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  • Writer's pictureWarren Bobinski

Moats or Bridges? Smile Direct, DSO, cheaper supplies. The future is bright for bridge builders!

"A true entrepreneur needs to believe it before they ever see it..."

VooDoo donuts, worth the sugar high!

Every business famously builds a brand, a reputation and then works hard to build "moats" to protect the business model. Trying to prevent others from easily entering the promised land of a castle they worked hard to build.

Our business is no different. It has taken me 36 years to build my own personal reputation. My "moat" is built with a view that I can't just build up walls of defenses...I need to proactively engage every opportunity to be gracious. To be humble. Learn to adapt my castle to accept that many others will want to attack so they too can have a piece of the pie.

My moat is built on a peaceful platform. That by engaging more people, inviting more people to the castle to enjoy the benefits with me! Recognizing opportunities to bring wealth to all - and by doing such I will be able to profit myself.

Do good by doing good!

My dream has been to help drive down expenses for my customers. The benefit has been creating a business model that has large volume, and I have used efficiency to reduce the most expensive component of what I provide - me!

TIMEfactors (efficiency) applies as much to a distributor of dental products as it does to running any business!!

It's not your variable expense that is the issue, it's the mis-use of opportunity!

The largest expense for healthcare is people. The doctor who wants to get paid to provide the service. The team that works for the doctor to provide the service.

The cost to get educated is mostly built on the expense of people needed to teach.

We can blame the cost of dirt. Bricks. Wood. Ultimately, if these are constructed well - they will last many lifetimes - but it's the cost of the skilled labour to build these platforms we need to work in that is the most expensive! It takes skill and investment to build a home that will last many years. To create products and techniques that will ultimately REDUCE the cost of the human factor.

Ultimately, it's a SMALLER cost to have a well built castle that can withstand the test of time than to keep trying to build cheaper up front with cheaper materials and cheaper labour.....

When only the bottom line matters, we will all pay a price.

Great moat - where is the bridge?

If we want to keep moving forward in healthcare, we need to stop building moats!

We all benefit from affordable health care, and it's important to recognize what "the people" are asking for!


Last year, invisalign delivered $1.4 BILLION dollars of orthodontic trays to consumers via their worldwide professional network of providers. They build a pretty nice castle - but not everyone is happy about what has happened! A specialty field that had built a pretty nice moat was suddenly thrust into accepting that there was a newer, reliable method to deliver what consumers wanted most.

Many castle owners rejected the idea at first, but in the end the bridges have been drawn to accept these new residents who demanded the change....

Great. Except many are still spending a lot of money working to build a moat.

In particular, the decision in California "...the Governor clearly indicated that he expects all stakeholders to come to together to find a better way to create policy around teledentistry..."

I am not sure if CDA built a moat or a the very least I think we all recognize that the issue is not going away. Consumers are asking for help to reduce the price of a product they really really want. There is demand, and there can be profit.

How to potentially reduce patient fees, and still profit

The ability to reduce the amount of chair time (labour) means that the services rendered could potentially be provided at a lower cost. We can't just sacrifice the quality of the surgery - as the results would be disaster! We can, however, identify procedures, techniques, and products that can deliver results!! Affordable, reduced chair time, longer lasting results - all this equals reduced fees.

What patient doesn't want to have less time in your operatory? Less time spent getting frozen (lasers) less time for turnaround of prosthetics (digital dentistry). Same day crowns, faster turnaround for dentures, going home with that appliance you just printed on the 3D printer using digital technologies! Longer lasting restorations (zirconia). Less trips to straighten teeth (invisalign). More comprehensive treatments right at your office (CBCT/IMPLANTS/PERIO/SURGERY)

Patients DO NOT want to have to take time out of their life to accommodate longer chair time. Most people will actually PAY MORE to have that type of experience. One in which the modern office books on a schedule that is convenient for them (nights, weekends, early mornings...) An experience where every treatment they need can be done without having to book another appointment with another office.

You get where I am going?

Addressing costs.

As long as I have been in this business - costs of materials has been pretty consistent. After many years analyzing offices - the most profitable have embraced "TIMEfactors". They understand that the cost of materials weighted against the cost of production can create a significant difference to profit.

In other words - materials costs become less significant if the materials and techniques result in a better outcome. A more satisfied patient, a longer lasting reult - and mostly reduced labour costs.

There are MYRIADS of opportunity that lie in simply changing a few techniques and adopting the attitude of building bridges. Better curing lights that you may not be using. Better materials like bulk fill. Like Self Adhesive cements. Self Etch bond. Faster cutting burs. Better diagnostic and educational tools like scanners, caries finders, probes. Even the way we accomodate patients and can measure the results...practice management software, enhanced websites, recalls, efficient scheduling...SO MANY WAYS TO BE BETTER!

Putting it all together can be overwhelming.

Thus the consultants in the business. Those of us that have spent a lifetime finding ways to help you be better. The people with the shovel in their hand standing right beside you trying to build the BRIDGE are ready for the future.

A bright future full of BRIDGES crossing those old beautiful moats into the best constructed castles in the entire kindgom.

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