Independent Dentist-Dental Independence Day

Independent Dentist

Butch, The Patriotic Whippet

For the independent dentist, breaking free from the insurance tyranny is tantamount to practice success.

For US readers, the 4th of July is upon us.  It’s one of MY personal favorite holidays.  At our house, the flag will fly, Sousa marches will blare in the backyard (my neighbors hate me for that), ridiculous quantities of hamburgers and fries will be consumed, and of course, the day will end watching nearby city-wide fireworks from our front porch.  You could even say my level of “thanksgiving” is larger on this holiday then for the holiday bearing that title.  The down side to spending the 4th in Seattle is that all of the above might be occurring in 55 degree weather—yes, in July.

One must remember at all times that as an independent dentist you are a business owner first.

One’s idea of being American migrates and changes over time.  Personally, I’ve had transformations in my thinking from my earliest real memories of the 4th during the bicentennial year, to having been a Boy Scout, having had family members in the Army and Navy, to a stint as an NCO in the public health service (most probably don’t know that the USPHS is one of the 7 uniformed services).

These days, the holiday really reminds me of how grateful I am to have been lucky, as Warren Buffet says, in the great “ovarian lottery.”  Call me sentimental but I get a little teary eyed when I think about the opportunities that I was born with automatically.  It’s also that time of year where the history buff in me ponders the long term future since empires always rise and, eventually, fall.

Another item that I’m grateful for is to wake up every morning and for the most part go about my business as I  please without worry of retribution from authorities or getting shot (at least by the government) because you don’t subscribe to a particular religious, political, marketing, or, these days in dentistry, occlusal philosophy.

Stepping back and away from the US, for any  independent dentist that was just as lucky to be born into a free society (particularly those with common law histories), you have those same privileges to be grateful for.

Yes, we ALL owe thanks to William the Conqueror, who in 1066, started the chain of events ultimately putting an end to most arbitrary whims being applied to the average citizen.  While certain classes of citizens still aren’t equal in every western country, a lot of progress has been made and will continue to be made.

As much as I hate lawyers and love the joke, “whaddya call a bus full of lawyers at the bottom of a lake…(a good start!),”  I’ll take the rule of law over those previous methods of guilt or innocence determination based on things like whether you healed in a timely manner after grabbing a red hot poker or after pulling rocks out of a boiling cauldron.  NEVER pine for the good ole’ days!

In modern times, we put up with a lot of hassles as dentists AND in a bigger sense as business owners fighting against powers and trends that encourage sloth and entitlement.  There is no doubt those are ever encroaching on those that willingly choose a life of creation of things and services of real value.  The “no work get stuff” mantra continues to grow wider across larger segments of the population.  When one looks at the slice of the western world’s populations really pulling their weight and paying the ever growing societal debts being incurred it is a shrinking group of individuals.

Recently, I had lunch with the owner of a local laboratory who’s also a friend and confidant.  His lab is in the top 3% of labs in sales volume in the US.  Guess what?  He has the exact same frustrations many doctors report as part of our programs with running their business (staffing issues, marketing and sales strategies that must always be attended to, administrative hassle and b.s., etc.).  The exact same stories, just different names.   It’s like that in EVERY industry.

At best, we often tolerate inept others around us which perpetuates our problems and frustrations.  At worst, we have to put up with complete idiots who are often in control of things related to our livelihoods such as dental boards and various other regulatory and taxing authorities.

But, would any one of us trade our daily hassles and freedom we enjoy as dentists and instead wake up as a native of Darfur, Congo, North Korea, or depending on which day of the week, Iran, on the 5th?   Just hoping to somehow immigrate to Australia, the US, Canada, France, the UK, etc. and very likely never seeing such a dream fulfilled?

Appreciate and celebrate the freedom you have to make your dental practice and life as successful as you CHOOSE it to be each day as an independent dentist.  You have the opportunity to make both small and large choices with incredible long term effects.  Here’s a guarantee—where you will be next year is a direct consequence of choices you make today and with those you associate with.  Pick carefully.

In the free societies, it is literally no ones fault but ours if we don’t get want we want beyond that basic luck of birth.

Yes, the revolution celebrated on the 4th in the US started out with us as tax scofflaws, but all things considered, the experiment continues to be a good one to have initiated.

For the US docs, have a great 4th of July!  For Canada, a belated Canada Day!

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