You are early in your career. You have invested enormous time and money to arrive here. Whether you are an associate or a new practice owner, the financial rewards aren’t what you anticipated. You clearly need to expand your scope of services. What road should you take?
As a seasoned clinician, successful practice owner and dental educator, I’d like to offer you a guaranteed blueprint for success. These three steps will take you to a place few colleagues will ever reach:
Obtain an Enteral Sedation Permit
Most states require 60 hours of didactic training, with 20 additional hours every 3 years to renew. Some states will require an IV sedation permit to dispense the combination of medications orally to provide this level of sedation. Do not let that dissuade you from this skill set. Without exception, it will have the most profound influence of any skill you will ever acquire.
There is an untapped patient population in your community that you just don’t know about…never underestimate the number of patients who haven’t visited the dentist in years because of fear. When you market to this population, they will come, and your practice will benefit. No other service can come close to the return on investment this produces…not esthetic makeovers, not ortho services, not sleep dentistry. Nothing else can provide a better ROI than enteral sedation.
Extracting and Grafting
If you are going to market to an audience that likely hasn’t been to a dentist in years, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that most will have some non-restorable teeth. After attracting this new patient, it becomes a buzzkill to have to refer them out to the oral surgeon. This can be a deal breaker to some clinicians, because to be clear, we are not talking about wisdom teeth. We are speaking to the rest of the dentition.
There are several training centers across the country where dentists can do a weekend course and train on live patients to dramatically improve their extracting and grafting skills. We as a profession are far removed from the days in which taking a tooth out required a strong wrist and a good pair of forceps. It is not a strength thing but rather an intelligent use of lever forces.
Present-day extractions also include the art of grafting the sockets to minimize bone loss for either conventional prosthesis or implant-retained prosthesis.
Basic Surgical Implant Services
At this moment, the thought of diving into implants might frighten some of you. It may be astonishing to many of you that once you practice extraction skills, implant skills will not seem so distant. It will also become one of the most rewarding dental services you will ever provide. Note that I used the word “basic”…
It is my fervent opinion that the arena of implants is so expansive that it can easily turn off the up-and-coming clinician. If you keep your implant services limited to patients with abundant bone for non-restorable teeth in absolute safe areas of the oral cavity, this can still provide enormous returns and satisfaction.
Take My Advice…
Today’s clinician is faced with overwhelming choices about where to invest their often-limited sources. This article is intended to give fellow dentist/owners a road they may not have considered yet.
Yes, there may be shorter and less expensive CE paths to take but there is no other route you can follow that will be more predictable in terms of productivity and professional fulfillment.