January Newsletter Contents:
The CPD Junkie Newsletter Archive
CPD Junkie Blog
Know the Difference – Resolutions vs. Goals
Written by Jennifer Truong
New Year… New Year’s resolutions… new you! It’s generally accepted that a new year is a perfect time for new beginnings, greater productivity, and an unyielding effort to be better than your former self.
But what exactly are resolutions? More importantly, what is the difference between resolutions and goals? A resolution is the decision to either do or not do something. It is tied to an outcome or an end result. For instance, consider the New Year’s resolution: “I want to increase patient rapport.” Solution: Improve communication skills. Resolution: Build stronger patient rapport.
So how do resolutions differ from goals? A goal is the means to a desired result. Contrary to resolutions, an effective goal encompasses both the solution and resolution. In other words, a goal considers the steps you should take to achieve a resolution. Consider the previous example. An effective goal for the same resolution might be: “I plan to enrol in communication courses to improve patient rapport, which can be measured by an increase in treatment plan acceptance rates”.
This discussion begs the question: which is more effective, a goal or a resolution? If you have ever (or already!) succeeded in achieving your New Year’s resolutions, take pride and congratulate yourself, because this is a rare feat. According to U.S. News and World Report, approximately 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail within 30 days. But why do so many fail?
Well, resolutions are based on the end goal, rather than the process. The expectations for resolutions are often too high, and we go in with an all-or-nothing attitude, resulting in disappointment and demotivation when we don’t instantly obtain our ‘perfect’ results. Often, resolutions lack real commitment and are probably the result of some heavy-duty procrastination, “I’ll start tomorrow! No, I’ll start next week. Well, maybe I’ll start next year.”
Alternatively, effective goals require preparation, thorough planning, an aim, and appropriate execution. What, then, makes a goal “effective?”
Types of goals
The three main types of goals are: process, performance, and outcome goals.
- Process goals are the ‘how to’ or the processes involved in obtaining your outcome, and they are entirely within your control. For example, if your resolution is to get a new job, your goal might be to apply to three clinics a week.
- Performance goals are based on performing to a certain level/standard. Using the previous example, your goal might be to secure at least three job interviews in the next month. Process goals are mostly within your control.
- Outcome goals are the ultimate goal, or “winning” aspect. Again, using the previous example, your outcome goal might be to get hired to work at your dream practice. Unlike process and performance goals, outcome goals may be outside your control due to uncontrollable factors (e.g. the performance of other job applicants).
Process, performance, and outcome goals are linearly dependent. Achieving your process goals will likely help you achieve your performance goals, which will then help you obtain your outcome goals.
Make SMART goals
To help formulate effective goals, the “SMART” approach deconstructs goals into five components:
- Make sure your goals are clear and tailored to your needs. Avoid vague goals by keeping in mind the five ‘W’s’ (what, when, where, why and who).
- Set a goal that will allow you to objectively track your progression and determine how far you are from obtaining your desired results.
- Be realistic and ensure that your goals are attainable. However, your goals should still be moderately challenging—that makes it more satisfying when you reach them!
- Your goal should be specifically tailored to you and your needs.
- Set a realistic time frame to achieve your goals. Doing so allows you to measure your progress, ensures that you are on track to complete them, and keeps you from becoming discouraged.
Consider another example where ‘increasing productivity’ is your New Year’s resolution. A SMART goal might be to increase the number of patients you see at clinic by 5% annually.
Whereas New Year’s resolutions are vague and outcome-driven, goals provide you with structure and the means to reach your destination. I’m not trying to say New Year’s resolutions are doomed to fail, but if you find yourself struggling with yours and feeling defeated prior to the year’s end, then you may want to consider rephrasing the resolution as a goal (or series of goals) that lead to the resolution. After all, a goal without a plan is merely a dream.
Expert Q&A with: Dr. Mikaela Chinotti
Dr Mikaela Chinotti is a Sydney based general dentist. She graduated as part of the inaugural cohort of dentists from James Cook University (JCU) in 2013, having grown up in North Queensland. Mikaela returned to JCU to complete a Master’s in Public Health majoring in health promotion in 2018 before moving to Sydney, taking up the role of Oral Health Promoter at the Australian Dental Association as well as continuing to practice general dentistry.
As the ADA Oral Health Promoter, Mikaela works within advocacy and health promotion. One of her main roles is the organising of the ADA’s annual oral health campaign, Dental Health Week, but jobs range from creating the ADA’s new oral health education podcast for the Australian public and facilitating the creation of the ADA Consensus Statement on Ankyloglossia and Oral Frena to creating resources for ADA members to easily download-and-go when looking to partake in oral health promotion activities within their local community.
Mikaela is also a founding member of the Colgate Advocates for Oral Health: Editorial Community where she has written articles on discussing nutrition in the dental practice, the importance of oral health literacy as well as decision making and knowing your limits. Her articles can be found here.
Once you graduated, how did you go on about seeking a mentor? Do you wish you did anything differently after graduation?
I grew up in Ingham, North Queensland and being a small town, decided to undertake my mandatory year 10 school-based work experience at one of the local dental clinics which had recently been purchased by two recent graduate dentists. I continued to return of my own accord in years 11 and 12 and then throughout my dental degree. When graduating in 2013, I was offered a job at the dental practice which I accepted, not because I had the strong desire to return to my hometown because location wise, I was interested in living and practicing in the Atherton Tablelands; it was the mentorship and support that I sought. Unfortunately, I moved on from the job after 1.5 years as another dental practice opened, oversaturating the small population, however it was a great first job and if I were to have my time over, I would take the job again.
You became involved with Colgate and ADA soon after graduating, do you have any tips for new graduates on how they can get involved with such associations?
I have been an ADA member since university and have always valued the support and provision of information that associations can provide; however, I did not get involved until making the move from Townsville to Sydney in 2018 when I began as staff at the Australian Dental Association. For young dentists that are looking to make connections and seek mentorship and/or support as they begin their career, attending ADA branch meetings and meeting colleagues who practice in the local area is a great start.
Additionally, the ADA has a volunteer committee called the Recent Dental Graduates Committee where members can have input and influence in the new graduate space and in supporting their colleagues who are no doubt experiencing similar situations.
As an oral health promoter, do you have any recommendations for dentists on how they can efficiently convey the value of regular hygiene appointments to their patients who only visit in case of emergencies?
This is not always easy and for individuals who only see oral health as the absence of pain, this can require significant changes to behaviour and mindset, but it is possible to turn a problem-based attender to a regular patient. Conveying the value of regular dental care and hygiene appointments is associated with health literacy, which is an individuals’ ability to access, understand and use health information to make health decisions as well as the ability to access and navigate the health care system.
During an emergency appointment, while you are waiting for the anaesthetic to take effect, have a squiz around the mouth…does the patient have any other signs of oral disease such as gingivitis, carious lesions or calculus built up? Plant the idea of returning by showing them an intra-oral image or radiograph if the one you potentially took during the emergency shows this. Create concern and motivation to return.
Speaker Spotlight with: Dr. Ahmad Al-Hassiny
Dr Ahmad Al–Hassiny is the Founder and Director of the Institute of Digital Dentistry (iDD), which is a leading and future focused online training academy, with a mission to ensure dentists globally have easy and affordable access to the best digital dentistry training possible.
Having graduated from the University of Otago with First Class Honours and being awarded many clinical and research prizes, Dr Ahmad has continued his pursuit of excellence in dentistry. He has seen first-hand through his own work how CAD/CAM and digital dentistry can positively change daily dental practice. He has carried out many aspects of complex digital dentistry including CAD/CAM full mouth rehabilitation and smile design.
Dr Ahmad is a global leader in digital dentistry and intraoral scanners, carrying out lectures for many companies and industry. He is one of the few in the world who personally owns and uses all mainstream scanners and CAD/CAM systems in his clinic. Through iDD he is happy to see dentists around the world develop the confidence and perspective of adopting modern techniques and reap the many benefits that CAD/CAM and digital dentistry can have on their career/practice.
Having used numerous digital scanners, which one do you recommend a new dentist invests in? What advantages does it have over the others?
This is a question I get asked almost everyday online and it is something that will entirely depend on the practice and what you want to get a scanner for. There is a huge range now available and the best way to decide is to first understand what procedures you want to carry out and your budget.
For instance, for those wanting to carry out in-house CAD/CAM, there are few systems that can compete with CEREC in terms of efficiency and ease of use. This is not an entire reflection of the scanner per say but the whole workflow, software, and milling machine. For those who have no interest in CAD/CAM and do not intend to produce restorations in-house, it does not make sense to spend big on something like this.
Rather, for those on tight budgets or just want a low cost scanner to get rid of impression material in their practice, the Medit i500 should be on your radar as this is one of the most cost-effective scanner options on the market right now. It is relatively cheap, works well and has no subscription costs. The downside being that it does not inherently come with a CAD software, and although it can be integrated with exocad and a 3rd party mill, this can feel a bit piecemeal, compared to more complete systems.
There are other factors to consider as well, for instance, those who have built their practices around Invisalign, it makes sense to seriously consider the Itero scanners as these are the only latest generation scanners that are accepted for Invisalign treatments. And so forth and so forth.
It seems the market has spoken and the leading scanners seem to CEREC, TRIOS, Medit and Itero. In our practice, I routinely use CEREC Primescan, a absolutely fantastic scanner, for all in-house work, TRIOS for anything not to be produced on the same-day (implant guides, splints, dentures, full mouth rehab) and Medit as a back-up.
What is one digital dentistry investment you made that you wish you had done sooner?
It would have to be intraoral scanners. Even though we got into it over 10 years ago, I still wish we did it sooner and our main hesitation was the unknown. It is a complete game-changer in dentistry. Everyone without a doubt should be investing in one.
Second to that would be 3D printing, which we got into 4 years ago. This is another one of those things you do not know how you practiced without before. 3D printing is a complete game-changer for clinics and really revolutionised how we practice dentistry. The handy thing about 3D Printers is, for the most part, it does not matter what scanner you have. They are all open and can communicate with any scanner via STL files. They are also relatively cheap compared to the investment cost of a scanner. 3D Printing for us has opened a lot of different possibilities including most recently printing dentures and being able to offer a turn around of about 2-3 days for most denture cases (especially immediate ones). The other benefits are being able to quickly design a smile design/wax-up and print it ready to try-in for the patient in aesthetic cases. An easy way of boosting case acceptance for cosmetic procedures.
Again, with 3D printers there are a whole lot on the market now and its best to do your research. I can recommend Formlabs for its ease of use and NextDent 5100 for its blazingly fast printing speed.
What are some resources you recommend for dentists interested in stepping foot into the digital world?
I run the Institute of Digital Dentistry which provides CPD courses focused on all things related to the digital workflow. We have also launched an online training platform in the past 12 months, which is one of the most comprehensive in the world right now and covers all topics from the basics of intra-oral scanning, 3D printing, digital implantology, to expert masterclasses and everything in-between. Right now, the digital dentistry industry is being led by the suppliers of the technology which have a conflict of interest – we exist to provide knowledge that is up to date, impartial and based on clinical experience.
Our goal has always been to provide the highest quality CPD courses that are engaging and well-structured. For those interested you can learn more about us and check out our courses at https://instituteofdigitaldentistry.com/
Another incredible resource is social media. Depending on your scanner of choice you will find several different Facebook groups, with fantastic communities to learn from. This includes the likes of the “Keep CERECing”, “3Shape Study Group” and “Medit Users – i500, T-series”. These groups are priceless with tens of thousands of users all sharing cases, information, advice etc. One of the most important factors before jumping into the digital world is support. Make sure you have adequate support both online and locally through your sales reps. It will make your experience a lot better. Digital dentistry is more than just hype. When implemented properly you can expect an excellent return on investment, increased joy in practicing dentistry, and better care for your patients.
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