Time Management Expert, Event Speaker: Mark Lamendola

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Time Tips: Appointments, Dental

Human teeth are evidence that the theory of "intelligent design" is not the product of an observant mind. Humans are the only creatures who must cook their food--otherwise, our soft enamel just wears right down. We have "wisdom teeth" that take up too much space in our jaws and must be extracted. The list of dental defects goes on and on--and those defects produce everything from tooth pain to general headaches.

The point of this opening observation is we all either should or do spend time at the dentist's office. I have an outstanding dentist with an outstanding office staff. Consequently, I have just about zero wait when I arrive for an appointment. But I have had other dentists, and I have experienced the waiting that goes well past the appointment time. My previous dentist once made me wait nearly two hours--after I had waited several months to get in!

So, here are some tips to save time at the dentist's office:

  • When making your appointment, specify what it's for. Decide on X-rays, etc. Then, make sure your dental plan and/or dental insurance information is on file and current--and will cover the proposed treatment. Ask the office to confirm via e-mail.
  • Ask if there's a day and time the dentist prefers. Some appointment slots tend to stay open and some days of the week simply are not very busy for specific offices. There's a distinct pattern for each dentist (most of the time), due to the demographics of that office's customer base.
  • Make an early appointment. If your dentist runs into problems, cares for emergency cases, or has other delays through the day--you have been there and gone before they happen.
  • Consider calling before you leave to see if the dentist is behind schedule--of course, that would be for appointments at mid-morning and probably late afternoon. If your dentist has never made you wait long, don't do this.
  • If you have your calendar with you, make your follow-up appt while you are there. Otherwise, wait until you are in front of your calendar. I use MS-Outlook to schedule everything, so a few days before an appointment I make an Outlook appt (for some time shortly after my appointment) to call and schedule my next appt.
  • Bring something to read. Delays happen. If you cover your delay time with a useful activity, then it's not wasted time.

Of course, the best way to reduce time at the dentist is to reduce the work the dentist has to do. Here are some tips on that:

  • Get regular dental checkups. It takes less time to get two checkups a year than it does to do a root canal on a tooth that had a fracture that should have been caught six months ago.
  • Don't eat sugary foods. Avoid processed foods in general.
  • Drink filtered water. The fluoride in the water strengthens your enamel when topically applied, but when ingested it weakens the enamel.
  • Use a three-pronged approach to hygiene:
  1. Brush gently, with a gentle brush. Once a day is the current recommendation. Brushing removes the "big stuff."
  2. Floss. The recommendation today is after every time you eat--if possible. And always before bed. Flossing removes the "medium stuff." And it cleans between teeth. Most people do not floss correctly. Ask your dentist for advice.
  3. Use a Water Pick TM or similar device. This gets the junk out from under the gum line and gets rid of the "small stuff."

And finally, don't smoke. This insane practice damages gum tissue, and it causes all kinds of other problems. Even if you don't value your teeth, think of the effect on your brain. Smoking is great for those who want to lower their IQs (do a yahoo search on this subject, if you--for some reason--doubt this). For the rest of us, it's not a good idea.

You can apply all of the above to your doctor, as well--just change the tooth care details to body care details. And remember that doctors and dentists are there primarily to handle the disease--caring for your health is up to you. Every minute spent on healthcare saves you hours of disease care.



Do you want to radically improve how well people in your organization make use of the limited number of hours in each work day?

Contact me to arrange a time when we can talk about a presentation: mark@mindconnection.com. Why arrange a time? So I can give you full attention during the call. There's a really powerful time management tip. Ask me why it works.