Cliff's Notes

The Business of Dentistry

The Master Craftsman’s Tools

A fine furnisher Master Craftsman, an artist, an athlete, a dentist always do their best work when they use the best tools. Your dental handpiece is your #1 tool. If your handpiece doesn’t preform you can’t work. So maybe it’s time to look at the function, maintenance, and power supply that can shut your practice down for hours or a full day. Not all handpiece are the same and the small price variation should have no bearing on what works best in your office.

In today’s dental trade market everyone is talking about impression scanners and I know you are too, but you need quality tools to get to the scanning process and in every case you will use your handpiece. A quality piece costs about the same as re-doing a crown that was under your practice warranty policy. Failure costs money.

Failure … Dental handpiece are very difficult to design and manufacture. To simplify it, they are miniature jet engines. Air driven turbines freewheel at 350k rpm to 450k rpm. Electric high speeds turn at 200k rpm, they need constant care and maintenance. If your quality high speed is being repaired more than once every 2 years I would assume there is a breakdown in maintenance protocol. Most often it involves the turn-over process.

Turn-over … When the clinical procedure is over a team member cleans the room. They clean the handpiece (with what?), lubricate it (how & with what), and sterilize it. Most offices clean the piece with a disinfectant wipe and that will breakdown the gaskets that secure the race (spinning part). Also, on lesser quality pieces the outer finish will be damaged. Clean a dental handpiece with water, they’re made to get wet. Then the handpiece has to be lubricated correctly with autoclavable lubricant that will protect the internal components from the heat of the sterilizer. Disinfectants will degrade the internal components.

The Internal Components … Outside factors greatly effect the internal function of a quality highspeed. The inside construction is very complex and designed to deliver the exact amount of air (32 psi) and a spray that is focused on the cutting point of a rotary instrument. They are built to work hard but garbage in, garbage out. Your air supply may be the most contaminated component in your office. When was the last time your dental compressor was serviced? When were the filters changed? Think about the inside of a dental compressor tank where it is moist and dark all the time. After several years what are you shooting through that quality handpiece? As handpieces got more presciently engineered biofilm became a factor with waterlines and spray. Equipment maintained routinely will extend the life of your handpieces. Electric Systems suffer similar abuse.

Electric Systems … Bad water passes through all the attachments and the system is controlled by an air actuated electric switch. All the same stuff.

Suggestion … contact the manufacturer of the handpieces you have and request they e-mail there maintenance guide. Have your mechanical equipment serviced annually and consider implementing an automatic handpiece maintenance system into office protocol.  Please feel free to contact me at any time with any questions or concerns.

 

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August 26, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Bus Is Leaving The Station

honeymooners

A lot of people that read this this week’s rant will have no idea who is in this picture but it is a seen from one of the most iconic TV shows ever. It’s Jackie Gleason & the Honeymooners. On October 5, 1951 the first episode aired and history was made in a time when more than one half of the country didn’t have a TV set but everyone wanted one. Ralph was pretty cheap and this episode was a classic.

In this seen Alice is complaining about not having a TV and Ralph didn’t want to spend the money so to justify his decision he yells out “I’m waiting for 3D TV”, that was in 1951. What are you waiting for.

Dental School … Do you have a digital radiography system? If there was a time that you used x-ray film you can appreciate the technology and think about all those years you didn’t have it. Today, most dentists under 40 don’t know how to use x-ray film and in the very near future (5 years) new dentists won’t know how to use impression material. Can you see where this is going? Dental impression scanners are NOT bells & whistles, they are the tools you will need to stay relevant.

Staying Relevant … Last week a well established dentist pulled me aside and told me that a new patient that came by way of referral was told that it was a great office but not to expect any bells & whistles. That was concerning to the doc and with good reason. What are your patients seeing and what are they thinking? Look around at what is evolving, technology is rolling like a freight train and if you don’t jump on-board you will be left behind. But just don’t jump!

Don’t Just Jump … So many offices spend a lot of money on dental impression scanners and don’t use them? The scanner your friend bought may work efficiently in their office but it may not fit the way you work. Step one is to consult with sellers that represent multiple brands this way you will be getting a more bi-partisan view. Step 2 is to demo several brands to see what feels best in your hands and integrates seamlessly with your current network. There is no “one size fits all”. Also, the industry landscape is changing with more dental labs accepting images and Invisalign’s patent on clear dental aligners expiring late in late 2017. And, be aware that Generation Z is on the way.

Generation Z … One fifth of today’s US population will change the way we see the world. The 20 year old that was in for a hygiene appointment is the front line of generation Z (born after 1996). Now,  you have to redefine your marketing program to relate to the mindset of this new patient base? Marketing 101, packaging is 95% of the sale. We all know Millennial’s look at things different than their parents did and their has been plenty of marketing research to guide organized programs. However, Generation Z is different. Their word is technology, virtual reality, instant information , and very soon artificial intelligence. What will your practice offer because today’s “WOW Factor” will be the expected standard tomorrow.

Tomorrow comes fast … Planning for the future of your dental practice is very scary. It requires dedication and a financial commitment, both of which are usually much more than a currently successful dental practice owner is willing to invest. But, as Albert Einstein simply stated “energy in motion tends to stay in motion, energy at rest tends to stay at rest”. The motion of your business must continue to move forward or it will stagnate and fade away. Maintain the quality of your investment.

Your investment … You are so afraid of spending money that you will justify the status quo. Ralph did, he wanted to wait for 3D TV. So many dentists tell me that they are waiting for the next upgrade but you know what, they will always be waiting. Your investment in school and business is too important to not be managed correctly. The bus left the station but you can still catch it if you want to be part of the future. The value of your practice depends on it. Please feel free to contact me at any time with any questions or concerns.

 

August 19, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Everyone Wants a Raise! What happens when a long time employee exceeds their market value?

Much of this week’s blog post is re-printed from a post on May 7, 2016. Not much has changed except quality team members are getting harder to find.

As a business owner or manager, there are some very difficult decisions that you will have to make through-out your career. Some of the hardest involve your team and their compensation vs production (value). In a different time an annual wage increase was standard business practice, but in today’s economy when operational cost are continually rising, there is not much left over to give to the team, and you will be expected to give again next year. How can you do it? You can’t keep giving. As an example, a good dental assistant (in northern NJ) will command an hourly wage of $18-$25 per hour. If that quality employee stays with you for 10 years that wage may run as high as $35 per hour and be far above market rates. How do you deal with a team member that has been with you since you bought the practice, is over paid, under produces, but the patient love them? Here comes that difficult decision.
Quality is the key to success and a quality team is one of the most important investments your practice can make. The question is how to compensate them, keep them happy, and help them “grow” with you and the practice?

There are many creative ways to compensate and retain quality team members. But first you need to up-date and complete your employee management program. Your employee manual must be reviewed annually and reflect any changes in policy. Team members will better understand their responsibilities when they are clearly defined in writing. Also, federal & state labor laws always favor the employee unless policies are formally and clearly presented. Your legal adviser can help you do it right and you can blame the changes on them (good cop/bad cop).

Some of the most successful practices I deal with offer “employee extra’s”. Everything from bonuses tied to production, medical benefits and 401K programs attract and help retain quality team members. If you establish realistic incentives as part of your compensation program you will see production increase. As a leader you need to constantly motivate your team and compliments only go so far. People go to work for mostly one reason, to make money. And if you want people to help you make money, you have to let them make money. Let them make extra money through production incentive programs.

Talk to your practice consultant and financial adviser about establishing a 401k program, one that requires several years for vesting. Matching funds can be tied to production goals. You may be surprised how this small investment will pay off. Now, every team member has something to lose if production is flat.

Your team is your greatest asset. Keep them educated, informed, and part of your future. Quality is hard to find, don’t be afraid to invest and expect a healthy ROI. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.

August 12, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dental Consumable Analytics Control Your Overhead in Real Time!

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The American Dental Association has been tracking dental office operating expenses for years. Every area of organized operational data was collected from responding ADA members by a series of Q&A’s. With this data available you can evaluate your overhead investment and possibly plug up some of those holes in the ship that you didn’t know were there. Your category spend information can be found on your P&L statement and if the data was entered correctly the calculations are very simple. A certain percentage of the practice’s gross revenue is assigned to each business category (i.e. rent, salaries, supplies, lab, etc.) and now you have the information to formulate a practical budget.

A Practical Budget … It is hard for a “fluid” busy dental practice to budget consumable products and anticipate growth. But, there is a method and formula that works. Larger business always have operational budgets for both consumable and revenue generating investments. Note the word “investment” and not “expense”. Everything a business does should be looked at as an investment with a predictable return. A dental office’s quarterly investment on consumable supplies is one of the smaller line items on a financial P&L but one of the most fluid and requires time and effort. Time is money and the investment in supply ordering time should be considered as part of your “supply spend” budget.

Supply Spend … Most dental practices are small business. A small business in the U.S. is a company with gross revenues under $50M and most private dental practices fall in the lower end of that number. The process of supply procurement is usually given to a team member with instructions to “get the best deal”. That is a consumer mentality and not practical for an on going business. The ADA, through member research, reported that the average dental practice invests 6.5% of their gross production on clinical supplies. Inventory management is controlling that number (not line item cost) and getting it as low as possible while investing the least amount of time on this “non-revenue generating operational task”. A predictable working budget is based on accurate and detailed analytics.

Detailed Analytics … In today’s fast paced economy, everything is based on data. Is there any one supplier that can provide analytical reports on everything you use? Probably not because your spending time shopping for the cheapest price and not the overall value. Value is reducing that 6.5% to 5% or less and shifting “shopping time” to productive time and increasing revenue. What is value? It is competitive pricing, fast delivery, 6 or better inventory turns per year, minimal back-orders, and detailed analytics on product usage with experienced consultation free of charge. Detailed analysis will breakdown products by categories, quantity, spend, and manufactures. With this information you now have “buying power”. But, how do you get there and how do you start?

How do you get there? … Data entry is the key factor and maybe the hardest part. But, I can take most of that burden off your shoulders. I have the analytical formula and the software programs to organize the supply data and give you all the information that is needed to establish a formulary that will achieve multiple inventory turns, reduced lost inventory, create a predictable budget, and get your supply spend below 5%. It’s time to reduce the inventory footprint on overhead. Please feel free to contact me at any time with any questions or concerns.

July 29, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Keeping it in House “Out Patient Services”

negotiate

The other day I was talking to my Primary Medical Healthcare Provider about my Primary Dental Healthcare Provider and how changes in delivering healthcare are effecting the patients, clinical operations, and the cost of doing business. Most medical offices in my little corner of the world are part of groups. Those groups have specialists and hospital affiliation for diagnostic testing (economies of scale), but the dental healthcare system does not.

Dental Healthcare … Statistics tell us that dental healthcare professionals make more money than medical professionals at the same level. However, the cost of operations weighs much heavier on the dental community. When I was in Dr. Peter’s (MD) office I noticed his Ritter exam table, Ritter is a Midmark Co. and the exam table probably costs about as much as a Midmark dental chair. But, there was no x-ray, overhead light, high & low speed handpieces, lasers, and you know the rest. Dr. Peter refers to central out-patient services for diagnostic testing and clinical procedures. Your dental office is part of out-patient services, you do same day clinical procedures and in the near future you have to consider being a One Stop Shop.

One Stop Shop … In my opinion, the dental office of the future will need to offer all special services (Endo, OS, Perio, Pedo, Ortho, etc. ). All of these services are individual revenue streams and profit centers. Specialist graduating a dental specialty program today, unless they have a unique situation, will not have their own practices. They will be working for a group or they will be a traveling specialist. With more GP’s doing endo, implants and ortho, the specialist of the future will not be able to justify their own office, considering the cost of operations and relying on referrals. Also, with falling insurance reimbursement rates the general practice will need the added volume to offset the loss of net revenue.

Net Revenue … I have been in the dental industry for over 40 years. I have seen the changes in healthcare over the decades and changes happen in medical about 5-7 years before dental. Everything the dental office deals with today has been effecting medical for years. So why not predict that the future of dentistry will be to provide in-house, all out-patient services. The direction healthcare is talking is insurance based and that means more expense in providing secure digital diagnostic information to insurance carriers. The technology required to comply with all the new formats and diagnostics is a large business investment so maybe it is time to consider “economies of scale”

Economies of Scale … You want that new CBT that does bitewings. The more that machine is used, the more revenue it generates. That $7k implant motor generates revenue every time it is used. Your new Tri-Auto ZX2 endo system adds billable procedure codes to your day. By utilizing specialties the shared cost of operations will benefit the practice as well as the patient.

Out-Patient Services … In a practical sense, a dental office is an out-patient clinic. The quality of the clinic and the services they offer are at the discretion of management, but by offering as much as possible in-house, you will attract new patients and capture a good part of your lost revenue. Please feel free to contact me at any time with any questions or concerns.

Total Health

July 23, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Class Action Liability Risks for Violations of ADA and New York Human Rights Laws

In January 2018, the federal government conformed its website accessibility requirements to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), an international set of standards intended to make web content more accessible to users with perceptual or physical challenges. The WCAG addresses low vision, color perception, cognition, manual dexterity, screen reading technology, and other issues related to user abilities. The Department of Justice (DOJ) promised to do the same in the private sector by mid-year, but that initiative has been deferred.

As a consequence, there has been a surge of class action lawsuits alleging Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) violations based on access to website information that the Courts have been addressing individually. The first federal court decision that a website violated the ADA was in early 2017. The decision was followed by 800 federal lawsuits that year alone, alleging ADA as well as state law civil rights violations. (New York led the way with more cases than any other state). Until a clear standard is set by Congress or the appropriate regulatory agency, web site ADA lawsuits will continue to increase.

The ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of a disability “in places of public accommodations”.  As such, any business is potentially an ADA class action target. Class actions require only one named plaintiff (who brings suit individually and on behalf of those “similarly situated”), and one defendant (potentially, you). Whether you are a large or small business, brick and mortar, or web-based only, defending an ADA/Human Rights Law class action promises to be costly in two ways. Not only is there the risk of a potential damage award, the ADA is a “fee shifting statute.” As a result, a defendant must pay its own legal costs to defend the action and may be required to pay those of a successful plaintiff as well. These costs alone may run into the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Now, with the website accessibility lawsuit floodgate open, it imperative for businesses to ensure ADA compliance. The easiest and most economical approach is a website compliance audit and action-item checklist conducted by legal counsel experienced in ADA website accessibility issues. For instance, does your website include:

  • Visual Alternatives (pre-recorded text for audio, descriptors for images)
  • Sound alternatives (text descriptors for audio)
  • Color Contrasting (that meet the minimum ratios)
  • Key board navigation (i.e. function and/or tab key, not mouse-only options)
  • Adjustable font size (without content or acuity loss)
  • Semantic HTML (descriptive headings that identify the content that follows)

Many of these features are easy (and inexpensive) to implement once you (and your website consultant) know what is required.

This article was published by the Mandelbaum Salsbug, www.lawfirm.ms, Cyber Security Team.

Cyber security directly effects your HIPPA management program. Are you secure? Please feel to contact me at anytime with questions or concerns.

 

July 8, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Change in State Sales Tax Law

“The U.S. Supreme Court, in a landmark 5-4 ruling, basically gave states the green light to have online retailers collect sales tax, just like any local retailer. The message of that decision for e-commerce players? They’ve grown so big that they can’t get any special breaks anymore, at least when it comes to collecting sales tax, regardless of whether they have any physical presence in a state”. … Forbes https://www.forbes.com/sites/andriacheng/2018/06/22/what-supreme-courts-internet-sales-tax-ruling-says-about-the-state-of-retail/#29618c791e9c

State sales tax laws are regulated by the individual states. In New York, the county governments add their piece What items are taxable are also decided by the states and it varies quite a bit. For example in my state, New Jersey, 35%-40% of dental clinical materials used are taxable, in New York it’s 95%. There is no published list, just an overall consumer tax concept so it is left to the discretion and interpretation of the state tax auditor.

State Tax Auditors … New Jersey just settled a state budget fight, the issue was what taxes to raise. The state also plans on more random audits of business to collect unreported USE tax. In healthcare, the auditor is not going to break down taxable and non-taxable items and out of state vendors will resist the obligation to collect tax. However, when requested, they will have to submit sales reports to any state that requests it.

The State Request … I strongly suggest that at the next quarterly meeting you have with your tax advisor you discuss your ability to provide information requested by the state should you be chosen to be audited. You will be asked to produce 3-5 years of invoices both payables and receivables, tax returns, bank statements, employment records, and schedule an on-sight visit. It’s not fun and you can’t win so be prepared. States are preparing to cash in on internet sales.

Internet Sales … Not all internet sellers will collect sales tax and it will be nearly impossible for a state to track internet sales directly from small vendors so audits will continue. On-line sellers eBay, Amazon, Wayfair, and others with a large web presence will turn over sales through their organizations when a state’s sales tax is not collected. The state will use technology and artificial intelligence to assimilate the data and send bills with interest and penalties. Repeated state billing will raise red flags and initiate a physical audit. Some of this scenario is personal speculation, but can you argue with it? States need revenue and with today’s technology, sales tax is low hanging fruit. There is an old saying “if you want to play, be prepared to pay”.

Play & Pay … You don’t want to be audited, it is an experience that could change your life. When you get that first letter asking you to contact (Mr./Ms.) from the State Division of Taxation you know you already lost. You will need to supply everything within 30 days and when you do, you will be asked for more or missing documentation. Every area of your dental practice will be examined and unfortunately nothing is perfect. If you cannot provide accurate information you will be penalized. Ask me, I know first hand.

Being prepared … I recently was asked to reproduce 3 years of invoices for a client that was under audit. The office was as clean an organized as possible but between accounting fees, USE tax violations, interest and penalties the bill was about $9k. The best way to avoid an audit is not to raise red flags. No one charges tax, we just collect it. Keep your business relationships only with organizations that recognize and participate in your state’s laws and regulations.

The Argument … I experienced a business state tax audit and the auditor was on-site for 4 days. There was an hour argument over “retraction cord” if it was taxable or not! We won that one but they did find a $17.00 error that cost us $2500.00. Do it right and you will minimize the damage. Be prepared! Consult with your tax advisor today and please feel free to contact me at any time with any questions or concerns.

July 1, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dental Business Analytics, The Story Unfolds!

In 2018 every business is talking about analytics and reading the numbers. If you’re a sports fan, especially baseball, you know that Billy Bean, the GM of the Los Angeles Angels, started using it years ago, they called it “Billy Ball”. The program got the team into the playoffs for several consecutive years because the numbers worked. Hollywood told the story in the movie Money Ball.

Money Ball … By analyzing statistics the Angles were able to position their players for the best average match-up against their opponents. Averages played out more than 50% of the time so the team succeeded. In the real world Billy Bean was not a genus, he was just very smart and trusted business like statistics as a tool to achieve his goal. The business of dentistry is not different, statistics tell the story.

The Story … By knowing what you have, what you spend, and what statistical averages are you can maximize your production and minimize liabilities. Most dental practices have no control of consumables, even if they think they do, and spend too much production time trying to save money on line items. That’s a consumer mentality and if it describes a practice you know I guarantee there is a lot left on the table. The ADA estimates that the average dental practice in the United States spends a certain percentage of their gross production on the different categories of business operations. There are some regional adjustments due to local economies but the average percentages have been consistent for years. Your numbers are found on your profit & loss statement and should be vetted for accuracy before you start studying analytical data to tighten up the ship.

Vetting for accuracy … To properly analyze consumables within an organization, payable invoices need to be categorized correctly. For example, if you use an in-office milling system all of the supplies, including blocks, should be considered lab supplies, not clinical supplies. Once all consumables are properly categorized you will begin creating accurate data that would lead to practical quarterly category budgets.

Consumable budgets … every business has someone that orders consumable items that are needed to function. In some cases there are several. Each buyer needs a budget to stay within but that number needs to coordinate with practice growth. Question, how do you know how much you need? Answer, Analytics and a targeted percentage of the practices gross production. That may sound easy but it isn’t, you need to change your mind-set and focus on production. You need to trust that the percentages will play out and all you will have to do is adjust for growth. You will need software and data entry or you can outsource the analysis.

The Analysis … How much junk do you have on your shelves? How many different brands of product do you have that do the same thing? How much lost inventory do you have? Operating lean and strong is a process. Get started now because in 5 years it may be too late.. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.

June 24, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dental Scanners Everywhere! How do you know what to buy?

The very last thing you should do is buy an Impression Scanner at a trade show. Dental conventions are a great place to look at everything but you want to see that expensive investment in your office. Every scanner has pro’s and con’s and those differences will effect the production of the office. Top KOL clinicians may have 2 or 3 different brand scanners because some are better than others for certain procedures. For most of us, one scanner is quite sufficient but which one is best for you?

The Best Fit … What are you planning on using a scanner for? Are you thinking Invisalign? If so then you are limiting your options. Align Technologies only accepts images for several scanners such as CEREC, True Definition & iTero (Generic). If you’re thinking restorative & cosmetic then there is a lot to look at. My experience with technology taught me not take the first off the assembly line and to factor in integration into your network and support services as a higher priority than the price. Today, these 4 scanners top my list and are worth looking into.

True Definition … 3M brought this perfect introductory level scanner to the market a number of years ago so it is proven in the field. It is small, self contained, very portable, high definition and works on an open platform so it will communicate with a wide variety of digital equipment currently in the office including mills. The camera is only black & white and utilizes industry standard optical components. At a cost of $15k to $17k it is best entry level system for the practice that may not be sure about scanning. Warning, after getting into scanning, there is a good chance you may need and want more.

Emerald Scanner … Several years ago Planmeca Corp. took control of D4D Technologies. The E4D scanner was up-graded and renamed Emerald. This full color laser image scanner works on an open platform and will integrate seamlessly with a CBT, Mill and your software. E4D’s technology has been evolving for over two decades and is proven in the market. For the practice that is anticipating more digital solutions in the future, this is the system. Cost is under $30k.

3 Shape … Trios Corp. takes restorative dentistry to a new level. This system is so impressive utilizing laser image capture, an open software platform, and true color. The camera does more than just capture images, it also is an intraoral camera. But the most advanced feature is the built in shade matching camera. A tooth often has several fluctuation in shade, the 3 Shape will recognize them and transmit a perfect color correct image to your lab. When connected to a mill, this is a front line in-office Cad Cam system. If restorative and cosmetic dentistry is your thing, 3 Shape fits the practice. Cost (depending on options) $35k to $45k.

CEREC … The Grand Daddy of Dental Impression Scanner has been around for over 30 years. It is tested, proven, and does everything you can imagine. CEREC is fast and delivers true color. The software is not an open platform and the system does require a cart that takes some floor space but the quality and reputation of Dentslply Sirona’s Cerec system speaks for it’s self. Long before many current dentists were born, the Cerec System was being developed. The images can be transmitted to any Cerec authorized lab or converted to an STS files and sent anywhere, including Invisalign. The scanner only system (depending on options) is under $30k.

The Bottom Line … Dental impression scanning is here to stay, it is the future. If you are going to be practicing dentistry for another 5 years or more, you will need to engage this digital technology. The next generation of adult patients will require it. Although you will be eliminating 90% of your impression material costs, you will need annual support contracts so scanning will not save money but it will increase production and help increase revenue. Don’t fall too far behind the curve, catch-up is more expensive. Please feel free to contact me with questions or concerns.

 

 

June 18, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dental Medicine, Beyond the Mouth

Did you ever ask yourself what type of dental practice you have? Is it strongest in hygiene, C&B, Implant, or endo? What marketing protocol supports those procedures? It’s the patient experience that we discussed last week, and it starts at the front desk and is handed off to hygiene.

What happens in Hygiene … I have been in a lot of dental practices and I have met all types of hygienists. Most don’t fully understand systemic health screening as an internal marketing tool that can generate revenue while providing the patient with a different dental experience. Along with checking BP and blood levels for diabetic patients dental practices can now screen for a host of general health conditions and just maybe save someone’s life.

Saving someone’s life … It’s not easy. Dental patients do not often want to be screened for anything by a “dentist” because it may cost money and “it’s the dentist”. That’s why hygiene is the format for all screening and when it doesn’t cost you anything, you give it away for free. Patient’s trust the hygienist and assistant with their health, they trust the dentist will cost money. So hygiene should start the conversation and focus on 3 simple checks, blood pressure & diabetic levels and Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea … So many practices looked at this as a revenue generating procedure only to find that there was little patient acceptance so they stopped. In every case the office did not understand the power of OSA screening. It’s not about selling appliances, it’s about the patient experience and getting new patients.

Getting new patients … Obstructive sleep apnea is in the news every day. It is at epidemic levels and there is public awareness. A coordinated program can piggy-back off the media attention by simply asking a few questions. Questions usually lead to discovery. Here is an example:

Hygienist: Good morning Mrs. Smith, I see that nothing has changed in your medical history. Any headaches? Indigestion? Problems sleeping?

Mrs. Smith: No, I feel great!

Hygienist: Wonderful, no one complaining about snoring issues?

Mrs. Smith: No, but my husband sounds like a buzz saw.

Hygienist: Really, you should have him stop by for the doctor to take a look, it will take about 5 minutes and I am sure the doctor would extend the curtesy of a quick exam. We may be able to help or diagnose possible OSA.

You just created a “WOW” factor and asked for a patient at the same time. These conversations should be pre-loaded at the morning huddle. What makes you different than every other dental office? Doing the extras! The new world is technology.

Technology … Do your patients know that your CBT will search for all abnormalities within its field of view? Do they know that you can detect systemic probabilities long before any symptoms? Dentists save lives every day. My favorite story was the dentist that installed a new digital pan and spotted a 75% blockage in both choreatic arteries. He contacted the patient’s primary care physician and probably saved the patient’s life. Maybe it’s time to be different. Be a physician.

A Physician … A Dentist is a specialist just like a Cardiologist. As a matter of fact, they should work together closely as part of the patient’s health care team. Remember, medicine is reactive, Dentistry is proactive. Be different! Please feel free to contact me with questions or concerns.

 

June 10, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment