Pediatric Dental Assistants Association

How to Build a Championship Franchise

Basketball on hardwood

What can your pediatric dental practice learn from the Golden State Warriors? You might be surprised.

Only a few years ago, the Warriors were one of the worst-performing teams in the National Basketball Association. From 1992–2012, the team only managed to break a .500 win percentage four times (for those unfamiliar with sports, a .500 win percentage means an equal number of wins and losses).

Then Peter Guber and Joe Lacob purchased the team. These two aren’t your typical athletic types, being wealthy “nerds.” After carefully analysing the game, they figured out how they could break basketball.

Up until now, the dominant teams had good shooters and were strong inside. Large and physical athletes could push through and put points down the hard way. Shooting from outside the 3-point line wasn’t a major focus in anyone’s strategy due to the lower chance of success from that distance (which is why an extra point is awarded to begin with).

If a player makes a basket from 23 feet, their team is awarded two points. But, if they back up only 5 percent further, the shot is awarded 50 percent more points. So the new owners rebuilt their team, aiming to capitalize on the three-pointer.

It started a revolution in the NBA.

The Golden State Warriors began with the “Splash Brothers,” teammates Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, who between the two of them alone shattered the season team record for three-pointers (483). The owners also brought in a new coach, Steve Kerr, who holds an all-time career record for accuracy in three-point shooting from his days in the NBA.

Having looked at the metagame of the NBA, the new coach and owners saw what they had in three-point shooters, which had never been a primary focus of an NBA team, and adapted their playing strategy to take advantage of it.

Curry, surrounded with talented support, dominated the NBA. He destroyed record after record, shooting better from 40 feet than most NBA stars shoot from 15 feet. If teams overextended themselves trying to stop Curry or double-teamed him, he simply passed the ball to one of his own talented (and now poorly defended) teammates, who could take the opportunity to score.

The Warriors tore through the NBA, breaking record after record and becoming the NBA champions in 2015, the runners-up in 2016, and once again the champions in 2017. Since Kerr took over, the team went from hardly ever having a .500+ season for decades to averaging an 84 percent win rate.

What Does All This Have to Do With Dentistry?

Adapt to the game.

For most of their history, the Warriors were not a good basketball team. Almost overnight, they became so good that they might have just broken basketball. They evaluated the game differently than their opponents, and then played to their strengths to become the best. They didn’t just sign a super-star; they created a team of them by taking advantage of the opportunity they saw.

To follow the Warriors’ lead, you need to understand the metagame of your market and industry. Where are the opportunities? Can you focus on different services, days, or hours and achieve a better result?

It helps to have data. Guber and Lacob saw the three-point opportunity by studying the numbers. If your case acceptance isn’t what it should be, look at the data to find out why. Know your team’s strengths and know when it’s time to make a change. You might see a viable option that you didn’t realize was there before.

“Good enough” is never good enough.

When the Warriors made it to the Finals in back-to-back seasons and shattered records left and right, do you know what they did with their legendary team?

They improved it by replacing Harrison Barnes with Kevin Durant.

And that’s not all. As Stephen Curry was dominating the NBA from downtown, he was simultaneously the league MVP and the league’s Most Improved Player.

While he was better than anyone in history at making three-pointers, he wasn’t comparatively good at making layups, and that lack of flexibility made him easier to defend against. Curry worked very hard to improve his weak area, which increased his performance rating by record levels.

Even if you are already the best pediatric practice in your market, don’t rest on your laurels. Look for opportunities to improve every member of your team and the practice as a whole.

It’s a team effort.

Curry may have the most attention, but he is surrounded by an extremely talented team. Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green aren’t just a dream team but also work synergistically. Working together, they accomplish more than they would working as individuals.

Curry has no problem dishing the ball out to another team member in a better position to take a shot, and Green is better than anyone else in basketball at serving screens to set his sharpshooters up for a basket.

Is your dental team a group of individuals, or are you a team that relies on one another. What kinds of responsibilities do you trust your dental assistants with? Does every team member answer phones and make appointments, and are they all filling vital roles?

Be the Best in Your League.

The Warriors identified an opening in their market and designed a team strategy to take advantage of it.

If you want to win like the Warriors do, you need to assess your team, your market, and even yourself. Identify the strengths in your team, and then design a strategy that emphasizes them. Always work on improving.

You might have a legacy right under your nose and not even know it.

 

~ Dr. Rhea Haugseth

3rd Annual PDAA Conference Preview

Pediatric dental assistants learning on the job

The only conference in the U.S. dedicated to pediatric dental assistants is back next month!

Hosted at the Renaissance Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia, the Annual Pediatric Dental Assistants Association Conference will feature industry leaders and specialists in pediatric dentistry. Workshops, seminars, and activities packed in this two-day conference will be a boon to any dental assistant looking to improve their knowledge and skillset.

This year’s event runs from Friday, October 6th through Saturday, October 7th, with continuous opportunities to learn from the industry’s best. While there, you’ll have the chance to meet pediatric dental assistants and other professionals from across the country, and even pick up 16 CE credits approved by the ADA CERP! Now that’s a win!

Meet Your Primary Speakers

Rhea Haugseth, DMDDr. Rhea Haugseth

Yours truly!

I’ve been practicing dentistry since 1977, but I’ve also kept myself busy improving pediatric dentistry and working heavily to promote the growth of pediatric dental assistants. Aside from private practice and working at the top of numerous dental organizations, I founded the Pediatric Dental Assistant School in Marietta, GA and our very own Pediatric Dental Assistants Association.

 

Shelly of the PDAAShelly Von Short, RDH, MS, PhD

Shelly is one of the top dental consultants ever. Period.

After three decades of experience and extensive education, there are very few people in the industry who understand dentistry like she does. From business management, to hiring, or team management, Dr. Short is the Gordon Ramsay of dentistry (albeit much more polite), and she knows what it takes to make any dental practice successful.

 

Grace Hyun

Grace Hyun is a highly-specialized pediatric dental assistant that is experienced with special needs children. She has a background in child education, as well as with orthodontics and sleep apnea. Grace is the perfect peer to work with to sharpen your skills with young patients and special needs children.

 

Carmina Rose Fernandez

Carmina received her dental assistant training from the U.S. Army, where she used her specialized dental knowledge to help our troops. Her background provided her with unique challenges and taught her how to work efficiently and build confidence in patients.

Following her work in the military, Carmina is now the head dental assistant at Dentistry for Children and Families in Chicago, IL.

 

There’s no better time than now

After a weekend of learning and networking, you’ll be able to return to your practice having learned new techniques that will better yourself, your practice, and your patients. If you still haven’t registered, it’s not too late! You can register here. Don’t be the one that misses out this year…

Agenda

Friday October 6, 2017

  • 8:00 – 8:30  AM   Rhea Haugseth – Welcome
  • 8:30 – 10:00 AM    Shelly Short – 5 Tips for Sustainable Pediatric   Dental Practice Success
  • 10:00 – 10:15 AM  Break
  • 10:15 – 12:00 PM Shelly Short (cont.)
  • 12:00 – 1:00 PM    Lunch
  • 1:00 –  2:30 PM   Rhea Haugseth – Behavior Guidance for All Ages: Patients and Parents
  • 2:30 – 2:45 PM      Break
  • 2:45 – 5:00 PM    Rhea Haugseth – (cont.)
  • 5:00 – 7:00 PM      Dinner on your own
  • 7:00 – 9:00 PM      Workshop with Fun, Games, and Prizes

Saturday  October 7, 2017

  • 8:00 – 10:00 AM Rhea Haugseth – Behavior Guidance for All Ages: Patients and Parents
  • 10:00 –10:15 AM   Break
  • 10:15 –12:00 PM    Rhea Haugseth – (cont.)
  • 12:00 – 1:00 PM   Lunch
  • 1:00 –  2:15 PM     Carmina Fernandez – Special Needs: Special Care
  • 2:15 –  2:30 PM     Break
  • 2:30 –  3:45 PM     Carmina Fernandez – (cont.)
  • 3:45 –  4:00 PM  Rhea Haugseth – Wrap Up, Door Prizes

 

If you’d like to enjoy all the benefits of being part of the PDAA, I’d invite you to join the only organization dedicated to pediatric dental assistants. It’s chock-full of benefits you’ll find only with the PDAA.

From all of us at the PDAA, we look forward to seeing you in Atlanta next month!

 

~ Dr. Rhea Haugseth

Sharpening the Saw – The Power of Industry Events

Old saw that needs sharpened

Sven and Jack are men of the woods, and they’d like to see which of the two can cut down the most trees in a single day. The loser has to make the other lunch all week.

When the competition starts, Jack sets right off to work. Sven, on the other hand, takes a seat with his sharpening kit against a stump. He spends a good 45 minutes carefully sharpening the serrated edge of his trusty saw.

Jack and the other loggers taunt Sven for wasting so much time preparing his saw blade; he’s going to be making lunch all week!

Sven is a smart guy, though. He knows that 45 minutes is an investment that will turn into much better tree-cutting throughout the rest of the day.

When Sven finally gets to cutting, Jack is several trees ahead of him. However, Jack’s cutting isn’t very efficient, and he’s getting tired from trying to force a dull saw blade through multiple trees. Before even getting to the late afternoon, his fatigue overtakes him and he throws in the towel.

Meanwhile, Sven and his honed saw blade are ripping right through trees all through the day. Thanks to his thoughtful preparation, Sven was the best logger that day. He now has lunch for an entire week, compliments of Jack!

Attend Conferences to Sharpen Your Saw

Pediatric dental speaker at event

So what does logging have to do with pediatric dentistry? The logging story above is from Stephen Covey’s best-selling work The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Covey uses the story to explain how you are the best asset that you have, and that it pays to regularly renew important areas of your life and continuously improve.

Dental events and conferences are a great way for dental assistants to sharpen their saws. They aren’t just for learning about the latest and greatest developments in dentistry; you can also gain valuable insights and hands-on experience.

Fresh Perspective

When we do the same thing day in and day out, it is hard to have fresh ideas or to discover creative ideas to problems. This is why a change of scenery or involving new people in the process can help spark a new approach. Sitting in the same chair in the same building every day will lead to the same results. It all starts with perspective.

Motivation

In the world of Hollywood, watching Rocky Balboa take down Ivan Drago to win the Cold War, you might feel pretty motivated to get out the jogging shoes and pound some pavement. In much the same way (but with much less punching), pediatric dental conferences can help invigorate you and renew your motivation.

Networking

Conferences are a chance to connect with your dental peers. You never know what conversation might lead to a new idea that will improve your pediatric dental practice, what connection will lead to valuable feedback or new partnerships. You could find yourself meeting your next mentor, business partner, or finding just the right person to help solve the problems your practice is currently facing.

If you want to meet people in the pediatric dental world, consider attending our upcoming 3rd annual PDAA conference! It’s specifically for pediatric dental assistants, and is chock-full of fun, education, and networking.

New Tools

It’s hard to innovate when you are constantly in your own bubble. Conferences offer many opportunities to try new ideas. From new dental technologies, to marketing tools, to workshops and leadership training, the solution to your particular struggle might be waiting for you. You can gain new skills as a dental assistant that make you invaluable to the practice.

Continuing Education

Would you want to see a doctor that hasn’t learned anything new since 1990? Even if they were the best in their field at the time, so much has changed so rapidly in recent years that it is imperative that any health professional continue to improve and learn as a vital part of their profession. Pediatric dental assistants need to stay abreast of new developments and continue to hone their skills.

The 3rd Annual PDAA Conference is Almost here!

The Pediatric Dental Assistants Association Conference includes training and education specifically for making the best pediatric dental assistants in the industry. We are the only organization representing the interest of pediatric dental assistants, and our annual conference is the only one of its kind in the country.

Our upcoming conference is a great chance to pick up 16 ADA CERP credit hours, all while having a great time with like-minded professionals. PDAA members can get even get a special rate to the organization’s annual conference.

I’d like to invite all motivated pediatric dental assistants to join the PDAA and come sharpen your saw with us.

 

~ Dr. Rhea Haugseth

Team Building – Morale & Relationship Boosting Exercises

Team of dental professionals

The Pediatric Dental Assistants Association is dedicated to helping your team operate at the highest levels. How do you help a group of professional individuals learn to operate smoothly and efficiently as a team? They need opportunities to get out of their normal bubble and begin to think about each other in different ways.

If you want your team members to think about each other in a different way, you have to get them to interact in a different way. Team building exercises are a great way to help your team bond, develop empathy, and learn to appreciate each other in new ways.

Team Building Exercises

Test the teamwork and creativity of your team with these tasks designed to help your team communicate and compete in a practical way. Build trust and have a little fun with team building.

Marshmallow Challenge

Supplies: Uncooked spaghetti, one yard of tape, one yard of string, and one marshmallow

One of the most entertaining activities that your team can work together on is the Marshmallow Challenge, made popular by a TED talk by Peter Skillman. The task is simple: Give each group 20 minutes to construct the tallest tower they can out of the provided materials, and the marshmallow has to be on top.

Yard Golf

Supplies: 2 sets of bolas, and a yard golf “ladder”

This is a popular family game that is good for taking out on the front lawn of your dental practice. The components are easy enough to make yourself, though most stores that feature outdoor gaming implements will carry this one.

The game involves two teams, each with their own sets of bolas’, essentially a pair of golf balls connected by a short rope. The target is the opposing ladder made of three rungs, each with a value of either one, two, or three points. The objective of the game is simple: score more points than your opponent by tossing the bolas so that it wraps around the rung of the ladder.

The Egg Drop

Supplies: Office supplies, an elevated position, and a dozen eggs

Many of us may have done this event in high school, but it stands the test of time as a good contest to use your ingenuity to defy physics. Divide your team members into groups of two or three and present them with an egg and a variety of supplies from the office (paper clips, tissues, paper, rubber bands, etc). Give everyone adequate time to design a contraption to protect their egg from a drop!

Toxic Waste

Supplies: 2 buckets, ropes, bungee cords, a stool, and water

Can your team move a bucket of hazardous waste (water) into a safe container without spilling? To set up for the challenge, place your buckets (one empty, one with water) on a stool and use a rope to create a circle around them. The larger the circle, the more challenging the exercise will be. Using the materials at hand and without entering the circle, the group must try to empty the toxic waste into the empty bucket.

Picture Pieces

Supplies: A well known image or cartoon to be destroyed, scissors, paper, and drawing materials, rulers

This activity is a metaphor that demonstrates how everyone’s contribution helps the group result. To prepare, you’ll need to cut up the image into puzzle pieces. Cut one puzzle piece for each team member, and their job will be to reproduce the image 4-5 times larger on a separate piece of paper (prepared square paper and puzzle pieces will help them get proportions right). The group should not be aware of the original image, but their goal is to reproduce a giant copy of it.

Road Race

Supplies: Office supplies, recycle bins, and misc (rubber bands, paper clips, paper towel tubes, cards, straws, tape, etc)

In “Road Race”, each team is provided with a bin of identical supplies and tasked with building a toy car. The car needs to be able to move under its own power, and the team that builds the car that goes the farthest is the winner!

Scavenger Hunt

Supplies: Pen, Paper, smartphones

This modern-day spin of the classic scavenger hunt gives everyone a chance to see how the others did. Breaking your team into three groups, each will have a list of objectives to find within a certain time limit. Smartphones are great for capturing photos or video footage of the scavenger hunt in action, and have the added bonus of being great to share on the social media feeds of your practice. If you need ideas for your own scavenger hunt, this page has quite a few.

Tips for getting the most out of team building

Definition of TEAM

Whatever the task, it isn’t just about the enjoyment of the activity. There are a few key takeaways to focus on as the leader of the team building exercises.

  • Pay attention to team members that are disregarded when they attempt to contribute, and help recognize and use their contributions.
  • It’s not a one-person job — many times, a leader will take over and attempt to do things their way. While natural leadership can be a good trait, we are trying to teach collaboration.
  • Don’t be afraid to try things and fail, and don’t let team members feel bad for failure.

The PDAA is the only organization dedicated to training and careers of pediatric dental assistants. I’d invite you to learn how the PDAA can do to help your dental practice.

And if you’re serious about improving the profitability of your pediatric dental practice, make sure to download our FREE guide to help increase your practice profitability. It includes 7 unique ways!

 

~ Dr. Rhea Haugseth

Be the Best You Possible!

Pediatric dental assistant and child patient

Just how good would you say your dental team is? Would you say that you are the very best in your market?

Perhaps you are the best dentist; that doesn’t necessarily mean you have the best practice. To be the best, you have to work with the best. “There is no ‘I’ in team.

Imagine a day when you are the only person working in your practice. Without your teammates around you, it’s unlikely you are as productive and profitable as you are on a normal day, with your team. Your dental assistants keep things moving, preparing patients for your treatment, interacting with children and their parents, and preparing equipment and rooms for your use.

The better they are, the better your practice is. The more skills they have, the more you can delegate to them. Even fundamental tasks need to be retrained on a regular basis; after all, you’ll see an NFL kicker practicing kicking a ball into a net every game, despite having mastered the skill years ago.

Because you hold yourself to a high standard, you regularly update your certifications, renew your qualifications, and continue to advance your education. Do you ask the same of your dental team, though?

How do you keep your pediatric dental assistants constantly improving? With the Pediatric Dental Assistants Association, naturally!

The Pediatric Dental Assistants Association

Member testimonial

The Pediatric Dental Assistants Association (PDAA) strives to help every member of a dental team reach their full potential. Through the PDAA, your team can access ongoing education and training with their peers across the country, all from your practice.

From extensive training modules, to job placement assistance, to the annual PDAA Conference, we offer multiple opportunities and mediums for pediatric dental assistants to advance their careers and become even more valuable assets to their practices.

The PDAA offers members more than 80 on demand advanced training modules to help further their education and skill-set. Topics cover a wide variety of categories to reflect all the different skills you need at your practice:

  • hygiene
  • radiology
  • impressions/models
  • assisting
  • protective stabilization
  • sterilization
  • photography
  • communication
  • behavior guidance
  • marketing

Come to the Annual PDAA Conference

Listen to the best industry speakers, attend workshops, and earn ADA cerp credit hours over an action-packed weekend!

The annual PDAA Conference is a great opportunity for dentists and dental assistants alike to stay abreast of the latest developments in pediatric dentistry. Hosted in Atlanta, our conference features some of the greatest professionals from around the country sharing their wisdom.

The third annual PDAA Conference is coming this October, and it will be bigger and better than ever. Members of the PDAA even get a special discount on tickets, and those who register before September qualify for early-bird pricing. Score!

The Pediatric Dental Assistants Association Is One of a Kind

I’ve dedicated my life’s work to advancing pediatric dentistry, and I’ve seen firsthand just how valuable dental assistants are to any pediatric practice. I founded the PDAA as part of a lifelong commitment to helping pediatric dental assistants enhance their skills and careers. From myself and everyone else at the PDAA, we’d love for you to join us on this journey.

 

~ Dr. Rhea Haugseth