Mistakes Successful Dentists Never Make Twice

Uncategorized Oct 22, 2018

I was reading an article this week all about two things.




And failure.


No doubt, we all make mistakes.


That’s just life.


Yet not all have success (or at least not to the same levels).


Is it through our mistakes that we gain the insight and experience to succeed?


For me failure is not necessarily in the making of a mistake.


Rather, I see failure as making the same mistake over and overagain.


So, it got me thinking about this…


What are the mistakes that successful people never make twice?


At times, people (us dentists included!) can have a hard time admitting when they make a mistake.


But I’ve found that the most successful dentists recognize when a mistake has occurred, learn from it, grow… and then move on.


It doesn’t hold them back.


But they don’t ignore it either.


Here’s my thoughts on 10 of the biggest mistakes successful people may make once, but not twice.



  1. Not asking the tough questions


This can be uncomfortable to begin with.


For example, discussing money with patients.

We don’t want to seem intrusive or assuming.


But there are times when you have to ask the tough questions.


As dentists, there are times we’re expected to.


Successful people may fail to do that once.


But when they get burned, they’ll ignore the awkwardness and make sure they have all the information they need next time round.



  1. Blaming others


It’s a normal response to try and blame others when things don’t go to plan.


Ever had a crown not fit? 


Always the lab’s fault…


(I know, I know – I’ve absolutely been there as well)


As dentists, we’ve got to take responsibility and be accountable for our mistakes.


In order to earn the respect and trust of others.


And grow beyond the mistake, to ensure it doesn’t happen again.



  1. Not asking for help


We all need a hand every now and again.

Real life example this week – I saw a pain patient for a colleague who’s running behind.


Next week, I could be the dentist running behind and needing a help.


Very often, we want to do it all on our own, through stubbornness really.


There’s no need, help others and allow them to help you.



  1. Ignore your gut instinct


More and more often I am tending to go with my gut instinct.


Sometimes you just ‘get a feeling’ or ‘sense something is not right’.


Never ignore your instincts.


Personally, I find trusting my instincts generates more confidence in my decision-making (clinical or non-clinical).



  1. Believing in perfection


We all hear different stories about “what this dentist is doing” or “what that employer is like”.


The grass is always greener…


Remember, if something seems too good to be true, it usually is.


If it looks like a pig…


And smells like a pig…


Yup, you guessed it.



  1. Take a shortcut


There is no ‘Get Rich Quick” or fast track to success in dentistry.


Don’t take short cuts or skip stages.


It’ll blow up.


Don’t learn the hard way.



  1. Do something you’re not passionate about


Ok, I’ll admit, we may not love every part of our job as dentists.


But that is not the same thing as not caring or remaining committed, passionate, to always do the right thing.


Dentistry is part of a caring profession.


It’s not about the money.


Yes, you need your business to be financially viable etc etc.


But it’s not all about the money.



  1. Hit burnout


This is a biggie in our profession at the moment.

Stress has never been higher with dentists.


Especially around the subject or complaints and litigation.


Find a balance and always allow some protected time to re-charge.


Time invested in strategies to work smarter, not harder, will reap much greater rewards in the future.



  1. Over-promise or under-deliver


We can’t fix every tooth.


Even though we might want to.


Or at times try to.



We know that.


But our patients don’t always.


It all comes down to communication skills.


Make sure you can match the expectations of your patients if you have said you can.


We’ve all been there.


Ever separated a hand file during endo… yep!


Broken a tooth and not been able to get it all out… of course I have.


Some of the best advice I was given, was that successful dentists slow down and seem to have all the time in the world with their patient in the chair.


Always have control.


10. Let emotions drive decision-making


Negative emotions can affect how even the most logical of dentists make decisions.


Doubt, jealousy, anger.


Don’t let other people’s actions control your emotions.


Especially the ones you can’t even influence.


Let’s make it a great week.



To Your Ongoing Success,



Dr Leonard J Maguire


General Dental Surgeon

Co-Founder of The Dentists Academy

- “TheComplete Business Toolkit for Dentists in General Practice”



P.S. Don’t lose any sleep, time or sweat on the small stuff.


Focus on the big picture.

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