Paralysis by analysis

Feb. 1, 2006
If you read books about successful leaders and business people, you will note many similar qualities among them.

If you read books about successful leaders and business people, you will note many similar qualities among them. They all share leadership qualities, which include the ability to motivate those around them, deal with challenges, and seek new opportunities. According to leadership experts, there is one overriding factor that makes someone successful - the ability to make a decision. This ability to make a quick and efficient decision is something I see lacking in many dentists.

This doesn’t mean that every decision a successful person makes is correct. There is no question that some decisions are wrong, but if you don’t try different approaches, you’ll never be successful. People learn much more from their failures than from their successes. Also, a quick decision does not mean that someone has not thought through or planned the decision. The key is that once the decision has been made, the idea is acted upon quickly, then evaluated for its effectiveness.

So many dentists I talk to have literally made one big decision in their lives ... and that is the decision to be indecisive! I see some dentists at my lectures again and again, and they simply cannot get over the hump to make a decision as simple as - for example - purchasing a fast curing light. Studies have shown that using an old halogen curing light may cost up to $40,000 per year in lost time where dentistry could be produced. This is an easy decision, yet many dentists still have not chosen to upgrade their curing light capabilities. There are so many fast lights on the market that dentists have their pick. Make a decision and join the thousands of dentists who have said that these fast lights have literally changed the way they practice dentistry.

Another example I see is dentists who won’t change the kind of metal they use under porcelain-to-metal crowns. I’m surprised at the number of dentists who totally rely on laboratory personnel to choose what kind of metals they will place in patients’ mouths. With close to four percent of American women allergic to nickel, I’m still amazed at the number of nickel-based porcelain-to-nonprecious metal crowns that are being placed. It is time to change to high-noble crowns, and the easiest way for most dentists to do this is to use Captek crowns. For just about the same cost that many dentists pay for their low-noble or nonprecious metal crowns, patients can receive the beauty and biocompatibility of gold with a Captek crown.

My laboratory, Trident Dental Laboratory, suggested these crowns and my patients and I couldn’t be happier with the results. In addition to beauty, I know that the gingival margin around these crowns will not have that inflamed look that happens so often when the wrong kind of metal is used. The lab techs at Trident told me I can use any type of margin with Captek crowns and, believe me, I tested the theory and it is absolutely true. Here is a simple decision that can easily be made by dentists who want to provide excellent service at the same cost with better results for patients.

We dentists have the tendency to research things to death, but never make the decision to actually change. We grow each time we make a decision. Look at materials and techniques that could make your life easier, your dentistry faster, and your patients’ lives better. Then, make the decision to try it. Be a leader and go for it!

Dr. Louis Malcmacher is an international lecturer and author known for his comprehensive and entertaining style. An evaluator for Clinical Research Associates, Dr. Malcmacher is a consultant to the Council on Dental Practice of the ADA. For close to two decades, Dr. Malcmacher has inspired his audiences to truly enjoy practicing dentistry by providing the knowledge necessary for excellent clinical and practice-management skills. Since 1988, his group dental practice has maintained a 45 percent overhead. For details about his speaking schedule, Dr. Malcmacher can be reached at (440) 892-1810 or via e-mail at [email protected].

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