1 DSO exec's big lessons for dental newcomers

One of several pieces of advice one DSO exec shares with newcomers in the dental industry is to always maintain trust with patients.

Barry Lyon, DDS, a chief dental officer for the division of orthodontics and pediatric dentistry for Dental Care Alliance, recently spoke with Becker's about the wisdom he's learned from mentors that he passes onto other dental professionals. 

Editor's note: This Q&A is part of a weekly series featuring Dr. Lyon focused on topics in the dental industry and DSO field. This response was lightly edited for clarity and length.

Question: What is one lesson you learned from a mentor that you pass on to other newcomers in the dental industry?

Dr. Barry Lyon: There were three lessons passed along to me by my first employer and all three have been in place ever since.

The first lesson, and foremost, is "never violate the trust patients have put in you." People see dentists because they’re in pain, because they have disease or because they want to improve their well-being. Most patients know nothing about dental care and have a finite amount of money to spend. When they walk in your office door, they’re expecting, hoping and relying on you to treat them effectively and honestly. They are totally dependent on you and your true motives. That trust is a treasured gift that many people in life never get.

The second lesson I learned was "there are inevitably people you cannot please no matter how much effort you employ." When patients' expectations aren't met, they may take it out on you by way of complaints, written or verbal, and bad reviews, either on social media or to their friends or neighbors. Expect it and accept it as the cost of doing business. 

The third lesson, and related to the second, was "you do not need to treat every patient that comes to your office." Whether the case is beyond the scope of services you’re capable of providing or whether the patient has unreasonable expectations, getting involved in a case you cannot complete satisfactorily is expensive, anxiety-producing and frustrating.

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