It’s Time to Break Up

Dear Sugar, I am breaking up with you!
From late October to Jan 1, I typically develop a bad habit of eating more sugar, in every form imaginable.
Holiday cookies are my weakness. What’s yours?
As we start the new year, think about the habits that we have developed in our practices and ask your team:
• Why are we doing it this way?
• What can we do to improve?


First, we must be honest with ourselves as a team and reveal the things we are doing that may be toxic to our practice health. Below are two examples of what I call Detect and Correct.

Detect: Do you continually run late?
• According to Dentistry Today, research shows that if a patient waits more than 20 minutes for their scheduled appointment, their overall experience at your office is negative. They are also less likely to follow through with recommended treatment.

• Use a scheduling template, and stick to it, that realistically schedules the amount of time needed for practitioner / procedure length. Keep in mind that we all perform procedures differently. This takes some thought and adjustment to get dialed in, but well worth it.
• Respecting the patients time is critical. Be honest. Let the patient know you are running behind as soon as you know. If it is, or will be, longer than 15 minutes, give the patient a gift card with a sincere apology. Continue to keep them updated. Offer to reschedule if necessary.

Detect: How do you address patient apprehension and fear?
• Sometimes, we become casual about addressing patients fears. It may seem trivial to us, because we hear the same concerns quite often. However, the perception is very real and very important to our patients! We should be acknowledging their concerns.

• Take the time to ask the patient “how are you feeling about the appointment today?” If they express any concern, dive a little deeper into the issue and assure them you will do everything you can to keep them comfortable throughout the appointment. Also, give them permission and a signal they can use at any time if they are feeling anxious.


Start the new year off right. Break up with old habits and develop new, healthy practice habits. Change takes recognition, accountability, and support from the entire team. Let’s do this together!

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