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"The Biggest Difference between a Great Dentist And an Average Dentist is Good Judgement and Excellent Treatment Planning!"

"The latest equipment and technology is no greater than the person operating it!"

Quotes by "Doc Hemp"

Updated 11/17/2015

  1. There are many skilled dentists out there working today. But I do now have 47 years of wet fingered dentistry in the trenches and have some experience to offer. All these pages are just my opinions, not necessarily right or wrong ... just the ramblings of an old man that still loves getting up every day and going to an office filled with all the latest technology! Our staff members have been with us an average of 35 years or so ... we have the greatest staff and group of patients you will ever find anywhere on the planet! We have fun every day and still manage to do a pretty dang good job too.

  2. Hopefully you can use some of the following insights. No one has all the answers! Use what you can, can what you can't! You can can it can't you? "Use the best ... shine the rest!"

  3. "It is better to walk through your dental career than run or sprint!" "Bigger definitely is not better!" ..."It is BETTER to take your time, do good work, build a wonderful practice, enjoy yourself, Your staff, your patients & your career!" ...... (Like Dr. Ray Bertolotti says "Better is Better!")

    "If you look at each case and base your decision on how much you can make instead of what is best for the patient and their individual circumstances you will grow to hate yourself and your profession." The old saying .. Just do what you would do on yourself in the same situation! .. No more and no less.

  4. "If You Don't Have Time To Do It Right The First Time .... When Will You Have Time To Do It Over?" (author unknown to me)

  5. Let's start with the K.I.S.S. Principle which all of you have already heard of but must always remember! "Keep It Simple Stupid!"

  6. Requesting draft in 1968 and serving as prosthetic officer at Mt. Home AFB was a great, wonderful and rewarding experience for us. I would strongly recommend serving our country this way before setting up your private practice! Lots of post graduate education and experience plus a great satisfaction in honoring your call to duty! I am as proud to be a veteran of the U.S. Military Airforce as I am of being a dentist!

  7. Start out or move to were you want to spend the rest of your life! Not where you THINK you can start off busy in a less desirable place! Building a practice in an area you love is so much more rewarding, productive and fun! ...It doesn't matter how many dentists are there. There is always room for one more! ... Especially one with a positive attitude "Nothing Ventured .... Nothing Gained! .... The biggest difference between a great practice and an average practice is FEAR! ..... The fear of buying necessary equipment, The fear of moving where we want to live ... The fear of renting that nicer office ... The fear of buying that great practice ... or in other words ... the FEAR to make and follow through with the correct decisions and just make them work!

  8. OVERHEAD .... Our goal should NOT BE TO SUCK ALL THE MONEY OUT OF OUR PRACTICES WE CAN ... Buy some of that better and newer equipment every year. Best for us and for our patients and staff. Keeping up every year makes it all affordable! The lowest overhead should never be our goal and will not build that wonderful practice you will never want to retire from!

  9. Eventually become the kind of dentist that patients will SEEK OUT! Instead of the majority SEEKING patients their entire career...... does this make sense? Eventually Choose and treat only the best. Only the ones that care as much about their own teeth as you do! ... Conversely, get rid ot the patients that don't put any value in their teeth, don't maintain them at all, only come in when something hurts on an emergency basis and mess up your day and schedule. Putting themselves ahead of your regulars that do care about their teeth. I tell these patients to find another dentist that cares as little about their teeth as they do!

  10. I personally make & place all of my temporaries, take all of my impressions, Cerec designs, place all my matrix bands, finish removing cement etc. I feel the patient is paying good money at our office for the best & deserves as much of my personal attention as possible.

  11. Don't charge for temporary fillings during office hours.

  12. We hate paying taxes as much as anyone! Using the cash for toilet paper is more useful than what our government does with it!! But! - a voice of experience. Don't deduct your vacations. let me explain. When you go on vacation = GO ON VACATION! = NOTHING TO DO WITH DENTISTRY!! Don't go to Morocco to go to a dental meeting & attend all the classes just so you can sign in = pay a big tuition = just to write it off! IT is a red flag! All 3 of our audits were initiated over deducted trips which were finally allowed at the start of my career, but not worth the mess & the extra costs any audit brings. When you do go to a dental meeting select the best! Only go to the classes that you will really get something out of! And support your local dental society!!
    And as far as a corporate car or plane - unless you travel between multiple offices or to the hospital regularly it is easier to just take the perdiem allowance which is a lot now. And most important - get a good accountant, and a good tax attorney.

  13. When you incorporate - incorporate as an "S" CORPORATION! NOT A C CORPORATION - Research this with your tax attorney! To give you an idea how important this is - If you ever start as a full C Corporation and one week later decide to change to an "S" corp. the IRS will make you wait for a period of 10 years before you can switch to an S Corp and take the "S" Corp tax benefits!!!! At any time you can change instantly to a full C corp from an S corp (if you are so stupid!). In an "S" Corp - you pay no corp income tax! You pay on your corp profits at your personal tax rate. In a full regular corp you pay your 17 % on all corp profits, and your full personal tax again on what's left as a dividend from your corp! If you are audited & ANY CORP DEDUCTION YOU TOOK IS DISALLOWED, THAT AMOUNT GOES BACK INTO THE CORP, YOU PAY FULL PERSONAL TAX + PENALTY & INTEREST AS A DIVIDEND TO YOU, THE CORP PAYS ANOTHER 17% CORP TAX, + INTEREST AGAIN & PENALTY AGAIN! If you get hurt, etc. or want to ever sell your practice for any reason - you die - your wife etc. has to pay full corp tax FIRST on the sale price, then you pay again, full personal rate tax too! As an S corp you have all the necessary controls over your pension & profit sharing plans.

  14. Fund your Pension and Profit Sharing plans to the max you first 2-3 years of your practice, borrow to do it if you must ... getting funds to grow tax free from the earliest years is what builds substantial funds 35 years later.

  15. Building your own office now may not be as financially rewarding as it used to be ... The cost ratio and commercial value later is much less ... But .... If that is what you want to do and you can afford it .... Just do it! And conversely ... the deductible rent of that really nice office is now even more financially rewarding too.

  16. And remember after always set aside a fund to update your equipment & office at the end of each & every year. It's tax time = let Uncle Sam help you pay for 1/2 of it. If you don't do this you will fall so far behind you will never be able to ride the crest of the wave to stay up to date with equipment necessary to keep up with the technology available.

  17. USE ONLY HIGH NOBLE METALS (When you do use metal for your crowns) = TASTE, ALLERGENS, IT'S THE BEST! The word Noble in metals means nonreactive! And high-noble means the highest nonreactive metal we can cement or bond into a patients mouth!! We have NEVER done a non-precious crown! This does not mean I can walk on water, but Gold, Platinum, etc. seems to have almost no metal fatigue and just goes & goes & goes! Kinda like the pink rabbit? Hee-hee.
    For removable partials we use Vitallium 2, highly non allergenic and very low metal fatigue and is often used in joint replacements.

  18. Never embarrass a patient by making them ask for one of their old gold crowns! It's theirs! They paid for it! It can be sterilized. If they refuse it, we throw it in the hazardous waste. I tell them, "if you found a nugget that size panning down at the river, you'd tell the whole town about it! Plus it makes great jewelry!"

  19. Seldom use porcelain to gold porcelain occlusals on posterior teeth unless you already have plenty of room for it. They will most often cause extreme sensitivity for years, due to being so over cut to make room for gold + 2 1/2 mm of glass. ... unless of course you already have the room afforded by and existing old restoration or you are doing one of the new Cerec Vita Porcelain inlay/onlays that uses the failed amalgam space or fracture site anyway. Cerecs are the same hardness and wear as natural enamel! ... For Cerec porcelain see our Cerec page and our Dental Philosophy Page

  20. Taking blood pressure on every patient for the last 36 years during every exam is probably the single most important thing we have done in our practice along with our cancer soft tissue screenings by the hygienists and myself.
    Taking the Blood pressure over the years establishes a base line for everyone and you identify the risk patients. It also enables you to save more lives than anything else you can do by getting them to a physician!

  21. We have a stamp on the front of the chart for soft tissue lesion (cancer) exams also. The hygienist & myself both examine each patient. Make comments there and and or on the Health History too, date & initial at each prophy & exam.

  22. As soon as you can afford it, get a Digital Radiography System!!!! Schick individual ones and Sirona brand Pano (2015) The more I use the ones I have , the more I like it!! Saves TONS OF TIME! Less radiation and so much easier for to the patient! They LOVE IT!
  23. When you become very confident in yourself & your work, you will be at your best when both you & the patient are relaxed! You don't need stiff formality, the pin striped suit & tie to impress a patient. BE YOURSELF! laugh, put them at ease!
    If the pin stripe is you - that's fine, a formal person trying to be informal is a joke too. But acting like there is a vulture perched on the light and the patient might not make it through the next filling is rather depressing! "Disdain for others is bred by conceit!" another Doc Hemp Quote.

  24. My motto has always been "Look for reasons not to drill rather than reasons to drill!" What God gave us is & always will be better than anything the most gifted of you can ever produce! And never use Mercury scare tactics to remove good functioning amalgams. One fish dinner gives us more Mercury than 10 years of a mouth full of amalgam fillings!

  25. So, Patient education & preventive visits & home care are what's most important! As I have already said, develop a practice of only these patients! You have a right to not treat anyone that is belligerent or non compliant, as long as you give them time to find a new dentist and take care of any existing emergency problems for 30 days. I write them a note & tell them they need to find a dentist that thinks as little of their teeth as they do!!! And that's the truth! Thfffffpth!

  26. Always stay gentle! Don't get calloused with time to to patients fears and sensitivities. Be GENTLE with that shot!! OR .. Show them the the longest needle you have and put on your meanest face - and after they pass out - do the work & also charge them for a general anesthetic!) Hee-hee .... Grin! .... Now you Budwieser Frogs aren't supposed to be reading this remember!?

  27. Always remember your regular patients FIRST. The ones that told their friends about you! The ones that made your practice! Once you become busy and you put most of your emphasis on new patients with the big $ cases, you will need that full page ad in the phone book and the paper to fuel the fire.

  28. Also, develop a Columbo mind to use the new technologies available to you! CEREC, etc. reinvest your money back into your practice before you invest it elsewhere else trying to become rich so you can quit dentistry early .. it just doesn't make sense. ... To sacrifice so much to attain that DDS of M.D, and then proceed in your career in such a way that you learn to hate it! ...If early retirement and the fast buck is your attitude, you went into dentistry for the WRONG REASONS my friend!

  29. When you are in the office and attending dental meetings, etc. be 100% dentistry .. don't ever be taking phone calls at work that aren't dental oriented! ... It's not fair to your patients and staff ... And when you are out of the office and not at meetings be 100% family oriented and non dentistry (unless you have a web site - after your kids are grown .. hee-hee!) Get involved in hobbies! Do things with your family! Forget about the office .... we all need time away from work!

  30. My Anti-Bleaching Philosophy Click here

  31. Very few of the the entertainment celebs, muscians, etc. will seldom pay their bills ... They feel an autographed photo or a couple free CD's is worth whatever you might be charging ... a warning to the wise ... get paid up front! ... They are used to getting free hotels, meals, etc. and feel anything they might give you is fair trade as an advertisement fee. Stay away from them all!!! Voice of experience ;-)

  32. Thank you for letting an old battle scarred 45 yr veteran ramble on. I hope to be doing some sort of dentistry into my 80's if my health holds out.
    I hope you dental students like the web site and didn't find it too boring! Good luck in your careers. Here below is the type of emails we get often.

    1/16/2013 6:59pm
    Subject ... Great Site!- from a DDS candidate
    From .... Alex xxxxx
    To .. Doc Hemp


    What a wonderful site you have created. I stumbled upon it oddly enough while browsing pictures of the Sequoia forrest and happened to find your site. I am a 22 year old (and will be attending dental school this coming fall). I am extremely excited to begin my career and already feel a passion for life as a practicing dentist.

    I have worked hard in all areas including my education to be accepted to a dental school. As the first of my family to go to college, I came from a family of carpenters that value hard work and devotion to the interest of the customer above all else. I plan to apply the skills, work ethic, and modesty I was raised on to my future practice. Above all other measures of success, I strive to become a doctor that is trusted, respected, and admired by my patients and colleagues.

    Your website, philosophies, and words to dental students are a refreshingly conservative cache of information on the internet. With most of my college buddies interested in overly-liberal politics and educational programs, I sometimes feel that the ideologies my father instilled in me make me the last of a dying breed. From what I can tell from your site, your practice seems to be very like what I hope to be able to create.

    I am simply writing to say thank you for all your years of service to this nation and this profession, and your words of encouragement on your website. You should seriously consider writing a book or publishing in some other way your philosophies and information that you have acquired over your years in practice. I know there are many students and young doctors besides myself that would greatly benefit from something like this. I know that quality doctors like yourself are the finest sources of inspiration and knowledge for young professionals.


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