How to Listen to Your Community and Let Them Tell You What They Need
When my son graduated high school, it was the first time as a single mother that I was on my own.
What was I going to do with myself?
Where was I going to go?
I had been a Dental Office Manager for years and absolutely loved being in the dental field.
At the time, I had lived on and off in Newport, Rhode Island, for several years.
I’d really had enough of the New England cold weather.
Years earlier, I was stationed in North Carolina as I served in the Navy.
I remembered how much I loved being at the beach and the small-town feel of Surf City.
So, I decided to head back!
A fresh start
I moved to Surf City and was offered the Office Manager position at Surf City Dental a month later.
At the time, the office was a one doctor, two hygienist practice.
They did little to no advertising and were tucked in a shopping plaza.
On top of that, the doctor referred out most services.
We were in contract with seven insurance companies.
I have never been a fan of dental insurance benefits for patients – I feel that they don’t have their best interests in mind.
Like many of you, I’ve spent hours on the phone on behalf of patients just to hear the person on the other end of the phone tell me they didn’t receive the claim, the service isn’t a covered benefit, or the patient has a waiting period.
Seriously – who has time to wait a year to be “covered” for a root canal?
Listening to our community
I was making my rounds around town one day and stopped at one of the local stores.
I was talking to a friend of mine about how I liked my new job and dentist I was working for when a man approached me and asked where we were located.
I told him right up the street, next to a specific restaurant and highway.
Then he says to me:
“I had no idea there was a dentist in town. I had been in so much pain with this tooth that I pulled it out on my own. Plus, I can’t afford to go to the dentist. My boss doesn’t offer dental benefits.”
I shook my head in disbelief.
With tears in my eyes, I told him I was so sorry he had to do that.
Ipromised our office would do everything for our small community to offer affordable and preventative treatment before his next issue ever turned into an emergency.
The Surf City Dental Wellness Plan is born
It was then that the Surf City Dental Wellness Plan was created – an in-office, affordable and preventative plan for patients whose employers do not offer dental coverage.
It also served patients who love their dentist and didn’t want to follow their insurance plan to a contracted provider, time and time again.
Our Dental Wellness Plan allows patients to access preventative services (two cleanings per year) and dental exams throughout the year as needed.
It also includes any necessary radiographs and fluoride treatments for as little as $22 per month.
The North Carolina Dental Board reviewed it and gave us a “stamp of approval” to move forward. We’ve maintained it in our practice ever since.
As a result, our Dental Wellness Plan continues to be well-received by the community.
After all, our community is the reason why we established it in the first place!
If you have any questions or interest in starting your own internal Dental Wellness Plan, I would love to help.
Please get in touch!
Meet the Author
Ruby Eaches, FAADOM, is the Practice Manager at Surf City Dental…Opens in a new window to Surf City Dental website…. She began her dental career in 1990 in the United States Navy and has been a private practice Office Manager since 2004.
Ruby strives to change the patient’s dental experience as she combines professional guidance into the Surf City practice.
Her newest goal is to achieve her MAADOM in September 2020! Ruby can be reached at Ruby@surfcityfamilydentist.com.
Fabulous article! I really enjoyed reading this and learning about the inspiration behind you and the awesome practice that you manage.