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The new roles of today's dental team.

IT'S ALL ABOUT ENERGY! When asked to describe the ideal dental auxiliary, we all think about their ability to perform the duties they were hired to do. We also remind ourselves of the importance of their professional appearance, their team attitude, and their passion for being outstanding caregivers to the patients they serve.

What stands out most in my mind besides the above-mentioned attributes, is the staff members' ability to communicate in an energetic manner. Dentist employers can't put a dollar value on outstanding communication skills, especially if they are a natural trait. While dental professionals go to classes or seminars that teach even the most timid behavioral style to communicate, they can read books on the subject, and memorize scripts, but born-in enthusiasm is a true gift.

With the first greeting on the telephone, patients and potential patients can tell whether the scheduling coordinator is happy, tired, bored, rude or enthused about the practice in which she works. Callers can detect the energy level of those within the entire practice. On a scale of 1-10 with ten being the highest, how does your office rate? This does not mean that every person answering the telephone must sound like a fresh Alka-Seltzer dropped into a glass of water. Quite the contrary! What it does mean is that the tone of voice must be sincere, energetic, friendly, and knowledgeable. This person must sound happy to be there and welcoming of those who make that call.

IT'S ALL ABOUT ENERGY! When patients walk into the reception area of your practice do they know you are in the dental business? Does your reception area resemble an art museum, an insurance agent's office or your local law firm? Energize your reception area by having beautiful artwork of the smiles you hope to create or have already created. There should be no question in the minds of the people who enter your front door (even the mail or UPS person) that you are not JUST another dentist, but THE dentist! This energy walks out of your office and back to work or home with every visitor each day. Make no bones about it--you and your team are proud of what you can and have done to improve your community, one smile at a time!

IT'S ALL ABOUT ENERGY! When the dental assistant or hygienist seats their patients daily, do they lumber into the reception area to greet them like snails on Valium, or do they have a spring in their walk and talk? Is this just another day in the life of a burned out professional, or is this the golden opportunity that presents itself one to two dozen times per day to make a sincere difference in the lives of the patients they serve? Are the clinical staff members excited about modern dentistry and what it can do to change the lives of these patients? Have they been trained and trusted to get really involved with the chairside communication skills that, by the way, is a major part of case acceptance? Patients accept treatment plans when the person communicating is more excited about the end results than they are! Why? Because dental professionals have seen these results many times. The patient rarely has.


During the procedures when staff members are alone with the patients, are they encouraged to "talk dentistry" or do they spend 75 percent of this opportunity chitchatting socially? In the new roles for the dental team, offices that excel in communication skills spend 75 percent of their time "talking dentistry" and only 25 percent talking socially. Case acceptance increases tremendously! This "downtime" when the dentist is out of the treatment room is a wonderful time for the staff members to educate the patients on dental procedures and the exciting products such as Breath Rx, etc. So many dental professionals have a tremendous hang-up about the word "selling." They need to get over it and believe that connecting their patients with wonderful products and services is what the visit is all about. In fact, in one of my seminars entitled "The Art of Selling Dentistry," I reiterate the importance that "selling is serving!" As amazing as this misconception is, it is the professional who is afraid of being labeled a salesperson who is actually the worst customer a sales person has ever seen when they are the customer. Maybe, just maybe, there's a connection here? Most people who enjoy selling have total respect for those in a sales position. They also have total respect for the person being sold and "selling" or serving comes easy for them.


Dentists can't expect their staff to be more excited about dentistry than they are. As the leader, on a scale of 1-10, how energetic is your dentist each morning he or she arrives at the office? Are they enthused or setting an example of total boredom? Pick out the most successful dentists in your community and they all have something in common--a passion for what they do and how they do it. They exude confidence to their patients and staff. They see their work as an art form that brings joy and value to those who receive it. The staff gets energy just by being in the same facility with them each day. They continuously upgrade their skills and knowledge by going to seminars and realize, "school is never out for the pro." They take their staff to annual conferences to celebrate their successes and meet and mingle with others who have or strive to have high impact practices. They realize that giving back to the well they drink from is what dentistry and life is all about. These forever students usually share their knowledge with new dentists who have a thirst for becoming the best of the best. Do your patients and practice a favor and make 2005 the year you put ENERGY into your lives and daily existence.

Linda Miles offers expertise of more than 25 years as one of dentistry's premier dental management consulting firms with the release of her book Dynamic Dentistry (Practice Management Tools and Strategy for Breakthrough Success). Eighty-five percent of Linda's clients rank in the top five percent of practices worldwide.

Visit her website at
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Dental Business
Author:Miles, Linda L.
Publication:The Dental Assistant
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2005
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Next Article:In memorium ... Jeanette Shahboz.

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