At a dental meeting in Sheffield a few years ago, 100 dentists were asked the following question by Chris Barrow:

"Who here is really enjoying their work at the moment?"

Only about 10 people put their hands up, myself being one of them :). This is not a good sign. And yes we can blame all sorts of problems from the CQC to being sued, but at the end of the day, if we don’t enjoy our jobs, what the hell are we doing it for?

So I ask you the same question. Are you thoroughly enjoying your work as a dental practitioner? In fact, let’s spilt that question into a selection of sub questions

Are you earning the money you want to earn?

Are you treating the patients you want to treat?

Have you employed the staff you want to employ?

Are you working in the practice you want to work in?

Are you doing the dentistry you want to do?

If the answer to any of those questions (including the main one) is no, then I will ask you another question: WHY NOT?

Why aren't you earning the money you want to earn?

Why aren't you treating the patients you want to treat?

Why haven't you employed the staff that you feel are necessary for the job?

Why are you working in a practice you don't like?

Why are you doing dentistry you don't enjoy?

There is an answer to all these questions, in fact you have some answers floating about there already right? You are saying things to yourself like:

I cannot make decent money on the NHS, are you crazy?

What do you mean treat the patients I want to treat? What the hell are you talking about?

Do you know how hard it is to find staff these days?

Oh sure, like I can just walk into my ideal practice tomorrow.

I'm not a specialist. How can I select the types of treatment I do?

Now I admit that I have no idea about your situation. But you chose to be a Dentist for a reason did you not? Remember when you went to your university interview? One of the first things that you were asked was why do you want to be a dentist? Of course nobody said for the money. But surely you know why you became a dental surgeon; surely you didn’t just fall into the job.

Unless it has been your life’s mission since the age of three, you have a slight problem. The person who entered dental school, is not the same person sat here reading this now. You have changed. There are some of you out there who no longer enjoy the job. It has lost its spark. There are some of you who find it difficult to go into work on a Monday. Some of you find it hard to go into work every day, and relieve your feelings of disappointment with alcohol in an evening (and perhaps even during the day). Life seems to be passing you by, and you’re not enjoying it.

How is your health? Do you feel good, or are you suffering one or more ailments. Acid reflux, back ache, headaches, stomach ulcers, maybe even irritable bowel syndrome. Are you feeling depressed, trapped, or overwhelmed? Are you counting the days to retirement? Or are you one of the 10{5967c1c62f4ef8b7b412a831d8b156a63c78c639bcf63a7eb2a79bf93ffc16c4}-20{5967c1c62f4ef8b7b412a831d8b156a63c78c639bcf63a7eb2a79bf93ffc16c4} who love going into work every day? Because there is no reason you shouldn’t be. It is your life after all, so why shouldn’t you be enjoying it? And that’s where I come in.

I don’t have all the answers; I will be the first to admit that. But I believe I have some insight into what makes the ideal dental practice. This is what I would class as ideal:

The dentists enjoy working there

The dentist works a four day week and has 6-8 weeks holiday

The dentists earn a living that represents their true worth and skill base

The practice bank account has a floating fund equal to two months expenses, thus it never needs an overdraft

The staff enjoy working there and are paid well. The DSA is treated as a professional in her own right

The staff are thoroughly involved in the evolution and the working of the practice

The environment is relaxed and warm, and the equipment modern and upto date.

The patients feel comfortable with the environment and value the service provided by the practice

Problems and disputes between staff are resolved swiftly and effectively

There are written systems in place

The staff are healthy

The practice philosophy is based on a foundation of prevention

The practice accounts are up to date and complete

All bills are paid quickly

The dentists choose their patients, not the other way around

The dentists only do work they enjoy

Emergencies are seen within 24 hours

No patient should have to wait more than 2 weeks for a 30 minute plus appointment.

The patients actively refer new patients to the practice

Does that sound like the practice you work in? Let me see if I can give you a bit of help to create this in your practice.

  • MONEY – Earn the money you deserve
  • PATIENTS – Treat the patients you want to treat
  • ENVIRONMENT – Create an environment you will enjoy working in

Click on one of the above to continue your journey….