What Would Uncle Dick Do?

Uncle DickMy Uncle Dick is the reason I’m in Dental Practice Management. After college, I was looking into Medical Practice Management when my Uncle Dick (who practiced Dentistry in Rochester, MN for over 30 years) said, “Hey, check out Dental.” From that tip, I ended up working for the Professional Economics Bureau in 1980 and eventually became their Vice President. Then I started Advanced Practice Management in 1990.

My Uncle Dick really loved Dentistry. He was once President of the MDA in 1979 and very active in Continuing Ed. He was one of the early “Pankey Guys.” He also did missionary work in Madagascar and has been an ambassador for Dentistry in other places like China and Cuba.

When I’m running a meeting and coaching dental offices, I often imagine my Uncle Dick is sitting in. Would he be proud of what I am doing?

Dentistry has gotten a lot more competitive and certainly more business-like than in my Uncle’s day. I’m sure Uncle Dick would wince at the huge signs you see in dental offices now (in his day, signs couldn’t be lit and they couldn’t be more than 3 inches high) but he’d sure understand battling with insurance. He dropped participation with Delta Dental around the time he was MDA President.

He’s a big reason why “Clinical Calibration” is at the core of our ethical approach to patient education and case acceptance. It’s about “Criteria” not “Quotas.” We know that different Doctors have different clinical protocols, but, if their team is effectively presenting dentistry that’s true to their own inner laws, then we can all sleep well at night.

Uncle Dick is still alive and well at the age of 91. He lives with his wife, my Aunt Pat, in Sun City, Arizona, but he has been “attending” meetings with me for the past 35 years.