You Lost Me at Hello. Red Flags.

With 26 years of practice under my belt, one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned is when to NOT treat a patient.  Just ten days ago, I blogged about a very nice new patient:  You Had Me at Hello.  With a more recent patient, it was “You lost me at hello.”   Sort of.  It was really at “good bye.”

As a group, dentists tend to take on all comers.  We want to treat everyone… probably for a couple of reasons.  First, many of us want everyone to like us.  Everyone should like me, right?  Just ask my mom!  Who wouldn’t like you?  Well, as we get older, we learn not everyone will like us.  Even better, as we get older, we learn not to care that not everyone will like us.

Secondly, I submit that most dentists will take on all comers, because he or she simply wants the income.  If we’re honest, we are all driven by the desire to make money.  Nothing wrong with that….  Who works for free?  But, when that desire supersedes all other factors, we can get into trouble.

Listen to that little voice!

I’ve only been “sued” once.  It never went to court.  It was settled by my insurance company.  The dental issue isn’t really relevant (though it was minor).  What IS relevant is that I KNEW I shouldn’t have treated the patient.  I KNEW IT!  I actually dismissed her before beginning treatment because of the red flags she was waving in my face.  She had already written a (big) check for the treatment plan in full, and I sent it back to her.  But, then she came back, crying and begging me to treat her.  She went on about how I was “the best,” and that she only wanted ME to treat her.  And, I caved.  Big mistake.  Lesson learned.

The dissatisfied patient.

A few weeks ago, I met a new patient who was in distress after her experience at a “McDentist” corporate office.  She had a 3-unit bridge prepped and temped.  The teeth were hurting her and her jaw was sore.  She wasn’t happy, and she was adamant about not going back to that office.  Continue reading

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Posted in Practice Management, What Happened Today | Tagged | 7 Comments

“I’m on the beach, and my crown came out.”

beach-crown-I’ve said it a thousand times, if I’ve said it once.  The smartest thing I ever did, business-wise, was to create a well-optimized and well-written website.

Today, at the end of the day, we got a call at the office.  A gentleman said his front crown came out, and he’s at the beach.  He’s visiting from upstate New York.  We told him to come on in!

I can chew for miles and miles…

Once he got here, we learned that he drove TWENTY-TWO miles (about 30 minutes).  He passed dozens and dozens of dental offices between the beach and my office.  Right there on the beach, he used Google to find a dentist.  My practice came up in the search results, and he visited my mobile website.  And, he made the call.  Bear in mind that Google Search favors “local results.”  I’m far (literally) from being the most “local” to that beach.  Yet, my website came up at the top of his search.

He really did come straight from the beach!  Sand on the base of the chair (left) and at the foot of the chair (right).

He really did come straight from the beach!  That’s sand on the base of the chair (left) and at the foot of the chair (right).

Write your website copy like you speak… Friendly!

I always try to ask patients what they used as search terms or if they visited other sites.  In other words, Continue reading

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Posted in Websites, What Happened Today | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Have Gun. Will Travel.

gun travel itinerary-Doc With a Glock

My sister, the pediatrician, just asked me about traveling with her gun.  She has a license to carry concealed in her home state, and she’s traveling by air to another state that recognizes her license.  I’m often asked about this by friends.  I’ve had this article in draft form for over a year, so here we go.

Other reasons to travel with firearms include:  hunting trip, shooting competition, range time with friends or family, etc.

A lot of people seem to be surprised that you can travel on commercial airlines with a gun.  Perhaps they assume that since you obviously can’t bring a gun with you or in your carry-on luggage, that they are verboten altogether.  They aren’t.  You CAN travel with firearms (in your checked luggage).  It’s legal (within the U.S.), and it’s easy.

There are a number of things you should know:

  1.   You should know the TSA rules.  The TSA has very specific rules on how firearms are to be packed in checked luggage.  Click on:  Traveling with Firearms and Ammunition.

  2.   You should know the airline’s rules.  Most airlines follow the TSA’s rules exactly.  Some have their own rules about how ammunition is to be packed or how many firearms you can pack.  Every airline has a page on their website.  Just Google, “(your airline) firearms.”

  3.  You should know the laws of your destination state.  They may not be the same as the laws in your home state.  First, be SURE that your destination recognizes your license to carry.   Then, you need to know WHERE you can or can’t carry.  For example, some states prohibit concealed carry in a restaurant that serves alcohol.  Some don’t.  If you are pulled over by police for a traffic stop, some states require that you inform the officer you are carrying.  Some don’t.  So, how do you get information about your destination?  It’s all located in this one easy-to-use website:  Handgun Laws U.S.

    Another source is an “app” for your phone.   I have this one:  CCW – Concealed Carry 50 State (screenshots below)

  4.   Be aware of the states on your route (stops or reroutes).  This may seem like an odd thing to list.  But, there have been cases of law-abiding citizens traveling with legal firearms inadvertently stopping in unexpected destinations and ending up in deep legal doo-doo.  You can literally end up in jail.  If you unexpectedly get stuck in states like New York or New Jersey (that do not recognize your Constitutional Rights), for example, you do NOT want to take possession of your luggage (and gun).  One such citizen ended up spending 10 days in jail and didn’t get his gun back for 3 years.  Certainly, you should avoid flights that connect through anti-liberty states.  Fly direct, if possible.
Gun Laws for 50 States phone app provides a lot of information.

Gun Laws for 50 States phone app provides a lot of information.

While I’ve given you some useful links, I’ll go over and show you exactly how I do it.  Continue reading

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Posted in Guns & Knives, Personal Security & Safety | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

You Had Me at Hello.

had-me-at-hello-7131Today a new patient came in for an exam.  He is a 50 year old who hasn’t been to a dentist in about 15 years.  He is embarrassed by multiple missing and broken teeth… some right up front.  Some are starting to hurt.  He told me that he keeps conversations short so that people won’t notice his broken and decayed teeth.  He was visibly upset just talking about it with me.

had-me-at-hello-

Access to Care?

He works in a town that is 45 minutes away from my office.  He lives in a city that is 20 minutes away.  There are several hundred dentists in the county.  I’d bet he drove past at least several dozen dentists on his way to my office.  He found my practice website with a Google search.  By the way, he works as a computer network administrator.

had-me-at-hello--2

I had to ask how he found us and why he picked us.  Continue reading

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Posted in Marketing, Websites, What Happened Today | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

But, I Live in a Nice Neighborhood.

Crime can (and does) happen anywhere.  I’m amused when people rest easy and say, “I’m in a good neighborhood.”  Ummmm…  That’s where criminals go, because it’s where the GOOD stuff is!

break inI talked to my dad last night.  He called to let me know he and my stepmother had returned home after a cross-country trip.  They live in a rural area that would certainly be considered a “nice neighborhood.”  Their next door neighbor is an elderly widow.  At 2pm (a few days ago while my parents were out of town), the widow heard noise at her front door.  She peered through the window in the door and saw two men unknown to her.  She went to retrieve a pistol left by her late husband (though she didn’t know how to use it).  By the time she returned to the front door, the men had broken the window, reached in to unlock the deadbolt, and begun to enter her home.  She pointed the pistol at the men, and they fled.

Another neighbor has reportedly shown her how to use the gun since the incident.

“When seconds count, the police are only minutes away.”

A pithy observation, perhaps.  But, it rings true.  What might have happened, if my parents’ neighbor wasn’t able to scare the bad guys away?  Would she have even been able to dial 911?  Even if she had time to dial 911, would help have arrived in time to save her?  The obvious answer is, “No.”

Many of us have smoke detectors and own fire extinguishers, even though the probability of a fire is very small.  We take many measures (life insurance, flood insurance, seat belts, helmets, etc.) to mitigate injuries or losses that are typically remote.  While the chances of any of them happening is small, the consequences are significant.  Why wouldn’t you take similar measures to protect yourself in the case of a home invasion?

My dad is experienced and proficient with firearms (and owns several).   My stepmother has no experience.  They are signing up for a firearms class together.  Good idea.

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Posted in Personal Security & Safety | Tagged , | 19 Comments

I Never Use Retraction Cord

Except when I do…

ultrapak-singleI rarely use retraction cord for crown preps, as I try to keep my margins equigingival or supragingival.  If I need retraction, I’ll usually reach for my Picasso Lite diode laser first.  Or, I may use the H&H impression technique (which drives impression material subgingivally without any retraction).

But, there’s one situation that I almost always use retraction cord:  Cervical composites.

Why?  First, if you’re using magnification and a headlight, you’ll be amazed at the very visible flow of crevicular fluid.  You blast it away with the air syringe, and it immediately starts welling up again.  That spells inevitable contamination of the bonded composite at the gingival margin, which can lead to early failure.  Well-placed retraction cord is an effective dam against the crevicular tsunami.

Secondly, the retraction cord affords good visualization of the restorative margin during the prep, during the placement of the composite, and while finishing.  Keep reading and see the case presentation below.  Continue reading

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Posted in Case Presentation, Clinical Technique, Dental Product Reviews, Tips & Tricks | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Is It Safe? Yes. The Dental Warrior Is Safe.

is-it-safeMy blog got hacked (despite some pretty heavy-duty security measures).

But, it’s fixed now.  Hooray!

To my fellow bloggers and website owners, I can recommend the service provided by Sucuri to clean and protect your site from malware.

http://sucuri.net/

Now, back to our regularly scheduled program….

Posted in Dental Warrior Announcements | Leave a comment

The Dental Warrior (mobile) Has Been Hacked!

Fair warning, and my apologies… My blog has been hacked such that if you access it with a mobile device, you will be redirected to a porn app.

I’ve got people working on it at this time.  I hope to have it resolved soon.

Please stand by.  Thanks!

FIXED!

Posted in Dental Warrior Announcements | Leave a comment

Website + Email + Remote Login = New Patient

appointment-request-2I’ve had a website for my practice since 1999.  Several years ago, I added an Appointment Request Form that is forwarded to me by email.  And, for many years, when I got such a request over the weekend, there wasn’t much I could do other than send a reply letting them know we’d call them first thing on Monday to set it up.

Back in June, I replaced my very old computer at the front desk and switched to a new PMS (practice management software).  I also connected the new computer to the internet (there was no reason to do so before with the old PMS).  And, I subscribed to “Logmein,” a service that allows me to connect to the office computer remotely.

Today, I got an appointment request.  Here it is:

appointment-request

Added arrows to indicate key information.

Here are the emails that followed (in order): Continue reading

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Posted in Marketing, Practice Management, What Happened Today | Tagged , | 8 Comments

Spelling & Grammar Count!

Or do they?  Should they?

Increasingly, I’ve noticed poor spelling, grammar, and syntax in the media.  I see it in print and on TV.  While I suspect many don’t think it matters, and many don’t see it (because of their own deficits), it bugs me.  I believe it is symptomatic of the “dumbing down of America.”  Sadly, I’m also seeing it in dental marketing pieces.

You’re JOURNALISTS, for gosh sake!

The stock and trade of the news media is the English language (here in the U.S.).  And, they get it wrong far too often.

I pulled all of these off my own TV, watching at home.

Are the security officers going to dress provocatively and prance about the campus?

Are the security officers going to dress provocatively and prance about the campus?

Continue reading

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Posted in Marketing, What Happened Today | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments