#Ask T-Bone – Ep31 – Dealing with Burnout


All right, we are back!

We are back for another episode of #Ask T-Bone on the T-Bone speaks podcast!

Today I don’t really have a question, I have a kind of a statement that was e-mailed to me, and it says:

Hello Tarun! I enjoyed your lecture last Friday, and I’m glad I attended. As far as what is on my mind and affecting me, it would have to be Burnout. I’m 40 years old and graduated in 2002. I have my good days for sure, but mostly I feel unmotivated and overwhelmed by my practice. After listening to you, you could label me as a single tooth dentist. I’m busy enough, too busy maybe, and find myself doing this type of dentistry because at the end of the day I want to do anything besides dental-related learning. I do realize that I need to do something different, so I am attending a Kois course this June -which is already past-. I also was motivated by Electric to use more photography to perhaps motivate patient to request more services. I hope this is helpful, I look forward to listening to your blogs and podcasts.

Many thanks



So quite honestly this was sent in to me probably about a month ago or so, and I am just now getting around to it. I know why I saved it and put it off, because I wanted to spend some time talking about it.


Mark thank you for sending this in, and congratulations on making a big step in attending a John kois course. Dr. kois is a phenomenal educator and I know that many of my friends who have been there have been unbelievably happy with his education and their motivation that they get from there. So, you know, congratulations.


So let’s talk about this. We are 40 years old, and we are Burnout. When I see 60 year olds and they are Burnout, I accept that. But when I see 40 year old and they are Burnout, I don’t accept that. And the truth is I called the “b word”: Burnout. The truth is we all go through Burnouts. we go through stages where we feel Burnout and that’s probably more being tired than being Burnout. But when I know it’s Burnout, when we are not motivated to love our dentistry, and love our practice, and love what we do, and to slowly transform what we do. I think so often times we get overwhelmed by all the different things that are out there. So I always look at, the best way to affect Burnout this to work backwards, and that for me means: Figure out exactly how much it is you’re trying to make. And I think that’s one of the big problems that we have often times, is that people can’t say how much they want to make. They say I want to make a lot, or I want to make as much as possible. Those are numbers. A lot and as much as possible isn’t a number. You have to have a number. So one of that numbers: 100,000; 200,000 300,000. This come up with a number and then take a look at your business that you have right now, and your profitability level that you have right now, and then figure out how much Dentistry do you have to produce to make that dollar amount. And then, once you figure that out, now you can work backward in terms of what procedures you want to do. Now, there multiple ways to get to that number. One is to work hard. To work doing lots of fillings, lots of crowns, seeing lots of patients, taking lots of insurance, doing everything for everybody. You can do that. And some of us are cut out for that. But then there’s the idea of working smart, and I always prefer smarter over harder. For me working smart is not that you don’t take insurance, but you pick and choose which plans you take. When you say to me, for example: “I’m busy enough, maybe too busy” that means that you have too much going on. Maybe it’s time to drop one of those plans that pays you badly. Because there’s a cost of lost opportunity. When you say yes to a crummy insurance plan you’re saying no to a potential other patient with a better insurance plan that reimburses better. So those are the little things that I look at.


And then, I say look at what is making you unhappy about your practice. I don’t need to get in what makes you unhappy overall, maybe we can get my wife on to talk about that, but what is it that makes you unhappy in your practice? Is that your team members? Now, maybe get new ones. Is it the type of dentistry that you do? Then you got to take education. As much as you don’t want to, you’ve got to. You’ve got to take that education. You’ve got to get out there, and I’m not saying “come see me” necessarily. I may not be the right fit for you. I may not have the right offerings that you need right now. But you need to go do something. I always recommend the Spear Education, they are fantastic, the seminars are great, the workshops are great, the online program is great. I always recommend Kois, it’s fantastic, you can’t go wrong there, I’ve never been so I can’t speak to from personal experience. I always recommend LVI with Bill Dickerson, they have fantastic education, very thought-provoking and very different type of education. So there’s so much out there, that can make you happy.


And then what else makes you happy? If you’re not happy with the type of procedures you do, go to learn and do other procedures. Because here’s the truth, the truth is that your patients have so many needs that you’re probably just not diagnosing them because you don’t have the eyes for it. Your eyes or your brain doesn’t know enough for your eyes to diagnose what your patients have. And examples I have are:

How many patients do you have with missing teeth? Why don’t you are placing implants?

How many patients do you have with crooked teeth? Why don’t you are doing orthodontics?

How many patients do you have with sleep apnea? Why don’t you provided sleep apnea therapy?

There’s so many of those things.

How many patients have yellow teeth? Why aren’t you providing whitening?

How many patients have wears? Why aren’t you providing guards?


There are so many opportunities out there, we just need to get out there and learn. And quite frankly, if I would to be brutally honest to you, I would say: “The reason you probably don’t like Dental related learning is because you’re going to the wrong places. You’re probably going to your local society and study club meetings, where everybody sits around and b****** and talks about the same thing. Because none of them ever leave their town and go to learn anything new. Maybe you’re going to your local state meeting, and it’s run by old farts, I don’t know what they’re doing. Who are living in the 1980’s and bring that same type of education of that same vibe and that same energy. You know, get out there and learn something new. Get out and experience something new. Get out and go to a meeting that is full of energetic people who love being there. Some examples of that would be the SIROWORLD meeting coming up in August in Orlando. The Dental Downtown Team meeting, that’s fantastic. The Madow Brothers have the best seminar ever. There are so many good seminars out there, and here’s the problem with all those seminars: They cost money. These seminars that we like to go to that because they’re cheap, they’re cheap for a reason. They are cheap because nobody’s motivated, nobody really owns them, nobody is really bringing you that energy. And to me meeting should be about energy, it should be about positive vibes, it should be about motivating you, making you want to do things. So, I want you to consider those things when you do that.


Now, I’m absolutely excited to hear that you’re doing more photography. Nothing to me, I call it showing proof. In our office the philosophy I have is, if you make a recommendation to a patient show them proof. And to me there’s nothing more ability to show proof than a digital camera and a digital photograph. Put it up on a nice screen, show your patients, printed out for them, put it on a pad, put on something. So that way you can show them the proof and they can say yes. Because otherwise your patience are often very skeptical. It doesn’t hurt? Why do I need to do it? Give them the proof. You can see this leaky feeling. You know, maybe we don’t want to do it now, but it’s coming. You can be proactive or reactive, is totally up to you, and I think case acceptance is about showing them the proof. So photography is unbelievably powerful. Develop a series so that you take on every patient, schedule time to train your hygienist, and your assistants to take photos for you. Don’t be reliant on yourself to take these photographs, train your team to do it. Set aside half a day, maybe pay them to come in on a day off, figure out a way and the time to do it, so that it’s not just you. And spend the money in buying the cameras. Buy enough for each operatories, I believe you should have one digital camera on every operatory for every provider. And that’s how we have it in our practice.


So again, thank you for the question or the statement Mark, and I hope that you’re feeling

better and that you’re starting to get motivated again and thank you for sending this in.


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