. Not being taken advantage of by people who don’t give a crap about me. This is the kind of thing I will be passive-aggressive with. I will either be 30 minutes late or just not show up.

Have a good weekend. I hope it is not that busy.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Survey

I wrote a blog on Friday but the people upstairs said they couldn't publish it. But I thought it was an important blog, so I have tried to clean it up so it is legal. In the original I asked about fees and I think that is a no-no. Here is the cleaned up version.

I thought for sure I was going to get lots of comments from last Wednesday's blog. I asked you a question, and I got one answer. Maybe I wasn't clear. I don't have a line item on my health history that has anything social on it. Do you? And if you do, do you ask if someone is single, married, divorced, widowed, or has a life partner? And I was not suggesting that anyone should ask is a patient is sexually active; I was simply saying that some physicians do.

Anyway, dentistry is a profession that can make you feel alone. This blog is a good way to make people feel like they are not alone. I do a great deal of stuff to not feel alone. I go to study clubs. I have friends that are dentists. But how much do we really talk about sensitive issues?

Today I was thinking I could do a survey and get an idea of what you guys are like. But there HAS to be some active participation on your part. I want to find out how you guys are doing and what you guys are doing. Let’s do this so we can help each other out. Make us feel less like we are on an island.

A friend wrote me an email last week. He was second guessing his fees. "John, how much do you charge for X?" This guy is just like us. He has been doing his thing for a couple of years and then realizes it might be different from everyone else (sometimes this is good and sometimes not). Maybe this will help guys like him.

First and foremost, I want this to be totally anonymous. When you comment, don't forget to press anonymous (even if you don't care if people know who you are).

Where do you practice?
Is it rural or urban?
How old are you?
How long have you been practicing dentistry?
What type of practice are you in? (Solo, group, government-owned?)
Tell me your role in this practice (i.e. owner, associate, hourly dentist, hygienist, office manager).

On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the highest), how happy are you in life?
On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the highest), how happy are you in dentistry?
On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the highest), how stressed are you at work?
On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the highest), how stressed are you at home?

How many employees do you have? Spell it out for me: 2 doctors, 3 hygienists, 4 assistants, 3 up front.
What type of practice do you have? (Family, cosmetic, restorative?)
How many hygiene spots do you have in a day, and how much time are you allotting per appointment?

How many crowns do you do in a year?
How many fillings do you do?
Are you more prone to practice the way I practice and maybe do a MODL or would you do a crown?
How much lower (or higher) is your production, as an office, for the last year?
What does it look like for this year?

Does how you are doing financially directly correlate to how happy you are? (I think it is a valid question. I try really hard to stay even keeled regardless of the schedule. My father, who I love dearly, will see a slow day at the huddle and will be a bear to work with. If he sees a busy schedule, he walks around whistling.)
I think if you cut the questions and then paste them into your comment section you can answer with a lot less typing. I will do this too, but I can't be the first because you will all know it is me. I think this is important.

Hope the Gators beat the Dawgs and save our season. (This obviously didn't happen. WE SUCK.)I am taking the boys to the UF vs Vandy game this weekend. The game is at noon. I was thinking about what time I have to start drinking so I can handle this kind of pain (the AGD does not condone drinking to dull life pain) and if I can get that drunk without my boys knowing it. Mercifully, the season is almost over.
Basketball season is just around the corner. Got new seat assignments this year. Behind the basket, first level, row 2!!! My son already asked if we are going to paint our faces because of all the TV time we are going to get.

Just a Halloween pic of 3 of the 6 of us (and no that isn't my belt or belt buckle or shirt or hat (but I do look good in it).

I appreciate you. Hope you are having a good week.



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