What is Success?

Are you helping your adult patients sleep with open airways? Or are you waiting until you are more confident of your skills and keep looking for another course to take?  When will the time be right for you to take charge and make the changes you need to make? What is in your way?

Tony Robbins, who has likely influenced more people to face their fears and take action than anyone, believes dentists have a responsibility to themselves, their teams, and their patients to make sure they take full advantage of their training and expertise. Hiding your lamp under the basket just won’t do! When our publisher Lisa interviewed him for this issue, he talked about cosmetic dentistry, but how is that different than knowing about sleep and breathing issues and not screening your patients?
Is your practice more, or less, successful if you keep to yourself the knowledge you’ve spent precious time and money accumulating? Is fear of a new process, or the work involved, keeping you from achieving the best results for your practice and your team? Maybe it’s fear of failure – nobody wants to disappoint people who depend on them, whether they be team members or patients. Maybe the one you are afraid of disappointing is yourself. Thoughts like this are what happen when you listen to Tony Robbins!
It’s hard to make changes – difficult to ‘blow up’ what works and declare a new reality. It’s easy to put off what you have to do, even when you know you just have to do it. The question before us is whether that is allowing you to be as successful as you can be? What’s your answer to that?
I’ll bet you talk with the parents in your practice a lot about their kids – maybe you see the young ones as patients, maybe not, but it’s fun to talk about achievements, trips, summer adventures. Every parent wants their children to be successful, right? Do you hear stories of poor school performance, behavioral issues, enuresis, restless sleep? You won’t until you ask.
And ask we must. The need to treat adults in our communities is nearly unlimited. Dr. Susan Redline, arguably the top researcher in sleep today, told a group in Seattle just this week that she believes “80% of adults who have sleep apnea are undiagnosed.” That figure hasn’t changed in 20 years! During those two decades, kids have become adults and now we have to provide troublesome therapies to make up for lack of growing a big enough airway in the first place.
It’s not difficult to identify children who are at risk of obstructed airways, but it is much harder to get them diagnosed and treated. Dentists everywhere are enthralled by the prospects of improving children’s airways to prevent them from becoming another bad-breathing adult. We all just need to have the courage to take control of our practices and do what is necessary.
Success? Is it making a difference for the next generation by treating the children in your practice? Taking action to ask the parents about their kid’s sleep – and their own, while you’re at it? What about the adults with obstructed airways? Are you holding back from applying your knowledge? What’s keeping success from you?

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