Learning Never Ends, Does It?
Learning never ends, especially in the dental industry. Dentistry is always changing, and we need to learn and understand these changes. Learning applies to the whole team, clinical, and business team members.
One lesson my office implemented was “Innovation and Marketing,” taught by Tony Robbins. If you have ever attended his live events, like “Unleash the Power Within” or “Date with Destiny,” you know how much good information there is. He explains that to be successful in business, the dental practice has to be innovative and work on marketing. For example, in my practice, we invested in the iTero scanner, which helps my dentist with her Invisalign cases. We’ve eliminated taking impressions for mouthguards and retainers as well. iTero is also a great diagnostic tool. We have incorporated scanning with our new patient appointments and full-month X-rays to help with examinations.
It has been a great investment, and we are continuing to learn how best to integrate technology into the practice.
Marketing is also important to the success of the dental business. You have to make sure that patients know about your practice and what you are able to offer. Don’t make them guess what your service mix or skills are. One piece of our marketing is a dental website and a social media presence on Instagram and Facebook. Our office also uses internal marketing by asking for referrals and reviews. We all hold each other accountable to ensure we do this daily. We also give patients a $5.00 Starbucks gift card on their birthday month for those who have and keep their appointment that month. Recently, our office also implemented a “New Patient Referral Program,” where we give our existing patients a $25.00 gift card for referring their family or friends to the office.* The family or friend who was referred gets a $25.00 gift card as well. We have brochures promoting our “New Patient Referral Program,” and our hygienist provides this card along with their goody bag.
We evaluate what works and what doesn’t so we can continue to learn how to do things better.
At the American Association of Clear Aligners annual convention in Las Vegas, I attended a course given by Dr. Michael Huguet, DDS, entitled “Thriving Invisalign Office.” It covered how leadership, vision, and the team allow a dental office to thrive. It begins with the dentist leading the team and the team embracing the office vision. For example, each team member understands how to implement the treatment of Invisalign to a patient. The hygienist can show the patient’s iTero scan and discuss how they will benefit from the treatment. Each team member knows how to scan and take Invisalign photos, so each process of the appointment is seamless. The front team member can close the case with the financial agreement. Again, we are always learning new and better ways that work for us and our patients.
Dr. David Galler, president of the American Association of Clear Aligners, teaches that general dentists can incorporate clear aligners and use successful treatment techniques for their patients. He created “National Align Your Teeth Day” on Aug. 11. An email was sent to all of our patients, and posts were made on our Instagram and Facebook pages for the event. We also had posters made to share that our office was participating. I knew that we would lose production on that day. I wasn’t sure how to schedule new patients, as we also had regular patients that day. Working with my dentist and the whole team, we had the owner dentist, associate dentist, dental assistant, hygienist, and myself on-site that day. The entire team was onboard and ready to make it happen. One dentist saw the patients who were scheduled on that day, and the owner dentist, and hygienist were able to take care of the patients who were interested in National Aligner Day. We were able to include the whole dental team, and it was a successful day.
Our motto is “never stop learning, ” which helps prepare us for successful days like this.
*Editorial note: Be sure to check state regulations regarding patient gifts or gift cards, as some areas prohibit this practice.
About the Author
Eileen Gonzales, MAADOM, is the office manager at Ever Care Dental in New York City. She essentially grew up in dentistry, as her mother was a dentist. Eileen assisted chairside for her mom and eventually moved into practice management. She holds a degree in Business Management (with a minor in Economics) from St. Peter’s University.