Dr Hassed on Noobie Dentist podcast

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I was very happy to be interviewed recently by Dr Omid Azami for his Noobie Dentist podcast.

Dr Azami is a recent graduate from Melbourne University and is currently working in Australia.

His podcast is aimed at new dentists but the topics we discussed — case acceptance and efficiency — are relevant to any dentist at any experience level.

I hope that you enjoy the podcast.

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The Art of Efficient Dentistry

Melbourne 17 March 2018

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The Art of Case Acceptance

Melbourne 28 April 2018

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In-office seminars

Dates by arrangement

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A grasshopper drinking Red Bull

Dr Mark HassedIn efforts to be efficient some dentists go about it all wrong.

They set up multiple surgeries, hire lots of staff then go from room to room. In each room they do a little bit, then hop to the next like a hyperactive grasshopper that has been drinking Red Bull.

This is amazingly inefficient. For each patient they may have to glove and de-glove three times. Instead of working in a systematic manner they do a little bit here and a little bit there.

Working in this way annoys patients (a lot!) and wastes your time.

So, what is the most efficient way of working?

Having been in many offices and having seen many dentists there is no doubt in my mind that the best way of working is as follows:

When you sit down with a patient give them 100% focus and finish their work completely before moving on.

Articaine only takes a minute or two to work. Leaving the patient alone for 10 minutes is totally unnecessary. You can even use the time it takes for LA to work to take an impression or polish a filling or anything else.

But getting up to go to another room wastes your time. 100% guaranteed.


Efficiency is not…

Dr Mark HassedWhen I visit dental offices I sometimes see dentists running around like crazy people. Such dentists say that they are busy and all of them think that they are efficient.

They jump from surgery to surgery, patient to patient and yet when you add up their daily production it is usually unimpressive.

A technical definition of efficiency is “the ratio of the useful work performed by a process to the total energy expended”.

Put in this light, the most efficient dentist is the one who gets the most work done with the least expenditure of effort.

Dentists who run around like crazy people are definitely expending lots of energy. Every moment of the day is filled with some task or other. And, the moments that are not filled with tasks are spent annoying the staff.

However, their ratio of work done to energy expended is very low.

Yet, I have seen the opposite. There are dentists who move around the office like sloths (hardly expending any energy) and despite that, at the finish of the day, their production of dentistry is enormous.

Some of you will say that you are busy and happy and you don't care about being efficient.

But, some of you will say you want to get more done with less work.

For those of you who want to me be more efficient, this blog post and several over the coming weeks are dedicated to you.


Get them in on time

Dr Mark HassedIn almost every practice I visit I hear the same thing said to new patients:

“Your appointment is at 2.00pm but come 10 minutes early so you can fill in the forms.”

Unfortunately, most patients forget the “…come 10 minutes early…” part.

The end result is that the new patient writes “2.00pm” in their diary and arrives at that time. Then they fill in the forms, which takes 10 minutes, and so the dentist gets to start work 10 minutes late.

One practice I know well sees a lot of new patient emergencies. They allow 30 minutes for treatment but because of the problem outlined above you never get more than 20 minutes to actually do the work.

It keeps happening month after month, year after year yet they never fix the problem.

Wouldn't it be so much better to say to patients: “Your appointment is at 1.50pm.” Stop saying 2.00pm but “…come 10 minutes early…”.

That way they will arrive on time and the dentist can get the full 30 minutes for treatment.


Adjusting lab work that doesn’t quite fit

Dr Mark HassedHands up whoever has ever done this.

You get a job back from the laboratory — say a crown or a chrome partial. You try it in and it sort of fits but not quite. It rocks just a little and doesn't go all the way down.

You think you can see what the problem is so you pull out a hand piece and start adjusting. It's better but still not quite right. You adjust again. And again. And again.

20 minutes later it sort of fits but you're not delighted with it but you insert it anyway.

I'm going to suggest to you that any piece of work that has been adjusted to get it to fit will always be an inferior job. What I would do is the moment it doesn't fit is take a new impression and start again.

Well done laboratory work done on a well taken impression just drops into place. It's not fair on the patient to give them a compromise job.

A while ago I was in a practice where they were on their fifth adjustment appointment for a chrome framework that didn't quite fit. What a monumental waste of time.

The second thing I would suggest is that if your redo rate is more than 1 or 2 percent you need to look at your preps, your impressions and your lab.