Monthly Archives: November 2015

Do You Have The Dental Office Voice?

A conversation I had with my daughter on the phone years ago still resonates with me today. She called me at work, and while we were conversing, she interrupted me and said, with a stern voice, “Mom, it’s me, your daughter, quit using your dental office voice.” This statement was profound and thought provoking. I felt like her hands were on my shoulders and she was shaking me, snapping me out of work mode. I realized at that moment I was a different person at work than I am in my personal life with family and friends. It took time, but eventually the dental office voice went away and I was simply me—my authentic self all the time. The switch made a dramatic difference in how I felt at work and at home, and how I talked to my family members. I was happier. I was not working so very hard at being on top of my game for 8 hours straight and transferring my work life to my home life; I was being me. The person we are at work is the person that we are in our lives all the time, and sometimes we take our work life home with us if we’re not enjoying it as much as we’d like to. Recently I came across this five-point checklist written by Ziglar Vault taken from the book Encouragement for the Sales professional that will show you how to love your job. These five points are helpful no matter what profession you work in, and they have the potential to, if followed, improve your happiness at work and at home.


How to Use the Holidays to Attract Patients

It’s that time of year again! With the holidays right around the corner, doctors and dentists all over the country are thinking about how best to spread the yuletide cheer. While clinics might decorate with turkeys, menorahs and stockings hung by a fake fire, there’s another way to capitalize on gaining and retaining patients during this magical season: emails. In her DentistryIQ article “‘Tis the season . . . to draw dental patients in with holiday e-newsletters,” Amy LaVange writes about engaging patients through online communication with holiday themed newsletters. LaVange gives more than ten email topic ideas such as:  “Delicious Gift Ideas without the Sugar,” “Sugarless Stocking Stuffers or “Teeth-Friendly Treats.” She also talks about using an e-newsletter to encourage patients to make end-of-the-year appointments. Take a look at all of her ideas in the link below.



Is Your Baseline Pay Fair and Competitive?

This is an important question you should know the answer to if you are currently employed or seeking employment. As a job seeker, you’ll want to do your homework and be prepared with this knowledge as you move forward with salary negotiations.

If you are currently employed, you’ll want to be armed with this information going into your annual review. Traditionally with an annual review, your employer discusses compensation, benefits and bonus programs, in addition to your performance to date. If you are employed, the most important piece of information to know is if the salary increase you seek is affordable and feasible for the dental practice.

Recently, we came across this informative post by Kristine Hodsdon, RDH, MSEC. Although she writes with the dental hygienist in mind, the same tips apply to other positions in the dental field. In her post, Hodson lays it out clearly with tips and resources to help you be prepared to discuss the topic of pay. Let’s face it: no one likes to talk about money, but if you don’t know your value, now’s the time to get down to work and figure it out. YOU are of value!


Don’t Crash and Burn at Your Next Job Interview

Were you born between 1982 and 2003? If you answered yes, you are a member of the millennial generation, also termed Gen Y. Did you know that you have a reputation of not being ready for the workplace? Millennials are considered to have exaggerated self-worth, an aversion to hard work and parents who gave them too much and expected too little.

Here’s a link offering 5 tips to begin working on today so you don’t crash and burn at your next job interview.


How Your Job Can Physically Affect You

As far back as she can remember, she knew she wanted to be a dental hygienist. Although she had her mind made up in high school, the road to her career was a difficult one. “I had to pay for it myself and worked two jobs and lived with various family members to make it work,” said Olivia, whose name we changed for privacy purposes. “I started my family about the same time as I obtained my license, so I worked full time from the very start. I made very good money and it helped us get our first home and provide for our family in ways that I never thought possible.”

When she was pregnant with her third child, Olivia found herself waking up in the middle of with numbness in both hands. Because this pain was something she read about in pregnancy books and later confirmed by her OBGYN,Olivia didn’t put too much thought into it and assumed it was pregnancy related. After the birth of her son, the pain went away but came back one year later. “This time it was accompanied by pain in my right wrist, which fortunately was my retracting hand,” she said. “I was in denial, and it seemed like something I could live with, and I was able to still function in my everyday activities, so I just ignored them and continued on with my life.”dental-cleaning

Over the next three years, however, the pain in her wrist became unbearable. “This is 12 years into my dental hygiene career. It was all I could think about,” she said. “The throbbing and constant pain. That is when I went to see an orthopedic doctor, who confirmed my suspicions. I had Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.”

After much discussion with her husband and prayer, Olivia filed a workman’s comp claim, which would not only generate money for medical bills, it would also allow Olivia to take time off for work from surgery. After filing the claim, she followed the protocol of healing herself with anti-inflamatories, a wrist brace, nerve condition testing and steroid injections. None of it worked. 

Olivia eventually had surgery for Carpal Tunnel Release, returning to work 6 weeks later. “The numbness was gone, but the pain returned almost instantly after returning to work,” she said. “Numerous visits to the doctor and physical therapy made it clear that this may not ever go away and it appeared that may to leave the career that I worked so hard to achieve.” After hiring a lawyer who specialized in workman’s comp claims, seeing two additional doctors, taking several other tests and a trip to a physical therapist, Olivia was told she’d have the pain as long as she was a dental hygienist. 

For the next five years, Olivia tried different things to make a living. After resigning and taking her settlement from the dental practice she was working at, she bought a small dental-related franchise and opened up an insurance office. When she realized neither was working out the way she wanted to, she have up the dental business and sold the insurance company. “The job market was not great for a former Dental Hygienist that cannot work clinically, and has an insurance license. I decided then that I needed to obtain a four-year degree, so I enrolled in college and took a job working for the insurance office that bought my book of business.”

She then received a call from a dentist asking if she would consider helping to grow his practice as an office manager. Olivia jumped at the chance. “A year-and-a-half later, our Dental Hygienist was out on maternity leave and the replacement could not work all days needed,” she said. “The doctor asked me if I would like to work occasionally as a hygienist. I did and there was no pain! My wrist had rest for over six years and now did not hurt.”

Olivia’s patients loved and requested her so much, the temporary fill-in job eventually led to a staff position change. “FIve years later, I have now completed my BAS in business management and supervision, and I’m looking to expand my 26 years of experience and education into other aspects of dentistry, such as consulting or teaching,” she said. “It has been a long tough road. If I had to do it all again, I am unsure that I would have filed a Workman’s Comp Claim. The way the office acted toward me following my departure was devastating. I was not discriminated in anyway but I do think they thought of me differently following.”

Many people in the dentistry field suffer from carpel tunnel and hand pain just like Olivia, and we are happy hers had a happy ending. Check back for a second blog on hand pain and other ailments that can cause it.