What dentists learned in 2022

Three dentists recently connected with Becker's to answer the question, "As a dentist, what lessons have you learned this year?"

Editor's note: These responses were edited lightly for clarity and brevity.

Bradley Dykstra, DDS. MI Smiles Dental Group (Hudsonville, Mich.): Here are a few of the many lessons I learned or was reminded of in 2022:

1. It is important to make the best plans you can with the information available at the time, but it is more important to be flexible and adaptable to an environment which continues to change at an escalating rate.

2. Here are a few areas to continually monitor and to be responsive to:

  • Wage inflation — it is real
  • Inflation in the cost of supplies and equipment
  • Shortage of qualified employees, especially licensed professionals
  • Keeping a positive culture during the great employee exodus/migration
  • General fear of a looming recession
  • The effects of rising interest rates
  • The lingering effects of COVID on last minute cancellations because of COVID symptoms

3. Focusing on our present team members and maintaining a positive culture is more important now than ever.

4. The increasing importance of utilizing the latest technology to give the best treatment and patient experience while reducing the number of team members necessary to do things that technology can now do.

5. Anything that can be systematized and automated should be, which allows the team members to focus on the patients.

6. Most importantly, stay in my bubble and concentrate on areas I can control and not be demoralized by things outside of my control.

Lee Harris, DDS. Harris Dental Solutions (Los Angeles): The biggest takeaway from this past year is to take good care of your staff, especially clinical. Replacement of valuable human resources has become quite difficult. Many dental hygienists have left the workforce and many dental assisting schools have closed. While inflation is difficult, replacing staff is problematic. Develop incentive plans or other mechanisms so that your staff remains intact.

Timothy McConnell, DDS. Southeast Oral Surgery (Tennessee): It is important to deliver best-in-class service to our patients. Practices which emphasize excellence will continue to have strong growth in 2023. Additionally, continued investment in our teams to build a great practice. Hire excellent people and empower them to follow your vision. Lastly, when looking to partner with DSOs, look at the culture and management and if they align, expect great results.

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