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Pearls for the New Practice

July 1, 2007
I have often been asked by new graduates what they will need to start a practice.

by Joe Blaes

I have often been asked by new graduates what they will need to start a practice. Here are some ideas to make plans for a good start on the way to a successful practice.

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(1) Every new practice needs patients to survive. There are many ways to market your practice and you will have many people offering advice on how to do it. They will tell you to use the “Yellow Pages,” direct mail, “Welcome Wagon” or maybe even a billboard. I suggest that you look into using 1-800-DENTIST. When used correctly, their model will deliver a number of new patients to your office. If handled correctly, these patients will be much more than just emergency cases. Visit

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(2) Here is an important lesson to learn as you begin your practice. Please understand that this is a dental practice, not a bank. Do not fall into the trap of letting your patients pay you over a period of time. In no time at all, your accounts receivable will soar, and a certain percentage will be uncollectible. Many patients will need assistance in paying for dentistry, especially some of the advanced restorative work. Many will need some kind of patient financing. They simply want to know how much per month for those new veneers. To help with patient financing, contact the people at CareCredit. They will sign you up and help you to explain how to manage your accounts receivable successfully. Visit

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(3) We can diagnose 10 percent of decay with a mirror and explorer and another 45 percent with radiographs, but what about the other 45 percent? There is an excellent caries detection device available that will allow you to diagnose 90 percent of the remaining 45 percent. Get a KaVo DIAGNOdent to show your patients that you care about giving them the very best care. Visit

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(4) When you begin to look at high-speed handpieces for your practice, be sure to take a look at the electric handpiece. In my opinion, it is the wave of the future. The electric will provide constant torque to the bur. You cannot stall the bur as you cut through crowns, old amalgams, enamel, and dentin. It is like the “Energizer Bunny” ­- it just keeps going and going without slowing down. The electric handpiece allows you to prep the tooth with much more accuracy. Your patients will love it because handpiece noise and vibration are gone. I advise that you take a look at these three: Bien Air (, KaVo (, and Sirona (

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(5) There are a lot of things that aren’t taught in dental school or even in a general practice residency. Find a mentor and start out on a path of constantly improving yourself. Expanding your horizons will empower you and your team. Find exciting continuing education courses that will challenge your skills and your mind.

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