Dr. Tisha Rekhi enjoying a vacation in San Diego
The ADA is made up of individuals—here’s one of them.
Who are you? I’m Dr. Tisha Rekhi. I’m a member of the Class of 2011 of the University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry. I’m an associate dentist working for my older brother — Dr. Princy Rekhi — who is the owner-dentist of a three-location practice here in the Greater Seattle area.
Was your plan always to practice with your brother? Absolutely yes! I’m fortunate to have such an awesome relationship with my brother. He really helped me with that transition from thinking like a student to thinking like a working dentist.
Talk a little bit about that transition You know in school I can remember having a patient who needed two restorations and I would do the procedures in two appointments with each restoration taking like three hours. And that’s not how it goes in the real world. We use different materials than we used in school, I’m working with a chairside assistant now, and that’s not like being a student. I feel like my brother was patient with my learning curve. If I have a problem or question all I have to do is ask and he’s there for me.
That sounds very harmonious Well it took us a little while to get there! I have my own house and my brother has his own house but most of the time we end up having dinner at our parents’ house (it’s a cultural thing—we’re Indian.) He and I would bicker and our parents said, look you can’t stress each other out at work and at home. If you are going to practice dentistry with someone in your family you have to work on those boundaries between work life and home life.
What’s your schedule like? Like I said there are three locations, so I work at #1 on Mondays and Fridays, #2 on Tuesdays and Thursdays and #3 on Wednesdays. Basically I need to pay close attention to what day of the week it is because if I let my mind wander while I’m driving I’ll end up at the wrong location!
Any recommendations for someone in your shoes? Having a great dental team makes all the difference. You are going to be spending a lot of time together so it’s important to enjoy one another’s company. I truly enjoy going to work every day, and I know not everybody is lucky enough to be able to say that!
Interested in sharing your experience as a new dentist? If you are fewer than ten years out of dental school we’d love to hear from you! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I’d like to think about what you’ve just said.”
In the ADA Podcast Be a Great Boss, communications expert Mary Byers suggests a three-part reply for use when an employee makes a request or suggestion that is unacceptable:
- I appreciate your input.
- I’d like to think about what you’ve just said.
- Let’s discuss this tomorrow.
“This allows for a response that is well thought out and not over-reactive,” Byers explains, “and if the response sets precedent, it’s going to be a precedent that the dentist will be comfortable with.”
Be a Great Boss is one of more than twenty audio podcasts produced by the ADA for dentists. Topics include strategic planning, finding and retaining dental team members and using social media. Find all the podcasts at ADA.org/podcasts.
Interested in volunteering outside the U.S.?
Looking for a volunteer opportunity overseas? Browse more than 100 organizations offering oral health volunteer opportunities outside the U.S. at internationalvolunteer.ada.org. The site is a resource for dental professionals to learn more about what it’s like to volunteer their skills and help populations in need outside the U.S.
If you have volunteered internationally for more than 14 days in a 24 month period, you may be eligible for the Certificate for International Volunteer Service.
And if you’ll be at ADA Annual Session October 31-November 3 in New Orleans, consider attending the free CE course I Do, I Teach, I Volunteer Friday, November 1 from 9:30 a.m. -11 a.m. Course presenters will share strategies to improve oral health in underserved communities through education, training and effective sustainable programs. Remember all courses at ADA Annual Session – even free ones – are ticketed and require advance registration.
Have you volunteered your skills outside the U.S.? Share your stories in the comments.
It’s an ever-changing quest
Marc Barros is an entrepreneur and a surfer and he compares those two endeavors over at his eponymous blog:
Building a great company or being an amazing surfer isn’t like playing a team sport. There is no trophy you walk away with or a championship you can try for again if you lose. There isn’t a fixed time you play or rules that define how the game is played. It’s an ever changing quest that has no timeline and no clear definition of victory. And the only thing that tells you if you are improving is how you feel.
This reminded us of a conversation we had recently with a new dentist fresh out of school. It wasn’t that dental school had been easy, far from it, but the challenges were clearly and narrowly defined. Life as a new dentist had so many more variables, and sometimes it was hard to answer the question is this going well?
Above Marc Barros asserts that the only thing that tells you if you are improving is how you feel. Would you say that is very true? Completely wrong? Somewhere in-between? Tell us how you feel about it in the comments.
Are you effective?
Earlier we posted about asking for favors on the phone, but we know that email is a more common communications tool for many of us. What is it that makes some emails get ignored while others get action?
At the Inc. blog, Geoffrey James has a six-step system for writing emails that produce results. Here’s step #1:
Have a specific decision in mind.
The goal of an e-mail is always to get the recipient(s) to make a decision of some kind. Otherwise, why bother writing it?
Therefore, before you write anything, ask yourself: exactly what decision do I want the recipient to make?
As with all business writing, vagueness is the opposite of useful. The clearer the goal, the more convincing your e-mail will be.
As a new dentist, which of these do you use the most for professional communications?
- Social Media
Do you have the same preference with your personal communications? Leave your answers in the comments
Let them know why you’re calling
Over at his blog Both Sides of the Table Mark Suster writes about effective phone calls. As a venture capitalist, Suster gets a lot of phone calls asking for favors, advice, or recommendations. Suster doesn’t mind this, it goes along with his line of work, but he does have some recommendations for those who are calling him:
Let them know why you’re calling – When you’re ready to pivot the conversation your next line should be some derivative of, “listen, the reason I’m calling is … blah, blah, blah.” 25% of people or less actually do this. They just talk and I’m not really sure why they called.
If you’re calling for a reason, the sooner the recipient knows the sooner they can help. If the clock runs out they’re not going to be able to help.
In your life as a new dentist there are bound to be some high-stakes phone calls, whether you are calling a dentist who might hire an associate, a lender who might fund a practice purchase, or a mentor who might help you get to the next level in organized dentistry, there’s no avoiding making these calls.
What steps do you take to ensure success when you have to ask someone for a favor over the phone? Anything you’ve tried (or that someone has tried on you) that doesn’t work in a phone call? Leave your answer in the comments.
Wait 31 Minutes
Do you hire for openings in the dental team? If you do, consider this piece of advice from executive recruiter Lou Adler from the Build Network blog:
When interviewing job candidates, withhold all personal judgments until the 31st minute. First impressions only happen once — and if you’re searching for top talent, you should give candidates at least 30 minutes to make one.
Too often, hiring managers botch the interview process by allowing their immediate impressions of a candidate to shape the entire interaction. “If you click with someone right away, you go easy on them,” Adler explains. “On the other hand, if you have a bad initial reaction, you tend to ask hardball questions.”
If you’ve had experience interviewing candidates is there a rule of thumb that you’ve relied on to help make a good decision? Leave your answers in the comments.
Lend a Hand on Sunday, November 3
If you are a dentist or dental hygienist and hold a current dental license in any state, you can help provide care at the ADA Mission of Mercy dental clinic. Encourage friends and family who are 18 years or older to volunteer, too. Even if they don’t hold a dental-related license, they can contribute their own unique talents in numerous support positions to help this temporary 100-chair facility, held in conjunction with the 2013 ADA Annual Session.
Read the FAQ for more information on malpractice insurance, what you’ll need to bring, what you can expect to find on-site and more.
The clinic is taking place Sunday, November 3 between 5:30 A.M. and 5:30 P.M. To learn more and sign up to volunteer today, visit ADA.org/mom.
In the July 2013 issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) a reader asks:
I found out that one of my colleagues is raffling off a jet ski. The rules of the raffle state that each person who refers a patient to the dentist’s practice will have his or her name entered into the raffle; the more people one refers, the more entries one gets. Is this a violation of the ADA Code?
You may be surprised by the answer (ADA Members have access to the complete online archive of JADA including the regular ethical moment column.)
Facing a thorny ethical issue? The ADA ethics hotline is an easy, confidential way for ADA members to get some advice on next steps when navigating an ethical dilemma.
The hotline doesn’t provide legal guidance. Instead it provides a fresh perspective through a consultation with a member of the ADA Council on Ethics, Bylaws and Judicial Affairs (CEBJA.)
To access this ADA member benefit, call the toll-free number on your ADA member card and request the ethics hotline. After confirming your membership, you’ll be transferred to a voicemail system and asked to provide some information about your issue.
You’ll receive a personal telephone call from a member of CEBJA. This dentist will then discuss the application of the ADA Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct to your situation. The goal is for you to receive a response within two or three days. However, if you request a rapid response, volunteers and staff will work to accommodate your request.
And you are encouraged to familiarize yourself ADA Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct.
They say a picture is worth 1,000 words. Not sure how many words this video of gerbils on a train is worth, but if it helps more kids to get the message about the importance of brushing, then we think it might just be priceless.
This clip is just one from a partnership between the Ad Council and the Partnership for Healthy Mouths, Healthy Lives, which includes the ADA and 35 other dental organizations. Find more clips and information at 2min2x.org.