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The 7 Year Dental Itch

The Seven-Year Dental Itch

Seven long, but extremely fast, years ago, my husband and I built and moved into a new home with our children. While it doesn’t seem possible that seven years have gone by (and I’m not any older), there has been an interesting phenomenon recently that seems significant enough to report. Our seventh year in the house, we have developed what can only be described as a seven-year itch. Not in the traditional sense, but in an “electronics versus us” type of situation. It seems as if, it can possibly break, it has done so in the last year. A dishwasher that needed a new motor, a washer that mysteriously stopped working, an ice-maker that needed to be replaced, and on and on, literally. I can’t even blame the kids, for the most part. The funny thing is that once the repairs were completed, the light bulbs started to serially burn out – and I’m talking massive amounts of light bulbs, indoors, outdoors, you name it. It has been a two month stretch of light bulb replacement. Honestly, this has not been, by any means the most horrible year I can remember, but just a feeling over and over of “AGAIN?”

So, why am I telling you this anyway? It’s because many times when we are working really hard to get our practices all fully functional and “humming” along, it seems as if SOMETHING always seems to happen to give us a set back. The team member that quits, the piece of equipment that breaks or needs to be replaced, the day of patients that all seem to need twice as much time as normal or they are all complaining about something! Honestly, getting ready for the “battle” every day can threaten to put us into a tailspin. So, what’s the solution?

I have a wonderful coach in my life, David Greenwalt. He is a wellness coach, but he is much, much more. He is more like a mentor, life coach, business confidante, you name it, he’s just a great guy! He has a saying that I love. It is “Pursue a Worthy Endeavor and Persist Without Exception” or “PWE squared”. Some days when quitting seems like a great option or entertaining my personal fantasy of selling everything we own and living on a sailboat in the Caribbean, this phrase can seem absurd. But, this mantra has brought me through a lot tougher times than the annoying seventh-year electronic nuisance.

I honestly believe that being a full time, practicing dentist AND a business owner is a worthy endeavor that is worth pursuing, but it is also a BIG challenge for most of us. Yes, I know the few dentists that make it seem extremely effortless (don’t those people just drive you crazy?), but, for the rest of us mere mortals, it is tough. All of the hats that we wear: clinical dentist striving for excellence, manager, marketing director, human resources manager, payroll specialist, equipment repair technician, trouble shooting specialist, IT problem solver, leader, comic relief, shoulder to cry on, risk management, accountant, party planner, the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker and the list goes on.

The choice to delegate and outsource many of these tasks is up to us. We are the philosopher of our own practices. It is a choice which of these to pursue to excellence. A team that is built around supporting us, as dentists, in pursuing clinical excellence, is the most worthy endeavor that we have. Caring for patients is our highest call, so it’s imperative that it remains our primary focus. Dentists are amazing clinicians and rise to excellence in so many ways. But we also oversee the practice and all of its’ moving parts as the owner of the business.
Since it is early in the year, let’s break worthy goals into 12 monthly ideas that you can take and run with all year long:

Month 1 – Determine Goals and Unique Talking Points for YOUR Practice for Marketability and Ultimate Patient Care
Month 2 – Optimize website or get a new one that can be well-optimized
Month 3 – Social Media Strategy and Implementation
Month 4 – Team Training for Internal Marketing/Patient Service and Promoting YOUR Practice
Month 5 – Implement a Internal Marketing/Referral Program
Month 6 – Public Relations Strategy and Implementation including Community Service
Month 7 – keep going 😉

Only with persistence for the worthy cause can we get up every day and take up the challenge to succeed. Lead your team and trust them to learn along with you in your quest. Find the team members who also share your passion in helping patients to get the very best dental care that we can offer. The help that you need is available to solve any problem that you face in your practice. Avoid the dental seven-year itch in your practice, don’t wait!!

  • Hi there, I read your article in the Spring 2012 Profitable Dentist magazine and I went to the website ( as designated in the article to find more information, however the page is not there and I cannot find any more information regarding this article on the website. I was hoping you could guide me in the right direction to find more information regarding the monthly goals for marketing.

    Thank you!

    Josie Dovidio

    May 9, 2012

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