How We Get (and continuously learn to get) Better Clinical Outcomes

I was so frustrated that I actually couldn’t sleep at night. It’s 100% true and anyone who REALLY knows me finds it hard to believe. Until now, I’ve only shared this with a few friends, but I figured you’d appreciate where I’m coming from.

I was in my third year of ortho residency and ortho just wasn’t coming easily to me. Here’s another secret: I am not a quick learner. Nope, I am not the one in the class who gets stuff instantly. It wasn’t until I was much older that I realized that I had a few “learning differences”.

But…

What I did learn is that if I spend extra time learning, when I do “get it” I go from 0-100% overnight. I know, it sounds funny, but my learning doesn’t happen in small bites, little by little like most people. My learning is a lot like watching someone in a NASCAR race go from dead last in the pack to all of a sudden gaining 50 mph on one lap and start shooting around the track.

So, there I was, in my third year of ortho residency, beyond frustrated with how I wasn’t yet “getting” it. There were so many choices for treatment. So many counter effects from the main effects and my brain just wasn’t able to figure it out. I would go to my best friend Doug (who is now my ortho partner) during lunch and we’d talk about how frustrating it was and how I marveled at how he just had it all figured out. But it wasn’t just the ortho that frustrated me.

You’ve all heard my story about returning to ortho residency at age 44 after doing high level restorative work for 20 years. THAT was the most frustrating thing. Most people who know my story don’t realize the kind of practice I had. It wasn’t a run of the mill GP practice. Nope, I was doing full mouth reconstructions and crazy rehabilitations. I worked 3.5 days/week and worked with the best specialists and the best labs on the planet. Literally the best on the planet.

As an example, I once did a restorative case where my lab bill alone was over $17,500. THAT WAS JUST THE LAB BILL!!!

I was doing super high end restorative work where people were paying me more than the cost of a Mercedes, so you can imagine how high the stakes were. This is a little more problematic than someone poiting out how their midlines were off by a mm or that their bite just didn’t feel right. I knew that I needed to be at the top of my game every day, for every patient. People were flying in from other states to get dentistry with me, so I needed to reward their trust with the best care I could muster.

No sweat. Really.

I immersed myself with dental CE from the best teachers on the planet. Over and over again. I would visit every practice that would allow me and and took every course I could. I made contact with the best clinicians and we stayed in touch. We helped each other grow and I learned that if I got one single pearl out of a CE course, it was all worth it.

By the time I was 35, I was already a Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry and had thousands of hours of CE under my belt and remember that 0-100 quantum leap of growth I talked about earlier? It finally happened. Like Gladwell talks about the 10,000 hours to get to “Mastery”? It was finally happening and I was able to reap the rewards of my hard work and (continual) learning to grow a successful dream practice that I had outlined in my original plan (more about this plan another time).

But, issues with the health of one of my immediate family members caused us to have to move, and my story of ortho began (I’ll tell you the whole story another time).

But back to my third year of ortho residency, with me frustrated as heck. Not just because I didn’t “get it” but because I HAD been to the top of the mountain clinically. I knew what I felt like to be on top of my game, to be able to do clinical work that I was so proud of and to be able to walk into any room, any meeting anywhere on the planet, open my computer and show my cases and have my peers respect the outcomes. To be invited to be a member of, or present to some of the most prestigious organizations in organized dentistry.

Imagine how frustrating it was for me to be too embarrassed to want to show my ortho cases because I was struggling so much. And to be perfectly honest, this feeling persisted after graduation, but I worked hard. REALLY hard at CE and traveling and visiting other offices and most importantly, getting the tips and advice of the best clinicians in ortho to help me get better.

It felt to me that almost every Friday was filled with some CE course or a visit to someone’s office (yes, I have a VERY patient and understanding wife who understands how important being a great clinician is to me). And over time (and with lots of practice and application) my clinical skills started getting to where I needed them to be. I know I have a TON more to learn, but as I mentioned, I have been where I wanted to be clinically once before and know how much 0f a climb I have to get there again, but I continue to learn from those around me on a daily basis.

THAT’S why I am such an advocate for CE and why Orthopreneurs means so much to me. I started Orthopreneurs University to help all of those out there who are like me. To help people who want to get amazing CE and grow their clinical skill every day.

From aligners to “Surgidontics”, practice management to in-office 3D printing, TMD & occlusion to finishing protocols & leadership, I have sought out some of the best clinicians and teachers on the planet and I continue to do that.

And Covid only made the idea of a virtual school that much more reasonable. Attendees don’t even need to leave their homes AND get access to the courses for 30 days even if they can’t make it.

And one last secret is this: I made Orthopreneurs University for me, so that I can see some of these clinicians and continue my CE journey and try to become the best all round clinician I can become. To learn skills and techniques that will keep my patients happy and satisfy that inner desire I have to become the absolute best clinician on the planet.

Will that happen? I don’t know, but I do know that the frustrated, angry 3rd year ortho resident inside of me is gone (mostly) but the memories of those heart wrenching days stays with me and drives me every day to be the best and I make sure to continue learning from the best.

I hope you’ll join me by checking out Orthopreneurs University by clicking HERE. We have some amazing speakers and will continue adding them. HUNDREDS of doctors have already taken our three first courses and I hope you choose to enroll in this special “University” where we can all grow together.

Wishing you the best,

If you want to be a part of a geographically exclusive Facebook group (OrthopreneursRD) where we come together to help each other build better practices and lower stress, please message me. To learn more about your region’s availability and what it’s all about, click HERE.

GLENN KRIEGER IS AN ORTHODONTIST WITH 20 YEARS OF RESTORATIVE AND COSMETIC DENTISTRY EXPERIENCE BEFORE HE RETURNED TO ORTHODONTIC RESIDENCY. DR. KRIEGER LEARNED ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF WELL-DESIGNED PRACTICE POLICIES AND SYSTEMS DURING A YEAR AT THE SCHUSTER CENTER FOR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN SCOTTSDALE ARIZONA, AND AN UNDERSTANDING OF GENERAL ACCOUNTING PRACTICES AND INDUSTRIAL PSYCHOLOGY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON GRADUATE BUSINESS SCHOOL’S “DENTIST AS CEO” PROGRAM. HE IS THE HOST OF “THE ORTHOPRENEURS PODCAST”, MANAGES THE ORTHOPRENEURS FACEBOOK GROUP AND RUNS THE ANNUAL ORTHOPRENEURS SUMMIT.

  • January 24, 2021
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