Do you know who Bob Barkley is?

I was inspired by a dentist this morning who shared his vision of dental wellness – and he reminded me of Bob Barkley. Amazing man. Talk about inspiring!

If you know Bob Barkley

Then count yourself as lucky. And, if beyond just knowing of this dentist and his work, you also agree with his ideas and approach, then you are rare indeed. Have you implemented his ideas into your practice? Trained your staff? What results have you experienced?

I have known about Dr. Barkley for years – he is an inspiration to the founder of my Ohio group practice. I enjoyed hearing about Dr. Barkley’s sense of humor and entertaining speaking style that educated other dentists in a way that while they were laughing at the stories he told, at some point, they realized they were laughing at themselves. This approach was not only enjoyable, but ingenious. Those that had the opportunity to attend one of this presentations often ended up truly inspired and motivated to try this out in their own practice.

Now, when I meet a dentist that knows and has been inspired by Bob Barkley, I know I’m talking with a forward-thinking, unique dentist. Just like this morning. In fact, it started me thinking that I’d love to meet more of these like-minded dentists. Anyone inspired by Dr. Barkley is probably working on some interesting projects motivated by the concept of wellness and prevention. That is a dentist I’d love to help.

If you don’t know Bob Barkley

A small town dentist in the 70’s with big, field-of-dentistry-changing ideas about how to practice dentistry – primarily, why to practice dentistry. Its not about constant repairs or placing enough crowns to increase your income. It is about whole health – the recognition that everyone can be healthy if we educate and motivate them. And, the effect a healthy mouth has on a human is more than just the absence of pain or a cosmetically enhanced shade of teeth, it’s self-confidence, healthy eating, interaction with family & friends, even the frequency of smiling – where literally, the more, the merrier!

Dr. Kim Kutsch, dentist & founder of Carifree, wrote a tribute to Bob Barkley for the World Congress of Minimally Invasive Dentistry that tells more about this inspiring man:  and you can purchase Bob’s book on Amazon: Successful Preventive Dental Practices.

What are you doing to promote dental wellness now?

At HealthPark Dentistry, our founder created the “Preventive Care” or PC visit inspired by Dr. Barkley’s ideas. The PC visit is the foundation of our children’s dentistry program – and has been since the 1980’s. Most dentists seeing children simply treat them as small adults – no parents in the room, sit in the chair, it takes 30 minutes, here’s your toothbrush and you’re on your way. At HealthPark, it’s a completely different experience.PC Visit

The PC visit is a family experience – best done with all the siblings and Mom/Dad together in our specially built ‘PC room’ which has giant mirrors and three sinks where each child can climb up to the sink (designed similar to their bathroom at home) and show our specially-trained hygienist or dental assistant how the kids usually brush and floss their teeth. The kids show off their skills and answer a series of questions – Why did you come to the dentist today? Why do you want to take care of your teeth? – the dental professional is trained to key in on the child’s motivation for oral health care so that any skills training reinforces the goal of the child.

My role as the Administrator with Baldrige training was to track the success of our preventive care approach – and I tracked the number of Kids Decay Free, Adults Decay Free – and I tracked these by each dentist in the group! I started tracking this performance in 2001 – so we have more than 10 years of data on our preventive care approach and how successful it is. This tracking has revealed substantial differences in dentist’s clinical philosophy over the years.

So, what are you doing? Please share a comment if you have been inspired by Bob Barkley and you are practicing this type of dentistry. I’d love to share your ideas.

Establishing a clinical philosophy is just one way to run a successful dental practice. If you’re interested in new ideas on running a dental practice, please subscribe to my weekly blog. One of the biggest challenges to managing a dental practice is managing dental insurance. With dental insurance handled, then dental marketing for new patients becomes a primary focus. In today’s day of online reviews, handling patient complaints well is essential. As your practice grows, hiring dental staff becomes more important. With 16+ years of dental practice management experience, I’m open to your questions to help you run a successful dental office.

Feel free to email me.

AUTHOR: Jill Nesbitt
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