Archive for June, 2013

5 Procedures Every New Dentist Must Perform #5

Saturday, June 29th, 2013

 

This is a continuation of my previous post on the 5 Procedures Every New Dentist Must Perform. Whether you are an associate, the owner of a new start-up, or purchasing an existing practice, there are certain things you can do to maximize your production and keep busy even with a limited patient base. As a new dentist, there are five things that you must be comfortable performing. In our last blogs we talked about

1.Pediatrics
2.Emergencies
3.Extractions
4.Endodontics
#5 of the 5 procedures every New Dentist must perform is:

 

#5 Hygiene
Dental-Cleaning-Pic
I know it’s not what you want to hear. No one wants to graduate from dental school and join, start, or buy a practice to be a hygienist. It’s not fun. It’s not glamorous. It’s not exciting, but it is one thing: production. If you are doing nothing else, why not fill some of your time with hygiene? Doing so could lead to a more profitable procedure. Most associates join practices in the summer when hygiene
schedules are packed full. If patients do not pre-book their appointments with the hygienist, odds are they will have a long wait during the summer to get their prophy appointment. As a new dentist, this is a no-brainer. Do the prophy,exam, and bitewings. The patient gets a chance to meet you and test you out with a low-stress procedure and may then be more willing to schedule any restorative work with you. For
an associate, it is a good way to show the senior doctor that you are willing to be a team player. If you are purchasing or starting your own practice, doing your own hygiene can not only generate production, it can also save overhead. Hygienists are expensive; they will be your most costly employee.

Doing your own hygiene for a time gives you a chance to get to know and impress your new patients. In addition, it gives you a much longer look at a patient’s oral condition while you are cleaning. This may lead to identifying more restorative opportunities. At some point, your schedule will be filled with enough restorative procedures to allow a part-time or full-time hygienist. Until then, keep it simple and do your own hygiene. Your patients will appreciate it!
Starting private practice after graduation from dental school is an intimidating prospect. By becoming comfortable with hygiene, endodontics, extractions, emergencies, and pediatrics, you can transition into practice with less stress, helping ease the burdens presented by post-dental school life.

Where’s Your ‘Wow’?

Saturday, June 15th, 2013

So, you want more new patients.

 

You’ve begged, cajoled, pleaded, and promised that their experience in your practice will be the best ever! And then what happens? They show up in your practice ready to be wowed … can you deliver?

 

Delivering the excellent experience that patients expect begins long before they are seated in your treatment chair; it begins when they call your practice to schedule the appointment. If staff are not trained to expertly communicate with prospective as well as current patients, you are losing money. You are losing patients. And you are losing control of your reputation.

 

All new patients should be sent a practice “Welcome Packet” the day they schedule their first appointment. This includes a brief welcome letter from the doctor indicating his/her commitment to providing the best possible care for patients. The letter also emphasizes specific qualities about the practice that set it apart from others, such as, the extremely high infection control standards, dentistry for the entire family, painless dentistry techniques, etc. But don’t stop there.

 

The letter should direct the patients to the practice website where they can learn more about the office and the staff and complete necessary forms and paperwork in advance of the appointment. The Welcome Packet also should include a business card, a New Patient Information form, and a map to the practice with the office phone number on it.

 

Finally, when the new patient arrives, s/he should feel like s/he is the most important person in your office. Take the new patient on a brief tour of the office, and pay attention to the questions s/he asks and the comments the individual makes. These provide insight into the patient’s own oral health goals, objectives, and possible concerns.

5 Procedures Every New Dentist Must Perform #4

Saturday, June 15th, 2013

 

This is a continuation of my previous post on the 5 Procedures Every New Dentist Must Perform. Whether you are an associate, the owner of a new start-up, or purchasing an existing practice, there are certain things you can do to maximize your production and keep busy even with a limited patient base. As a new dentist, there are five things that you must be comfortable performing. In our last blogs we talked about Pediatric, Emergency Cases and Extractions. The 4th of the 5 procedures every New Dentist must perform is: Endodontics. 

#4 Endodontics
Endo-Technology-Pic 
Many new dentists feel underprepared for endodontics after graduation. This fear needs to be beaten! Practice on extracted teeth. Take as much endodontic continuing education as possible. Do whatever you need to do to become comfortable with at least simple endodontics. There are several reasons for this. Again, pain is a factor. Pain will push a patient to a new dentist. Manage it well and reap the rewards. Remember, many senior doctors will refer out most, if not all, of their endodontics. Show the senior doctor that they can keep much of this production in-house by letting you do it. Endodontics precipitates other restorative procedures. After the root canal, the patient will need a buildup and a crown. In addition, endodontics is the highest producing procedure you can perform without an associated lab fee.
Endodontics will most definitely help fill your schedule.

Are You Really Accepting New Patients?

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

 

If your schedule is so booked that it is “impossible” to schedule a new patient within the next week, you likely have one or more of the following situations occurring: The office books patients six months in advance for hygiene. No one is tracking appointment failures and cancellations; consequently, the schedule looks artificially overloaded. No one is monitoring the numbers of new patient calls to ensure that the practice allocates a specific number of openings in the schedule during prime appointment times to accommodate new patients.

 

Determine how much time you need to allocate in the schedule to accommodate new patients. Remember, new patient slots should be reserved during prime time. Those are the hours in which your practice experiences the greatest demand for appointments, and, typically, they are in the late afternoons, evenings, and on Saturdays. If you make it easy for the patient to keep the appointment, they will feel confident in their decision to choose your practice.

 

Additionally, review new patient activity in your practice over the last six months. If you saw 60 new patients, that would be 10 per month and 2.5 per week. Reserve at least that much time in your schedule to handle immediate new patient demand. If you are planning to actively market your practice, you may need to make adjustments to ensure that your practice can meet demand. Nothing destroys your credibility quicker than an advertisement that claims your practice is accepting new patients only to have a business employee tell eager callers that they will have to wait for weeks to get in.

 

5 Procedures Every New Dentist Must Perform #3

Saturday, June 1st, 2013

 

This is a continuation of my previous post on the 5 Procedures Every New Dentist Must Perform. Whether you are an associate, the owner of a new start-up, or purchasing an existing practice, there are certain things you can do to maximize your production and keep busy even with a limited patient base. As a new dentist, there are five things that you must be comfortable performing. In our last blogs we talked about Pediatric and Emergency Cases. The 3rd of the 5 procedures every New Dentist must perform is: Extraction.

#3 Extractions
Extraction-Pic
This follows along with dental emergencies a bit. Upon graduation from dental school, I felt that I was perhaps most confident performing extractions compared to many other procedures. Dental school prepared me very well in this area. I am not sure that others share this same confidence after graduation or what other dental schools teach, but extractions and oral surgery can help new dentists fill their schedules. Many senior doctors refer out most of their oral surgery procedures. But associates can keep the extractions they are comfortable with in-house. Sure, full bony impacted mandibular third molars may not be your cup of tea, but there are many extractions that can easily be performed by a general dentist. As I said before with emergencies, a toothache will help encourage a patient to see a new dentist. If handled efficiently and comfortably, this could lead to a new comprehensive care patient for the new dentist. The patient gets out of pain and the new dentist earns a patient for life. It’s definitely a win-win situation for everyone.