A Time to Reflect, Recharge, and Reinvent your Practice
As the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us, one thing that we can all count on in this world is change. Change does not just refer to new protocols for cleaning and sanitizing between patients – dental offices have made this an utmost priority well before these times – but it also refers to your practice as a whole, and your philosophy for treating and communicating with patients.
Dr. Mark Montgomery (Amplified Dynamics & Utah Valley Dental Lab), Dr. David Hornbrook (Utah Valley Dental Lab), and Dee Dee Reid (Amplified Dynamics) sat down with us for a TekTalk Conversation to share their experiences from the last several months, and feedback they have heard from doctors adjusting to a new normal. As all three agreed, the early weeks of the pandemic was an important time of reflection for many dental practices.
The slowdown [after COVID] was in the brain of dentists, where they really had to take stock in what motivated them. There was a time of reflection to ask ourselves, am I going to survive this thing? But in the midst of that survival, dentist after dentist has chosen not to be a victim of circumstance, but manifest it into the things they love to do.
Dr. Mark Montgomery
It’s been tough for some dentists financially, who have created this machine where they need to see so many patients in a day. Many of those doctors typically are not happy, or burnt out, especially young dentists. However, more and more dentists are now saying it’s actually a cool, fun profession if I slow down. It requires creating a different system for your practice, but the most important system is listening to your patient, and spending time with your patient.
Dr. David Hornbrook
As practices began to reopen for more routine visits, some doctors began to look at their practice from the patient’s perspective, and use technology to make a better experience. “When patients enter your office, the first thing they’re going to do is look around and ask themselves ‘what are they doing differently to protect my health,” says Dr. Hornbrook. “Then as they’re looking around, they may ask ‘what else might be different?’ They may see different technologies around your office, and in their minds, if you’re keeping up with technology, then you’re definitely going to keep up with infection control and protecting their safety.”
While all three agreed that nothing quite replaces face-to-face contact with a patient, doctors can embrace video conferencing to enhance case presentations to their patients, and involve more people into the discussion with ease. “Utilize dental technology with video,” says Reid. “After you’ve done the exam, you’ve talked about a big comprehensive treatment, just record yourself on Zoom, and send a private link to your patient with your presentation. Think of it as a recap that includes visuals of their X-Ray’s, CBCTs, and even their T-Scan scans, which they can share with their spouse or anyone else in the financial decision-making process.”
Above all else, creating a comforting environment for patients is critically important during this time. This begins with listening, says Dr. Montgomery.
Part of listening is bringing our curiosity and empathy to the relationship with a patient, so that they feel like there’s somebody out there who can offer them some hope, and a way forward. In order to do that, we have to turn our examinations into an exploratory adventure. We need to step up for our patients and give them some hope, and fire them up for what’s next in their lives.
Dr. Mark Montgomery
To watch the complete interview, enroll in the free TekTalk “Candid Conversations with Key Dental Influencers” series.
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