Partnering in Health Part 1: The Missing Piece 

May 1, 2024 Mary Osborne RDH

By Mary Osborne, RDH 

There was a time when I thought “partnering in health” was just about getting people to take better care of their teeth. 

Many years ago, I had a patient who was excellent with her home care, but she showed up periodically with an acute periodontal infection. We asked about stress and her overall health, but she was not aware of any issues. We would treat the infection and she would be fine for a sometime. We knew she worked for National Public Radio, and one day we made the connection that her infections showed up concurrent with NPR’s fund-raising drives. That shared realization allowed us to help her see that her stress was affecting her dental health and her overall health. She was open to conversations about lifestyle changes that would help her be healthier. My relationship with her influenced my thinking and my ability to connect with my patients from a perspective of Whole-health Dentistry. I came to understand that I had been missing opportunities to influence the way people think and feel about health. I knew that I wanted my patients to see me as “a partner in health.” 

Unfortunately, most of our patients come to us with the perspective that we are fixers of teeth, not partners in health. 

In the culture today people are bombarded with information about what is healthy. From friends and families, social and news media, and a wide variety of health care practitioners, everybody expresses opinions on how they are supposed to take care of themselves. Why, then, are we surprised when our patients don’t know whom to trust? Why are we surprised when they shrug their shoulders or appear confused? It’s not always a case of conflicting facts but a case of various perspectives that people don’t know how to navigate. 

Think about where you place your trust. How do you decide whom to trust about decisions—whether it’s about your health, or about your finances, or about how you raise your children? When I ask myself that question, two criteria surface. They need to know their subject and to know me. I want that person to know what it is they’re talking about. I want them to be well informed. I also want someone who knows me, who understands my values. I want that person to have a sense of who I am and what is important to me. 

As we get to know our patients over the years, most of them come to see us as trusted advisors when it comes to their dental health—but fewer see us as trusted advisors when it comes to their general health. If we jump too quickly to making recommendations about their overall health, we are more likely to meet resistance. If we want to cross the bridge into influencing our patients’ overall health and wellbeing, I believe we need an invitation to cross that bridge.   

The Missing Piece in our quest to influence the overall health of our patients is the failure to invite patients to share their perspectives on health. Beginning a conversation with a new patient with the question, “What can you tell me about your health in general?” is an invitation for them to talk about their experience of their health, not just details. Instead of “reviewing” health histories, what if we “explore” health histories? As we connect and get to know each other we can learn to listen beyond information to hear attitudes, beliefs, fears, biases, concerns, barriers, etc. As you understand their perspectives on health issues that come up in conversation, it’s easy to ask if they would like your perspective on that issue. These conversations often lead to more questions and answers that invite more and more invitations from our patients to be their partner in health. 

Related Course

Creating Financial Freedom

DATE: March 6 2025 @ 8:00 am - March 8 2025 @ 2:00 pm

Location: The Pankey Institute

CE HOURS: 16

Dentist Tuition: $ 2795

Single Occupancy with Ensuite Private Bath (per night): $ 345

Achieving Financial Freedom is Within Your Reach!   Would you like to have less fear, confusion and/or frustration around any aspect of working with money in your life, work, or when…

Learn More>

About Author

User Image
Mary Osborne RDH

Mary is known internationally as a writer and speaker on patient care and communication. Her writing has been acclaimed in respected print and online publications. She is widely known at dental meetings in the U.S., Canada, and Europe as a knowledgeable and dynamic speaker. Her passion for dentistry inspires individuals and groups to bring the best of themselves to their work, and to fully embrace the difference they make in the lives of those they serve.

FIND A PANKEY DENTIST OR TECHNICIAN

I AM A
I AM INTERESTED IN

VIEW COURSE CALENDAR

How Do You Like to Receive Feedback? 

April 29, 2024 Kelley Brummett DMD

Kelley Brummett, DMD 

Recently, I completed growth conferences with everyone on my team. The beauty of a growth conference is that it’s all about growth. It’s all about effort. It’s all about meeting each other and becoming more aligned with the mission of the practice. If I have something I want to share with a team member that’s a concern or something new I would like them to achieve such as mastery of a new skill, I think about how I’m going to communicate it. And as I do growth conferences with the individuals on my dental team, I am cognizant that they are likely to want to receive feedback differently as individuals.  

I’ve discovered that if I ask my employee upfront how they like to receive feedback, they pause to think before responding. I wait patiently for their response because I know the response will save both of us time and energy. For example, there are some team members who want the short and skinny of it—“Give it to me straight now.” They don’t want you to hold back. There are some team members who need to be gently warmed up before they can hear the message and require thorough explanations of why. 

I’ve discovered it helps to frequently ask the “how do you like feedback” question of my team to get their buy-in of my feedback. The beauty of “feedback” is that even criticism can be framed in a positive way as the next identified step in working towards a goal.  

Those of us in dentistry know that sometimes we move fast, but there are times that we need to sit back, think through what somebody gave us information about, and then come back and have a conversation. Mary Osborne has guided us to have conversations with patients that allow us to slow down and learn more about them so they can think, hear themselves speak, and learn about themselves. I’ve decided the feedback question is also a good question to ask patients. “How do you like to receive information? Would you like to know all the details or for me to summarize?” 

I’ve learned from Mary and experiences with patients that “staying in questions” helps them grow. Staying in questions also helps team members grow. Staying in questions helps us providers grow. So, feedback—how do you give it? How do you like to receive it? How do you handle it? I encourage you to think about this. 

Related Course

Creating Financial Freedom

DATE: March 6 2025 @ 8:00 am - March 8 2025 @ 2:00 pm

Location: The Pankey Institute

CE HOURS: 16

Dentist Tuition: $ 2795

Single Occupancy with Ensuite Private Bath (per night): $ 345

Achieving Financial Freedom is Within Your Reach!   Would you like to have less fear, confusion and/or frustration around any aspect of working with money in your life, work, or when…

Learn More>

About Author

User Image
Kelley Brummett DMD

Dr. Kelley D. Brummett was born and raised in Missouri. She attended the University of Kansas on a full-ride scholarship in springboard diving and received honors for being the Big Eight Diving Champion on the 1 meter springboard in 1988 and in 1992. Dr. Kelley received her BA in communication at the University of Kansas and went on to receive her Bachelor of Science in Nursing. After practicing nursing, Dr Kelley Brummett went on to earn a degree in Dentistry at the Medical College of Georgia. She has continued her education at the Pankey Institute to further her love of learning and her pursuit to provide quality individual care. Dr. Brummett is a Clinical Instructor at Georgia Regents University and is a member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. Dr. Brummett and her husband Darin have two children, Sarah and Sam. They have made Newnan their home for the past 9 years. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, reading and playing with her dogs. Dr. Brummett is an active member of the ADA, GDA, AGDA, and an alumni of the Pankey Institute.

FIND A PANKEY DENTIST OR TECHNICIAN

I AM A
I AM INTERESTED IN

VIEW COURSE CALENDAR

Stories About Stories 

April 22, 2024 J. Michael Rogers, DDS

By Michael (Mike) Rogers, DDS

Close to my office there is a small strip center that includes a realty group and a small church. At one end, there is no sign to show what it is, but it has a drive-through window. Every day there is a significant line of cars going up to that window. Cars line up waiting their turn, and the line is so long the cars snake through the parking lot, out into the street, with hazard lights flashing. 

I have a friend who loves to create stories about what is going on in strangers’ lives. Why is someone driving so fast? What meal are they going to create with food in a shopping cart? Why are two people arguing?  

Fantasized from some level of observation, my friend has captured what this drive-through is all about. He believes that because the drive-through is adjacent to a church, you can pull up to the window and are given a donut along with a prayer. It’s a small ministry for people to have a better day. That’s not a bad narrative but no real basis for the story. I say that as the line of cars grows longer, the prayers gain power. I get a warm feeling of their impact on others. 

I find we make up stories in my office as well. We make them up about why someone didn’t show up for an appointment, why someone didn’t move forward in care that has been advised, or why someone won’t pay a balance. Our tales are based on some level of observation, but they are tales none the less. 

I try to remember to look at these moments in three ways. 

  • What do I know? 
  • What do I think I know? 
  • What do I want to know? 

We practice this in our office. I encourage my team to not live in “what I think I know.” This state of mind too often leads to creating stories that reflect a judgement. If I hear a team member begin to create a narrative based on a circumstance with the phrase “I think…,” I try to politely make them aware of what they are doing. They most certainly recognize when I do it and politely let me know. I just grin to hide my disappointment in myself. Maybe someday, I’ll say, “thank you.” 

In relationship-based practices, we have such marvelous opportunities to help people be healthier. Asking questions about what we’d like to know and sometimes creating self-discovery for the patient as well. We often get repeated moments to connect and learn with each other. The need to make up stories is dissolved when we get to hear their story. Sometimes that story is fun, other times hard. We get to walk along that story with them. What a gift to live a life in that connection! 

Recently, a member of the realty group on one end of the strip center came in to see me. I couldn’t resist asking what the line of cars is about. It turns out it is an Ignition Interlock site for people that have had a recent DUI. You go up to the window for your installation time of the small handheld breathalyzer to prevent your car from starting after drinking alcohol. 

I haven’t shared that with my friend. I like his story better. 

Related Course

Creating Financial Freedom

DATE: March 6 2025 @ 8:00 am - March 8 2025 @ 2:00 pm

Location: The Pankey Institute

CE HOURS: 16

Dentist Tuition: $ 2795

Single Occupancy with Ensuite Private Bath (per night): $ 345

Achieving Financial Freedom is Within Your Reach!   Would you like to have less fear, confusion and/or frustration around any aspect of working with money in your life, work, or when…

Learn More>

About Author

User Image
J. Michael Rogers, DDS

Dr. Mike Rogers is a graduate of Baylor College of Dentistry. He has spent the last 27 years developing his abilities to restore patients to the dental health they desire. That development includes continuing education exceeding 100+ hours a year, training through The Pankey Institute curriculum and one-on-one training with many of dentistry’s leaders. Dr. Rogers has served as an Assistant Clinical Professor in Restorative Sciences at Baylor College of Dentistry, received a Fellowship in the Academy of General Dentistry and currently serves as Visiting Faculty at The Pankey Institute. He has been practicing for 27 years in Arlington, Texas.

FIND A PANKEY DENTIST OR TECHNICIAN

I AM A
I AM INTERESTED IN

VIEW COURSE CALENDAR

The B-A-G Reflection Process

February 8, 2021 Bill Gregg DDS

For years now, I have followed this simple reflective process. I hope it proves to be helpful for you in your personal and professional growth. My reflection BAG contains Blessings, Accomplishments, and Goals. 

Blessings  

List all the blessings you are grateful for; family, friends, satisfying work, freedom to worship, health, warm home, living in America, etc. Give thanks for the blessings of life. Gratitude is essential to the journey, and too frequently in our “push” to “get ahead”, we forget our core blessings. Compared to these Blessings, getting ahead isn’t the most important thing. INVOLVE YOUR FAMILY THIS YEAR…even your two-year-old will feel the gratitude. 

Accomplishments 

Summarize all things you accomplished throughout the year. This is such an important step to write down because it never ceases to amaze me, when I reflect, just how much I have accomplished. I always need my calendar for this one because I find I forget all the little things I did do throughout the year. The journey can be so (apparently) slow and frustrating, that seeing how far you progress each year is very important. 

Goals 

Now that you are grateful for the mess you have gotten yourself into, write down your goals for the coming year. Come up with 20-30-50 ideas. Many times, the “best” ones are the last few that pop into your head. Remember the Pankey Cross and plan in all areas, Work, Love, Play, and Worship. Know Yourself, Know Your Patient, Know Your Work, and Apply Your Knowledge (this is a part of that). Spend as much (or more) time and money on the behavioral - communication aspects of care as you do the technical aspects of dental care. Plan to integrate Joy, Wonder and Relationships into your work. 

Set Aside Quiet Time to Reflect

Please set aside quiet time to do this. The first time it may take several struggling hours. I reflect several times a year and still set aside a few hours, but it has become almost like meditation for me and is one of the most important things I do for myself. I do this to continually refocus my efforts and to enhance gratitude. This has become part of my personal Peace process.

Thinking Beats Regurgitation

Throughout our education process we dentists are taught to memorize and regurgitate…not to reflect nor to think (I believe, at times, thinking is beaten out of us). We look to others to provide us the “answers” we might be missing that will guarantee our passing the tests (success). Sometimes we glance at someone else’s success and, thus, we let others define success for us — and we all are obsessive enough to bust our butts for an “A” to please someone else. If we just miss being perfect, we feel like such a failure. And for those of you paralyzed by needing to be perfect…Perfection is a disease. The goal is excellence, not perfection. John Wooden said it best:

“Success is the self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best.”

Related Course

E1: Aesthetic & Functional Treatment Planning

DATE: August 22 2024 @ 8:00 am - August 25 2024 @ 2:30 pm

Location: The Pankey Institute

CE HOURS: 39

Dentist Tuition: $ 6500

Single Occupancy Room with Ensuite Bath (Per Night): $ 290

Transform your experience of practicing dentistry, increase predictability, profitability and fulfillment. The Essentials Series is the Key, and Aesthetic and Functional Treatment Planning is where your journey begins.  Following a system of…

Learn More>

About Author

User Image
Bill Gregg DDS

I attended South Hills High School in Covina, Denison University in Granville, Ohio and the University of Redlands in Redlands, California prior to dental school at UCLA. My post-graduate education has included an intensive residency at UCLA Hospital, completion of a graduate program at The L.D. Pankey Institute for Advanced Dental Education ; acceptance for Fellowship in the Academy of General Dentistry (FAGD); and in 2006 I earned the prestegious Pankey Scholar. Continuing education has always been essential in the preparation to be the best professional I am capable of becoming and to my ongoing commitment to excellence in dental care and personal leadership. I am a member of several dental associations and study groups and am involved in over 100 hours of continuing education each year. The journey to become one of the best dentists in the world often starts at the Pankey Institute. I am thrilled that I am at a point in my professional life that I can give back. I am honored that I can be a mentor to others beginning on their path. As such, I have discovered a new passion; teaching. I am currently on faculty at The L.D. Pankey Institute for Advanced Dental Education devoting 2-3 weeks each year to teaching post-graduate dental programs. In other presentations my focus is on Leadership and includes lifestyle, balance and motivation as much as dentistry.

FIND A PANKEY DENTIST OR TECHNICIAN

I AM A
I AM INTERESTED IN

VIEW COURSE CALENDAR

Self-Discovery During Social Distancing

March 25, 2020 Richard Green DDS MBA

It may not be this week. It may be next before you have a practice continuation plan in place and have communicated fully with your team and patients. When you do find you have some time, I encourage you to sit back and think about everything you have experienced over the last month and what new learning you have discovered. Then reach out to colleagues and talk over your learning. Continue sharing with each other throughout this time of social distancing. 

I am mindful of a quote from Carl R. Rogers: “The true wonder of learning is discovering for yourself.”  

Starting out in my career, I felt well trained technically, yet I must have subtly believed I was a “hardware” salesperson. Or, maybe it had to do with my tendency to be introverted. Whatever the reason, I found it easier to talk “hardware and technique” than to listen well and then help patients clarify their health objectives and the benefits they were seeking in their dental health care experience.  

I went to a workshop led by Carl R. Rogers titled Client-Centered TherapyThis workshop was significantly different than any of my previous educational experiences. It was a participatory experience. It took some time for me to assimilate his educational concepts into my life and practice, and I noticed right off that I had retained more from a workshop experience and could apply my understanding of what I had learned. When I returned to my office, I attempted to create a participatory learning experience for my patients. I learned from these early attempts more about learning and witnessed behavioral changes in myself and my patients.  

I sought out many other workshops at this time in my life. One was Parent Effectiveness Training, facilitated by a local devotee of Dr. Thomas Gordon. Then, I became reacquainted with Dr. Karl Olson, the retired President of North Park University where I had done my undergraduate schooling prior to going to Northwestern University Dental School.  

Olson had joined forces with Bruce Larson and Heidi Frost of Faith-At-Work and created The Leadership Training Institute, which focused on discovering your leadership potential through three separate weeks of “experiential learning.” The first week was focused on Know Yourself, the second-week focus was Know Yourself in a Small Group, and the third-week experience was focused on Designing Small Group Experiences for Others. Each of these three weeks was separated by six months of intentional application and reflection, which created a powerful learning period of discovering myself.  

From my point of view, there is nothing more rewarding than a learning experience in which one can become aware of one’s own learning in “the moment” or upon reflection. So, now that you have been thrust into participating in Knowing Yourself, your practice, your team, and your patients on a new level where there is a concern for everyone’s safety and wellbeing on an elevated scale take time to reflect on what you learned in “special moments” of the past month.  

Are any of your discoveries blog-worthy to stay in communication with your patients? They will appreciate your personal “touch.” 

Making a comment in response to this blog is one way you can encourage a “continuing conversation” of Pankey participants new awarenesses.” 

Related Course

E3: Restorative Integration of Form & Function

DATE: August 11 2024 @ 8:00 am - August 15 2024 @ 2:30 pm

Location: The Pankey Institute

CE HOURS: 41

Full Tuititon: $ 7200

night with private bath: $ 290

Understanding that “form follows function” is critical for knowing how to blend what looks good with what predictably functions well. E3 is the phase of your Essentials journey in which…

Learn More>

About Author

User Image
Richard Green DDS MBA

Rich Green, D.D.S., M.B.A. is the founder and Director Emeritus of The Pankey Institute Business Systems Development program. He retired from The Pankey Institute in 2004. He has created Evergreen Consulting Group, Inc. www.evergreenconsultinggroup.com, to continue his work encouraging and assisting dentists in making the personal choices that will shape their practices according to their personal vision of success to achieve their preferred future in dentistry. Rich Green received his dental degree from Northwestern University in 1966. He was a early colleague and student of Bob Barkley in Illinois. He had frequent contact with Bob Barkley because of his interest in the behavioral aspects of dentistry. Rich Green has been associated with The Pankey Institute since its inception, first as a student, then as a Visiting Faculty member beginning in 1974, and finally joining the Institute full time in 1994. While maintaining his practice in Hinsdale, IL, Rich Green became involved in the management aspects of dentistry and, in 1981, joined Selection Research Corporation (an affiliate of The Gallup Organization) as an associate. This relationship and his interest in management led to his graduation in 1992 with a Masters in Business Administration from the Keller Graduate School in Chicago.

FIND A PANKEY DENTIST OR TECHNICIAN

I AM A
I AM INTERESTED IN

VIEW COURSE CALENDAR