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The Butterfly Effect

The Butterfly Effect

It's the year 2000 and butterfly clips, flip phones, and bell-bottoms were all the rage. It was the era this year's graduates were born! To celebrate you, y2k-babies, we wanted to send you off into the world with some advice on getting to know your patients, with a theory we think will help you make a smooth transition from clinic to private practice. With a y2k twist... we call it The Butterfly Effect.


The Butterfly Effect is simply the idea that small events, no matter how small, can have a large influence on the future. An example would be giving your patients positive compliments before giving negative feedback so they are more likely to be receptive of the constructive criticism (aka telling them to floss more). Giving a compliment shows your patients that you pay attention to them, it makes them feel noticed and heard. In turn, they are more likely to make you feel noticed and heard. And the biggest reward? It builds trust. <3


Don’t mare all of your compliments just be tooth related or superficial. The entire theory suggests that you should give 3 positive compliments to every 1 negative; they call this the 3 to 1 ratio. Be genuine and notice things that you truly appreciate! Maybe you are really thankful they were early to their appointment, or you enjoy hearing about their family trips, or best of all their homecare improved! Of course you always want to make sure you do this in a sincere way.

What we say to people affects them. It affects them in the moment and it affects what they think in the future. Just imagine, you have a perio patient who has pocketing on the maxillary molars but not the mandibular. You could mention to the patient that they are doing such a great job on the bottom and maybe they could try adding in a Waterpik to help the top, too.

Make sure you get to know your patients. You need to remember that it’s a human sitting in your chair…not just our bff Dexter! They have feelings, just like you. When you talk to them in a genuine manner, they are more likely to respect your expertise and opinion.

Grads, we understand that the past few years have been a blur. You have sat through countless hours of lectures, you’ve sweat profusely while seeing patients in clinic, but guess what? You are about to graduate! While we want to encourage you to be confident in yourself, always welcome new ideas with open arms! As always, please remember to take care of yourselves, so that you can take care of your patients and invest in them with genuine positivity, too.

Take your time and build relationships. Not only with your patients but with your co-workers, too! Ask lots of questions and be open to learn. In the end, it will have a positive impact on the people around you…and they might just start flossing more. :)



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