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Get ready for NCDHM 2015

Dentists nationwide can help their young patients “defeat monster mouth” by participating in the ADA’s 2015 National Children’s Dental Health Month.

For the 66th year, the NCDHM campaign brings thousands of dedicated dental professionals, health care providers and others together to promote the benefits of good oral health to children, adults, caregivers and teachers.

Defeat Monster This year’s two-sided poster features the NCDHM campaign slogan “Defeat Monster Mouth.” The free posters are available in English and Spanish thanks to a grant from the ADA Foundation.

Information regarding how to order or download posters can be found at ADA.org/ncdhm.

Also available on the website is the NCDHM Program Planning Guide, which provides program coordinators, dental societies, teachers and parents with resources to promote the benefits of good oral health to children.

The guide includes easy-to-do activities, program planning timetable tips, a sample NCDHM proclamation and more. Other free campaign materials, including publicity resources and activity sheets — many in both English and Spanish — can also be downloaded.

For answers to questions regarding NCDHM, email ncdhm@ada.org.

A variety of brochures, videos, activity and coloring books for children are also available from the ADA Catalog. Visit adacatalog.org or call 1-800-947-4746 for more information.

Working with a marketing firm

After buying the practice where he had been an associate in a few years ago, Dr. Ash Vasanthan wanted to start from scratch when it came to rebuilding his brand.

“I had a client base and an active website, but I wanted to rebrand myself,” said Dr. Vasanthan, a periodontist who has been practicing for 5 years in Roseville, California.

Dr. Vasanthan  In January 2013, he started working with PBHS, the ADA Business Resources-endorsed website design and practice marketing firm.

Working with a graphic designer, one of his first decision was choosing colors, which led to the creation of his practice’s logo. Both colors and logo are used throughout his practice, from his website and stationary to letterheads and coffee mugs.

Meanwhile, PBHS also built Dr. Vasanthan’s website — which, for people searching for periodontists in his area, is now the top result online.

“Everything had to be very precise,” he said, when it came to working with PBHS. “Building my brand was a defining moment for me because I was a new business owner.”

Dr. Vasanthan spoke with ADA New Dentist News to share some suggestions and advice for making the most out of working a marketing firm.

Call around

“PBHS isn’t the only marketing firm around,” Dr. Vasanthan said. “But dentists need to do their research to find the best firm for their needs. I really wanted a company that would take me and say, ‘We can brand you, we can start from scratch.’

“I zeroed in on PBHS because I felt they would be able to provide me with what I was looking for. It’s also a good idea to just call around. I partly chose PBHS because their customer service was great. I never reached a machine.  Jay Levine, PBHS president, was always available and accessible to answer any questions despite being the very busy.”

When it came to building a website, which Dr. Vasanthan considers his top marketing tool, he compared the construction of a house.

“If you want a beautiful, sturdy house, you have to find the best builder in town for you,” he said. “I called a few places, visited several websites and asked friends for recommendations before I found the one.”

Consider your budget

“For new dentists starting a practice, you have to spend money on so many things on top of trying to repay student loans,” Dr. Vasanthan said. “For me, I didn’t go for PBHS’ top tier offerings. I went with somewhere in the middle. I would tell new dentists to really look at what you’re getting for what you’re paying. Sometimes, you don’t have to choose the most expensive package or service to be happy and to get the results you want.”

Get a website

Dr. Vasanthan said his main focus when he hired a marketing firm was to increase his Web presence.

“My website is my number one marketing tool. It’s my face on the Internet,” he said. “When starting a new practice, it’s important to have a website immediately. I would say it’s only second to having a phone number set up for the office. A potential patient can only reach you 8-5 on the phone. A website allows them to access you 24/7.”

Make things easier for patients

Just because a website or a successful marketing strategy help potential patients find you easier, it should also make things more convenient for them, Dr. Vasanthan said.

“The simplest thing a new dentist can do is to have a responsive Web design with a fill-able patient registration available online,” he said.

Dr. Vasanthan’s website allows potential patients to fill out and submit new patient registration forms when making an appointment. This way, the patient doesn’t have to fill it out at the office and it helps his practice track how many new patients are coming in due to his Web marketing.

Stay involved

When it came to the designing your brand, you have to be very involved, Dr. Vasanthan said. He worked exclusively with Alejandro Salazar, a PBHS graphic designer, who translated his vision into art and helped design his logo, business cards, letterheads, etc.  Dr. Vasanthan said he is extremely proud to hand out his business cards just because of the many times he gets complimented on the design and the quality.

“I put my logo on everything. I’m very proud to show it off. To me, being able to explicitly express what I wanted or looking for was very, very important,” Dr. Vasanthan said. “What you’re doing should reflect who you are.”

Have ideas for the ADA’s Center for Professional Success?

The Center for Professional Success is a members-only Web resource that provides practice management information, online education and support tools to help you manage your career.Center for Professional Success

They are currently seeking new members for their Center for Professional Success users group. You will help determine the direction of the Center’s content. What are your major practice concerns? What tools do you need to improve your practice?

If you are interested in learning more about the user group or becoming a member, email Sarah Hughes at hughess@ada.org. The deadline to apply is Dec. 19.

 

October issue of New Dentist News available online

The latest issue of the New Dentist News is now available online.

The October 2014 issue includes articles to help new dentists with marketing, finances and handling ethical dilemmas.

October 2014 New Dentist NewsInside this issue include:

  • Marketing snapshot — How one practice does it.
  • Marketing the dental practice: Know the rules.
  • Working with a marketing firm.
  • Advice from a lender: Be prepared before seeking a practice loan.
  • Tap the ADA Ethics Hotline for ethical dilemmas.

To read the New Dentist News, click here.

What tips have you learned when it comes to marketing your dental practice or yourself as a dentist?

Building Trust with a New Patient

The 28th New Dentist Conference is in full swing right now in Kansas City, Missouri. A number of CE programs are taking place right now, including Take This Job and Love It! presented by Dr. Mark Hyman.

Earlier this year Dr. Hyman spoke with ADA New Dentist News about people skills new dentists can use in the practice. Here’s one suggestion that stood out for us:

Dr Mark Hyman

Dr. Mark Hyman

“Dentists don’t do themselves any favors by spending the first moments with a new patient asking about insurance coverage,” Dr. Hyman observes. Instead Dr. Hyman thanks the patient for choosing his practice, and asks about the patient’s goals for her smile, her teeth and her health. And, unless the patient is new to the community, he asks why she is no longer seeing her previous dentist.

“The answer might be, ‘He was always pushing me to get a crown.’ So I would reply, ‘do you think you need a crown?’ And I would follow with, ‘as I examine your mouth, if I find evidence of dental disease, do I have your permission to tell you?’ And that takes it out of the realm where I’m the expert here to diagnose and deliver bad news. My approach builds trust because it puts us on the same team working towards the same goals. Once you have truly heard the patient’s goals, the more quickly you can build trust.

You can find more of Dr. Hyman’s tips from ADA New Dentist News here.

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Dr. Hyman will be presenting Drill ‘Em, Fill “Em and Thrill ‘Em in one of the courses offered in the New Dentist Track of CE options at ADA 2014. New dentists (those who graduated from dental school in 2005 or later) receive a 20% discount off of the fee courses that focus on a mixture of business, ergonomic and clinical topics that have been curated by new dentists.

See the entire new dentist track and register for courses here.

Educating Patients using Evidence-Based-Dentistry

Dr. Partha Mukherji

Dr. Partha Mukherji

When it comes to oral health there is a lot of misinformation circulating in the public imagination. What’s the best course of action when a patient makes a request or assertion that isn’t supported by science?

Dr. Partha Mukherji is a general dentist practicing in Ft. Worth, Texas, and a supporter of Evidence-Based dentistry. He spoke with New Dentist Now about strategies dentists can use when patients are misinformed about science.

New Dentist Now

Let’s start with a quick definition of Evidence-Based Dentistry

Dr. Partha Mukherji

Sure—Evidence-Based Dentistry, or EBD, is the point where scientific evidence, my expertise as a dentist and the patient’s treatment needs and preferences all intersect. EBD isn’t new, but it has received increased focus in recent years, especially as junk science has gained prominence in the public imagination.

NDN

How do you integrate EBD into your practice on a day-to-day basis?

Dr. Partha Mukherji

It starts with my team—I’ve worked to make sure that everyone in my practice is familiar with Evidence-Based-Dentistry and how to use tools such as EBD.ADA.org. The site has some quick tutorials that can help bring newcomers up-to-speed.

I think it’s also important to share this information with patients. It has always been our role to educate patients, and this adds another dimension. It moves the conversation beyond, ‘Well I’m the dentist and I say so.”

NDN

What happens when a patient presents a real challenge, such as presenting an oral health myth as fact?

Dr. Partha Mukherji

It’s a two-step process. First of all I use it as a teachable moment, to explain how I use EBD to support my decisions, and to give an overview of how I assess scientific research. I find that many patients aren’t familiar with the basics about science—for instance the difference between correlation and causation.

And second, I work to demonstrate respect for the patient’s perspective, even as I maintain respect for my own integrity as a dentist. So I might say, “I am recommending scaling and root planing as a treatment plan. If you want to research that approach independently or seek a second opinion, I support that completely. However science doesn’t support oil pulling as an alternative.” I’ve found that helps to strike a balance between the patient’s wishes and my responsibility as a clinician.

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The ADA Center for Evidence-Based Dentistry is at EBD.ADA.org

Saying “No” Without Ruining the Relationship

mentoringLet’s face it, the word no can stop a conversation dead in its tracks. But it’s important to have a strategy for sticking to your no without jeopardizing the relationship.

According to William Ury, Ph.D., co-founder of Harvard University’s Program on Negotiation and author of The Power of a Positive No: How to Say No and Still Get to Yes, an approach he calls Yes! No. Yes? can be a helpful formula. Here’s how Lindsay Levine describes it on the Fast Company blog:

The First “Yes”: Let’s say a client wants to go with a lower-priced alternative, which you know will produce a substandard result. The first Yes! is the core value, need, or principle you’re trying to protect. For example, protecting the quality of the brand.

The “No” is a respectful no, saying, “To maintain our quality standards, we cannot go with the lower priced/lower quality item.”

The “Yes?” acknowledges the ongoing relationship, and sounds like, “Let’s work together to create something that works within your budget but doesn’t adversely affect the quality of the product.”

This formula might be useful for a number of scenarios, including describing treatment planning options.

Do you have a winning approach for holding your ground without jeopardizing the relationship? Leave your suggestion in the comments.

Stop the Conversation Hogs at your Next Meeting by Using Brainwriting

checklistAt some meetings it seems like a minority of the participants do a majority of the talking. But urging the chatterboxes to shut up or coaxing the wallflowers to speak up is unlikely to solve the problem.

Leigh Thompson, a professor at the Kellogg School of Management and a team consultant offers three techniques to ensure broader participation by meeting attendees. One approach caught our attention–instead of brainstorming, try brainwriting. We’re partial to the description Debra Kaye put together over at the Build Network:

Step 1: Write just one sentence each. For the first five or 10 minutes of your next idea-generation meeting, every team member writes down one good idea or one proposed solution on, say, each of a small stack of index cards.

Step 2: Consider the idea, not the source. When the timer goes off, all cards are submitted anonymously and taped or thumbtacked to a wall for the whole team’s consideration.

Step 3: Put it to a blind vote. Team members signal their interest in an idea by marking it with a sticker or a Post-it note. Everyone gets a limited number of stickers and, if done right, the best ideas emerge quickly

What about you—what has been an effective tactic to ensure that everyone in a meeting is heard? Leave your answers in the comments

Add This Phrase to Supercharge your Feedback

mentoring

Great feedback can help move a person forward, while ineffective feedback can stall or even reverse progress.

What is the secret of great feedback? Author and blogger Daniel Cole identifies one phrase that dramatically increases the likelihood that the recipient will use the feedback to improve:

I’m giving you these comments because I have very high expectations and I know that you can reach them.

Why is this 19-word phrase so effective? Cole explains that the phrase contains three essential signals:

  • You are part of this group.
  • This group is special; we have higher standards here.
  • I believe you can reach those standards.

Notes Cole:

The key is to understand that this feedback isn’t just feedback–it’s a vital cue about the relationship. The reason this approach works so well has to do with the way our brains are built. Evolution has built us to be cagey with our efforts; after all, engagement is expensive from a biological standpoint.

But when we receive an authentic, crystal-clear signal of social trust, belonging, and high expectations, the floodgates click open.

Now it’s your turn—do you have any techniques you use when giving feedback to ensure your feedback moves the listener forward, not back? Leave your answer in the comments.

In a Time of Change Find out Why Things are Going So Well

Leading a group at a dry erase boardSometimes it seems we’re wired to correct the negative. So when it comes to making a change, we’ll wonder, “What is the problem and how shall I fix it?”

Author Dan Heath suggests that this approach probably works fine most of the time — if your kid has a single F on his report card, by all means focus on that problem. However in a post on the Fast Company blog, Heath suggests it isn’t always wise to focus on problems:

There’s one time in life when this problem-focus backfires on us, and that’s when we’re trying to change things. In times of change, our report card doesn’t look almost-perfect. It looks mixed. Parts of it look like a failure. And if, in those times, we slip into problem-solving mode, we’ll spin our wheels, because there are problems everywhere. That’s a recipe for inaction, for paralysis.

What’s the answer? Instead of focusing on the problems, identify the parts that are going right and try to reproduce those results. Heath calls this a bright spots focus.

Here’s an example — let’s say you set a New Year’s resolution to get more exercise, and that looking back you haven’t been as consistent as you hoped. You probably exercised on some days – what made those days different? If you do some detective work to identify those bright spots (“I woke up earlier on those days,” or “I had my gym bag ready-to-go by the front door,”) you can focus on increasing the number of good days, rather than scolding yourself for having bad days.

Have you found any bright spots? Leave your answers in the comments.