They are the people who will get your practice back on the path to recovery. 

By Roger P. Levin, DDS

What is one of the components that separates the orthodontic practices best prepared for recovery from the COVID-19 crisis?

Disciplined team members. 

Let’s ask some crucial questions.

What is discipline? We at Levin Group believe that the only type of discipline is self-discipline. Self-discipline is the ability to control one’s feelings and overcome one’s weaknesses in order to pursue what is right despite temptations to abandon it.

Who are the best team members? The truth is that orthodontists have been complaining about how hard it is to find great team members forever… just like all employers in all businesses. However, top performing practices seem to have it figured out. They find a way to hire and retain the right team members based on their level of self-discipline, which ultimately helps to build a fantastic practice. Self-disciplined people are more stable during crises, are better performers, are highly motivated, and are very accountable. When you have an entire practice of disciplined team members, practices can overcome any challenge they face.

What does a highly disciplined team do differently? They complete tasks. In fact, they are highly motivated to complete any task they’ve agreed to do—almost “religiously.” Suppose the system dictates that any patient who is 1 day overdue for their ortho appointment receives a call that day and goes into a 9-week-long follow-up process. This system helps reduce the number of overdue debonds that often are generated by overdue patients. Obviously, during the coronavirus crisis many patients will miss their regular appointments. As we recover from this crisis, the ability to get every patient back on schedule will be key.

Getting patients back on schedule will be everybody’s focus, and for a few weeks after you reopen, patients will be anxious and willing to reschedule quickly. But over time that motivation will wane again and it will take self-disciplined team members to remind patients who miss. The undisciplined team member will miss a day here or there, then miss more days, and then decide they are too busy to do it or they simply forget about it. The disciplined team will get it done every day, no matter what. This is because self-disciplined people hate the idea of not completing tasks. When they don’t complete a task for any reason, they literally feel bad. That may be a bit extreme, but you get the idea. This is how disciplined people approach everything. You don’t have to manage them, you don’t have to track them, and you don’t have to measure them. Once they agree to do a task, the task gets done.

Your team is your greatest asset, especially during this crisis. They are the group that will get your practice on the path to recovery, once you decide to, or are allowed to, reopen the practice. If you want to recover rapidly, build a team of self-disciplined people. OP

Roger P. Levin, DDS, is the CEO and founder of Levin Group, a leading practice management consulting firm that has worked with over 30,000 practices to increase production. A recognized expert on dental practice management and marketing, he has written 67 books and over 4,000 articles and regularly presents seminars in the U.S. and around the world. To contact Levin or to join the 40,000 dental professionals who receive his Practice Production Tip of the Day, visit or email [email protected]