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  • Janice Janssen, RDH, CFE

Smile Behind your Mask

Updated: Oct 22, 2021

How can I help you smile? What can I do so you will share your beautiful smile? How many of you out there are smiling right now? Isn’t that what we want our patients feel when they enter our office or call on the phone? Smiling is our business, right?

My last article discussed the idea of taking a breath to deal with everything that is going on in this crazy world of ours right now. That still holds true if you look at the many crazy posts out there on social media or talk to your colleagues. I have heard it said many times in the past few months “we are all in this together”…and we are. What you are going through right now is the same thing the practice down the street is going through. We all have challenges; the important thing is how you respond to those challenges. How do you respond? With a smile or … not?

Recently, I was in one of my favorite offices and there were several things that really stood out to me. The changes in requirements in a dental office are HARD right now! Can I get AMEN? The clinical team is all geared up! They are hot and weighted down with so much PPE to protect themselves and their patients. This alone makes their job definitely more difficult. The admin team is taking phone calls non-stop all day long! Patients now call when they get to the office which, in this office, requires an extra 10 calls/hour minimum. They must review the Covid questionnaire and take everyone’s temperature before they come into the office. It’s so much extra work that everyone is exhausted and they will tell you so.

You may ask, how are they doing it? First and foremost, they have a leader that understands it is more work and that everyone is doing the best that they possibly can. That is always helpful. Another thing I noticed is that they are all giving each other that same respect and helping each other out. We must work as a team now more than ever.

What struck me most of all during my visit, though, was that even though everyone is tired and having a hard time getting all their duties accomplished, they are smiling. They are having fun with each other, telling stories, teasing each other, and laughing! What is the saying? Laughter is the best medicine…it seems to be working for them.

When you smile and laugh it triggers your brain to decrease stress hormones and releases endorphins. Really! It works! If you can create an environment where everyone enjoys one another’s company, you will create a happier and more productive work environment. Something that it seems is missing in so many practices right now. I’m not trying to minimize the added stress that we are all going through, however, I’m encouraging you to find a reason to smile about how we really are all in this together. It is times like these that a positive culture is more important than ever.

"Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind work, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around."

Leo Buscaglia, Author

How can we change the feeling in our practices? It truly all comes down to attitude. Are you frustrated every time the phone rings? Instead of letting it get you down, change your thought process. First, every call that comes in is part of your paycheck - that person is wanting to see YOUR doctor, YOUR hygienist. That phone call could be the patient that will fill the opening in tomorrow’s schedule or the referral from one of your favorite patients. Find the positive in that ringing phone and it will make you feel a little better about all those calls. Make it a joke about who answers the most calls wins the cauliflower ear of the day award. Well, you can probably come up with something funnier than that, but you see what I am talking about. 😊

People keep telling me you cannot see a smile since we are all required to wear masks now. I do not believe that is true. Your eyes are saying what we can see under the mask. Keep smiling! Laugh! It is good for you and the people around you. It all starts with you; you can be the one to change the culture in your office. Start today.


Janice Janssen, RDH, CFE, Consultant

At age 14, Janice Janssen got an after-school job working for her dentist. Twenty-something years later, she is the co-founder of Global Team Solutions and an expert in practice consulting.

Besides hands-on experience, Janice has gained professional recognition for her hard work and commitment to excellence. She is co-author of OMG! Office Management Guide, the “bible” used in GTS training workshops. She is a member of the Academy of Dental Management Consultants (ADMC), and is a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), which positions her as an expert in educating dentists to deter fraud and embezzlement in their practice.

Janice can be reached at:

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