So Much to be Thankful For


It’s hard to believe Thanksgiving is here. 2011 has been an incredibly busy year for Inspired Hygiene.  We’re so thankful for all of the wonderful growth we’ve experienced this year and couldn’t be prouder of our private coaching clients and Mastermind members.  We are incredibly thankful for your confidence in the Inspired Hygiene team!  Without Stacy, Margo and Diane, what we’ve accomplished this year would not have been possible.

And then above all, we’re thankful for all our families.   Without their support, we would not be able to do what we love so much…learn, teach and share…on the road and on the web.  So, in this week of giving thanks, take time to “unplug” from work and focus on family.  Scroll down to read about work-life balance…

We wish you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Stay Inspired,

The toughest day…

I recently read an article where a CEO was being interviewed about work-life balance.  He said that one of the toughest days of his life was when he overheard his 5 year old son say, ‘I don’t think my daddy likes me very much. He’s always tired when I’m around and I always have to be quiet because he is working when he is on his cell phone.”  That CEO learned quickly that he was investing more time in work than he was in his relationship with his son.  And in the end, the people we love deserve the greatest gift we can give them: the respect and power of our attention.

Being fully present means carving out time when you are home with the family. What does this mean for you? It’s highly unlikely that your practice will cease to exist if you turn your phone off during family dinnertime or for 20 minutes while you’re driving your kids to school.   You’ll get so much personal satisfaction out of those focused moments.  Then, when it’s time to focus on work, you can be fully present there as well.

We’d love to hear from you about how you’ve made changes in your life to achieve work-life balance! Become a “fan” of our Facebook page and tell us your story. Here’s the link

Is it time to get back in the kitchen?


About 4 years ago the culinary bug bit me.  I had been a modest home cook for years but something clicked and made me want to step up my game in the kitchen.  Thank you Food Network!

Recently, I took some cooking classes at the local gourmet food store.  Even though I thought I knew how to chop and dice, they taught me ways to do it with more efficiency and precision.  Even though I had already been using some of the techniques they taught in their techniques class, they taught us how to implement these techniques in a way to get a remarkably better outcome.  For me, cooking classes didn’t teach me how to cook; they taught me how to do it better.   In a sense, they recalibrated me to a new level of culinary excellence.  And now, cooking is a family affair.   Here I am with my trusty sous chef, Logan McCauley!

Scroll down to see how a calibration session with one of our private coaching clients yielded efficiencyprecisionbetter outcomes and excellence!

Stay Inspired,

Calibrate to Dominate!

A few weeks ago, we shared with you one of the many success stories we’ve had with our private coaching clients this year. Dr. Kimber Holmes’ office in Texas doubled their perio percentage and increased hygiene production by over $20k/month in only 2 months time!

Remember my example in my note this week about cooking class?  I didn’t go to cooking class to learn how to cook; I went because I wanted to do it better.

Many of our private coaching clients talk about wanting more consistency in their hygiene department.  Have you ever wanted …

  • consistency in how perio is diagnosed between you and your entire hygiene team?
  • clear protocols for when/how to enroll patients in periodontal therapy?
  • consistent messaging so every patient hears a consistent message related to diagnosis and treatment planning?
  • consistent results in patient care and productivity?

If you said, “yes” to any of these, it boils down to a matter of calibration.  When we calibrate a team during our in-office training, the goal is to get everyone ON THE SAME PAGE.  We know one thing for sure…. when we calibrate teams so that everyone is on the same page the following occurs:

  • When a doctor’s confidence in his/her team goes up, the stress level a doctor feels goes down.
  • When teams are calibrated and are clear on protocols, the team feels empowered to practice to a higher standard of care
  • When a patient receives treatment from a calibrated, consistent doctor and team, the results yield HEALTHIER PATIENTS and a more PROFITABLE PRACTICE

Here we are working with Dr. Holmes’ fantastic hygiene team.  We knew this team knew how to “cook“.  We simply re-calibrated the team so they could perform even better, breaking through to their fullest potential.

One final thought…Doctors, stop and think about where you and your team are in the calibration spectrum?  Are you performing at your fullest potential or is it time to get back in the kitchen?

Here’s a recipe for how you and your team can calibrate your periodontal assessment:

  • Choose a patient (friend, family, coworker) who has 5mm or deeper pockets
  • Individually, using the same probe, have each hygienist and doctor measure the same quadrant
  • Bring your measurements together and see how they compare. Review technique together to unify your angulations, interpretation of the measurements and the walking of the probe around the circumference of the tooth

There are so many systems in your practice that benefit from calibration. From determining when a patient goes from prophy to perio treatment, to how you confirm appointments. Until everyone is on the same page…. your results may be inconsistent.

It’s the Will, Not the Skill


Two years ago today, we had the immense joy of welcoming Andrew into our family.   When Matt announced ‘It’s a boy’…I immediately recognized that I knew nothing about raising a boy.  Anna is about as girly as they come and has always been very gentle and dainty.

This is NOT the case with Andrew.  He is rough and tumble, jumping off the couch and constantly trying new things (like testing new crayon colors on anything within his reach).


But despite my pitiful knowledge of how to raise a boy, I had tremendous desire and WILL that I would figure it out.  I can LEARN how to communicate with and challenge him but if I didn’t have the WILL to do so, I wouldn’t get very far.

I once heard Jim Cathcart say ‘When it comes to achieving significant things in life, the determining factor is almost always the will to achieve.’  The skill you can learn, but the will comes from inside!

Next week, our Hygiene Profits Mastermind members will have the pleasure of hearing a very successful dentist tell her story of how she hires on WILL and trains for SKILL.  If you’d like to join us, scroll down and get your free trial membership.

I can tell you without hesitation that the doctors I work with that are the strongest leaders and have carefully chosen and supported their team, get the most dramatic results-in both patient and practice health.

Stay Inspired,

Join us for our November Hygiene Profits Mastermind call:

“Keeping Your Hygiene Team Accountable, Efficient and Happy”
with special guest Dr. Tanya Brown
Dentists ask us all the time ‘How do I keep my hygiene team motivated and committed to growing the practice without having to micromanage them?‘ Rather than just hear it from me, I thought it would be SO much more powerful if you heard it from a real-life practicing dentist. Inspired Hygiene client, Pankey grad and speaker/consultant, Dr. Tanya Brown is a master at developing leaders on her team to help manage and grow an extremely successful practice in Chesapeake, VA.

On this call, Dr. Brown will share her secrets for:

  • Creating team incentives that motivate rather than divide
  • Getting your hygiene team to enthusiastically uphold your standards of care without exception
  • Setting clear expectations and giving hygiene team the tools to be successful

If you’re not a member of the Hygiene Profits Mastermind, click here to learn more and join!

Ooey gooey sticky!


I read Chip and Dan Heath’s book, “Made to Stick” for the first time a few years ago. The book is about communicating so that ideas and recommendations stick and really change things. Over the weekend, I picked it up again, leafing through some of the chapters I had flagged during my first read. I pulled so many great pearls of wisdom. This book wasn’t written for dentistry, but there are so many applicable connections we can make to our daily lives in the dental practice.

Scroll down to learn 3 sticky tips to make your treatment recommendations STICK.

Stay Inspired,


3 Simple Tips to Make it Stick!

I’m extremely passionate about communication.  When we work with private coaching clients, communication is one of the major teaching points we include in our training.  We know one big industry secret…. patients will brag about you and your office with reckless abandon simply by how you make them feel.

If you take 2 dentists with an identical technical skill set, the dentist with the better communication skills will be perceived more favorably by patients than the dentist with the same technical skills but lacking the communication style of their counterpart.

Do you want to know how to make your patients feel important, valued and listened to?   I have three key areas for you to implement right now in your practice.   I promise you, if you adhere to the principles of proxemics, sticky communication, and multi-faceted learning, you’ll increase your patient’s perception of you and your practice dramatically.  By no coincidence, we’ll also improve patients’ health by tapping into these key communication strategies. Great bonus, huh?

  1. The term “Proxemics” is used to describe our body positioning during communication.  Proper body position is the first key to increasing your communication effectiveness.  With our private coaching clients, we teach this principle very clearly.Clinicians should always avoid explaining a clinical finding, disease process or treatment plan while the patient is lying in the chair in that vulnerable, ” bug on their back” position.Which position would allow for better two-way communication when talking to a patient about serious clinical findings, a new disease diagnosis, and complex treatment recommendations?

    DH Textbook Pics 005.jpg DH Textbook Pics 003.jpg

    Take home message #1 –Never communicate complex clinical findings, disease diagnoses, and treatment plans without repositioning the patient upright in knee-to-knee & eye-to-eye.

  2. Sticky communication is detailed and relevant. Your canned speech about home care doesn’t have “stickiness” because it’s interpreted as too generic.Take home message #2– Always infuse your patient communication with as many individualized details as possible.  Sticky communication would sound like this… Mary, with your recent diagnosis of high blood pressure and high cholesterol, I’m very concerned about the fact that you have an active gum infection. We now know through emerging research that periodontal infection, along with high blood pressure and high cholesterol put you at a high risk for heart attack or stroke.”This has much more sticking power than if the hygienist simply said, “I found some deeper pockets around your back teeth and I think we might consider having you come back for scaling and root planing.”
  3. Multi-faceted learning is the key to long-term behavior change. I love this quote by William Glaser on how we learn.“We Retain . . .
    • 20% of what we hear
      • 30% of what we read
        • 40% of what we see
          • 50% of what we hear and read
            • 60% of what we hear, read and see
              • 95% of what we hear, read, see and do”

    Take home message #3 – Simply explaining a disease process is not effective for long-term retention of information. The key is to layer as many sensory inputs as possible. For example,

    • You tell the patient what to listen for before doing the perio exam
    • Patient hears you calling out perio numbers
    • You hand them a copy of their perio chart while sitting knee-to-knee
    • You make their diagnosis personal
    • You show them an educational video
    • You hand them a pamphlet to take home
    • You show them their bleeding with mirror or intra-oral photo

Good luck this week integrating the 3 keys for more impactful communication!