Cliff's Notes

The Business of Dentistry

Embezzlement? Not Me!


Embezzlement is live and well and the dental office is no exception. As a matter of fact, most dental office have been embezzled. Some catch it some don’t, I have heard about it and seen it countless number of times over my 40 year career (I started when I was 8). New team members, long time staff, young or old, it doesn’t matter and who’s fault is it? The boss!


The Boss … The identification of faults in any business relies on information supplied by reports from different departments. Management’s job (The Boss) is to review these reports and make sure they match. Checks and balances are necessary to insure that all procedures and protocols are operating efficient-ly and “that the check book balances”! Production reports, daily collections, day sheets & deposit slips must all balance with each other. Trusted long time team members as well as new ones must all be subject to checks and balances. A team member should never feel insulted by verification. As Tom Hayden said to Sonny Corleone “it’s only business”.

The Control Freak … We all have or have had the team member that wants to be in control. They develop ownership of their tasks and get agitated when someone else gets involved or asks question. This situation is not healthy for the practice or the employee. Assuming the person is extremely honest, any inconsistency may cast doubt and dam-age a good relationship with management or other team member and disrupt team harmony. That will effect the patient experience and office production. Then there is the other side of the equation, they don’t want you to look.

Receivables & Deposits … Who opens the mail? Who enters payments into your management software? Who fills out the day sheet? Who fills out the deposit slips? Who goes to the bank to make the deposits? If it is the same person and not a family member, a change is needed. Checks and balances, ask your business financial advisor to help set up the system. Let the accountant be the “bad guy” changing the system. My dad once told me that when it comes to business trust two people, God and yourself and watch God.

Payables … Payables involves so much more than just paying bills. Why do you have the bill? Who authorized the services? Where the services requested in the best interest of the organization? Embezzlement isn’t just diverting receivables, it could be theft of goods and services. I could think of a hundred examples like the front desk that has the snow plow company do their home and add it to the office bill. Or, the assistant that places a $2000.00 supply order to get the “Free Kindle” that is shipped with the order and the assistant is checking in the shipment. Did you need the supplies? Were they priced correctly? Nothing is free. Then there is the accounting manager that has been with you for 10 years submitting bills from nonexistent companies and depositing them into a personal account..

Embezzlement … is alive and well in the dentistry. It is all about prevention. Talk to a professional and please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.


February 25, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dental Material Curing Lights Beyond the Sales Pitch!

No, they are not all the same and yes, they can be expensive. A craftsman (craftsperson for the PC crowd) does their best work with the best tools. Just like handpieces you can use a $50.00 tool or a $1500.00 one, the difference will be the quality and predictability of you restorative procedures. Your perception of quality vs cost starts with the sales pitch.

The Sales Pitch … When I attended Restorative Update 2017 with Dr. Stace Lind last October, my thoughts about curing lights and manufacturer claims were confirmed. Dental light cured materials are chemical compositions and the curing process is a chemical reaction. The laws of physics require a certain amount of exposure time of particular light waves for the chemical reaction to take place quickly. If a manufacturer claims that their system will reduce curing time because it is so powerful, you should think twice. Large manufacturers can make that claim when using their materials because the products are developed and tested using their lights. However, no light curing system cures all materials the same way and excessive curing can cause a burn effect. It is important to know how the materials you are using react to your curing lights.

Curing Lights … There are 4 components that separate a $50.00 system and one that costs $1500.00.

  1. The LED Crystals … They need to be flawless. Just like diamonds there are different qualities. Imperfect crystal will burn hotter in fault areas causing that part of the crystal to burn-out. You will not notice this but the light wave will not be balanced and the output will be diminished.
  2. The Crystal Housing … Quality lights incase the LED crystals in metal col- lars. Electricity powers the crystal and they do get hot internally. Plastic and low quality metals will warp reducing the lights ability to function correctly.
  3. The Glass Light Guide … Again quality is the issue. This is a no brainer, flawless glass rods are a must. If the glass is not pure the best light in the world will not preform. As a side note, keep the business end of the light guide clean.
  4. The Timer … This is the most underrated part of a curing light. You don’t want to under or over cure and when your dealing with seconds, 1 or 2 could make a difference. Let’s be honest, when your light is set at 10 seconds, do know if it is 8 or 12? Reliability costs more.

Testing Your Light … Different lights have different effects on curing dental materials. It is recommended that you have a radiometer to test output but you also should have a computer based comparison study done. The computerized testing & report are free, done on-site, and will help support the quality of your work. Please feel free to contact me at any time with any questions or concerns.


February 11, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dental Compressors Expensive!

The dental air compressor is the heart of your practice. Like nothing else in you office, if it goes down everything clinical stops. Unlike their counter parts that you can find at The Home Depot, they are expensive and specifically designed for healthcare. Filters and drying chamber are incorporated to pro-vide clean and dry air to help improve clinical procedures with predictable results.

Clean Dry Air … Why are dental compressors so much more expensive than what you see at a retail store. Clean dry air is extremely important when delivering quality dentis-try. When air is compressed the moisture is squeezed out and settles at the bottom of the tank. A purge valve releases the water when a small puddle forms. The remaining mois-ture is captured by a desiccant filter that needs to be changed annually. This is one thing that is never done in any office I walk into, out of sight out of mind. The filter serves another purpose on older systems, they filter out oil vapor.

Oil type compressors … On top of the compressor tank is an electric motor. The motor, just like the one in your car, requires a lubricant to run smooth and reduce friction wear & tear. The oil does burn out and levels should be checked monthly. This is another thing that is never done. Another big issue is that the oil vapor emitted by the motor is in the ambient air can be picked up by the air intake and drawn into the tank. The oil resi-due builds up in the air lines and totally clean dry air is almost impossible. Today, dental designed compressors are oil less.

Oil Less Compressors … New compressor motors are designed to run without oil. A synthetic lubricant is sealed into the race to reduce friction. Although oil less systems are clinically better, they are a little noisier and don’t last as long. Their life expectancy is reduced by about 20% . Replacing an oil type unit with an oil less will not solve the problem of oil vapor in the air lines, once its there its there, but it will reduce the wear on your operatory equipment.

Compressor size … Dental air compressors come in all different sizes. The motors (heads) are rated by hoarse power and the amount of power you need depends on the number of active users. Multiple users with a small compressor will increase the recov-ery time it takes to repressurize the tank causing the heads to run hot and reducing their life span. A larger compressor will hold its pressure longer and more powerful heads will fill the tank faster. A dental compressor, when fully pressurized, hold 100 psi and when bled to 80 psi the heads turn on. The recovery time is the amount of time it take to reach 100 psi. Your compressor is so important that newer systems incorporate software for central operational control.

Central Operational Control … If you read this far down my rant you will now under-stand were we are going. All of your equipment and management systems will talk to each other. Everything will be tied into a central monitoring and management system. Keep this in mind when buying or replacing dental equipment. Including compressors.

February 7, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment