The Future of Dentistry, a 36 year veteran speaks.
“Our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable....unhappy, or unfulfilled.
It seems that only in these moments, spurred on by the discomfort, that we make decisions to start searching for different ways and truer answers. To become all we can be. To stop being afraid and stand up to the call.
Constant improvement and making the most of the gifts God has granted us means being uncomfortable. We can’t get better unless we get up, get out, and “just do it!”
Get up today and thank your higher power for the gifts you have been given. For this life, for the family you have and the people who love you. Make the world a promise to make the most of those gifts! You are already talented and you owe it to the world, to loved ones, to be uncomfortable, and make a difference to this world!”
Many years ago, a retiring dentist in Saskatchewan might just close the doors when their lease ran out. The luckier dentists would sell their practice - and when I started the price was usually "3 months gross" or simply the depreciated cost of the equipment.
What a gift!
Most of these dentists I work with now have built significant businesses! At the time, however, the thought was they overpaid. It would take YEARS to pay back that loan. Generally the practices that were purchased were OLD and OUTDATED. Many were in POOR locations and needed to be moved. The cost to relocate meant that many of these doctors wished they had just set up new to begin.
Back in the early 80's we had issues. Everyone complained about the lack of patients who even saw a dentist regular. People only went "when it hurt". A much smaller population had dental benefits, and the attitude towards a regular dental visit was much different.
In those days, the owners were trying to cut costs. "Staff" was a type of infection that they wanted to avoid and "team" didn't really exist. You could hang a pipe from your mouth, grab the drill that was still sitting and dripping from the last patient, pop a bur that you just wiped off and grab that patients cheeks with your bare hand. Making sure to turn sideways as you sneezed and that pipe flew out of your mouth - tobacco flying all over. You would just kick that tobacco under that open garbage can to clean at the end of the day.
Computers! Bah! I have a book I can write in. Records? Don't need to chart that.
The order to the dental supplier would be ready to go on that once a month visit. That supplier dude would have his dirty, oily tools in the back of his car and fix anything that was broken and then write down the supplies you needed. There was a HUGE storage room so you could buy the 5 cases of anaesthetic and 30 cases of bibs you would buy so you could get another 5% off the price that the guy told you was really good.
That cheesy salesman would run back to his branch office, order in hand and they would send over a few items you might get in the mail a day or two from now. Some more of the order would show up a week from now after it got shipped from head office to the branch and then to you. Most of the rest of the order would be at your office by the end of the month after the manufacturer would send it to the head office, who would send it to the branch, who would send it to you.
Can you imagine those days? Crazy eh?
Aren't you glad we have offices that have some value? That a lifetime of investing in a business, learning, hiring team has resulted in a FANTASTIC business with actual value. That patients, now more than ever are educated and understand they won't just visit when it hurts. The doctor that they visit has a team that provides an exceptional experience, and has continued to improve - adding gloves and masks, infection control, hygiene departments, treatment co-ordinator, computers, they record data about you and keep records, make sure to contact patients and are very interested in overall health. These offices have progressed and now offer services that only specialists used to offer - and they are easier and more affordable than ever!
So here we are. 2019.
There is this really negative undertone about our business building - and I don't believe we need to think this way.
ALL OF OUR BUSINESS MODELS ARE CHANGING - and NO MATTER what business you are in, this is life. We adapt, or we die.
I GUARANTEE some kid going through high school today is picking dentistry as a career. They are likely motivated by the last visit to the dentist. Motivated to get to the office because they got a text message reminder. Mom set up the initial appointment because she was so impressed by the modern, gentle dental care the team provided. The location was convenient. The experience was first class.
They had an option, of course, to visit the older and established clinic across the street. They heard good things about that nice dentist. However, they noticed a clinic that recently looked to be renovated. Strangely, they noticed a "boosted post" on their instagram/facebook. A google search revealed a highly regarded clinic. A click on the website showed they offered invisible aligners! Whitening! The pictures of the clinic itself looked inviting....
The website allows you to book appointments - done. The entire family is booked. A custom website is created for this patient where they will be able to see their benefit plan, treatment plan and images. An interactive site.
As they walk down the hall to the treatment, they notice a machine that seems to be making a tooth! Stopping in wonder, the assistant shows them one of the many features of this modern office - the ability to create a crown on the same day. It sits beside the 3D printer that is currently printing a model.
The first visit the patient gets a digital panoramic xray. They sit in the plush, ultraleather chairs. The appointment begins with cleaning and xrays - but also includes a 3D scan of the patients mouth. WONDEROUS!! What is this all about!!
As part of record keeping, this office will also maintain a digital record of the patients mouth. For future use, they can use this as a diagnostic imaging tool The screen lights up and they can view "areas of concern" that are a different color. Along with the instant, digital xrays it helps the patient get a better understanding when the doctor comes in to treatment plan.
The treatment plan discoverers that this mom has always wanted to "change her crooked tooth" and wondered if this clinic can help her out? She didn't want to get wires, and friends of hers had recommended invisible trays?
The husband comes the next day. A very athletic man, with a beautiful athletic smile (missing a tooth). In the same exam room as his wife and kids - he is offered a CBCT scan to determine whether an implant is a viable option. It is.
The children, of course, are really enjoying the massaging chair and room specifically set up for kids! Since they actually have a few cavities, the nitrous is going to enhance and relax them when the treatment is complete.
Todays modern office offers more comprehensive treatments than ever before! The ability to "compete" with "direct to consumer" demand for invisible aligners is only one of a multitude of services that patients are demanding. Services we have the ability to efficiently, and profitably provide.
The world will continue to evolve, and so will our businesses. Finding a way to provide the services our patients, our customers are asking for is our gift and obilgation! If we want to stay relevant, the smart ones will keep learning and growing. Investing and expanding.
The future has never been brighter! Wake up today and think different. Check out a few links and ideas related to this post....
Henry Schein Announces new 3D print
Valuation Nuances in todays Marketplace - Dental Economics
The WIN WIN OUTCOME - podcast interview with Bernie Stotz about dental business, transitions, retirement and sales
Blue Sky Bio (the reason I sold my invisalign stock, don't worry it was over $300 a share!
Carbon 3D printers - Digital Dentures and premium material
Sirona Primescan - a GAMECHANGING Scanner