Since this is my first issue as chief editor of Dental Economics, I would like to take a moment to introduce myself. I’m Pam Maragliano-Muniz, and I’m thrilled to share this ride with you!
I entered the dental field as a dental hygienist in 1998. I thought that becoming a dental hygienist would appease and distract my parents while I pursued my dream of becoming a veterinarian or a hockey goalie. Much to my surprise, I fell in love with dental hygiene and keeping my teeth. Dental hygiene school ignited a lifelong love affair with all things dental.
I have associate’s and bachelor’s degrees in dental hygiene, but I realized I wanted to be a dentist when I began practicing as a dental hygienist. I had worked for prosthodontists and admired their work and creativity so much that, when I decided to pursue dentistry, I knew I couldn’t become a dentist without becoming a prosthodontist.
I earned my dental degree from Tufts University in 2004 and my certificate in prosthodontics from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 2007. I decided to officially begin my career back in Boston in 2008. I returned to one of the offices where I had previously practiced dental hygiene, then worked in another practice, and began teaching at Tufts.
In 2010, I worked with some of my colleagues in private practice and presented our approach to caries management at the American Dental Association’s Annual Session, where we were recognized as the Adult Preventive Care Practice of the Year. Little did I know how life-changing that recognition would be! I’ve been teaching, lecturing, writing, and creating videos ever since, and here I am, 11 years later, joining the journey with Dental Economics. It’s quite an honor.
Like many of you, I own a private practice. I recently celebrated the seven-year anniversary of purchasing my practice in Salem, Massachusetts. I’ve made some mistakes, learned a lot so far, and am always amazed that, like clinical dentistry, there’s always room to improve and continually learn. I’m very passionate about dentistry and private practice, and I’m committed to learning with an open mind. You will see that I believe in staying on top of the latest topics; I’m a realist, and I love practicality and innovation. Dental Economics has historically been a publication that values all these elements, so while not much will change, you will have a lot to look forward to all at the same time!
That brings me to this month’s issue: practice analytics. I used to treat practice reporting the same way I treated my weight; check the numbers once in a while and hope for the best. That wasn’t the best approach for my practice or my scale. Taking a deliberate and consistent approach to reading and interpreting practice reports has forced me to look objectively at my practice and ultimately has helped it grow. While my practice experiences trends throughout the course of the year, consistently evaluating reports helps me tweak my monthly supply budget and variable marketing costs. Moreover, I can identify topics to engage my staff during morning huddles and monthly meetings. We can focus on our goals as a team.
In this issue, we’ll offer practical advice regarding which key performance indicators (KPIs) are most useful to assess the health and growth of your practice. There are specific targets to focus on for practices that are still growing and for those dentists who are planning to sell in the next five years. It may be time to consider dropping some PPOs and offering in-house membership plans to those patients instead. Objectively assessing your practice is a must to encourage growth, but excellent clinical outcomes will ensure success. Investing in your skills is always smart; providing patients with esthetic, quality restorations and offering a strong preventive program not only will help your practice flourish, but it will also make your practice attractive to prospective buyers.
Please join me in thanking Dr. Chris Salierno for his expertise and commitment to exceptional, interesting, and ethical journalism and wishing him well as he tackles new professional endeavors. I’m aware that I have large shoes to fill, but I’m excited and inspired by the challenge!
Editor's note: This article appeared in the September 2021 print edition of Dental Economics.