Tips for Getting Your Practice to Switch to New Vendors
It doesn't matter how good of an employee you are and how hard you work if the dental office you work in is still using clearly outdated products, or if they deal with the wrong vendors. Everybody here suffers. You don't get to work with new products and test new dental practices, the business gets stalled and the patients don't get the care they deserve and leave to find someplace they can.
Now, as a dental assistant, you may think that your job is to pass the instruments while the dentist operates, clean those instruments and maybe part-time as a receptionist and that is it. But you can't be much further from the truth there.
Older dentists are often creatures of habit and as a “young buck” it is your responsibility to urge them to push forward. They may not always listen to you, but it is essential that you try.
If the First Approach Fails, Try Another One
It's often about what type of approach you take. The most logical course of action for you as an “innovator” in the dental office may not “strike a chord” with the senior dentist.
Take an example of the lead fillings. These were used in the 18th century and no dentist gave it a second thought. They didn't know, as we do today, that lead is poisonous and that they were harming their patients. But this isn’t why they stopped using lead fillings. In fact, many dentists of that time would notice the poisoning, but would dismiss it for something else entirely. “Surely, sir my fillings are not the cause of this quagmire. That is preposterous.”
Fortunately, a more practical problem (when it comes to their profession) was also evident and that was the longevity of the lead fillings. They were simply too soft and would get worn off pretty quickly. So when an 18th century dentist was confronted by his young assistant with this “hard” fact, he would have to relent and start using other types of fillings.
Do Your “Pros and Cons” Research
If you want to convince the chief dentist to switch from what he was doing for years to some “crazy, hip idea” you need some cold, hard facts. That is where it pays off to know the pros and cons of the product, vendor or company the office works with and those you think they should use.
For most people touching on one or two pros and cons on each side is usually enough to have them make a turn, but sometimes it takes more than that.
One good tip I can give you is to bide your time and strike when the problem (or con) is evident. Then you can chime in and offer your insight as to how with alternate product or vendor this problem would never occur.
If you can offer a positive example from the competition, the head dentist would have to be a really stubborn person not to at least take your advice into account.
For example, many older dentists prefer using amalgam alloys as fillings. However, even though they can last for a very long time, are strong and cheap, not many patients will accept them in their mouth, because of their unattractiveness, if they have any choice.
Be Persistent in Your Quest to Improve the Dental Office
Not all of your brilliant ideas will get a positive response. Don't let this discourage you. If anything, you should be even more passionate about ideas, products, vendors, methods or technologies you believe the dental office should be using.
However, never do this to the point where it turns into an argument. Don't lock horns with your employer over every little thing. Pick your battles carefully, instead.
Create the Right Atmosphere for Your Pitch
Talking about change when the dental office is in the middle of a rush hour can only get a “not now, colleague” response. This is why you need to do this when your employer is not busy.
People are much more amiable to respond positively to your ideas over a nice cup of coffee or tea after work, as opposed to during work hours.
Of course, a nice gesture, such as buying your employer a friendly drink in a nice café near where you work can often mellow even the most rigid mind when it comes to accepting innovation.
Know When You've Hit a Wall
Finally, it may just be that no amount of convincing is enough to persuade the chief dentist to try something new. Unfortunately, the dentist is missing out on some great opportunities to save time and money.