Beware of snake oil

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Dr Mark Hassed

Recently I sat through a day seminar with a dental guru.

While there were lots of things to be amused by, ultimately the day was very unsatisfying.

The reason?

This guru was peddling an entire, fully formed philosophy of dentistry. The philosophy was built around this particular dentist’s personality and strengths.

His message was: “Here’s how to practice dentistry.”

The problem with that is that, if you don’t have his personality and strengths, then you simply cannot do what he does. Totally impossible.

The speaker in question is extremely charismatic. I can only imagine the carnage that would ensue if a dentist with a reserved personality tried to practice as the guru does.

Every dentist has strengths and weaknesses and a successful practice must revolve around the strengths.

To use a tennis analogy: If you have a fantastic forehand, build your game around that, not your weak backhand.

When I consult I always look at building on strengths.

When I lecture I don’t present a fully cooked philosophy, I present ideas. Take the ones that are useful (the ones that fit in with your game plan) and leave the rest.

That’s why I am proud to say that I am not a guru. I’m an ideas person.

2 thoughts on “Beware of snake oil

    Malcolm Cooke said:
    July 31, 2012 at 9:23 pm


    True wisdom as usual

    I agree so much, you are such a gem, the worst practice management people I have had simply insisted on using only their systems, pulling yours out without even checking if they worked.

    My staff jacked up & attempted to get her to explain why her system was better than ours, it was refused, just go and waste 10 years of data, spend a week setting up my systems ..

    The better looked for gaps and made suggestions there.

    Everything has something to offer though.

    And I must admit, you can only run around your forehand so long, it doesn’t hurt to develop your backhand whilst still focussing on your strengths

    Dr H responded:
    August 4, 2012 at 10:57 am

    Thanks Malcolm. Your experience with being put into a “sausage machine” is not unusual (unfortunately). I agree with you also that you must develop any very weak shots you have. Being able to present cases is a must have and if you are weak in that area it must be developed.

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