The Obstacle Is the Way

December 4, 2019 Barry F. Polansky, DMD

Many years ago, when I was first trying to create a successful dental practice, I fell in love with the word “production.” I believed that production was the key to success, so I read everything I could to become more productive.  

I took courses.

In the early years, there were so many courses that centered around how to efficiently double and triple book, how to bring in more “warm bodies,” how to sell more dentistry, and how to utilize more staff to get more done. I never felt like these strategies were the answer to my production issues. I barely became more efficient, and I never became more effective as I just ran myself down. 

In my books, I have written about my issues with stress, which I believe eventually initiated adult-onset diabetes. Through it all, I continued my quest to be productive. In those years I truly learned to become more effective rather than more efficient. Reading Stephen Covey’s First Things First was extremely helpful to prioritize my work and life. But I found that was only part of the solution. The real problem for me was not managing my time. It was managing my energy.  

Diabetes became my blessing and my curse.

In my quest to control high blood sugar and the fatigue that comes with it, I found more energy. I found more mental and emotional clarity as well. A fog was lifted. My diabetes forced me to eat better and to exercise.  

I remember listening to some of Anthony Robbin’s tapes in which he tells the story of living in a small apartment in southern California, being extremely overweight and feeling like a loser. The first thing he did was to exercise. I did too. Slowly at first, I began to run. I built up my time and distance. Now, twenty-five years later, my routine includes six hours per week in the gym, running and lifting and six hours per week doing hot Yoga. The results have been nothing short of amazing. My diabetes is under control, I lost weight, I multiplied my energy level and mental clarity went way beyond what I expected. 

My moods improved, I enjoyed my work more, patient behaviors didn’t get to me as much, my work improved, I learned new techniques and took more continuing education, and most importantly, I had the energy to have a life outside of work.  

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About Author

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Barry F. Polansky, DMD

Dr. Polansky has delivered comprehensive cosmetic dentistry, restorative dentistry, and implant dentistry for more than 35 years. He was born in the Bronx, New York in January 1948. The doctor graduated from Queens College in 1969 and received his DMD degree in 1973 from the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine. Following graduation, Dr. Polansky spent two years in the US Army Dental Corps, stationed at Fort. Dix, New Jersey. In 1975, Dr. Polansky entered private practice in Medford Lakes. Three years later, he built his second practice in the town in which he now lives, Cherry Hill. Dr. Polansky wrote his first article for Dental Economics in 1995 – it was the cover article. Since that time Dr. Polansky has earned a reputation as one of dentistry's best authors and dental philosophers. He has written for many industry publications, including Dental Economics, Dentistry Today, Dental Practice and Finance, and Independent Dentistry (a UK publication).

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Your Patients Want to Know…How to Better Control Diabetes through Oral Health

October 23, 2019 Deborah Bush, MA

When it comes to diabetes, let your patients know about the impact oral inflammation can have on their health. Explain what you can do to help them and what they can do to help themselves. Clarify what they can do to take control so that they can live happier, longer lives.

Give your patients optimal assistance.

Include questions in your health interview about whether the patient has been diagnosed with diabetes, has been counseled about being at risk (prediabetic), and/or has a family history of diabetes. If your patient affirmatively answers to any of these questions, inquire about what they know about the link between gum inflammation and systemic diseases, such as diabetes.

Gently, explain why you are concerned.

Even if it is slight, gum inflammation is harmful when chronic. Let them know that among other health problems, persistent inflammation exacerbates diabetes and development of diabetes. It would help to tell them a story about an anonymous dental patient whose blood sugar decreased over a matter of six months and improved again within a year due to the elimination of gum inflammation.

Invite your patients to begin a new oral health regimen.

Let them know that you will partner with them to track their compliance, evaluation, and improvement. Inspire them with a story about another anonymous patient whose oral health and diabetes was improved by starting a healthier regimen.  They too can experience the healing power of making healthy choices and developing healthy habits throughout their life.

Your patients will start to report to their physicians, family, and friends about the conversations you have had with them. They will all be able to see the efforts you are making to control inflammation in their mouths, and the evidence of improved health. You might begin to see referrals from these patients and their doctors start to follow.

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About Author

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Deborah Bush, MA

Deb Bush is a freelance writer specializing in dentistry and a subject matter expert on the behavioral and technological changes occurring in dentistry. Before becoming a dental-focused freelance writer and analyst, she served as the Communications Manager for The Pankey Institute, the Communications Director and a grant writer for the national Preeclampsia Foundation, and the Content Manager for Patient Prism. She has co-authored and ghost-written books for dental authorities, and she currently writes for multiple dental brands which keeps her thumb on the pulse of trends in the industry.

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