fig 1How many times have we heard the phrase, this course will change the way you do dentistry on Monday or when you go back to the office on Monday… (fill in the blank here)?

And we continue to believe it. We want to believe it. We need to believe it. Sometimes it actually comes to fruition, at least to a certain extent.

But let's admit it, changing multiple things in a dental practice is like turning the Titanic in the Panama Canal – it's rarely a smooth flowing process.

Let's also agree that it's not always a reflection of us, the dentist, owner, manager, CEO, CFO, CMO, COO, HR manager, IT person or any of our other roles in the practice. Change in a dental practice can be complicated, especially if it affects all of the systems in the practice and it almost always does. Dang…

Let's think about it. If you want to start taking photos of new patients after attending the Facially Generated Treatment Planning workshop, you have to buy a camera, retractors and mirrors and learn how to use them. This will affect your new patient flow, your assistant – and then, you actually have to figure out how you are going to transfer the images from the camera and how you are going to use them.

fig 23If you really understood the benefit of taking alginates for study casts for simple DWUs and making reduction guides after attending the Restorative Design workshop, applying this to your practice will affect your new patient flow, your lab supplies, operatory set-up for treatment – and your assistant might want to understand it too. (Fig. 2-3)

fig 4What about a small change like transitioning to a double-cord technique for all indirect restorations? When do you actually place the first layer? When you have space so it actually retracts before you finish your preparation? Or when you are done with the prep which means you might then have more space to refine? But does that mean you will have to re-finish the margins? Won't that take more time? When should your assistant have each cord ready? Have you talked about it with him or her? (Fig. 4)

fig 5Now, let's get crazy and assume that you might want to start using an articulator after taking the Occlusion workshop. Which one do you purchase? When will you use it? Does your team understand why you are using it? (Fig. 5)

Is it congruent with our vision? What about your short-term and long-term goals? Will you have some intentional follow-up? How will it affect your current systems? What does that mean about what you have been doing? Who will hold you accountable when the road bumps pop up in front of you? You get the idea.

When you are ready and wanting to make changes in your practice on Monday, what will help you actually make the change? How will you implement what you have learned and/or for which you have seen the value?

I think we can all agree that support, accountability, intention, systems and communication all affect implementation of what we really want and need in our lives and in our practices. In future articles, in the monthly and quarterly Spear Digest, I will dive deeper into how to make the post-course Mondays more realistic and predictable. Until then, take a look at your systems, flow, and vision; offer yourself some grace and take pride in what you offer your patients every day – health.

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Commenter's Profile Image Michael Melkers
July 31st, 2014
Great stuff Kevin-i love it! I ws thinking along the same lines after I attended Case presentation...then looked back at my Spear plaque...from ''99-and how things would be 'different'. LONG journey!
Commenter's Profile Image Muna Strasser
August 8th, 2014
Truer words never were spoken, and having the staff understand significance is crucial- there are those that will never embrace the importance of (for example) taking a facebow accurately, and hopefully identifying who those people are in our practices will save us the expense of training them to the level needed to address our complex cases! There is nothing more frustrating than providing the training and materials, supplies, time, etc, to the person who will never raise the bar to help you get there.