Pop a Dental Sleep Wheelie

Many dentists know a lot…about dentistry.

Most of these same dentists don’t know a whole lot about team dynamics, interpersonal communication skills, or how to craft a purpose-driven mission statement that everyone in the office will die for.

That’s OK. Admit it. Just own it.

I could sell your dentistry to an edentulous elf, but gutta percha is as useless in my hands as tap shoes to a double amputee.

Most of us focus on the technical core competencies associated with our roles. It’s kind of like riding a bike. Roll with me on this analogy for a sec.

In this analogy, the rear wheel of your bike is aired up with technical knowledge and clinical know-how. You need the back wheel. Without it, you’re not going anywhere fast. 

But without a front wheel, you have a unicycle. It’s difficult to maneuver, predict exactly where you’re going, or get there speedily. Plus, you just look like a FILL IN YOUR OWN INSULT HERE, and you can’t take anyone with you.

Most dentists have pretty solid back tires. This is your wheelhouse (sorry, I couldn’t resist). You live in a world of science filled with double-blinded placebo studies and peer-reviewed journals. Jumping from a nightguard to a sleep appliance delivery isn’t a huge leap. You’re probably intrigued by the various appliance types, their working mechanisms, and the different materials. You might even be interested in the pathophysiology of the apneic’s airway, the artifacts seen in some sleep test’s raw data, and figuring out the role of cardiopulmonary coupling.

The back tire is aired up at CE courses, on webinars, through textbooks, in journals, and at study clubs. These inputs are everywhere like political discord on Twitter.

The front wheel is filled with your interpersonal relationship and communication skills. It’s the front tire – the communication piece – that the most successful DSM practices have pumped up to the ideal volume. And it’s the front tire that almost all the other practices are lacking. This is where you have the greatest opportunity to grow. Filling up your front tire is more difficult than the rear, but it can be done. And it’s worth it. The front wheel is going to guide you. It steers the conversation, the direction of the dialogue, and it empowers you to make the most out of your rear wheel. It makes everything easier.

If your front wheel skills are practiced, cultivated, and maintained – you will get more patients to ebulliently move forward with treatment. It will reduce tension in your practice and improve team engagement. It will increase production and revenue. And it will produce more harmony in your home and in all your relationships.

These are my goals for readers of my new book Transform Dental Sleep: How to Double Your Sleep Patients, Increase Physician Referrals, Simplify Processes, and Improve Your Life available January 24th in paperback, hardcover, and ebook. Are you getting pumped? See what I did there?

p.s. When you have time this week, check out this episode of Sleeping Around The Podcast where I chopped it up with hosts, Dr. Brandon Hedgecock and Matt Allard of Somnomed about everything from weird things sleep dentists do and who my favorite DSM lecturer is to Nikes, running, and books I dig.



The Step-by-Step Guide to Double Your Sleep Patients, Increase Physician Referrals, Simplify Processes, and Improve Your Life. Paperback & Hardcover will be available via Amazon on 1/24 and you can pre-order the Kindle version now.

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