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Throw The Box Out!

by Kevin Coughlin

It’s an expression so common that it’s become a cliché, “you have to think outside the box.”

But whether you are inside the box or outside the box, it’s still seen as the “safe space” you can retreat to when things get tough. But is it really that safe?

Let’s take a look at the current state of our business.

State of Dentistry

• The cost of a dental education continues to skyrocket with an average student debt of almost $300,000

• There are more dentists than ever electing to become employees rather than owners

• Dental insurance companies are still squeezing the profit out of every procedure making it more and more difficult to be profitable

Meanwhile, Managed Service Organizations are growing faster and making it even more difficult for solo practitioners or small group practices to succeed.

So I say, it’s time to throw out the box if you want to compete and succeed on your own terms.

There is no shortage of consultants out there ready to give you answers. But most of them have never practiced dentistry. So they have a limited view of what we are capable of doing and where our businesses can find opportunities to grow.

I still practice dentistry five days a week and built a large dental practice in Massachusetts with 14 locations providing a full range of dental care to patients. However, changing rules, regulations, and dental insurance are taking a toll. Every year things just seem to get tighter and tighter with very few options on the table to grow. At least that’s the way it seems if you aren’t willing to kick aside expectations and look for opportunities.

About five years ago, I started to implement Botox and Dermal fillers into the practice. This is a natural progression for dentists and I am here to say to embrace these cosmetic treatments! Get trained, get your team on board and be aggressive and proactive! I challenge you to consider additional treatment modalities that allow you to side-step insurance companies altogether because they are strictly fee based.

Your position as a trusted practitioner in your community makes you uniquely qualified to perform additional services at a high level and for a full fee.

In addition to Botox and Dermal fillers, some other treatment options to consider adding to your offerings include:

• Radio frequency treatments (RF) to tighten the skin around the face and neck. Each treatment takes only 5-10 minutes and maintenance is every 4-12 months.

• Laser treatments to remove red and brown spots on and/or around the face, spider veins, unwanted hair, tattoos, as well as scar tissue or wrinkles.

Each treatment takes between 25-60 minutes and usually can be completed in 2-4 visits, with each visit scheduled 4-6 weeks apart.

• You can also use both RF and Laser to remove unwanted adipose tissue under the chin, submental area, inner and outer thighs, and abdomen.

These treatments usually can be completed in 2-6 treatments, scheduled 6-8 weeks apart and each session lasting between 25-60 minutes.

• IPL or Intense Pulsed Light to rejuvenate the skin.

These treatments take 10-30 minutes, scheduled every 30-60 days.

• Hydra facials, which replenish the youthfulness of the skin in 30-40 minutes taking years off your patients skin and is maintained by a follow-up visit every other month.

• Kybella injections in the sub-mental area to remove unwanted fat or adipose tissue causing the dreaded double chin.

• PDO sutures or what is commonly referred to as a lunchtime face lift, almost instantly taking years off of your face.

Does the thought of providing these services scare you? It shouldn’t. We may not be dermatologists or plastic surgeons, but we are skilled practitioners who are well positioned to elevate Spa Dentistry to something far above warm towels, relaxing music and simple massages.

You already have a captive clientele. A majority of our patients want to improve their looks. If they aren’t getting it from you, they will find an alternate service provider to do it. Take the action steps necessary to position yourself for the future.

For dentists who remember a time when the fee you charged was actually your reimbursement, the proposed treatment options I’m suggesting are all fee for service!

They are all considered elective, non-surgical and the demand is high. Interest and awareness is enormous so consider adding additional procedures and services to your practice today. Be first to implement this in your area, not the last.

Of course you need to be aware of your state’s regulations. Some states may require you to work indirectly or directly under a physician’s license. Other states may require you to have an esthetician’s license. However, in most cases, you can delegate the procedures to a physician’s assistant, nurse, or licensed esthetician.

In 1983, my first year of business, I put in my first dental implant. Back then there was enormous resistance, but today, only three decades later, it is considered the standard of care in many cases. So throw out that box, step out of your comfort zone and consider the possibilities!

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