Note to Self

I just got finished reading someone else’s bio on their website. He sounds important but I’m not warmed for some reason… Marketing is a tricky business and sometimes things are not received as intended. We want people to feel comfortable and safe when coming to see us, so we tell them that we are well trained and are up on the latest technologies. The problem is that our competency, as dentists, is actually assumed. In other words, if we have to tell people we are talented and highly competent, it brings into question our competency. They wonder why we have to mention it. Is there a problem? On the other hand, every message constructed to help people navigate in the complex world of dentistry – without self-promotion – is usually appreciated. Which brings me to this observation. We all are by nature and past experiences generally suspicious that we are being marketed to, even when the information is free of self-promotion. I am constantly looking for hooks myself. We also, by nature, need and enjoy connecting with others. It is a healthy thing to do. Conclusion. Go slowly. It’s messy. People will misunderstand. Keep working on relationships. It’s important and also one of the hardest things to do...

How To Get Straight A’s in College

This isn’t a joke and I can help if you seriously want to get straight A’s. But here’s the deal. If you decide not to follow my advice, and you don’t get straight A’s you will not whine or complain. You will admit to yourself and others that you chose the grades you got. Deal? Most people think that the smarter people get the better grades. Not true. The disciplined people get the better grades. They are smarter planners and better at executing a plan persistently and patiently. Sure you will find people who appear to be exceptions to what I am describing. They will get no sleep, party in excess and pull down good grades. What you may not know is that eventually they will implode. You cannot be distracted by their behavior or apparent success. This has nothing to do with you. Also you cannot get sucked into the plight of the academically needy. You did not come to college to babysit. If you are going to help others, become a tutor, set your hours and get paid for it. If you don’t get straight A’s because you denied your own studies to help others, understand this was your decision and you cannot blame those you helped after the fact. Are we clear? 1. To get straight A’s you must start work on the first day of school. If you slack even in the first week you can easily find yourself in catch up mode and your chances of Straight A’s are now uncertain. If you have to set up your dorm room or do any other...

So What’s the Big Idea?

I discovered the memo function on my iPhone and so recorded this on my drive into work this morning. I know it’s a little slow in pace but I was thinking it up as I went along. Sometimes we get so stuck in routine we stop thinking bigger thoughts. Here’s a brief reflection on that issue. Big Idea...

The Power of Core Beliefs

Once in a while someone will compliment me about something I write. Sure, it feels good when it happens. Sometimes following the kind words, however, they make a statement that implies that I am doing something they cannot. They aren’t writers, they tell me, which obviously means that somehow I am. I hear this from people about math as well. “I’m just not good with numbers.” And it doesn’t stop there, “I can’t give a good speech,” or “I’m just naturally shy, there’s nothing I can do about it.” This list of inadequacies most of us feel is seemingly endless. To me, probably the best tip on writing I can give (and this applies to other activities as well) is be honest and be brave. Don’t let the critics drag you down, especially the one in your own head. Beyond this, recently I have found a helpful method which is to read back out loud to myself what I have written. I’m trying to make this a personal habit. Nothing gets published I haven’t sat and read out loud to myself over and over until I think it sounds like me. It’s an extra step, it takes more time and it’s worth it. (Obviously this out-loud-reading part is best accomplished in a quiet room by yourself). To the bigger point about not being good at things. Be careful not to make agreements with negative messages in your mind. In other words, if we believe we are limited and worthless, we can be sure these messages are not coming from God. Our problem is that we are susceptible to what...

How Can Patients Promote Dental Health?

In this age of social media, people have the opportunity of helping others live better lives. On the other hand, much “promotion” is simply a form of nagging. How can we encourage our families and friends in ways that are most effective? What You Might Do 1. Lead by example. Tell your friends when you are doing something good for your own health. Here are some ideas to stimulate your thinking. • “I just figured out a better way to floss. It’s not that hard after all.” • “Just had my 6 month dental cleaning and learned that too much toothpaste can wear away the enamel.” 2. Promote dentists you like. Sincere and specific comments about experiences in dental offices are more than appreciated. They are influential and motivational. If you have had a great experience somewhere and you “tweet” it out or share it on Facebook, other’s will reflect on their own circumstances and may move to act. • “I sure love Dr. Shmedlap’s office. She is such a caring dentist.” • “I know people say that ______ procedure is painful. It wasn’t for me. Dr. Shmedlap is my hero.” 3. Pass on or re-tweet health messages you read to those who follow you. What to Avoid Don’t overdo it. Be selective in order to give your words more weight. People stop listening when people don’t give it a rest once in a while. Avoid telling people what they ought to do. Adults hate this because it reminds them of all the times their parents lectured them. It’s an automatic turn-off. Don’t promote negative stereotypes. I love dentist...

Dentist Celebrates Octogenarians with 20 or more Teeth

Periodically I try to get away from topics about teeth, periodontal disease, dental implants and instead just look into the news and see what’s happening in the world of dentistry. Scrolling down Google News past the indictments of dentists and the tragic stories of dentists involved in fatal traffic accidents, I ran across this one. It’s about a dentist who celebrates with octogenarians who have twenty or more of their natural teeth by putting on a banquet for them at his local country club. May his tribe increase! http://bit.ly/nmD1Ql People who retain strong teeth into their 80’s and beyond have a much better chance at a longer and healthier life simply because they are able to eat better than those who use dentures. The chewing effectiveness of dentures has been measured to be between 10 to 15% that of natural teeth. Dental implants are a way of helping people move into stronger teeth. Well, look at this, I thought I wasn’t going to talk about teeth and dental implants. Sorry about that. It just happens...