comfort zoneWe all know about the dangers of falling into the comfort zone trap, where good becomes good enough and growth stalls. But in order to tackle the comfort zone issue effectively, it helps to know where that sense of comfort (or inertia) is coming from. For instance, in dental practices, comfort zones usually come in two forms.

The 2 Kinds of Comfort Zones

Just about every dentist has a clinical comfort zone. There are procedures that you can do in your sleep and some you do less frequently but with enough confidence. Outside of this zone, you find patients who are parked in hygiene with un-presented, undelivered treatment—either because you just don't see the full possibilities, or you haven't figured out how to proceed yet.

A separate, but related, issue is the value comfort zone, and even dentists who consistently challenge themselves to expand their clinical comfort zone can fall victim to this. This is where you find yourself held within a certain dollar-value-range when it comes to presenting treatment. Maybe you're comfortable presenting anything up to $2000, but at the $5000 level you sort of freeze up and find reasons the patient will not accept before even discussing it with them. Naturally, expanding your clinical comfort zone is not going to make a big difference unless you a find a way past this value barrier, too.

Life Begins at the End of Your Comfort Zone

So how do you get out of these comfort zones? The most obvious—and most effective—way is simply through education. Our Facially Generated Treatment Planning workshop, for instance, is pretty much designed to help dentists bust out of clinical comfort zones. I can't tell you how many dentists come away from that experience raving about how they now see whole new worlds of clinical opportunities.

And as for value creation, for starters, the website you're on right now hosts a suite of lessons on creating value for patients—lessons that you and the team can take at your own pace and convenience. The bottom line is, the more you know, the more motivated and excited you become and the less satisfied you are with a current state of "comfort."

Another technique is to "case study" those more complex, challenging cases that arise. Consult one of your specialist colleagues for advice on the best options for proceeding and on how best to present it to the patient. Then present the case at a team meeting and brainstorm ways to best reach the patient and create value for the treatment plan.

The important thing is to always recognize those opportunities to challenge yourself and to force yourself to take action right away. That's where true fulfilment as a clinician comes from. In that sense, the greatest peace of mind occurs when you don't allow yourself to get comfortable.

If you find topics like this helpful, check out Imtiaz Manji's practice management courses available to you through our Course Library. Not yet a member of Digital Suite? Click here to learn more.