Guest post by Dawn Christodoulou, President/Owner of XLDent

As the owner of a practice starting out or a stagnant one trying to grow, you are faced with figuring out what impacts practice growth the most. When properly planned, three areas can help to maximize growth from day one.

  1. Systems

You’re likely not thinking about efficiency or productivity during your first days or weeks in business. With a handful of patients each day, you’re not faced with bottlenecks, communication gaps, or duplication of processes. Alas, you soon will be. Systems minimize gaps or overlaps in your daily processes. They are needed for productive workflows and profitability.

Create standard operating procedures (SOPs) early on. Doing so sets the stage for staff expectations, accountability measures, and helps you measure areas of success or needs for improvement. Early on, you are likely running your practice without a full team. You have an assistant also taking on the front desk role, because you’re simply not busy enough yet to hire a full-time admin team member. As you bring on new staff, a written set of SOPs will ensure each team member is prepared and knows their responsibilities. Systems should be created knowing they will evolve as your practice grows and staff roles change. XLDent provides each practice, whether just starting out or transitioning from another PMS, a core set of SOPs to start with. They are a fantastic starting point for those new to establishing systems, and are customized by each practice as needed.

  1. XLDent blog photo Mockup-12-19-16Reviews and Referrals

I doubt there’s a practice starting out today that doesn’t have an online presence from day one. From the day you open your doors, focus on creating a process for reviews and referrals. Nothing attracts new patients more than a healthy online rating and patients who aren’t afraid to tell others about their great experience. After a visit, ask your patient if they were happy with their experience and funnel them right over to do that 5-star review. Lighthouse 360 helps you automate this. Emails. are automatically sent post-visit, and good reviews are posted right to your website and social media pages.

  1.  Patient Experience

It’s no surprise that convenience and consumer experience are priorities when a new patient chooses a dentist. They are especially significant in gaining one who is loyal. Don’t discount the importance of electronic reminders, online access, and paperless forms, to a patient. A busy mom doesn’t want to be faced with a stack of forms to complete that you’re going to scan and shred anyway. Consider a system that embraces all aspects of a streamlined paperless system, so you’re not left with the task of finding disconnected solutions that leave you with clumsy systems.

To connect with someone from XLDent, call 800-328-2925 or email xldentinfo@xldent.com

DawnDawn Christodoulou is the President/Owner of XLDent. She has more than 25 years of experience computerizing dental offices and helping both new and established practices streamline electronic workflows for increased efficiency, improve patient engagement, and achieve maximum profitability. Dawn is also a member of ADA SCDI Working Groups 11.1 Standard Clinical Architecture and 11.9 Core Reference Data Set.

 

Sex, Drugs & Oral Cancer…what does this mean? Let’s take a closer look at oral cancer to see how sex and drugs play a role in the development. The risk factors for oral cancer are not only the traditional risk factors of tobacco, alcohol, and age, but now there is an increasing prevalence being caused from a sexually transmitted virus, HPV 16. With the new risk factor of HPV, oral cancer is not only affecting older patients, but now younger patients without the traditional risk factors. This means that everyone who walks into your office potentially has a significant risk factor. Just as with other cancers, early diagnosis of oral cancer provides a markedly improved prognosis for the patient. Knowing that early discovery for cancer saves lives, our goal should be to screen every patient. With the changing trends, it is important to have a tool in your arsenal for early discovery. OralID™ is the perfect solution and is being used in some of the top clinics and cancer centers across the nation.

OralID™ is an FDA Cleared medical device for oral cancer (and pre-cancer) screening. Without the need for any rinses, dyes or other consumables, OralID™ uses fluorescence technology that when shined in the mouth causes healthy tissue to fluoresce an apple-green color and suspicious tissue appears dark. If a dark lesion is found, the recommended protocol for screening is to have the patient back in two weeks to reassess the lesion. Normally these lesions will have healed in the follow-up period. If the lesion is still present, then performing an advanced cytology swab (CytID™) or a biopsy (PathID™) is recommended at that point.

In addition to the OralID™, Forward Science provides complimentary diagnostic tests designed for early discovery. The company offers an all-inclusive program, called the ID For Life Program™, that provides not only the OralID™ device for each office, but diagnostic tests, unlimited support, marketing materials, a lifetime warranty, and more. The ID For Life Program™ helps to ensure success in implementing an oral cancer screening protocol in each office.

As oral cancer has continued to rise over the past eight years along with the risk factors now affecting all demographics, we encourage you to join Forward Science and commit to screening each of your patients. By working together, we may play a crucial part in reversing oral cancer trends through early detection. Learn more by visiting www.forwardscience.com.

FSForward Science is a privately held biotechnology company based in Houston, Texas. OralID, Forward Science’s flagship product, is an award winning oral cancer screening device that allows clinicians to Shine Light. Save Lives.™ by identifying abnormalities that may not be seen under traditional white light examinations. Forward Science quickly expanded its product portfolio in efforts to provide clinicians with a complete program to battle the rising trends of oral cancer. With the launch of the ID For Life™ Program, Forward Science has evolved into the industry leader for oral oncology. The ID For Life™ Program includes the following in an effort to change the trends for oral cancer: screening device (OralID), diagnostic tests (CytID, PathID, hpvID, phID), and treatment options (SalivaMAX). SalivaMAX is Forward Science’s latest product offering, which is an FDA Cleared prescription strength rinse for all ranges of xerostomia.

By Courtney L. Lavigne, DMD

Graduating dental school with today’s student debt burden is overwhelming. It can be even more stressful to finally finish school and realize how little you know, how inundated dentistry can make you feel, and how difficult it can be to find the path to do the dentistry you always dreamed of doing. Three years out of dental school, I found myself burning out—feeling overworked and underpaid.

In that situation, it’s hard to imagine spending any more money, but in my experience, it’s a necessity to advance your potential clinically, which will in turn increase the satisfaction you gain from the profession.

One of the ways I found my path out of burnout and into a real passion for the profession was through the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD). It was through this association that I found mentors who taught me how to decrease the number of patients I see per day, increase my clinical ability and the complexity of the dental work I’m doing, and find greater financial and personal rewards in the process.

It can be intimidating to attend an annual meeting when you are flying out of town, staying at a hotel by yourself, questioning how to dress, and realizing you don’t know anyone. The AACD’s annual meeting made it easy to enter the world of cosmetic dentistry because they find mentors to reach out to first-time attendees. At my first meeting, I met my mentor, and we’ve become good friends since. The lectures and hands-on workshops at their annual meeting are, in my opinion, the best bang-for-your-buck available in dentistry today. Over the course of a three-day period, you can learn from some of the best lecturers in the world, and take home pearls you can put into practice the next time you’re in the office.

I’ve attended the conference every year since my first, and I take Newton Fahl’s hands-on workshop multiple times at every conference. In addition to the educational material, I always look forward to the evening events which are not only fun, but allow you to network with some of dentistry’s best and brightest. I’ve made some of my closest friends in dentistry this way.

This year at the annual meeting in Las Vegas, I was honored to be on the other side, lecturing for the first time. A few years ago, I would have never imagined I could have knowledge others would benefit from. But today, I’m enjoying sharing the knowledge, tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way, alongside others striving to do the same.

It’s hard to swallow the expenses of some of this continuing education as a new graduate, but the return on your investment will truly be priceless.

AACDBlogPicCourtney Lavigne received her undergraduate degree at Creighton University and her doctorate at the University of Connecticut. She maintains a private fee-for-service practice in the Boston suburbs with a focus on cosmetic dentistry. She started her practice from scratch in 2013.

Dr. Lavigne is a fellow in the Academy of General Dentistry, the Pierre Fauchard Academy, visiting faculty and online author for Spear Education, and working towards accreditation through the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.

Guest post by Harold A. Smith, DDS, President of the AADSM

As the number of adults diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea continues to increase, dentists have the opportunity to integrate oral appliance therapy into their skill set to help treat this serious disease. Continuing education (CE) courses provide the knowledge needed to expand into dental sleep medicine, but dentists should be wary that some educational offerings provide inadequate instruction and may teach outdated practices or non-validated protocols.

Here are four indicators of inferior education in dental sleep medicine that you should avoid when selecting CE courses

1. Overgeneralized instruction – Courses that attempt to be all things to all people, and are not designed to meet the different levels of dental sleep medicine experience and knowledge, most likely will not meet your professional nds. Beware of courses that are overgeneralized to draw as many attendees as possible.

2. Integrated teaching and testing entities – Education providers should administer certification testing and education from separate boards to ensure that dentists’ education is the main focus of the organization. Distinction between these goals is expected and necessary in prestigious medical education programs, and the same standards should apply to dental sleep medicine courses.

3. For-profit organizations – Any organization that stands to profit from teaching participants to use particular devices or services cannot provide impartial instruction. While these courses can help you learn about tools of the trade, they are not a substitute for gaining fundamental, unbiased knowledge about dental sleep medicine.

4. Access to test questions – Courses that provide advance access to questions that will appear on an upcoming certification exam do not support the competency in dental sleep medicine that our medical colleagues will respect and expect.

For superior CE courses that directly benefit you and your practice, the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine provides education that is built upon 25 years of proven success in growing dental sleep medicine careers and businesses. AADSM offers best-in-class educational opportunities that are recognized, respected and rewarding – putting you at the forefront of the field.

As the only non-profit, professional association dedicated exclusively to dental sleep medicine, AADSM affiliation is important to physicians, payers and patients who are looking for qualified dentists to help treat sleep apnea with oral appliance therapy. AADSM courses are recognized by the ADA Continuing Education Recognition Program (CERP) and are the best investment for those looking to achieve respected certification in dental sleep medicine, build long-lasting medical relationships and gain patients. The AADSM offers a tailored educational approach that will give you the credibility and tools to unlock immediate opportunities to advance your dental sleep medicine career – increasing your patient roster and your revenue.

Dental sleep medicine is a smart, viable and valuable opportunity for dentists interested in providing sleep solutions to their patients and expanding their practice. The sooner you become an expert, the better positioned you’ll be for success and seniority in this fast-growing, exciting dental field. To accelerate your dental sleep medicine career and improve your bottom line, learn more about best-in-class CE opportunities at www.AADSM.org.

Dr. Smith Headshot
Harold A. Smith, DDS, is the president of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM). He has provided oral appliance therapy since 1993 and is currently the clinical director of Dental Sleep Medicine of Indiana. He also serves as the dental consultant to the major Indianapolis hospital sleep disorder centers and is on faculty at Indiana University School of Medicine’s Fellowship program in sleep medicine.
As a distinguished speaker and ABDSM Diplomate, Dr. Smith has lectured nationally on the dentist’s role as part of a medical team in sleep medicine. He also has served on many levels of organized dentistry throughout the years. Dr. Smith is a Fellow of the American College of Dentists and is an active member of the AASM, ADA, IDA, IDDS and AGD. He is a graduate of the Indiana University School of Dentistry.
An active and passionate dental sleep medicine professional, Dr. Smith served as president of the AADSM from 2002 to 2004, received the AADSM Distinguished Service Award in 2006 and acted as president of the ABDSM from 2008-2010.

Guest post by Dawn Christodoulou, President/Owner of XLDent

Whether you’re just getting started or a seasoned vet, every dentist has heard the phrase “If it’s not in the chart, it didn’t happen.” And, even though we’ve all heard it before, many dentists continue to repeat the bad habits of their predecessors, leaving themselves at risk for malpractice lawsuits and fraud.

The Dental Chart

In order for the dental chart, or electronic dental record, to be defensible in a court of law, it needs to provide a consistent and detailed account of events.

Health History

While most practices are good about obtaining health history information at the time of a patient’s initial visit, many fail to maintain consistency when it comes to updating information. With a lot of dentists counting on hygienists and assistants to update health history information, it’s easy to get lazy with your review of this information. Make it a habit to review the information in your electronic dental record prior to each patient encounter and document this in your clinical progress note. The recent addition of the Medical Tab in the XLDent chart helps clinicians view and update medical conditions and medications easily.

Pre-Treatment Diagnosis

Failure to document a definitive diagnosis is a common weakness to the electronic dental record in many practices. The clinical progress note should reflect your diagnosis and the findings that led to your diagnosis. Supporting items, like radiographs and treatment plans, will also help strengthen and validate your progress note. Your documentation must reflect the treatment options that were recommended and alternatives that were discussed with the patient.

Informed Consent

Prior to treatment, the dentist bears the responsibility of obtaining informed consent from the patient to perform the procedures that were diagnosed. For most, the process to obtain consent involves a conversation with the patient that results in patient understanding and acceptance of the treatment that will be provided. When it comes to malpractice claims, lack of consent is frequently cited. The clinical progress note should reference the process used to obtain consent and that the patient consented to treatment provided. For riskier procedures, consider obtaining consent in writing to help support your clinical note. One method is clinical consent forms that are signed on the tablet pc when using XLDent’s Ink Forms.

Medications

Even in 2017, many prescribers will be the victim of prescription theft or tampering. Sending prescriptions to the pharmacy electronically offers greater protection for the prescriber, reducing the risk of fraud. Additionally, ePrescribing software offers safety measures for the patient.

We hope these recommendations will help you minimize the risk of fraud or error in your clinical settings.

To connect with someone from XLDent, please call 800-328-2925 or email xldentinfo@xldent.com.

Dawn

Dawn Christodoulou is the President/Owner of XLDent. She has more than 25 years of experience computerizing dental offices and helping both new and established practices streamline electronic workflows for increased efficiency, improve patient engagement, and achieve maximum profitability. Dawn is also a member of ADA SCDI Working Groups 11.1 Standard Clinical Architecture and 11.9 Core Reference Data Set.

Mr. Jerry Davis of Galatia, Illinois just phoned The New Dentist looking for a dentist to practice in this small community. Galatia is a village in Saline County, Illinois and as of the 2010 census, the village population was 933.  The village owns a brand new dental office there but needs a dentist.  He said, “I figure there may a new dentist who is required to work in a rural area as part of their loan.”  Galatia is near Harrisburg, IL, which is the biggest nearest town.

If you are interested you can contact him at 618-926-8555 or jwdavis41@frontier.com.

Here to help,

The New Dentist™

Online reviews are one of the most significant factors influencing private practice dentistry today.

I don’t even remember if online reviews existed when I was in dental school (2004-2008).  If they did, they weren’t that popular.  Our training focused on diagnostic competency, the technical aspects of performing clinical dentistry, and treating human beings with dignity and compassion.  These were the standards we were held to in our training, and like many I assumed that these would be the standards I would be held to as a professional in my career.

Of course I am held to high professional and ethical standards by myself, by my peers, by board, by my associations, and by my patients. In the online review era, I am held to another standard as well.  Anyone with an Internet connection can go online, find a picture of me, say whatever they want about me, and rate my service and ability as a professional on the “star scale”.  I used to associate the “star scale” with Ed McMahon and Star Search or reading an album review in Rolling Stone magazine.  Now, when I think of the “star scale”, I think of what I do.

There’s a certain amount of indignity that comes along with a publicly available star rating system with your face next to it. It is frustrating to realize that all of my education and hard work and time and love and care in dentistry can be reduced by anyone to a star rating.  It is humiliating and can make one feel powerless.

Humiliation. Indignity. Eight years of higher education sure made me arrogant, right?  I know I’m not alone.  How do we get over ourselves and take this seriously?  By realizing that we are not powerless. By keeping customer service at the forefront of all decisions in the practice, we can take control of the online review reality and actually use it to our advantage.

In my practice, we talk about online reviews on a daily basis.  We ask patients to write them every day. We read them aloud at our monthly meetings and use them to educate our team.  The things people say in reviews help us to understand what matters most to our patients.  Being conscious of the experience we provide patients is no longer optional.  If we don’t provide excellent customer service experiences, none of our clinical training as dentists matters.

 

Larry Dougherty

Larry DoughertyLarry Doughtery, DDS, is a 2008 graduate of Nova Southeastern University. He has chaired a number of committees on new dentists, has taught at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio School of Dentistry, and now owns Rolling Oaks Dental, a start-up practice in San Antonio, where he practices with his wife who is also a dentist.

Guest post by Dawn Christodoulou, President/Owner of XLDent

For most dentists, starting a business is a time filled with excitement and confusion. Whether buying an existing practice or starting a new one, incorporating the right technology is one key to practice success. When it comes to practice technology, the temptation to DIY can lead the Dentist through a vortex of projects and complications. In addition, a DIY network could present limitations down the road. Let’s examine a few of the most important considerations a new dentist should make when choosing technology partners.

When choosing a hardware vendor or network service provider…

A partner that focuses on dentistry can have a critical impact on your practice success. Because technology failure equals loss of production, a company with expertise in the dental field will be able to minimize downtime. In addition, your partner will have a knowledge about digital x-ray systems and peripheral technologies that not just any IT company will know.

When choosing a dental software program…

With many dental software programs available, choosing a scalable solution will support your practice through growth and transition. The future of many privately owned practices includes multiple locations and multiple specialties offered. As your practice flourishes, your software partner should provide guidance about best practices. Recommendations about workflow optimization, billing, production tracking and database management will help you streamline your business. When starting your practice, a partner that supports multi-location and multi-specialty practices with one database will be a key consideration.

When choosing ANY technology partner…

Consider the learning tools that the partner can offer. As a dentist, production time is so valuable! Partners that provide excellent opportunities for learning new things will save you so much time in the end. CAN you install your own digital x-ray sensors and train your team on proper techniques? Sure, but your time is worth more than that! Take advantage of web based and in person learning opportunities that will help your business reach its fullest potential. A partner who understands your vision will guide you through the steps necessary to meet your goals.

As an independent dental software company, XLDent is dedicated to the preservation of private dentistry and has made it our purpose to help new dentists in practice build successful small businesses.

To connect with someone from XLDent, please call 800-328-2925 or email xldentinfo@xldent.com.

Dawn

 

Dawn Christodoulou is the President/Owner of XLDent. She has more than 25 years of experience computerizing dental offices and helping both new and established practices streamline electronic workflows for increased efficiency, improve patient engagement, and achieve maximum profitability. Dawn is also a member of ADA SCDI Working Groups 11.1 Standard Clinical Architecture and 11.9 Core Reference Data Set.

 

steps

5 Tips to Help New Dentists Build Patient Loyalty

As a New Dentist, you face the challenge of establishing strong patient relationships. Patient loyalty is not gained by just one thing, but by a compilation of positive influences. Because it’s so critical to practice success, let’s look at 5 ways you can help build loyalty in your practice.

  1. Get to Know Your Patients Before You Meet Them

By spending just one minute reviewing a patient’s dental chart before you enter the operatory you can identify how long this patient has been seen in your office, who their family is and notable treatment history. Long-term patients will be impressed if you acknowledge the trust they’ve put in this practice and thank them for being your patient.

Using a patient web portal that allows patients to get started with registration forms before their first visit can help get the relationship started even before they walk in the door.

  1. Use Interactive Technology

Rather than being the doc with your back to the patient while you look at some crusty monitor, try engaging your patient in their dental chart. Use a Tablet PC to educate the patient about their dental treatment, review xrays, sign treatment consent forms and watch patient education videos. With a Tablet PC in hand, you’re speaking to patients at their level, not pointing at a TV in the corner.

  1. Web Presence is a Must

Don’t waste time introducing yourself online. Use your website and Facebook page to feature pictures and a short bio for a great introduction to you and your practice. And incorporating videos are even better! If you don’t have the time or resources to invest in professional video, make a selfie video with your phone and put it on Facebook. It may feel awkward, but your patients will appreciate seeing the real you. Be sure to show your personality and give patients a way to connect with you on social media.

  1. Share your Passion

Take time to inform your patients about changes in dentistry such as new products available for home use, changes in regulations or rules, and new technology. Share your opinions, beliefs and goals. Use your social media channel to communicate your message and consider sending out patient newsletters too. Patients want to go to a dentist that stays current and cares about industry changes. So tell them what’s going on!

  1. Communication

With electronic records, communication is getting easier every day. During an appointment, you can easily email perio charts and treatment plans directly to your patients. If they aren’t ready to schedule their treatment plan today, send them a copy so that they can review the plan when they get home. Including online communication methods helps to broaden the connection patients have with you and your team.

A great dental software program is a key component to establishing patient relationships that lead to long-term loyalty. XLDent simplifies your workflows, helps you make the best use of current technology, and gives you the tools to do all this.

As an independent dental software company, XLDent is dedicated to the preservation of private dentistry and has made it our purpose to help new dentists in practice build successful small businesses.

 

Dawn

Dawn Christodoulou is the President/Owner of XLDent.  She has more than 25 years of experience computerizing dental offices and helping both new and established practices streamline electronic workflows for increased efficiency, improve patient engagement, and achieve maximum profitability.  Dawn is also a member of ADA SCDI Working Groups 11.1 Standard Clinical Architecture and 11.9 Core Reference Data Set.

To speak with someone from XLDent, please call 800-328-2925, or email xldentinfo@xldent.com

Guest post by Dawn Christodoulou, President/Owner of XLDent

Starting a new business is a huge undertaking, and next to the decision to go to dental school, probably one of the biggest decisions of a new dentist’s professional life.  We applaud and congratulate new business owners for their desire to be their own boss, and thank them for opening the doors to a brand new business in their community.  As a privately owned business ourselves, XLDent is dedicated to the preservation of private dentistry and has made it our purpose to help new dentists in practice build successful small businesses.

We are now in the era of electronic records, so it is important to choose a system that will help you go totally paperless from the beginning, is easy to operate, and morphs as needed to support the evolution of the growing business.  That’s why we recommend a “Plan…Build…Implement…Review…Grow” approach when setting up the dental practice management software and clinical image systems.  It’s important to build a solid foundation from the beginning and select a company that will listen to you, consult with you, and help you establish the core business systems that will be essential to the success of your future practice.

Data is key to any business, therefore successful database establishment is the key to initiating core business systems. As each new dentist starts their journey, we ask them to consider that there is value in the depth and breadth of the patient database they are about to build.  The content, integrity and continuity of electronic dental records will play a key role in their ability to grow efficiently and profitably, as well as maintain valuable patient relationships and patient engagement mechanisms.  Electronic dental records also become the “goodwill” that ultimately defines the value or worth of the business.

XLDent’s All-Inclusive Suite of products and services includes all the tools needed to start simply and finish BIG!  Because we know it’s costly to start up a new dental office, we offer a No Cost software solution and a Getting Started program that tracks with you during the critical first 12 months of your practice opening.  Additionally, you’ll have access to self-guided training resources, on-demand webinars and ongoing live technical support.

Click Here for a FREE no-obligation consultation and personal demonstration.

 

Dawn

Dawn Christodoulou is the President/Owner of XLDent.  She has more than 25 years of experience computerizing dental offices and helping both new and established practices streamline electronic workflows for increased efficiency, improved patient engagement, and maximum profitability.  Dawn is also a member of ADA SCDI Working Groups 11.1 Standard Clinical Architecture and 11.9 Core Reference Data Set.

To speak with someone from XLDent, please call 800-328-2925, or email Duane Anderson at Duane.anderson@xldent.com