Being a dentist means more than just earning a degree and opening up a practice. The world of dentistry is a dynamic one and it’s important to always keep up with the latest software and technology. Successful dentists attend several conferences a year and never stop learning. They stay up to date by reading periodicals filled with knowledge about the latest hardware and software technology as well as reading new suggestions for increasing patient comfort levels and decreasing patient anxiety.

Unlike other medical fields, as a dentist you have an additional psychological obstacle to overcome in order to win over your patients. Psychologically speaking, many studies have been done about dental phobia and why people dread having to see their dentist. For some people, it’s the idea of a stranger inside their mouths, others are afraid of all the noisy mechanics involved in dental instruments. A lack of control has also been cited as a reason people abhor sitting in a dentist chair. There is also a societal stigma. If a person’s parents were afraid of the dentist, then it is more likely they will be as well. 

In addition to being at the top of your game, it’s important to remember that being a good dentist means more than being a one-person show. You must recognize and validate your team working alongside you to make your practice as great as it can be. Start each day with a cheerful morning meeting to discuss that day’s patients and giving everyone a chance to chime in. This is a great way for people to feel heard and it starts the day on the right note. In addition, people will follow your attitude, so the more positive you are, the more your team will be happy. 

Return business such as regular checkups and routine cleanings are the actual bread and butter of any dentist. While insurance might play a role regarding which providers can be chosen, clients still have a choice between you and your competitors. For this reason, they must feel a human connection and an interest in returning. Your patients spend the majority of their visits with the dental hygienists, not you. These are your front line workers who truly make an impression. In addition, Interactions with reception and billing will leave an impression which all falls under the umbrella of customer service. Nowadays people will not hesitate to leave feedback for the entire world to see, so word-of-mouth and online reviews can make or break a dental practice. 

Flexibility is another key personality trait when running a practice. The old adage ‘life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans’ is true for a reason. Some days will be packed full of appointments, others will be spent meeting with vendors, and many will be last-minute go with the flow schedules because of last-minute cancellations or sudden emergencies. 

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