Keeping New Year's resolutions

Here we are in February. Are you still keeping your New Year's resolutions?

Here we are in February. Are you still keeping your New Year's resolutions? I am writing this during the first week in January, trying to keep on the diet that I have resolved to follow to lose the pounds I gained in 2010. Too much traveling and too much good food and drink combined to expand my waistline, so I am in my fat clothes. Now I'm starting on my plan to lose those extra pounds and a few more to get back to what I weighed when I started this job as editor 15 years ago. Can you believe that? Wow, we have all seen a lot of huge changes in those years!

One of the big changes has been managed practices. One of the most successful at this has been Heartland Dental Care (HDC) of Effingham, Ill. Dr. Rick Workman, the founder of HDC, and I have been friends for a long time. I have watched him grow his business into a company that now manages 280 offices, and it is looking to grow at an even faster rate this year. I was privileged to be invited to be the keynote speaker at HDC's "Annual Leadership Meeting and Holiday Party" on Dec. 10. New dentists that join HDC average close to $175,000 in their first year and receive close to 200 hours of continuing education. I asked Rick where he was when I graduated from dental school! I was also interested in Rick's report on the status of the company. HDC will soon be a billion dollar company! Rick has put together a great, dedicated team that will continue this growth in the future. Thanks, Heartland, for the invitation to speak at your annual meeting.

My last trip of 2010 was on Dec. 16 to visit the Pelton & Crane and KaVo headquarters in Charlotte, N.C. I had not been there in two years,and the changes were dramatic! By streamlining their production facility to make it more efficient and effective, they have been able to free up some large areas of floor space that have been put to use as a beautiful entry and lobby, a new equipment display area to showcase their innovations, new office space, new teaching areas, and even a new look when you drive up to the building. I saw a lot of innovative new products that I cannot tell you about yet, but I know you will be blown away by them. I did a question-and-answer session with some of their dedicated team leaders who had some very interesting questions. We went to a great steak house where I discovered a delicious meat loaf and a new red wine. I appreciate their hospitality! I also was able to get the last four segments that I needed for my American Airlines Platinum status.

A couple of months ago, I lost a gold inlay on tooth number 31. I had a young dentist friend of mine who practices near me prep the tooth for a new gold onlay. As I sat through the procedure, I thought of many things that he could do differently to make it more efficient. Then and there, I decided to become a mentor for this dentist. If you are a new dentist, find another dentist you respect to be your mentor. The two of you will learn together and develop a wonderful relationship. My mentor and I became lifelong friends.

Two of my favorite dental meetings are coming up this month and next. I have not missed a Chicago Midwinter Meeting in more than 40 years! This meeting is sponsored by the Chicago Dental Society and runs Feb. 24 to 26 at McCormick Place. My other favorite is the Hinman Dental Meeting in Atlanta, which will be held March 24 to 26 at the Georgia World Congress Center. Both of these meetings would be great places to continue your education.

The importance of CE cannot be overemphasized! For me, it is the key to a satisfying, high- quality dental practice. The winners are your patients because they get to keep their teeth for the rest of their lives. Each month in DE, you are presented with excellent opportunities for outstanding CE courses from IneedCE. Take advantage of them - I do!

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