The Naked Dentist: Are you the biggest loser?

2015 03 10 14 43 22 538 Marshall Curtis 200

Losing is not always a bad thing. NBC has proved that you can win by losing. With the hit series "The Biggest Loser" running for more than 16 seasons, the program has helped thousands of people win by losing weight and living a better lifestyle.

This week, we will reveal that what you want to do and what you want to get are rarely congruent. I am the Naked Dentist. I strip a dental office of all its clothes, makeup, and accessories to reveal the true problem areas. Once the problem areas are identified, we tone or occasionally perform surgery to achieve lifestyle and financial success.

'The Biggest Loser'

This TV show takes people who are overweight and attempts to improve the way they live. On the campus of the show, each individual has equal opportunity to succeed. They all get tested and measured in many categories. They have the best teachers, top-of-the-line equipment, optimal time to sleep, 24/7 motivation, the cleanest food available, and more.

“What you want to do and what you want to get are rarely congruent.”

Yet there are many who quit or fail because of the struggle within themselves. Ultimately, it is up to each person to choose which activities they perform. The results are linked, of course, to the activities. As my mother always said, "You can choose your actions, but your actions will choose your outcome."

It's a similar story in many dental offices. The team (including the doctor) forms habits and systems that are comfortable and feel natural. All of which is fine, except they are dissatisfied with the current production and/or collections within the office. They are constantly setting new goals and requesting better performance from each other, while at the same time being unwilling to change the status quo.

Dr. Wyoming

Last month, I was talking with a doctor in Wyoming. During a discovery meeting, I heard time and time again, "I need new patients."

My response to him was, "Do you want more new patients?"

About halfway through the meeting, I discovered that Dr. Wyoming did not want to spend more time in the office. He also did not want to spend more money attracting patients, and he definitely didn't want to increase the effort spent on the practice.

Ultimately, he wanted to see a different outcome, but he was stuck in a rut of trying to get more new patients without adding more responsibility to his daily activity. Dr. Wyoming has two choices:

  • Get more new patients
  • Produce more from his current patient base

Dr. Wyoming learned to embrace this mindset during our meetings. By doing so, he is on track to double his take-home cash. I hope you find this example valuable for your practice.

Force or teach

Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime. In other words, you can force behavior change or teach it. In many situations, a doctor will get frustrated with the performance of the team and become upset, setting higher expectations or forcing the team to perform through micromanaging. By doing this, the doctor will see an increase in production or collections, but the moment the doctor relaxes or starts to focus on a different part of the practice, the gains disappear.

Curtis Marshall is vice president of marketing at Dental Intel.Curtis Marshall is vice president of marketing at Dental Intel.

In contrast, if you teach the team how to achieve results and explain why, the payout will extend far past expectations.

Importance of measuring

Have you ever made chocolate chip cookies? I took a cooking class in high school, and it took multiple attempts before I learned the importance of measuring correctly. Dr. Wyoming wanted to measure case acceptance. To do so, he asked his hygienist to track two stats during each exam.

She wasn't happy about doing this and even complained, but she begrudgingly continued to track for two weeks before Dr Wyoming gathered all of the information. Just before the results were being revealed to the staff, the hygienist was once again complaining about having to track the stats.

The results uncovered for the whole team why patients were not accepting optimal treatment. What came next shocked the doctor. The hygienist said, "What if we started tracking ..." and listed more stats to track.

What happened? Why did a frustrated team member change her attitude within seconds? Just like when you taste a cookie that has been properly made, you don't care about the hassle of measuring ingredients correctly -- you now care more about the quality of the finished product.


Just like on "The Biggest Loser," you must hold people accountable. The trainers on the show do not force anyone to change: They are there to make specific goals for each individual and follow up with them. Every week, the contestants are weighed in front of their peers and coaches and held accountable for the number on the scale.

Likewise, you should have accountability systems in place for both you and your staff. Dr. Wyoming was able to hold the hygienist accountable for tracking stats easily by asking her at the end of each day, "Did you track 100% today?" The hygienist knew that Dr. Wyoming would be asking at the end of every day. That accountability made it worth tracking the stats every day.

To uncover your practice and to become thinner or stronger, follow the lessons learned from Dr. Wyoming and "The Biggest Loser." Teach, track, and train to see your office become sexy and your personal lifestyle enhanced.

Let's get naked together.

Curtis Marshall serves as the vice president of marketing at Dental Intel. If you would like your practice to be in the next Naked Dentist column and have your practice undressed, contact him at or 801-380-7070.

The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.

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