Knowing What We Know, Doing What We Do

Articles , Current Issue

Seeing what needs to be changed, updated, refreshed, and relearned can be challenging for a busy dental office. Take a class, make some sleep appliances, and set that aside as a system and move on to some other learning challenge. Does that describe your sleep breathing practice? Do you consistently see great results or are there patients you’d rather not find on the schedule?

Maybe you haven’t yet developed the systems you need. You are interested, but haven’t quite reached the confidence point to offer the service to your patients.

Like every other endeavor worth doing, getting started is the hard part – finding the footing needed to reach out and up to stretch, to grow, to achieve something that requires more. More of all parts of our professional lives – more knowledge, more service, more skills, more time, energy, and focus. Some dentists and their teams never find this solid base to stand upon, but reach anyway. They lack the learning and commitment needed; soon they find the limits of their preparation and face a patient, team member, or medical colleague with questions they have no answers for. Such poor results diminish the excitement and dim the prospects for ongoing success.

Many dentists focus only on the base – they convince themselves that more classes, more learning, more study or memberships are necessary before they dare treat a paying patient. Plagued by lack of confidence, the hours, dollars, and effort invested are never rewarded with patient health improvements and team excitement. Living in a world of paralysis by choice, the reality of rewards by action escapes them. Team members, anxious to help, lose enthusiasm as their leader takes one more class only to fail to gain rewards from patient success.

DSP is dedicated to helping raise community health by empowering dental teams to solve the practical barriers to providing the service to people at risk for sleep breathing problems – this issue celebrates our third anniversary of this effort!

We’ve put together this special edition to give the dentist looking for a solid foundation some tools to address common concerns. If you need education, there’s a descriptive article and a challenge in these pages. Recognizing a shortcoming and seeing a path to solving it can generate the confidence to move forward. If you have taken plenty of classes, I hope that checking through these articles will help you realize that you’ve learned what is presented. What remains is to act.

Good for you if you’ve studied well. Excellent that you have prepared yourself and your team for impact on your patient’s lives. Superb that your professionalism requires only the most ethical behavior by you and everyone on your team. The focus is always on building value in the patient encounters.  It’s time to make those encounters meaningful, to put to use what you know, to stand on those excellent values and declare that you are ready to help.

The journey begins when the patient asks, “Why do you want to know about my sleep?”