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A Completely Different Perspective on How to Enjoy Dentistry with Dr. Kevin Kross
Episode 32019th July 2021 • The Best Practices Show • ACT Dental
00:00:00 00:39:45

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A Completely Different Perspective on How to Enjoy Dentistry

Episode #320 with Dr. Kevin Kross

There is no real secret to enjoying dentistry, but there are ways to make it more pleasant for you, your staff, and your patients. To share some of those tips, Kirk Behrendt brings in Dr. Kevin Kross to help you enjoy more of your time at the office. His first tip: don't take things quite so seriously! Break the ice with new patients and spend time getting to know them. Most patients want to know about you and how you can help them, not the technical details of their teeth. For more of Dr. Kross’ tips and advice, listen to Episode 320 of The Best Practices Show!

Main Takeaways:

Take CE courses to learn what they don't teach you in dental school.

Be open-minded toward different teaching philosophies.

Show gratitude, especially towards your team.

You don't need to work full-time!

Be very intentional with your time.

Figure out what you truly love about practicing dentistry and target that.

Don't take things quite so seriously.


“I tell [students and mentees] all the time, ‘Listen, just don't take it quite so seriously.’ I think we get trained to, you know, everything is the end of the world. And early, early in my profession, I might’ve even been a dental student, when somebody told me, they kind of shrugged and said, ‘Well, at least it’s not brain surgery, right? We’re working on teeth here. But more importantly, we’re working on people. And they just want you to be honest. They want you to be straight up with them.’ It’s so rare, at least where we practice, that they want to know about their teeth. They want to know about you. They want to know how you can help them.” (08:09—08:42)

“Get to know the patient. Find out what they're after, why they're even in the chair today, and what makes them tick. And just that level of communication, I think it — I hope — it displays that I'm interested in them first. Dentists can kind of get a bad reputation, I think, a lot of times, from telling them about what's wrong with them, ‘The patient wants to know what's wrong with them first.’ It’s like, don't do that. We’re all great diagnosticians, to some degree, and I think it’s just easier to get to know them on a personal level first.” (08:46—09:22)

“There is no secret [to enjoying dentistry]. That's for sure. If I had to pick one word, it’s gratitude. And I've had some employees we had to get rid of. But I think we all have team members that didn't work the way you wanted to, and that kind of thing. But if you show gratitude towards a staff member, a team member, it’s not about the money so much with them. My thing is, I want to have the highest paid team around. But I think, more importantly, I want them all to always feel like they're effective at work. And I think that's really what we all want, right?” (10:16—10:58)

“If you want to run a truly comprehensive practice, learn the stuff that they don't teach you in dental school. And you have to do it all-in. You can't tiptoe around this, and do a little of that, but then go back. You just have to dive in and trust the multitudes of people that have done it that way and developed really, really good practices because of it.” (17:03—17:28)

“I think one thing that we maybe fail at in getting across to students is, yes, we can teach you how to do this. Yes, we can give you the protocols and all of the information and knowledge to really, really help patients far and wide. But you do have to figure out the way to implement that in a practice. It isn't going to be for every single patient that walks through your door. And that's okay.” (22:09—22:39)

“For me, it took three to five years of really sitting down and focusing on a certain patient’s problem and just helping them understand it. It doesn't mean they're all going to say yes. It doesn't mean your revenue is instantly going to go from $50K to $100K to $200K a month. But over time, over a few years, if it takes 10 years, you're building these things one brick at a time, and we just have to be patient and enjoy that journey.” (22:54—23:27)

“You never want to force people into doing treatment, because it isn't going to work well for you. It has to be their decision, and your job is to help them understand the problem. Pete [Dawson] used to say, ‘Any reasonable person will do the dentistry once they understand the problem.’ And that's always rung true with me, is, spend your time getting to know the patient and the patient’s circumstances and helping them understand what's going wrong.” (24:06—24:32)

“John [Kois] told me a few years ago, ‘Everybody takes two months off throughout the year. But some people do it in 10-minute increments.’ And the other influence in my life is Kim Daxon, and she and I have this ongoing thing. I try and work, the joke is single-digit days. So, less than 10 days a month. I'm not as good as Kim is at this, but every year, I'd either cut hours or just shave things back. I learned to be able to take vacations and get out of the office and enjoy it. And I will tell you, every year, my revenues grow.” (30:46—31:30)

“I would say take a step back and really understand what kind of dentist you want to be. Because what's neat with this job, with this profession, is you can carve out your little niche. You don't have to do it all. I just think it’s so important to identify the ways that you can help patients in what you enjoy doing and taking control of that. And if you don't enjoy it, or if it brings stress into your life, then don't do it. There are people around that are willing to help. If it means never doing another root canal, don't. You don't have to.” (33:18—34:01)

“I feel bad when I hear people worried about financial pressures, or revenue, or trying to hit these financial goals in their practice because, to me, that just drives that stress. And so, my advice to a young dentist would be, find out what you really, really love about practicing dentistry and target that.” (34:03—34:26)


Dr. Kross’ background. (02:47—07:13)

His philosophy on dentistry. (07:57—09:56)

His secret to enjoying dentistry. (10:15—12:13)

Invest in continuing education. (12:31—15:57)

Learn what you didn't in dental school. (16:29—18:12)

Have an open mind on different teaching philosophies. (18:53—20:26)

Don't force patients into doing treatment. (21:29—24:52)

Icebreakers and one-liners in the office. (25:20—26:08)

Keeping the team together. (26:18—30:17)

Being intentional with your time. (30:18—32:49)

Advice to younger dentists. (33:12—34:26)

Last thoughts. (34:47—37:01)

Dr. Kross’ contact information. (37:16—37:33)

Reach Out to Dr. Kross:

Dr. Kross’ website:

Dr. Kross’ Facebook:

Dr. Kevin Kross Bio:

Dr. Kevin Kross received his undergraduate degree in Biomedical Science from Western Michigan University and his doctorate from the University of Michigan. He is professionally affiliated with the American Dental Association and the Michigan Dental Association. He also serves as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Michigan. Dr. Kross is also a member of the Dawson Academy, an incredible resource for providing complete and consistent dental care.

Dr. Kross is married to Brittany Mailloux-Kross, DDS, who practices in Holland, Michigan. He keeps busy playing golf, fishing, cooking, and spending time with his nieces and nephews. He is also a fan of the Detroit Tigers and Michigan football.

Favorite movie quote: “That’s in the lumberyard, Danny.”

Favorite beverage: Cabernet Sauvignon.

Pet peeves: Over-talkers.

Personal trait that has gotten you in the most trouble: Oh boy, my mouth.

If I could shop for free at one store, which one would it be? Costco; would be the most practical.

Which of the Seven Dwarfs are you? Doc.

If you were guaranteed you’d be successful in a different profession, what would you want to do? President of the United States.

If you died tomorrow, what would your last meal be? Bern’s Steakhouse in Tampa.