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Appreciating the Journey—How do you Feel?

man with surfboard

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.

The Secret to Effective Email


Young girl using tablet

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?

  • Email
  • Texting
  • Social Media

Do you have the same preference with your personal communications? Leave your answers in the comments

Asking for Favors on the Phone

Let them know why you're calling

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.

Hiring the Dental Team—Wait 31 Minutes

Pocket watches in a bunch

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 for ADA Mission of Mercy Dental Clinic

Lend a Hand on Sunday, November 3

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.

Is it Ethical to Raffle off Prizes in Exchange for Referrals?

open mouthIn 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.

Gerbils on a Train

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.

Work-Life Balance: Are You a Natural?

Work-Life Balance

Work-Life Balance

We’re busy working on the upcoming issue of ADA New Dentist News interviewing new dentists who are also new to practice ownership. One of the questions we always ask is about work-life balance—a lot of times this gets a big laugh.Over at the Fast Company blog, Cali Williams Yost wrote 5 Insanely Simple Work-Life Balance Shortcuts From People Who “Have It All”. She explains that a small percentage of the population seems to intuitively figure out how to juggle competing demands—those are the naturals. Want to emulate a natural? The post outlines a series of simple, if not easy, tips. Here’s our favorite characteristic of those who are naturals at work-life balance:

They don’t expect perfection. Naturals focus on and celebrate what does get done, even if it’s only part of what they had planned. It’s better than nothing and over time creates a solid foundation of well-being and order we all crave.

Looking for more resources? Check out the Conference on Dentist Health and Well-Being taking place at the ADA Headquarters in Chicago September 19-20, 2013.


Life as a New Dentist—General Practice Residency

Dr Ben Youel

Dr Ben Youel

The ADA is made up of individuals—here’s one of them.

Who are you? I’m Dr. Ben Youel. I’m a proud member of the Class of 2013 of the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry, and I just started a twelve-month General Practice Residency (GPR) at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago.

If you could have any job OTHER THAN dentistry, what would it be? High school Chemistry teacher and wrestling coach. Both my parents are teachers so I respect the profession and I know teachers make a lasting impact on the lives of their students. Plus, I’d have the chance to coach wrestling; a sport that was very rewarding for me to participate in growing up.

Why did you choose to do a GPR? I like doing everything! I expect my GPR year to be a great chance to broaden the range of services that I can provide my patients and define my comfort zone for clinical practice.

Biggest surprise so far about your program? I just started, so I’ll say the volume of information in orientation week about the inner-workings of a hospital and the department of dentistry’s role in this setting.

So far it has been a bit more intense than I thought it would be. We get started rather early in the morning and we tend to wrap up later than we did in dental school. So they’re really throwing us into the fire right away here!

What’s your schedule like? Our hours are usually from 7 or 8am to 5 or 6pm, Monday through Friday. One or two weeks a month I’ll be on call. This means I can get called into the hospital to handle a dental emergency any time on any day (and weekends after midnight are the most popular times for people to stroll in with an avulsed tooth or mandibular fracture).

What are you doing for fun? I enjoy working out each day after clinic. I also play in a beach volleyball league each Monday evening.

Any advice for someone considering a GPR? No two GPRs are alike so ask former and current residents what they think. The residents tend to be the best at describing the strengths, weaknesses and idiosyncrasies of the residency.

What are your plans after you complete this program? My short term plans are a little up in the air. I’ve lived in Illinois most of my life and so I have some interest in moving out of state. Also, I’ve worked in a number of Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and have enjoyed those experiences. So right now I’m strongly considering moving west and spending a few years working in public health.

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 newdentist@ada.org.

Following Up with Your Network

New Dentist Reception

Networking continues after the event ends

It was great hanging out with everyone at the 27th New Dentist Conference this past weekend. Every year the attendees tell us how much they value the connections they make with one another at the conference.

How do you follow up with a great connection, whether you meet at the New Dentist Conference, the 2013 ADA Annual Session Oct. 31-Nov. 3 in New Orleans, or at another event?

Over at the OpenForum blog, Nicole Smartt has a series of tips about how to turn a one-time networking event into a long-term business relationship. She shares several tactics for staying top-of-mind with the folks you’ve met. Here’s one that stuck out for us:

Keep them top of mind too. Subscribe to Google alerts or their newsletters and congratulate them on their successes, new ventures or even their recent quote in the paper.

 Seems like this would also be a handy tip for cultivating new patients. What about you, how do you stay connected with your network? Share your answers in the comments.