Three Cases Where The Inmates Have Attempted To Run The [Dental] Asylum, And Why You Must Never Let This Happen To You

From time to time I’m reminded of one of the most ludicrous aspects of private dental practice ownership.

And it has reared its ugly head again this week in three separate situations.

For some reason, in dentistry Down Under, and I suspect it occurs across the Pacific as well, for some reason there’s a belief that some Dental Employees have that they can come and work in an established business and operate their style and practice of dentistry as they see fit with total disregard for the principles and operational practices established by the business owner.


That somehow they’re magically entitled to know better and behave differently from what’s expected, and what’s worked well at that Office?

Is that because more Dental Business Owners are weak-kneed and allow this sort of stupid business practice to propagate itself in the first place?

Because it’s a downright stupid business practice that throws the whole principle of Business Structures and Protocols *OUT THE WINDOW* for Dental Practices in general.

And let’s just step away from Dental for a minute and run this same scenario through other industries, because there’s no way in high Hades that this would ever happen outside of Dentistry.

And yet we seem to allow it time and time again within Dentistry.

Could you imagine McDonalds Corporation employing restaurant staff that had worked elsewhere in the fast food industry and allowing those new employees to do what they did at their last place of work with total disregard for the detailed policies and procedures and employment *CULTURE* that McDonalds Corporation has taken so long to establish as its *OWN WAY* of doing business?

Or could you imagine someone coming to work at The Four Seasons Hotel after working previously for say, Marriott, and totally disregarding the way that they do things at Four Seasons because they’re set in their ways and inflexible because “this is the way they always did it at Marriott” and “that’s just how I’m going to do it for you now Mr. Four Seasons whether you like it or not!”

Because at Four Seasons, at McDonalds, at Nordstrom’s, at Starbucks, at Disney…. it would never, ever happen.

Yet day in and day out I hear of Dental Offices where brazen employees turn up with this *set in their ways* attitude and expect to, and often are allowed to get away with bringing that seriously wrong attitude to the Dental Office that has given them employment.

And to the detriment of the established Dental Offices in question….

Case 1.

A client of mine is having a devil of a time finding the “right” Dental Hygienist to come and work in her office.

Which is frustrating, because the instruction and protocols and systems used in her Dental Office are clearly laid out in hard copy for all to see and are explained verbally at a detailed induction.

The systems of the Dental Office are revisited and reviewed on a daily basis so that there’s absolutely no confusion as to what the Owner Dentist and the Team at the Dental Office are requiring and expect from the new employee.

Yet for some unknown reason not one but two hygienists in a row have now tried to slip under my client’s guard and bring their own style and way of practice into what is already a clearly defined delivery system of Dental Service.

And it’s not rocket science!

It’s simple stuff, like:

This is how we hand-over to the dentist
This is how we hand-over to the front desk
This is the time schedule I need you to run to to fit in with the dentist
These are the things I need you to look for for me in each patient’s mouth
This is what we say to greet the patient
This is how we farewell the patient

And so on and so on…

And yet two in a row, despite clear instruction, have chosen to try, and try unsuccessfully, to ignore these established protocols at this Dental Office.

Case 2.

This was interesting. Really interesting.

I visited a Dental Online Forum last night where discussion raged as to what employee Dentists were wanting to do in Offices where they worked where the Owner Dentists were offering lower priced Dental Examinations and cleanings as an entry point to attract more new patients.

Some on the forum felt that the employee Dentist needed to “do what the practice does”, while a few Holier Than Thou employee Dentists felt that if the Dental Office was offering these lower cost entry appointments then the Office should still remunerate the Dentist as if it were a fuller fee appointment.

And while I can see some reason for this narrow minded belief, I can see it to be a short term selfish opinion that totally disregards the long term viability of the Dental Office as well as what has gone on in that Office previously leading up to the patients that the Office has today.

My thought is that if this is where I work then this is what I must do.

If in this office I must offer my diagnostic services at a lower fee in order to secure a new patient, then this is what I must do.

And if I, as an assistant dentist want to be paid more for examining a new patient, then I am welcome to go elsewhere to work to find such an Office to work in.

And while, as an assistant dentist, I have no skin in the game, and not one dollar of my money invested in the equipment, facility and goodwill of the business, while that is the case, I do what I’m asked to do to fit in with that Dental Practice Philosophy and Procedures.

Case 3.

If this story weren’t so true it would be laughable.


A recently employed hygienist at a corporate owned Dental Office I know of was questioned by the Office Manager about some inconsistencies in her performance, as Office Managers need to do.

Not serious inconsistencies, just little things like incomplete treatment notes, rescheduling and cancelling patient appointments that did not suit her lifestyle [without contacting the patients], and booking travel on days where leave had yet to be requested…

Not really behaviours reflecting a respect for that Dental Office Policies and Procedures.

Anyway, that evening, the hygienist SMS’s the Office Manager saying she won’t be in the next day, going on stress leave.

Well heck yeah, it must be very stressful having your deceitful behaviours discovered and pointed out to you!!

But, hello?!?!

Stress leave?

Happy ending. The hygienist subsequently resigned from this office.

Sadly, it’s very difficult to believe that this behaviour in this case is not an ingrained behaviour that has happened at other offices and will occur again at future employers…

I have to take my hat off to the Office Manager in Case 3 and the Dentist Owner in Case 1 for standing up to their principles of what is right and what is best for each of their Dental Offices.

Because where there is direction and culture established and existing already in a Dental Office, it’s so important that those principles of business be maintained.

Otherwise all you’ll end up with is a rabble.

And that’s not World Class…



The Ultimate Patient Experience is a simple easy to implement system that I developed that allowed me to build an extraordinary dental office in an ordinary Sydney suburb.  If you’d like to know more, ask me about my free special report.

Email me:

Did you like this blog article? If you did then hit the share buttons below and share it with your friends and colleagues. Share it via email, Facebook and twitter!!