There's no place like "Here"

Oct. 1, 2003
This year marks my 20th year in the practice of dentistry. Often lately, I find myself pondering how very fortunate I have been to end up here. "

This year marks my 20th year in the practice of dentistry. Often lately, I find myself pondering how very fortunate I have been to end up here. "Here" being the owner of exactly the type of multispecialty, fee-for-service practice that I set out to build upon graduating from dental school 20 years ago. "Here" being the father of three well-adjusted, happy, and energetic young boys and the husband of a loving wife (also a dentist and devoted mother to our children). "Here" being the recipient of the resources and financial integrity that the profession of dentistry allows us to have. "Here" being involved with a professional brotherhood and friendships that dentistry has allowed me to cultivate. Indeed, as a group, dentists are some of the most caring, charitable, decent, intelligent, and interesting people that I could ever be exposed to. I hope that at some point in every dentist's career, they can feel as I do — that they made a fantastic choice in choosing dentistry as a career and that they have succeeded far beyond their original dreams.

As I reflect upon my good fortune, I cannot help considering the specific activities that have delivered me "here." Most prominent in those activities would have to be my diligent reading of Dental Economics. You see, I have read nearly every single issue of Dental Economics for 20 years! I have learned so much over those years — patient presentations by Dick Barnes, a fiscally responsible way of life, intelligent investment strategies and practice model from John Wilde, tax strategies from John McGill and Charles Blair, effective new dental products from Joe Blaes, and on and on. And this vast source of knowledge is free to every dentist! As a young graduate with much debt and little capital, Dental Economics was the most valuable of gifts. I sincerely hope that my articles which appear in Dental Economics from time to time will in some way reciprocate in providing practical and effective information to others in our dental family.

I still read Dental Economics today since I do not see any need to stop improving my practice and my life. My simple advice for dentists young and old? Deliver an excellent quality of dental treatment to your patients, run a well-organized business, make intelligent business decisions, take the time necessary to build a fulfilling and joyous personal life, and read Dental Economics to show you how to do it!

George Salem, DMD, FAGD
Braintree, Mass.

Accolades for a winning article

Kudos to Rick Willeford on his July article, "Win the Losers Game" (Dental Economics, Page 34). Finally, someone gets it right! I am a financial advisor and married to a dentist, so I read every issue. Thanks again!

Jim Whiddon, CFP
Dallas, Tex.

The right time to hire is ... ?

We need information on how to calculate if our practice is ready to hire a hygienist. You ran an article with a quotient. Do you know it?

Dr. Barbra
Salt Lake City, Utah

Response from columnist Annette Linder:

An easy way to determine hygiene needs is:
• Take the number of active patients (patients who received preventive care during the last 18 to 24 months) multiplied by 2, then divided by 12 (months).
• Add the number of monthly new patients to determine monthly core patient base. Multiply this total by 12 to determine annual hygiene recall requirement.
• Next, determine your current status by calculating the number of patients seen in the previous year for recall and perio procedures. This may be accomplished by running a computer-generated procedure report for prophys and perio procedure codes 0110, 4341, 4355, and 4910.

With this calculation, you will see how many chairs/treatment rooms are available for doctor treatment and how much time is being used for hygiene treatment. Typically, once you hit the 800 patient mark, the general practice can support a hygienist.

800 x 2 = 1600 ÷ 12 = 133 + 10 new pts = 143 core pts per month (add perio pts to this)
16 days per month = 128 hygiene hours monthly

Annette Linder, RDH
Columnist for Dental Economics' "Hygiene: Up Close"

Share DE articles with your staff

Dr. Blaes, I was thrilled to see your editor's note on sharing articles with your staff (August, Page 14). This is a practice we have followed for more than two years. We created a "routing slip" with every team member's name on it. As they read the article, they initial it and pass it on to the next team member. Of course, we do this with articles from many different publications, but you will be happy to hear that on review of the returned articles (we keep them in a file after they are returned), two-thirds of the articles are from Dental Economics.

I feel there are many benefits to sharing articles with the team. Of course, first is the knowledge they can gain from them. I also feel they get a good picture of the doctor's philosophies as they relate to running the office by the articles the doctor chooses to share. It also is a good way of orienting new team members as they can read past articles and catch up quickly.

I don't usually write in on such issues, but I appreciated your article and the validation that it provided for what we are doing. I hope more people heed your advice. It would be great for the profession as a whole.

Ben A. Bratcher, DDS
Canton, Tex.

Don't smoke the hard drive

I just read the article, "Up in Smoke," in your August issue (Page 66) with great interest. The author, Dr. O'Connor, mentions that he worked with a company named Dynamic Computer Systems from Lansing, Mich. Although we have tried to locate this company on the Internet and by telephone, we have found no listing. I would like to ask Dr. O'Connor for a contact name and phone number where this company can be reached. Again, many thanks for a well-written article on a very important topic.

Dr. William Demray
Northville, Mich.

Reply from Dr. David O'Connor

Hello, Dr. Demray. Dynamic Computer Systems is a one-man operation run by a really nice and really smart guy by the name of Tim Shand. His office number is (517) 371-2988, and his cell number is (517) 712-7854. I often call his cell and he doesn't mind.

Feel free to email me as well if you are so inclined — [email protected].

Dr. David O'Connor
Toledo, Ohio


In the August issue of Dental Economics, we erroneously omitted Easy 2000 Dental Software in our 2003 Computer Systems Buyer's Guide. Please read about Easy 2000 Dental Software in the New Products section of this issue.

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