Professional New Year’s Resolutions? Yes, Please!

2019 new years resolution

The new year is upon us, and so is the tradition of making New Year’s resolutions. While most people vow to workout, lose weight, or gain control of bad habits, does anyone commit to professional resolutions? Setting goals for your dental practice should be on the top of the list.

The new year is the perfect time to reexamine what works and what doesn’t in your office. Following are some tips on how to brave the new year with a clean slate.

  1. Be honest with yourself- Now’s the time to get to the bottom of what is and what isn’t beneficial. A thriving practice embraces change and has a willingness to learn. Furthermore, it’s not unusual to outgrow some of the policies that are in place. What worked last year may not work in the new year and making new policies and procedures shouldn’t be overlooked.
  2. Make a list- It’s crucial to list all policies and procedures in and out of the operatory. Covering all the bases from fillings and crowns to insurance and team member management will establish that each department is evaluated and streamlined.
  3. Be open to change if it’s necessary- It can be scary to examine popular ideas, but if it’s something you feel compassionate about, go forward. You’ll rarely regret trying something, and if it doesn’t mesh with your goals and morals, revise and begin again. Remember, this is your practice, and you can add or subtract whatever you wish. It’s certainly not a mistake to attempt something and reconsider if it fails.
  4. Involve the team- Hopefully, you’ve surrounded yourself with an awesome group of professionals who have your best interest at heart. However, if there are team members who need a change of scenery, it may be best to sit down with them and part ways on a pleasant note. For those who are the foundation of your practice, appreciate them and allow them to learn the unfamiliar and embrace innovation. Keep them involved in deciding what’s best for the practice.
  5. Be brave- Change can be scary because the unknown is terrifying but taking baby steps can ease any concerns. You don’t have to implement changes all at once, but not taking the first step will keep you stuck in a rut. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are educational courses everywhere and having a structured plan in place will help with implementation. Having a professional at your fingertips to guide the way is a very wise investment.

In closing, revisit your resolutions with your team on a monthly basis and be honest, open, and brave. Following through with these tips will assure that you ring in new year with prosperity and happiness.

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Protocol for a broken denture

dentures

Although dentures and partial dentures are made with quality materials, they do break from time to time which can be very inconvenient. What causes a denture or partial to break?

  • Stress from chewing and occluding weakens the material
  • Hot, cold, and acidic foods alter the components causing breakdown
  • Bone resorption resulting in pressure points and undue stress leading to breakage
  • Deterioration from normal wear and tear
  • Accidents like dropping the denture or the family dog chewing it beyond repair

If your denture or partial breaks, the first thing you should do is contact your dentist because eating, talking, and being around others can be a negative experience without your teeth. Depending on the severity of the break, your dentist may be able to fix your denture or partial in the office. However, if the break is serious, it may have to be sent to a lab for repair which can take days. There are denture repair kits over-the-counter, but they aren’t recommended since their use can cause irreparable damage.

If you have a partial denture, there is some good news regarding deterioration and fracture. Traditionally, partial dentures were made with polymethylmethacrylate acrylic and metal which is very rigid and has no flexibility. More and more dentists are now using a biocompatible nylon thermoplastic substance that is flexible and more forgiving than polymethylmethacrylate acrylic. Fabrication with a flexible material reduces breakage, so it may be beneficial to discuss this type of partial with your dentist.

There are steps you can take to prevent a disaster with your denture or partial. You should care for your prosthesis as you would your natural teeth. Daily care and maintenance is a must. Remove the denture or partial at least twice per day and brush them with a denture brush and non-abrasive toothpaste. They should be soaked once per week in a cleaner manufactured for dentures and partials. Taking them out at night and soaking them in water also helps keep the integrity of the prosthesis. It’s important to keep them wet when they’re out of your mouth. By following these guidelines, your denture or partial can give you many years of comfort and a beautiful smile.

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Rebellious Teens and Orthodontic Treatment

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If your family dentist has referred your teenager to the orthodontist, you may have experienced some resistance from them. Children are often referred to ortho around age 5 for preliminary treatment, and they usually go along without any fuss. However, teens can be a real challenge when it comes to orthodontic treatment. What can you do to encourage your teen to comply?

  1. Instead of flying off the handle, sit down and talk it out calmly. Teens are sensitive, and if you can get to the bottom of why they’re hesitant, you may be able to call a truce.
  2. Let the Orthodontist explain why braces are recommended for them. Kids compare themselves to their peers constantly, so educating them with their records (x-rays, models, pictures, etc.) can allow them to objectively see why braces would benefit them in the long run.
  3. Be honest with them about discomfort. While monthly adjustments can be uncomfortable, the pain is short-lived, and over-the-counter pain meds help tremendously.
  4. Be sympathetic concerning how they look with braces. Today, approximately 75% of kids wear orthodontic appliances. They are extremely common and are considered the norm. There are also some options that help conceal braces such as a clear series of trays and ceramic brackets. Wearing braces can also be fun because they get to choose different colors of bands that fit over the front of the brackets.
  5. Be realistic about treatment time. Most orthodontic treatment is completed in 18 months. While this does seem like a lifetime, keeping up with appointments, following the orthodontist’s instructions, wearing any additional appliances (rubber bands, headgear, etc.), maintaining good home care, and celebrating progress along the way can help them stay encouraged throughout treatment.

Being a teenager can be difficult at times, and mostly, they want to be heard and accepted. Following these steps can have your teen saying “yes” to ortho, and they may even clean their room!

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Fun Christmas Trivia

Christmas gift

With the holidays quickly approaching, here’s some trivia to lighten the mood and spread some cheer.

  1. It’s thought that candy canes were invented around 1670 by a German choirmaster who used them to keep children quiet during church services. They were originally white, and when or why the red striping was added is unknown.
  2. Fruit Cake was designed to last all year. Sugar and alcohol in the cake act as preservatives, and it was made at the close of the harvest season. It was then eaten at the beginning of the following harvest as a symbol of good luck.
  3. Holiday feasts can contain over 7,000 calories per person.
  4. Purchasing all the gifts from “The Twelve Days of Christmas” could hurt your pocketbook. Today, it’s estimated that the price tag would be around $40,000-50,000.
  5. Most think that Black Friday is the busiest shopping day when, in fact, it’s the two days before Christmas. Also, one out of three men shops on Christmas Eve for all their gifts.
  6. Emergency room visits during the holidays are usually due to injuries from decorating, and the most common injury is falling.
  7. More people prefer ham instead of turkey at Christmas.
  8. Since December is Summer in Australia, most Australians make their Christmas feast “on the barbie” or as it’s referred to in the USA, the grill.
  9. Michigan, Washington, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina are the top producers of Christmas trees, and the trees grow for around 15 years before they can be harvested.
  10. With the introduction of electricity in the early 1900s, the wealthy were the only people who could afford electric lights on their tree, and the lights were rented rather than bought.

We hope this trivia will provide some entertainment at your holiday gatherings. Enjoy time with family and don’t forget to brush and floss after the festivities.

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Dealing with Inappropriate Patient Behavior

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Dentistry is an extremely stressful profession both physically and psychologically. Patients have varying personalities which are usually fine until a line is crossed. Inappropriate behavior is experienced and defined differently depending on the person, but most would agree that poor manners aren’t to be tolerated.

There should always be mutual respect between patients and clinicians. Deciding what is and isn’t appropriate must be decided beforehand by the Doctor(s), Office Manager, and all team members. Each person has their idea of what is acceptable, and everyone should weigh in with their opinion. Appointing one person in charge of dealing with patients who have behaved improperly is necessary, and it’s usually the doctor or the office manager.

Some common inappropriate behaviors include:

  • Racial or sexual comments or slurs- Any comment meant to degrade another human being regarding their race or gender must be dealt with immediately.
  • Inappropriate flirtatious banter- Flirting is usually more complementary than sexual comments and slurs. The receiver can mistake it as friendly, but it can quickly escalate into a dangerous situation.
  • Demeaning a team member – Regardless of intent, demeaning another person is very hurtful and can negatively affect self-esteem. Unfortunately, it does occur, and it must be addressed.
  • Physical interaction- If a patient ever puts their hands on anyone in the office in a hostile or sexual manner, they must be dismissed from the practice immediately. A formal notice to the patient is mandatory, and the practice is legally obligated to be available to them on an emergency basis for 30-45 days to give them time to find a new dentist.

If a patient does commit an inexcusable act, it’s best to escort them to a private area with a witness. Ask them if they’re aware of the behavior or comment that offended a team member. Let them talk and explain why they acted in such a manner. Make them aware that a team member was affected negatively by the situation and that it won’t be tolerated in your practice. However, keep in mind that some people are very direct and they may not be aware of the offense.

Although awkward, dealing with these situations is part of the profession. By being open and direct, you should be able to address the problem and prevent future indiscretions.

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