Creating Your Own Space

Pigeonholed–put in a place that is too rigid or exclusive, so exclusive that your survival is compromised. Is that where you are?

I remember a time, and it wasn’t that long ago, that I wrote to a well-known prosthodontic colleague of mine and asked, “What do I do?  I’m recommending a dental implant to a patient to take the occlusal load off of the other teeth and when I do the final crown check, it isn’t in occlusion.”

I’m all for educating the referral source.  But I learned a long time ago, you can’t educate ethics.

And I hear it all the time, “I don’t want to p.o. the referral source.”

What has happened to us?  Are we practicing to help the patient or are we practicing to not p.o. the referral source?  And what happens to us? What happens to our staff when everyone in the room knows that the crown isn’t right? Do we just shrug it off? Do we ignore it?  Do we tell the referring dentist?

Well, I’ll tell you, the answer is as plain as day.  We practice to the best of our ability. And we don’t compromise our ethics.   I don’t care if you are a representative of the AAP arguing a point of principle or if you are practicing periodontist, you don’t compromise your ethics.

“But we’re referred to by dentists who have principles or talents that aren’t as good as ours,” you say.  You know what?  If you compromise yourself, your patients know it, your staff knows it, and deep down, the referring dentist knows it too.

We are in an ethics crisis right now.  Patients don’t know who to believe. And in this era of trust-based marketing, where do you want to be?  Do you want to be in a position of trust or do you want to be in a position of covering the referrals source’s hind end?

Is it bothering you to read this?  Good.  You’re on the right track.

What’s the answer?  The answer is to take the lead position. You’ve trained for it.  You’ve spent years perfecting it. Why, oh why, are you letting yourself be pigeonholed by a system or by a referring dentist?  You can take the lead. You can be the person the complex dental patient sees first.  You can be the doctor that the periodontally-diseased patient sees first. You can direct the treatment plan. You can refer those patients to the best restorative dentists you know.  And yes, because you are the referral source, you can ask that the crown be redone so that it is in occlusion.  And the restorative dentist, who is on the same page as you’re on, will thank you.

It’s only a decision, a decision to control your patient’s outcomes and as such, control the success of your practice.  And trust me, when you make that decision, the rest will be easy.