Your Hands, Your Head, and Your Heart

by Robert Maguire DDS, MASCL


The current rate of inflation in Canada is 6.9%. Food prices in Canada jumped by 10.3% compared to September 2022. A 2023 Salary Projection Survey published by LifeWorks, a company focused on health and well-being, predicts salaries to rise by only 3.93%. In addition, economists predict that we are heading for a recession.

With the 6.9% rate of inflation outpacing the average salary increase by 3%, patients may decide to cut back on going to the dentist. As a dental practice, how do you proactively plan for your practice to prosper in 2023? I suggest that you do that by using your hands, your head, and your heart.

Your Hands

In 2023, use your hands to continue to suggest and produce the dentistry that is appropriate for your patients. During tough economic times, I’ve seen dentists back away from suggesting the care that is best for their patients. They assume that because of the present state of the economy, their patients won’t be able to pay for it. Steer away from these assumptions as they can put your practice production into a tailspin. Continue to suggest and provide the care that is appropriate for your patients and their oral health. In some instances, you may have to prioritize and segment their care. Do all you can to help your patients maintain their oral health.

Your Head

Using your head refers to looking at how you manage your practice. From a financial perspective, 2023 may not be the year to make a major purchase or undergo a renovation project. Do all you can to maintain a good cash flow. With the rising cost of dental supplies, perhaps now is the time to assign a team member to the task of finding the best prices.

From a systems perspective, do all you can to work efficiently to maintain your production. This may involve you and your team evaluating your present systems, looking for ways to improve and streamline them.

From a patient perspective, make it easy for them to come in for their dentistry. Are you using an automated system to confirm their appointments? Are you offering payment options using an outside provider? Are you doing everything you can to provide convenience for your patients?

Your Heart

Using your heart means taking more time to listen to your patients – their concerns, their fears, and their needs. Being empathetic and connecting with them at the heart level is a great way to keep them coming in. Doing this will take more time and require good verbal skills. When a patient calls to cancel an appointment, gently ask them the reason they are cancelling. Once you know the reason, offer them solutions to help them continue their care. Patients are more likely to come in for their appointments when you help them see the value of maintaining their oral health and offer them assistance with their budgets.

When doing your year-end planning for 2023, remember that your dental practice is both a financial business and a “people” business. As you strategically plan for 2023, it is important to focus on both perspectives. The best way to do that is by using your hands, your head, and your heart.

About the Author

Dr. Robert Maguire, DDS, MASCL had a successful solo private practice in Wolfeboro, NH for twenty-eight years. He also has a master’s degree in strategic communication and leadership. He is now a speaker, author, coach, and a consultant, helping dentists build their practices using a hands, a head, and a heart approach. To learn more about Dr. Maguire, visit