2016: A Charlotte Dentist’s Year in Review

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Wow, I just realized that it’s April and that I never published this post about how amazing 2016 was for our Charlotte dental office!  Because it really was a great year in so many ways, and all because we have so many awesome patients.

A Terrific Team

For our patients who’ve been with us more than 5-6 years, you probably remember that there used to be frequent changes in our employees.  I admit, it is very difficult to be a good employer and to hire the right people.  But one of the wonderful things about 2016 was that we closed the year with almost all of the same great team members since the beginning of 2015, as both Rose and Charlene joined us early that year.   Megan has been our full-time hygienist for nearly 4 years, while Amber has been our part-time hygienist for 4 years and is moving closer to being full-time as her schedule fills up more consistently. Fara and I are also deeply grateful to each of them for all their hard work.

The one new face in our office is Patty, who joins Fara at the front desk.  We’ll be adding more information about her soon, but she’s an Ohio native who moved the Charlotte in 2015 with her husband to be close to family and for the better weather.  She has more than 35 years of experience in all parts of the dental office except being a hygienist, from assisting her previous doctors to managing their whole office.

Continuing to Grow

One of the biggest stories in our practice this year was the expansion, which I wrote about here, although I still need to update it with some final photos.  We added 1,000 sq. ft. to the office, bringing it to 3,000 sq. ft. in total.  We only completed Phase 1 of the expansion due to costs (you know that construction goes always go higher than planned, never lower, right?), and we hope to complete Phase 2 in 2018.  Phase 1 included:

  • Expanding the 2 treatment rooms in which I primarily work from 9 feet wide to 11′ 8″ wide, and let me tell you, that has made a huge difference in comfort and function!  Adding more cabinets in there will also greatly improve our efficiency, because we’ll have everything we need at our fingertips.
  • We added huge 40″ TV screens both on the ceiling and on the back wall, which will allow me to show you what we see through our dental microscope cameras for amazing communication.  This step is basically done, but we’re having some little glitches that have to be worked out so it works consistently and seamlessly.
  • Adding overhead lighting in the treatment rooms used by our hygienists and in our ortho room.  The increased lighting makes everything look bigger and brighter and cheerier.
  • More bulk storage space
  • Added a Portrait & Video Studio for Complimentary Patient Portraits and Educational Videos by yours truly.  🙂
  • Repainted the entire office!

Phase 2 will be mostly behind-the scenes work: a bigger break room/kitchen for our growing team, an additional bathroom, even more storage, AND expanding our Reception area.  Thankfully, Phase 2 won’t have any impact on our schedule as Phase 1 did; it was challenging to server our patients as well when we were short 2 rooms for 7 weeks in September and October!

Dental Blogging

Mostly because our practice just keeps growing, and since I’m much busier fixing teeth, there isn’t as much time or energy to put into blogging.  I did still write 14 new articles in 2016, though.  The first 2 were just reviews of 2015, so I didn’t include them in this list, but I’m pretty proud of the quality of each article that I publish, so I’ll stick with quality over quantity. 😀  BTW – this list is in reverse chronological order.

Looking Ahead to 2017

We’re already into the 2nd quarter into 2017, and if current trends continue, 2017 looks like we’ll just keep growing, but with a few important changes:

  • Fewer days in the office.  We worked 205 days in 2016, and by the end of the year, everyone on our team was worn out.  Few people realize how physically, mentally, and even emotionally demanding dentistry is.  And when you work through lunch most days and work well past the time patient time is “supposed” to be done, because there are patients who still need our help, it wears you out.  So in 2017, our office will be taking more vacation time to rest and re-energize.  Fara and I are so proud of our team and their work, that we’ve rewarded them with 2 additional weeks of paid time off.  We will still do our best to be available for our patients and to see everyone in a timely manner, though.
  • A lot more Continuing Education time for me!  Because we paid off practice debt so aggressively in 2014 – 2016, I had to cut back on the amount of CE that I took.  This year, I will resume my goal of at least 100 hours of CE per year, including staying current on the most current technology and especially on increasing the range of surgical procedures that we offer.
  • Possibly some new technology?  This isn’t a sure thing, but advances in digital dentistry are continuing rapidly, and at some point, we’ll decide which ones make most sense for us to add.

As I’ve said in past years, none of the amazing milestones that we’ve reached are possible without our patients, and we will always keep our focus on taking the best care of each of you.  That’s a promise that I will never break – your care and oral/dental health is our number one priority.

We’ll look forward to seeing you as 2017 progresses!

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