Change is… good?

We have a new dentist in the office where I work. We’ve only worked with him for a couple days and already our workplace feels like it has been turned upside down. Or, maybe it’s more accurate to say that it feels like an alternate universe. Like, is this really happening? I don’t mean to be so dramatic, but this is a huge change for us all. I’ve worked there nearly nine years and I’ve been a patient there since I was four years old. Everyone else has worked there even longer than me. It’s located in a small town and it definitely feels homey and laid back. Well, at least until recently.

We all know that we need to produce more to keep the practice going and be more successful. But, I think my coworkers feel something similar to what I feel: will reaching for his stated production goals come at the expense of patient relationships? Our schedule generally has one operative chair column with another for work-in patients or to help catch up if we get behind and one (sometimes two) columns of hygiene patients. Obviously we need to grow. He would like three columns of operative and three columns of hygiene. My first question: are there even enough potential patients in the surrounding area to fill these chairs? My second question: if we do actually fill a schedule like this, how will the doctor develop and maintain good patient relationships? Our patients are used to having a dentist who remembers their parents and/or their kids and asks how they are doing. They are used to having a dentist who often has a conversation with them while waiting for the anesthetic to kick in, not one who numbs and runs every time.

I think we all fear that our office is going to turn into a factory. I can’t help but picture patients on an assembly line.

I hope I’m worrying for nothing and we’ll end up with a more modern and successful practice that patients will recommend to their friends and family. We’ll see.

Any comments you have on this will be appreciated.

Random Thoughts on Thursday

It’s so great when good patients want to give you a hug after you’ve cleaned their teeth. And I say “good” patients to distinguish from “creepy” patients. I haven’t had a creepy patient want to hug me. At least not yet. And luckily creepy patients are rare.

I watched The Rum Diary. I want that time back so I can use it to watch something else.

I hate it when someone proclaims that they hate a certain food and they phrase it so that it sounds like anyone who likes that food must be a moron. Especially when that food is common and considered normal. For example, “Ugh! How can you eat that? I don’t even see the point of sweet pickles!”

When I’m picking out greeting cards and come across the ones labeled “Blank,” I still open them and look inside.

Dental Life

I had a patient in my chair the other day. She was probably six or seven. While I was cleaning her teeth she farted, then giggled, then said, “My daddy does it louder!”

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Dental News: App helps hygienists study on the go

I wish this was available when I was in school. Of course at that time I did not have and could not afford a platform to run the app anyway!

“US dental hygienists, Karen Isbister and Carrie Clotworthy, created Pass It! last year which incorporates more than 1,000 important dental hygiene questions in a fun board game.

“They say: ‘Have you ever been in line at the grocery store, waiting at the airport, or waiting for class to start and wished you could take those few extra minutes to study? Now you can. No more bringing text books, flashcards, or notes with you to study on-the-go.”

Dental News | Oral health | App helps hygienists study on the go.

Snowball Calculator

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Are you like lots of other Americans who have credit card debt? I have to admit I’m part of the statistic. Although, I’d like to think I’m part of a smaller statistic who got into this mess as a means to stay afloat during a rough patch and not as a result of mindless shopping sprees trying to keep up with the Joneses or the Kardashians or whoever people are trying to keep up with.

We didn’t buy any LCD tvs or vacations or fancy-schmancy clothes. We were barely living on part-time income while I was in school full time. Our families helped with what they could and I did not expect any more than that. That was more than generous. I used student loans for the majority of my school expenses. I didn’t qualify to even apply for most scholarships because I was not a traditional student (I went back at 22) and not a minority. The ones I did apply for I did not win. Luckily, I did get a small grant from the state.

Being in a dental hygiene program is not like getting a regular degree in terms of cost. There are extra technology fees, which are somewhat common. Then there is the cost of scrubs, equipment, board exams, etc. Our initial kit of instruments and other supplies was $1000. Add on replacement costs to that as needed. Then to take the board exams to get your license that’s another grand at least. (And hope you pass them on the first try! I was so relieved I did!)

So I ended up with a degree and a good profession and a rather large hole to dig out of. That digging happens a little more slowly that I would like since there are way more hygienists in this area than jobs, but hopefully that will get better in time as the economy improves and more people want their teeth cleaned again. Fingers crossed.

So, I’ve recently started using this snowball debt calculator at Whatsthecost.com. I think it’s one of the better calculators out there for keeping track of your snowball. There’s no messing around with a spreadsheet. This is a big positive for me since I’ve forgotten everything I learned about spreadsheets in high school. (Well, I do remember how to alphabetize a list, that’s about all. I think we spent most of that class time making our graphs look pretty.) This site will help you calculate how long it will take to pay off your cards. You can choose to pay them off in balance order or by highest interest rate. You can also enter payments and fees and hopefully watch the balances get smaller and smaller. It will save all your information so you don’t have to download anything. You can even set up reminder emails so you don’t forget to enter payments!

I’m due to enter payments tomorrow. Progress!