DR. BOB'S DENTAL PHILOSOPHY
Here's the basis of the operation of North Shore Dental, at least from '72-7/2000 for details on the foundation for this dental philosophy, CLICK HERE .
Why post our dental philosophy when we no longer own that dental practice? First, it's the same philosophy we're using to operate our company & many of our clients asked for this info for evaluating other dental practices. Second, colleagues as well as real people ask me about it.
Our GENTLE DENTAL PHILOSOPHY--Even 'tho we maintain an informal atmosphere to promote relaxation & trust, this is a PROFESSIONAL OFFICE. Our services cannot be easily judged as to quality by our patient/clients; they must put their complete trust in the honesty & integrity of our team. When a patient comes to our office, he is saying: "I hear that I can safely put the care of my mouth in your hands; here I am; prove it." And we must prove it to each of our patients, then they'll wanna become "clients".
--Any specialized philosophy, such as a "dental office philosophy" is guided by & formulated from a personal philosophy. It may help you to know mine in order to understand how our office philosophy evolved, so here be the 3 parts that I'm working toward living by. I'm NOT asking you to create or change YOUR personal philosophy to match mine, or even suggesting that you agree with mine. I'm letting you know that I'm most comfortable when the office runs in harmonly with these basic ideas:
PART I--(borrowed from LIBERTARIANISM):
"Each individual has the right & RESPONSIBILITY to exercise sole dominion over his/her own life, and has the right & responsibility to live her/his life in whatever manner (s)he chooses, so long as (s)he does not forcibly interfere with the equal right of others to live their lives in whatever manner they choose."
Applied to the dental office, that means all of us on our dental team, and all those folks we call patients or clients have a right to behave as they CHOOSE, so long as that behavior doesn't interfere with anyone else's similar right. We all have an obligation to respect that right regardless of the extent to which we agree with a person's individual choices.
Specifically this means mutual respect of the rights of our clients & of everyone on the team. It also means that if a person CHOOSES to lose his/her teeth, or to floss, or to eat sucrose, etc. we must RESPECT that choice. Of course, we also have the responsibility to CHOOSE whether or not to help in achieving those goals.
The "responsibility" part is often misunderstood as OPTIONAL. For adults, it's not. We can't give away our responsibilities for our choices in this life. All we can give away (eg, to government, authorities, health care professionals, etc.) is CONTROL. Therefore, we, as the Gentle Dental Team, CAN'T accept responsibility for achieving or maintaining anyone's dental health. People who DO make such claims--and there are many, perhaps a majority of health professionals--can only take CONTROL, the client is still stuck with the responsibility.
On those rare occasions when it's proper for us to take that control away from a person (emergencies, minors, legal incompetents, etc.) the person or his/her guardian must make an informed choice to give up this control.
PART II--a modification of the "TRADER PRINCIPLE":
"One deals with people by exchanging value for value by mutual consent to mutual benefit, neither seeking nor granting something for nothing".
Napoleon Hill stated "I will engage in no transaction which does not benefit all whom it affects."
Therefore, I choose to participate in only win-win transactions & prefer that the office gets involved only in such transactions.
In addition to the transactions amongst ourselves & with patient/clients, this also applies to folks OUTSIDE the office proposing deals, financial or otherwise.
If the person proposing the deal either denies or won't tell how the deal's benefitting him/her, I don't want to participate. All parties must win & all parties must be honest with all other parties for me to wanna participate.
As of 2000, we're considering revision of the "Trader Principle", or at least the name, due to the influence of my favorite mentor, bob Proctor and others.
PART III--The third part, two steps above the Golden Rule, can be considered a guide to using the first two parts of our philosophy. It's called the "MODIFIED PLATINUM RULE": "Do unto others as THEY'D like you to do unto them -- while not sacrificing your right to live your own life".
That means: find out what the other person wants from you & provide it--to the extent that your action is consistent with the first two parts of the philosophy.
In our Gentle Dental office, that translates roughly into the "helping attitude", which is absolutely essential for a healthy, successful accelerated practice. It means we gotta do whatever it takes to allow our patient/client to make INFORMED CHOICES by providing whatever accurate information (s)he requests.
"But how can we possibly KNOW how another person REALLY wants to be treated?" I suspect you might ask.
"We can't.", I suspect I might answer. But here are four ways to get a pretty good idea:
1--START with the idea that most people would probably like to be treated as you would (the GOLDEN Rule), keeping in mind that it's just a START.
2--LISTEN to the person. This takes special skill we'll all continue to develop.
3--OBSERVE the person; apply the principles in the Rhode/Thoren "Personal Interaction" tapes available in our library.
4--LEARN how groups of folks might like to be treated, for example, read "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" to learn how to treat women & men probably like to be treated & how to avoid disaster by treating the opposite sex as YOU'D like to be treated
--Combining these three parts (Libertarian, Trader Principle & Modified Platinum Rule) & adopting 'em for our Gentle Dental Team permits us to be willing & able to help each other & our patient/clients achieve any goal desired (IF SUCH HELP IS REQUESTED). We realize that each INDIVIDUAL is uniquely suited to solve his/her OWN problems best & WE can only help (& only with that individual's permission).
VALUES--"That which man acts to gain &/or keep"--Ayn Rand
How can we tell what a person values (& what WE value)?--It's what we ACT to gain &/or keep. Do we REALLY value open, honest communication? Look at our actions. Do we create a safe place for ourselves? Do we communicate openly & honestly?
Do we value our own health? Look at our actions. Are we living according to bodies' best interest? Smoking? Exercising? etc.
PREVENTIVE DENTAL PHILOSOPHY--
Our office is committed & dedicated to preventive dentistry as a natural & inevitable extension of the Gentle Dental Philosophy just described. It's ALSO based on CHOICES of the individual, since about 96% of all dental disease is optional & depends on the lifestyle chosen by the owner of the mouth. (& about 98% of dental TREATMENT is also optional.)
Our responsibility with preventive dentistry is to provide as much information as a person WANTS so that his/her choices can be more successful in helping achieve HIS/HER goal. Our preventive philosophy & the methods suggested for implementing it in the Gentle Dental office is covered in detail in our PDI manual.
GOALS--BRIEFLY, the purpose of our office is help our team & clients achieve & maintain the highest level of health they choose by providing:
A. highest quality care
B. in comfort
C. on time
These are the ABC goals referred to in this manual.
I've come to believe that the finest definition of Optimum Health is based on the Oriental concept of Balanced Life, specifically as expressed in the Five Pillars of Health (healthy mind, body, family/relationships, finances, society). If we help folks achieve health & balance in those five areas, we achieve our goal.
If you're interested in philosophical details, here they be:
Since man's MIND is his tool for survival, man is the goal-directed animal. The 'experts' agree that setting & striving toward goals is the only consistent way to get where ya wanna go.
If we can set "office" goals to be consistent with your individual personal goals, then the team will be much more successful achieving TEAM GOALS.
--My (again, Dr. Bob writing) personal, PROFESSIONAL goal is to be happy & have FUN working toward being the finest dentist my potentials will allow. This means:
1--positive interpersonal relationships with you (team) & with our patient/clients
2--continual increase in knowledge & education
3--continual technical & non-technical progress toward excellence in the care we provide
--"Excellence" in this dental practice means a commitment to optimum level of care. "Perfection" is something beyond excellence where we're serving our neurotic egos rather than serving our client.
Avrom King gives the example in golf where perfection equals a hole-in-one and a perfect score is 18. Yet Arnie Palmer shoots 67-69 on a good day & most consider him an excellent golfer.
Seeking excellence is a virtue; seeking perfection is a neurosis. I hope I gave up seeking perfection a few years ago & will never give up seeking & achieving excellence.
--The primary goal of THIS OFFICE is to provide sufficient rewards (physical, mental, financial, etc.) to all of us on the team so that we may be happy while living at one of the world's most ideal locations--Tahoe.
--Our METHOD of achieving this goal is to help our client/patients to be as healthy as they choose to be. This generally involves helping them keep their natural teeth for their entire lifetimes and rendering any treatment necessary with the highest degree of technical excellence in the kindest and most professional manner possible. We do this by offering VALUES IN EXCHANGE FOR VALUES BY MUTUAL CONSENT TO MUTUAL BENEFIT.
A--THE VALUES WE OFFER: (highest quality gentle dental care)
1--Concept and practice of Preventive Dentistry
2--Finest quality dental care--on time--in comfort (ABC goals)
3--Pleasant provision of both of the above in an informal atmosphere of comfort, caring, warmth and empathy
B--THE VALUES WE RECEIVE IN RETURN:
1--Physical--money or equivalent goods/services
2--"Warm Fuzzies"--emotional/intellectual values--appreciation, gratitude, compliments, self-esteem boosters