Communicating with Your Dentist
Sometimes we may find ourselves in a very difficult position when there’s a need to address specific issues with our doctors. For some, this is easy, while others have a more difficult time doing so.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when talking to your dentist:
- Identify the structure of the practice.
- Build a team-based foundation.
- Create an environment of trust.
Creating Healthy Team Environments
Do you feel that you can speak freely and get great feedback? This is a very important factor because this will help narrow down the approach of your conversation regardless of the topic.
As leaders, dentists and managers must be able to speak to each other in a respectful manner and find solutions that are best for the practice and the patients.
If you find that your work environment is struggling with this, then it may be best to focus on team morale and creating effective team-bonding exercises. You may need to rebuild your team so that you are able to have a healthy working environment.
Managing Dentist Relationships
Is your doctor receptive to the input of others? Sometimes we think of great ideas and want to have our own input because we know it can bring value to the practice.
I find that the best approach is to always come from an angle of help and support. It’s also good to ask questions and figure out the “why” behind your potential changes. People love solutions! Although we all have our struggles and uphill battles, the best thing to hear is, “What can we do to make things better?”
When thinking about having a conversation and knowing what the issue is, be sure to have some potential solutions ready. For example, the conversation may go, “Hey Dr. Smith, I see that we are often running behind schedule. I have come up with some solutions so that we can all work as a team to be on time for patients.” This way, you are identifying a problem you would like to address with your doctor, but you are also letting them know that you have thought this through and have found a solution where the team can help. It shows that we would like to be supportive and have them be a part of the solution.
Make sure to check in often as well. Do you have one-on-one meetings scheduled with your doctors? Constant communication with the dentist is very important. When checking in, be sure to ask how they are doing, how they are feeling, and if they are having any challenges. That will be your way of setting up an environment of trust.
Be open and honest about how you feel as well. Be ready to listen and soak in all the information they would like to share. These meetings are so important, so set up a time and do not rush through the process. If you are doing frequent check-ins, you reduce the odds of stress and tension building within the practice.
Remember you are both leaders of the practice. The representation of the practice relies on what decisions you make as a team. As a manager, you help set an important tone, and creating a can-do environment goes a long way toward the overall success of the practice.
About the Author
Driany Cruz, MAADOM is a regional manager for New England Dental Partners, overseeing nine of their Boston region practices. She started her dental career seven years ago as a dental assistant. Driany is a lifetime member of AADOM, a member of the local AADOM Boston chapter, received her fellowship designation in 2020, and most recently was inducted into the 2022 AADOM Mastership, (MAADOM) class last month in Scottsdale, AZ. She strives to achieve the highest quality of dental management experience and to understand all the business aspects of running a practice.