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Prosperity and Success as a Dentist - is it Killing You?

Prosperity and Success as a Dentist Can Be Killing You!

You skip lunch to see patients. You see patients well past quitting time. You come in on your day off to see patients. You have multiple chairs going for restorative procedures all day long. Your staff is stressed by the expanded hours causing higher than normal turnover. Staff issues overwhelm you. You have no time or energy to solve problems that are business related. Sunday evening starts a feeling of dread knowing what lies ahead on your schedule the coming week. A vacation or any time away from seeing patients stresses you. You live in a world of scarcity, focusing on seeing patients to generate cash flow to keep the business healthy. The patients will only see you, they own you, and the business owns you. You are burning out. The thought of 10, 20, or more years doing this drains you. Quality of life has deteriorated to a level wherein you lose yourself and your life to being owned by the practice.

Yes, you worked hard to get to this stage in your career. It is called the PROSPERITY STAGE wherein you have more patients than you can possibly and realistically see. Your cash flow is healthy, but you must maintain it in order to keep your business and home life financially strong.

Home life has become stressful with family and personal needs increasing. Family relationships are becoming more demanding and time consuming. Priorities are in conflict – out of balance.

As a dentist you go through various stages. From a SURVIVAL STAGE right out of dental school trying to find the right opportunity to grow and succeed. You work hard and long hours to reach the next stage called STABILITY. At this stage you are able to pay the bills and stay afloat financially. You continue to work hard toward a better life and a healthier business.

Finally it appears that you arrive. The practice has grown; you have sufficient patients to fill the daily schedule. This is called the PROSPERITY STAGE. It is the most crucial and intense stage of your dental career. What you do from here plays a major role on the rest of your life.

A dentist client called me from his family vacation. He was standing in a long line at Disneyland with his family. He called to let me know that he had done some numbers in his head telling him that he was losing about $3500 each day he was on vacation. He was stressed thinking about it. Wanted to talk. Then from the background I heard his wife exclaim, “Are you on the phone talking business? You get off that phone right now and be with family!”

Another dentist shared that he learned long ago that taking week long vacations killed his profits for the month in which he took that vacation. He had to work extra hard to make up for being gone. He then shared that his favorite vacations were now Memorial and Labor Day weekends. He got three days in a row out of the practice!

As a dentist you must focus on getting past the PROSPERITY STAGE. For your quality of life, for the sake of your family, for your health, for the benefit of your team and your patients, getting past this stage is of extreme importance to your life and career. You must realize you can’t do it all. If you try, it might kill you or destroy your life.


Over several years a dentist client had also become a good friend. We enjoyed being together and sharing life. One day he openly confided in me about his experience as a dentist and how it all affected his family. He asked me to share his story with other dentists.

He and his wife had enjoyed many years together. With four children to raise there were lots of wonderful experiences seeing them grow and develop. He loved his family.