One glove is plenty in most situations!


I’m talking about new patient exams, regular active appointments, appliance checks, retainer checks and the like. For those appointments, there is rarely a need to glove up, sit down, recline the patient, pick up a mirror, probe around and on and on. In these straightforward appointments where compliance and hygiene are good, all we need to do to is look at the patient and verify that all is well and things are progressing as we think they should. If I’m bonding, debonding, detailing wires or doing something similarly complicated then, yes, I’ll sit down and have a proper look and put on two gloves to do the work. I look at every single patient that walks in the door every single time but it doesn’t take a hazmat suit and 10 minutes to do so for most of the routine appointments that comprise an orthodontic patient day.


Why does this matter?


It matters because you, doctor, are the bottleneck in your practice and you don’t have time to waste. If you can save 2 minutes on 80% of 100 patients a day that’s an additional 2 hours and 40 minutes of doctor time you can harness to stay on time, render excellent care and deliver great service. I know it’s not how your professors told you things should be done but try it for yourself and see how much better things are and how much better your back feels after a big day!

7 thoughts on “Michael Jackson Was Right – Clinical Efficiency Part 2

  1. Ben,

    What’s that pole you are leaning against in the first photo? Is that expressly for that purpose?


  2. No but that’s a good idea! That chair originally had a light but I kept hitting my bald head on it so I took it off! I normally approach the chair from the other side but this was the only way I could get a decent photo in this instance. I am not a good producer and just take what I can get. I need to do a better job of staging.

  3. Ben,

    I read all your blogs. As you know, sometimes we agree, sometimes we agree to disagree. But after looking at the last picture with you bending over at the waist almost 90 degrees and reading with final sentence on “how much better your back feels after a big day”, I just had to comment. That photo just looks painful.

    Full disclosure: do I sometimes use only one glove? Yes, on occasions when I need to check something minor, such as if a patient is wearing elastics correctly. But for me doing a routine patient evaluation appointment, to really see what is happening requires two hands and a good view of all their teeth and the occlusion.

    You state that you can save 2 minutes on 80% of your patients (2 hours and 40 minutes/day on a 100 patient day) by wearing one glove and not sitting down. Obviously it is not the time it takes to put on one glove versus two or standing versus sitting, it is the time you spend evaluating the patient. If that is your goal, doing a shorter patient evaluation, this can be accomplished regardless of how many gloves you wear.

    However, my admittedly professorial advice to your young readers out there, wear two gloves and sit up straight with good posture. Someday your back will thank you.

    Chris Roberts
    (writing on behalf of myself and not any board, on which I may serve)

  4. Thanks for the insight. I certainly could do a better job with the photos but as I’ve said I’m an expert in practicing orthodontics not an expert in photographic production. In this case I was in an office that was originally a dental office and isn’t set up like my average ortho office. Also, I had staff taking photos with an iPhone and my goal was to make it clear that you didn’t have to sit down to look at a patient. I’m sorry to hear that bending over is painful to you but I would advise some ham-string stretches every am as well as throughout the day if that’s an issue.
    Tell you what, the next time I’m in one of our properly set up ortho offices I’ll see if I can’t do a video of a few minutes of me seeing patients to better get the point across because I’ve obviously failed miserably here. it would be great if you would do the same in your office so that we can compare and contrast the two styles. I love learning new and better ways of doing things. Thanks again for the input Chris. It’s not every day an AAO BOT member takes the time to connect on OrthoPundit.

  5. Thanks for the advice, Ben. Honestly, I do need to do more stretching and yoga for my core. I’m in my 50’s and will be the first to admit that I can’t do everything that I could do in my 30’s or 40’s. Such is life. But overall, I consider myself in decent shape. I’ll be running my 17th Boston Marathon tomorrow and the Big Sur Marathon 6 days later.

  6. Super. Now we just have to get you in shape to do more in the clinic. I’ve only run one marathon and that’s been a while ago. For that reason, I wouldn’t ever try and tell someone who’s run 17 Boston marathons how he should do it. I’m in awe of your running prowess and I find your accomplishments in that arena very motivating and inspiring. I need to get back into it running! It’s obvious you’re an expert in running and I could sure use some advice there.

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