The “Reciprocal Referral” is an effective method to build a strong referral-based dental practice, and the opportunities are always right in front of your eyes. Many of your patients have businesses or services that you can use either personally or in the dental office.
I have seen exceptional networking returns by a dentist who purchases a weekly delivery of fresh flowers for his Reception Room. (The Florist and husband are loyal patients and they consistently refer many of their own customers.)
Another dentist “thanked” a referring patient who is an IT specialist by having him set up an office computer system in 5 operatories, private office and business office. That patient referred nine additional families over the next six months.
Some other examples of Referral Acknowledgement by Reciprocating that have produced well for my clients were with a plumber, a commercial printing company, a realtor, and even with an attorney. In all these cases, both the doctor and the referrer were exceedingly pleased with the results of their networking.
“Scratching each others’ backs.” 
You are quite familiar with the phrase “A referral is a compliment from a patient or a friend.” That compliment can’t be ignored. When someone thinks enough of you to refer one of their family or trusted friends, ignoring their kindness would be taken as an insult, while acknowledging their referral will encourage more referrals. It seems simple, but many dentists, surprisingly, just can’t figure out what to do.
Do you or a team member make calls, send cards, flowers, gifts, movie tickets, dinner certificates, or something even more creative? Or truthfully, are you taking the referrals for granted?
In your next TEAM meeting, mastermind a Program of Acknowledgements. What is one referral worth to your practice? How would you thank a patient, friend, or associate who refers 5 patients? What about 10 referrals? Create your “program”. Make it part of your written Office Policy.
And who are the patients- tomorrow- that you can initiate into your Reciprocal Referral Program?

New concerns related to PERIODONTAL DISEASE- Alzheimer’s, Diabetes, Colon Cancer

Now add Altzheimer’s Disease, Diabetes, and Colon Cancer to the connection between Periodontal (gum) Disease and many other systemic diseases.

It is well documented that the same bacteria that harbor in the gums are directly related to heart disease, strokes, lung disease, kidney failure, and premature underweight births.   We have been aware of systemic relationships for a long time and have been warning our patients of the necessity to have healthy gingivae (gums).

After all this time, insurance companies still have little regard for the treatment of periodontal disease, which we know is the main cause of tooth loss, a major contributor to the many systemic diseases, and recently connected to Altzheimer’s Disease, Diabetes, and Colon Cancer. The inadequate coverage by most insurance companies discourages patients from accepting essential periodontal services.
Here are some documentation regarding recent findings:

1. Alzheimer’s disease 

 A report from The Journal of Neuroinflammation, August 2011, which is well documented: “Alzheimer’s disease – a neurospirochetosis.”

The association of spirochetes with Alzheimer’s disease.
“The frequency of spirochetes is significantly higher in the brains of
Alzheimer patients compared to controls. The statistical analysis is
based on the cumulative data of the literature entered in the table
The association is statistically significant in the four groups analyzed:
in the group where all types of spirochetes were detected using
neutral techniques (All spirochetes),
in the group of oral periodontal
pathogen spirochetes (Oral spirochetes
), in the group where Borrelia
burgdorferi was detected alone (B. burgdorferi) and in the group
where all studies were considered.”
Spirochete under magnification by phase microscope.



2. Diabetes

A recent study conducted by scientists from New York University found that oral blood samples drawn from pockets of periodontal inflammation can be used to measure hemoglobin A1c, a marker for diabetes.

“In light of these findings, the dental visit could be a useful opportunity to conduct an initial diabetes screening – an important first step in identifying those patients who need further testing to determine their diabetes status,” said the study’s principal investigator, Shiela Strauss, M.D.

Strauss added that there is an urgent need for more opportunities where people can get screened for diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, more than 8 percent of the population has the disease, and 79 million people are pre-diabetic, meaning that if they continue with their current lifestyle habits then they will most likely develop the condition.

3. Colon Cancer

During Colon Cancer Awareness Month in March, James Bramson, D.D.S., chief dental officer for United Concordia Dental, emphasizes the role good oral health may play in good colon health. “A recent study of 35,000 people in England revealed that the bacteria responsible for gum disease could be a ‘pre-curser’ for the development of colon cancer,” said Dr. Bramson. “While more research is needed to determine the extent of any association between the two, the research suggests the bacteria could play a role.”

In a recent study, researchers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Broad Institute in America found unusually high amounts of the bacteria associated with periodontal disease in nine colorectal tumor samples.

The American Dental Association reports that over 85% of the adult population has some degree of Periodontal Disease. A complete “Perio Exam” can be performed by a Dentist or Hygienist. Discover the Disease early and be able to treat it more CONSERVATIVELY.

HAPPY ST. PADDY’S DAY – A little diversion.

An Irishman, an Englishman and a Scotsman go into a pub. Each orders a pint of Guinness. Just as the bartender hands them over, three flies buzz down and land — one, two, three — in each of the pints.

 Beer GlassThe Englishman looks disgusted, pushes his pint away and demands another… the Scotsman picks out the fly, shrugs, and takes a long swallow.

 The Irishman reaches into the glass, grabs the fly between his fingers and shakes him as hard as he can, shouting, “Spit it out, ya’ stinkin’ lout! Spit it out!”

What’s wrong with this greeting?

 “Are you here for your cleaning? Take a seat in the waiting room, Mrs. Smith. The Hygienist will be with you in a few minutes.”

 What’s wrong with this greeting?
1..It’s not a welcome in any shape or form. No enthusiasm, no appreciation, no rapport, no engagement. no love. There might as well be a robot and a clipboard.
2. Why ask a patient what they are “here” for?  Did your computer software crash?
3. I am tempted to “take a seat”, as you say, and put it in my car.
4. “Waiting room”? So that’s what we do here- “wait”.
5. “The Hygienist”? She has a name, too.
And YOU may please add your “pet peeves” to this list.

We’re not finished yet!

Now suggest your best professional, friendly, and elegant substitutions for these archaic dental terms, and feel free to add to the list.


cleaning                  [The janitor will give you a cleaning today]
probe (noun)          [“Is that going to be with that pointy thing that you stick in my gums?”]
probe (verb)           [“You are going to do WHAT to me?”]
waiting room           [“…. for how long?”]
Hygienist                 [“Hygienist” is correct, but aren’t there more services and skills offered by this professional?]
front desk (inanimate object)    [It’s usually wood and formica, but can’t we call that area something more elegant?]
Front Desk (the human at the inanimate object)    [With this one, I cringe! How can a dentist show so little respect to someone who is so important to the image and success of the practice?]
drill (noun)
drill (verb)

Thank your Dental Assistant this week!

From the American Dental Association news.

It’s that time of year to thank the assistants who help your practice succeed.

Dental offices throughout the world will celebrate Dental Assistants Recognition Week March 4–10.    The theme for this year’s event is “Key to Productivity: The Professional Dental Assistant.

 Each year, dentists take a week to honor dental assistants for their role on the dental team, recognizing their broad spectrum of duties and highlighting their often unheralded contribution to quality dental care. The American Dental Assistants Association, American Dental Association, Canadian Dental Assistants Association and Canadian Dental Association jointly recognize the observance. Dental assistant associations, dental assisting schools, and U.S. Army and Air Force dental clinics all join dental offices in honoring dental assistants during this designated week.

“Dental assistants are valued members of the dental team. The role of assistants has become even more important in recent years with the advent of expanded functions,” said Dr. Mark Zust, chair of the ADA Council on Dental Practice. “More than ever, assistants achieve professional growth by studying and receiving advanced training. Dentists delegate more procedures and assistants take pride in their accomplishments.”

Dental assistants will celebrate their contributions to the profession by participating in educational and charity events and other team activities. Dentists typically show their respect for dental assistants’ diverse contributions to the dental profession and the public by providing perks such as luncheons, flowers or treats.

“Dental assistants show their value by providing everything from supportive procedures to direct patient care through expanded functions, which boosts productivity. The assistant provides a valuable connection with the patient; it is often the assistant that the patient turns to when they have questions, the assistant who explains the finances and the assistant who keeps the patient calm during treatment,” said Claudia Pohl, president of the American Dental Assistants Association.