I Won’t Get My Money’s Worth - Myth #3
As a result of ongoing advances the field of dentistry, people are retaining their teeth well into their 7th, 8th or maybe even their 9th decade of life! Tooth loss was once perceived to be a function of aging. Most clinicians have heard patients say, “Well, I am 70 years old, so I am lucky to have as many teeth as I do,” or, “My mother lost all of her teeth by the time she was 50. I know I am going to be the same way and will need dentures.” Research has proven that people do not lose teeth because they are old. People lose teeth due to periodontal disease, which is secondary to poor home care and/or lack of professional intervention.
The dental profession has been attempting to shake off this perception among the general population. Through constant education, especially within the hygiene department, this perception can be put to bed (so to speak). While hygienists treat baby boomers, they should be using appointment times to inform them that they do not have to fall victim to being edentulous. This generation watched their parents deal with “pyorrhea,” tooth extractions and full upper and lower prosthetics placements. This was most often due to lack of dental care. People were not in tune with dental health and there was not money available to be spent on dental treatment unless emergency treatment was needed; typically emergency treatment came in the form of an extraction.
The “Baby Boomer” generation (born between the years 1946 and 1964, depending on what source is being consulted) has been fortunate to have experienced a different kind of dentistry. They have received more frequent dental care than their parents and are more knowledgeable than their parents about dental health. Although this is true, there is still work to be done educating this group. They need to be taught about the connections between oral and systemic health, how routine preventive care and adequate home care can prevent periodontal disease/tooth loss and that keeping their teeth for life will improve their quality of life.
Even though the dental profession is well aware of the association between oral and systemic health, it is not so well-known among the general population. It is the responsibility of the hygienist to provide education to patients of this age group on this topic. They need to know that maintaining a healthy mouth can possibly ward off heart attacks or stroke, assist in management of blood glucose levels, potentially keep away some forms of cancer and possibly help manage arthritis. These are all ailments that begin to concern aging patients. How wonderful is it that the dental team can help keep patients totally healthy?
The number one cause of adult tooth loss is not decay—it is periodontal disease. This information should be shared with aging patients. They need to be aware that continued professional cleaning appointments, accompanied by good home care, will help them preserve their smiles for a lifetime. Likewise, they need to know if they are already showing signs of periodontal disease; the dental team can help them rectify the situation through periodontal therapy.
There are studies that correlate quality of life with the number of natural teeth a person has. They suggest that once a person has fewer than 28 natural teeth, the quality of life declines with each tooth loss. This is understandable if the ability to eat is considered. Being able to chew food is directly related to how many teeth are present. Chewing food correctly directly affects digestion. Poor nutrition from poor digestion can lead to a low quality of life.
Consider as well the issue of self-esteem. If a person has lost anterior teeth, he/she is less likely to smile and converse with others. Research shows that if a people cannot chew well and eat as fast as others at the table they become embarrassed and will tend to eat alone more often. These two situations can lead to isolation. Isolated people have a lower quality of life than their more social counterparts.
Some clinicians feel that an older patient cannot or does not want to be taught this information. In fact, many elders who are fortunate enough to be exposed to hygienists who take the time to teach them become the most compliant and reliable patients. Boomers often have more discretionary income, which results in higher treatment acceptance, and they may have more job flexibility, which allows them to make it to appointments easily. The desire for a better quality of life in the later years of this generation can make a huge impact on the productivity of a hygiene department that takes advantage of the opportunity!
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Dr. Nancy Haller
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The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you're still a rat. —Lily Tomlin
Research from technology sociologist Gloria Mark states that the average worker is interrupted every 11 minutes on the job. Furthermore, it takes those same workers about 25 minutes on average to return to the original task. When senior executives were surveyed by the Center for Creative Leadership they reported that they were interrupted every 30 to 40 minutes.
The pattern is clear: Long stretches of focused work are rare in today's organizations.
Now compare that to what we know about peak performance. From the playing field to the stage to the board room, focus is the key to excelling. Every day, things arise over which you have no control, and it’s very easy to lose your focus during the day with emergency walk-ins, absent employees or equipment or technology breakdowns. If you don’t manage your energy, those interruptions in attention can derail you from what you had hoped to achieve that day.
Successful athletes, musicians and business executives realize that being focused and attentive is the key to gaining a sustainable competitive advantage. Learning to be at your very best as a powerful performer is maximized when you learn how to relax with what you do. When you relax the central nervous system, you release those emotional issues that often prevent you from being at your very best. You get into the state of “flow” or the “zone,” where you are fully present with your abilities and skills.
Most of us have experienced the physical effects that mental strain or stress can have on our bodies, or the euphoria of a really good day that makes every ache or pain go away. Managing your emotions is akin to managing your energy. It doesn’t matter how well you manage your time if you don’t have enough energy to focus on what you’re doing.
Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz are two senior partners at LGE Performance Systems. Their book, The Power of Full Engagement, aims to revolutionize the way we live our lives. Their focus is on managing energy rather than time. In turn this can improve performance, health, happiness and life balance.
The first step is a critical appraisal of how you spend your energy. Question your habits. How much of your energy are you spending foolishly?
Keep a time log for one week. Look at each work activity and assign an “energy number” that equates to the level of attention you give to it. For example, if you are an introvert, a new patient appointment could be a 1 (low) because you dislike it, even though it is highly important. On the other hand, you might rate patient charting, which is performed alone in the quietness of your office, as a 10 (high). You give that activity A LOT of energy even though it’s unlikely to bring you new business. Decide objectively how you are spending your energy, and compare that to what energy you should be allocating.
Prioritize your day by using the 80-20 Rule originally stated by the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto. He noted that 80 percent of the reward comes from 20 percent of the effort. The trick to prioritizing is to isolate and identify that valuable 20 percent. Once identified, prioritize energy to concentrate your work on those items with the greatest reward.
Consider your biological clock and pay attention to your own energy level. Our bodies have more than 100 circadian rhythms. Each unique 24-hour cycle influences an aspect of functioning, including body temperature, hormone levels, heart rate, blood pressure—even pain thresholds. Understanding how these cycles interplay is fascinating. Pay attention to what time of day are you at your best. Are you a "morning person," a "night owl," or a late afternoon "whiz"? Knowing when your best time is and planning to use that energy slot for your greatest priorities is effective self-management for maximum productivity.
Over the next week, how efficiently will you allocate your energy?
If you want to get a higher rate of engagement in your practice, contact Dr. Haller at firstname.lastname@example.org. She will help you to make a more productive use of your energy.
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