The REAL Business Of Dentistry

There are many catch cries and clichés that ring out in business when it comes to the discussions on running a successful business.

“Treat your staff the same way you would treat your customers”

Treat your staff better than you would treat your customers”

“Your customers know when you have unhappy staff…”

With salaries in a Dental Office running at twenty percent of collections in Australia, and even higher in Dental Offices in the USA, then its vitally important to realise the emphasis we need to place on team harmony.

Having said that, a team, be they a sporting team or a Dental team, have a job to do.

Just like a sporting team, the aim of a Dental team is to bring people of different skills and personalities together and have them functioning as a cohesive and effective unit.

In sport, that unit needs to function well together during practice, during promotions and during the game.

And in Dentistry, it’s exactly the same.

In sport, as in Dentistry, players are traded.

Players leave the team and other players join the team.

For whatever reason.

In sport players with good skills are added.

Players with good potential are added.

It’s the role of management and the other team members to make sure that additions and changes to the playing staff are effected seamlessly.

In sport, sometimes the extra-curricular habits and behaviours of the team members outside of their roles as team members can impact upon not only the image of the team but also on the performance of the team.

As an example, the removal of two founding members of the rock-band KISS because of behaviors outside of the band that affected the performance of the band as a product or entity, was a necessary decision to be made on behalf of the business.

In sport, there are players whose off field behaviours affect the image of the team, and sometimes the morale and the performance of the team falls as a result of these off field behaviours.

Similarly, there are times when sporting team members can out-price themselves, and need to be traded. Sometimes two rookies can be of better value to the team than one star player.

Team Harmony

One of the most difficult things in any business is maintaining a balance of harmony between employees.

Just because people work together does not mean they need to have to get on together outside of their work environment.

Sometimes the only thing that employees have in common is the fact that they work together.

The important thing is that with any organisation, we need to remember that when we’re on the bosses’ clock, we need to be functioning for the common good.

And the common good is the team, and the firm.

Fighting for God, King, and Country.


One Office I was talking with recently had a situation where a team member resigned her position because other team members allocated her “extra duties” while they took it easy, and did not share those duties.

And Dentistry is an easy business for these sorts of scenarios to occur in.

After all, the owner of the business, in most cases, is in the business but is not observing the full goings on of the business.

He’s got his eyes and head fixed firmly inside the mouths of his customers, and as such, is not in the position of a traditional business owner to be managing and overseeing all of the various roles and interactions going on during the day behind his back.

In fact, with the use of loupes and of microscopes, that focus away from the business and more on the treatment is in fact even more skewed.

As such, Dentistry does present a great opportunity for people who wish to be employed under “minimal” supervision.

It’s an opportunity for the less than dedicated to pick up a pay check on less than one hundred percent effort.

It works both ways….

In a sporting team, there is no escape.

Video recording of games and practice makes sure that every fibre of the employees’ existence is focused on the one thing of most importance:

Getting maximum effect and maximum result.

You never see a linebacker checking his cell phone between plays, do you?

And probably not at training either?

Yet in a Dental Office, and I see hundreds, where staff really feel it’s their Constitutional Right to not only carry a cell phone on them during work hours but to also be checking their phone while on the bosses’ clocks.


Now that is just totally wrong.

Where does that expectation of privilege come from?

Respect Is A Two Way Street

Now there always needs to be a balance at work.

I like to think of employment as the 38:130 Rule.

Put simply, for 38 hours per week, the employer will pay for employees to work for them. Provided he does not ask the employee to do anything illegal, then there should not be an issue.
For that 38 hours, he will pay the employee very well.
All he asks for is that employee leaves all “other” activities to the remaining 130 hours left in the week.

Employees letting activities from the “other” 130 hours of the week enter the work zone are showing a lack of respect toward their employer.


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