In my 20 years Journey I realized the big challenge of giving an high value to a dental practice ? What do I mean with “value “ ? Value is a subjective topic but for sure value is NOT determined by dentists or the owner of the practice ….value is assessed by our final customers , our patients .
Our patients , of course , are not doctors so the perception of value is biased by personal “interpretations” and cognitive bias .
For the success of a dental office is chief a good “perceived “ quality of the practice by patients .
Under this point of view , we realize that giving value is something complex in our field for many reasons I am going to highlight in this article .
The funny thing is , year by year , despite my increasing skill in delivering “360° value “ to my patients and bringing forward my office , I realize that this task is always more complex than I was thinking in the past .
It’s really the famous Dunning Krueger effect : if you don’ t know this effect , it’s a cognitive bias where people with scarce experience and expertise feel more confident than more experienced ones. In my case , this worked at its best ! I was much more confident in my quality and dentistry when I was younger than now …now , despite my higher reliability in my procedures and the smoother workflow , I feel myself to say nothing more than doing dentistry at 360° is “complicated” . I will introduce several reasons because dentistry is complicated in the attempt to give an order to our daily struggle .
1)Patients are not doctors ..stupid maybe but probably the most important ..patients are not able to understand technical details and “quality “ , their perception of quality is based on different things we often take care of . People look at other “indicators “ of quality , like how the office is clean , how the office is in time , how people like ,your secretaries and assistants ,behave . A smile and a nice talk and the perception of being understood in his/her own needs is much more important than the use of rubber dam or other “quality clinical indicators “ in a talk with a patient .
2) People is not able to choose between different options …often we propose different options with the idea of giving some freedom ..instead the final result is the opposite ..patient has no means to decide and the final result is “stress” . A STRESSED patient often will decide to wait , doing nothing , or , sometimes , to look for another opinion .
3) Based on the first 2 the problem of dentistry is that we need to learn a lot about psychology , sales’s psychology and cognitive bias that affect patients and dentists themselves.
4) Courses and congresses push dentists toward an idealized version of dentistry , something that doesn’t exist in the real world, Frustration and feeling of being unlucky is the typical reaction , till you are able to realize that there is a gap between theory and practice few courses are able to fill , and these are usually not the most famous one (in my experience more famous the speaker , more idealized his dentistry )
5) Time : in other works where we sell a product , the time spent working on the “product “ is a value .Doing an extreme example when we read about pyramids and how many decades of work and number of workers were needed , that translated in our mind as a enormous value for the future owner . In dentistry , instead , time is a problem cause it’s paid by the patient with tiring sessions in the dental chair . Also the number of appointments required is an issue in the real world . The ability to develop reliable , efficient , and fast protocols in dentistry is chief in the success of an office .
6) Delivery of the service : in other fields the “product “ is made far by the eyes of the future owner , if the work is done underpaying people , in third world countries , or in dirty places this is not perceived by the customer . Just think to how easy is to buy some chicken in the market without any regret and going to a farm and asking to kill , under your eyes , a chicken . In dentistry we do our “product “ while the patient is there with us . In this way even the production and the delivery of the service become and experience that has an enormous value in the perception of the customer . An anxious dentist , despite his good technical level , will perform for a patient in a worse way than a colleague with better communicational features and a lower technical level.
7) We live in a strange era where we have often the chance to go back . You write a comment on facebook and you can delete . You edit a video , you cut it , you adjust colors , you add scenes since the result is satisfactory . You say something wrong to somebody , and , after , you are going to say “sorry” . We do things by approximation with that inner feeling we are able to go back . But dentistry is not like that . Many things in dentistry are made “one shot “ …when you perforate a pulp chamber , a damage is done, when you drill to much interaxial dentin , the same , when you clean too much dentine looking to the “yellow “ dentin of congresses you harm the tooth and so on ..Dentistry is like writing on a paper , once you wrote something , everything is there , is not like writing on your laptop and just push “delete”.
😎 Human interactions are not just between the doctor and patients but the majority are between patients and staff…so you need to develop a culture in your dental office about employees must behave with patients . You need to develop strong ideas and you must become the “ example “ of behavior for your staff..if you are rude with patients , they will feel the freedom to do the same (probably when you’re not present ), you have to become the better version of yourself . You have to become an example of behavior .
9) Communication : Words matter..how you say things is very important . I dove in several books and courses about communication , human interactions , I also read a little about NPL , there is a he world in these fields .
10) Leader ship : you need not to command staff but to do push them to do what you want , this is a complete different strategy but much more effective . If you “command “people, they will usually not perform at their best , when you are not present they will behave even worse and they will always complain with somebody else lowering the mood of the office . You will also be the first “slave “ in your practice unable to go away , cause things won’t work . Even this point should become a “course “ itself . I spent the last 5 years improving and studying on this topic.
This list may go on endlessly but I cited the main ones my mind is thinking about . Dentistry is complex …no way..if you think differently you’re new to this game or not really working 🙂.

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