Someone once said, “Good habits are formed; bad habits we fall into.” Dental practices have formed many good habits, which lead to great patient experiences and well-run days. When dentists and teams struggle, however, the challenges are typically the result of bad habits the practice has fallen into. Three of the most common bad habits are as follows.
First, when patients call with dental emergencies they are often put in the schedule wherever there is an open operatory. While that seems logical, it is a bad habit since this type of scheduling does not consider if the doctor actually has time to see the patient without running behind. And when the practice runs behind due to an emergency, every scheduled patient is inconvenienced. When you consistently run behind, patients leave your practice.
A better habit is to block out times out each week for emergencies—typically right before or after lunch or at the end of the day. Then, whenever possible, you can accommodate patients in need without negatively impacting scheduled patients.
The next habit to consider is how you treatment plan for crown build ups. The biggest reason why build ups are not billed out is the service is not included on the treatment plan. A much better habit is to always include crown build ups on the treatment plan unless you are absolutely convinced one is not needed. Make sure your dental team asks you about build ups whenever a crown is diagnosed.
Finally, you can greatly minimize times when you confuse your dental patients by eliminating the bad habit of speaking in dental lingo. Patients do not understand gray margins or resin composites or perio surgery. They do understand non-clinical terminology such as cavities, tooth-colored fillings, discomfort, and disease. By speaking English instead of dental, you will guide more patients to schedule for recommended treatment.
Robert Puller once said, “Good habits, once established, are just as hard to break as bad habits.” Consider how you can replace bad habits in your dental practice with hard to break good habits.