Human interaction in a dental office

The way you engage with others will make… or break your business.

On August 12, the World Health Organization stated that we should delay dental cleanings due to COVID-19. The ADA responded that same day pointing out their recommendations for good dental health, which include dental cleanings. As a dental patient, I have to say that it is very confusing. We live at a time when we are given facts and misinformation. We no longer have an objective presentation of facts. I like to think of myself as an educated person, but I have to say…who do we listen to?

My best friend told me he is blowing off his upcoming appointment and will wait 6 months for his next routine cleaning. How many others are out there planning to do the same thing? I get it…if you are in pain, you seek a dentist. But, without something propelling you to the dentist, do you “blow it off?”

For me personally, I feel safe going to the dentist. Oral health plays a major role in my physical health. We are talking about preventative care. That is not something to blow off during a pandemic. My strategy is to do everything I can to stay as healthy as possible during this stressful time. Maybe I am naïve, but I think that the relationship healthcare providers have with their patients determines if patients show up. I trust my dental team. It is that simple. I know that they are doing everything in their power to make the office a safe place not just for the patients but for themselves as well.

Teamwork is Key

I do realize from my readers that this is not the case everywhere. There are unpleasant cutting-corners behavior that existed before the pandemic and will exist afterwards as well. Now more than ever, it is important to have a strong team. The people you work with, you must trust. You must trust that they are on the same page as far as helping the patients and staying healthy themselves. This is what relationship management is. Do you like your coworkers? Do your patients like your coworkers? It is time to put customer service first. This include your staff working like a well-oiled piece of machinery. We need each other in a dental practice!

I had one TMJ specialist who abused his staff. He never hid it from me the patient. But I had no choice. When you are working with someone for years to resolve a serious TMJ issue, it is not so easy to leave. Think about it. What doctor wants to step in and take over someone’s treatment that another specialist has started? I was trapped. My own dentist told me not to switch doctors. As the patient, how do you think I felt? I watched a dentist abuse his staff and then treat me? Not a comfortable feeling.

If you do not value your employees, you have BIG problems. You are not in this alone. You need to work together and resolve these issues. In some situations, that means eliminating the problem. If you have an employee who is not a team player, look at that. Can you afford to keep them onboard? And sometimes it is the doctor that is the problem. Are you open to feedback yourself?

I have determined in my old age that human interaction is truly the most important aspect to running a successful business. The way you engage with others will make… or break you. My suggestion…do what it takes to get through this. That is how our practices will not just survive but thrive.

Email me at and share how your practice is functioning like an Olympic team. What are you doing that works that can help the rest of us who are still struggling?