5 Ways to Reduce Stress and Improve Dental Care

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5 Ways to Reduce Stress and Improve Dental Care

Have you ever bitten into a frozen corndog? This last summer my family and I decided we’d go to our local theme park for some summer fun. It was the weekend, peak season, and a beautiful day outside. Needless to say, it was packed. I’m not a particularly claustrophobic person so crowds at sporting events and crowds at concerts don’t bother me at all. At a theme park though, larger crowds mean longer wait times and less fun. Longer wait times was certainly the case during this visit. I had to wait close to an hour in line to get my family some food. Finally, after the long wait in line and the $100 spent on $10 worth of food, we were ready to eat. Unfortunately for me, not only was my corndog overpriced, it was undercooked too. A frozen treat on a stick is usually perfect for a hot summer day at the theme park just not when it’s meat that’s on that stick.

As I was ascending up the hill of a roller coaster later that night, I began to reflect on my lunch experience. I wondered if the ride operators at the theme park were just as stressed and busy as the cooks were. Could they also underperform at their job do to the crowds? And if so, how bad could it get?

Work place stress causes health issues, loss of productivity, and errors. Obviously, some errors are significantly worse than others. For example, a cook undercooking a corndog isn’t near as disastrous as pilot forgetting to put down the landing gear. Somewhere between those two disasters is a dentist overlooking bone loss or tooth decay in a patient. And, in a recent study put out by the Journal of Dentistry, stress, specifically time-related stress, caused dentist to overlook patients’ needs. The study showed that primary care dentists overlooked 67% of bone loss on sample x-rays when short for time. Additionally, primary care dentists overlooked 40% of tooth decay when given those same time related stress.

Time constraints and stress will always be a part of dental care. However, these stressors can be mitigated through easy to use practices and techniques. More time means less stress, accurate dental work, and happy, returning patients.  The 5 best ways to improve time management and reduce stress-

  1. Communicate! Make sure your whole team, back office and front office, understand the game plan with every patient. This includes knowing how long every procedure takes to complete, how many patients you ideally want to see in a day, and what to schedule follow up visits for.
  2. Use Technology! What good is that fancy smart watch if you don’t even use it? Your whole office is filled with technology capable of setting alarms, and organizing days down to the minute. But the only way it can help is if you actually use it!
  3. Know when to say no! It’s hard not to want to see a thousand patients a day and pad our business’s bottom line. Doing so is a sure way to burn yourself out and lose a lot of potential long term patients.  
  4. Delegate! You’re not a one person show. What are you paying all these people in your office for anyway?
  5. Trust those people you delegate too! Once you do delegate to your team, don’t waste time by redoing or double checking what your receptionist has already done. You trained ‘em, now trust ‘em!
Source- Journal of Dentistry

 

Volume 82, March 2019, Pages 38-44
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