Making Smart Decisions..And Why 19 Out of 20 Dentists Don’t Make Them…

An interesting discussion this week in an Australian email chat forum for high achieving Dentists….

It happened that one of the dentists decided that his practicing life needed some invigorating, and he felt that one way that this could be achieved was by the addition of a $150,000.00 Cad Cam machine to his practice.

Other dentists on the forum, who had been down this road themselves, spoke against the purchase of the machine, and threw up statistic after statistic that these machines tended to be considerably less profitable and considerably more time consuming than the simple alternative of providing quality indirect crowns and inlays and onlays.

I guess one of the best lines that came out in this discussion was the line that:

“Decisions are made emotionally and then you gather information to justify the decision. You have decided you want the toy, and are just looking for information to justify that decision. There’s nothing wrong with wasting money in the name of fun and enjoyment. That’s why people buy expensive cars. As this is a business group however I think we should look at the business case.”

 Following that great comment, it was then on for young and old….a polarisation began to occur in the discussion.

Those who made the logical decision of practicing profitably were berated with comments like:

There is no immediate financial reward for me to go to the lengths I do to try and create perfect soft tissue, or anatomy in my restorations.  But it gives me joy in my work.  And that means I don’t spend every day counting down until I retire.”

 So what’s wrong with someone counting down until they retire?

Two years ago, Dr Omer Reed told another group of Australian dentists that in the USA, ninety five percent of dentists reaching the age of sixty five had not reached their Walk Away Point.

That is, only five percent of dentists, at age sixty five are sufficiently financially independent that they can walk away from their practice of dentistry and live a very comfortable life style.

Or they can continue to practice dentistry because they wish to not because they have to.

And this number is sad.

To think that after all those years invested in clinical education, and after all those years of earning considerably good incomes, that nineteen out of twenty dentists are still working because they have to rather than because they want to, well that is tragic.

Dan Kennedy said, when asked, that one of the reasons he keeps working for money, when he obviously isn’t in need of money, as opposed to working for nothing, was because it was a way of keeping score.

And that’s it.

The accumulation of wealth, not for the sake of accumulation, but rather for what that wealth can bring, is an important metric to grasp and to operate by.

Because once that wealth is attained, and the process of attaining it is mastered, then life becomes extremely comfortable. And that allows you more freedom to do what you want rather than what you have to do.

And there’s no point making life more miserable for yourself by purchasing a $150,000 anchor for your boat.

The thing is, that when you own one of these machines, your outlook on treating and treatment does change.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail”?

[Law of the Instrument, also called Maslow’s Hammer. From Abraham Maslow’s The Psychology of Science, published in 1966]

It can happen…. dentists start providing certain treatments because they own a machine, rather than what would be best for the patient, if dentistry, all dentistry were free…

But I digress….

Now, I understand that only three percent of the world’s population write down and record and review their goals.

And that’s not just financial goals. It’s also physical, emotional and spiritual goals as well.

But what is scary is that that three percent that writes down their goals accumulates ten times the wealth of the other ninety seven percent.

Now compare that back to Omer Reed’s statement and there’s a distinct correlation between his statistics and the writing down of goals.

Or call it the keeping of a score…

So I wouldn’t be so altruistic about doing dentistry not just for the money. Because you really do need to know where you’re going.

And you do need to be measuring.

And you do need to be aiming at a Walk Away Point.

Because it does make life that much more fun….

And I know, because I’ve done it. I was well on the way to being independently wealthy well before I sold my dental practice.

I saw this quote the other day from T. Harv Eker that sums it all up:

“Let me put it bluntly: anyone who says that money isn’t important doesn’t have any! Rich people understand the importance of money and the place it has in our society. On the other hand, poor and unsuccessful people validate their financial ineptitude by using irrelevant comparisons. They’ll argue, “Well, money isn’t important as love.” Now, is that comparison dumb or what? What’s more important, your arm or your leg? Maybe they’re both important.”


 The Ultimate Patient Experience  is a simple to build system that I developed that allowed me to create an extraordinary dental office of patients who love coming to see me, who come more often, spend more per visit, and accept more treatment, and also refer more, in an ordinary Sydney suburb.  If you’d like to know how I did this, then you must read my free special report.

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