Reorganize your practice

May 1, 2009
There is no question that the recession has hit our economy and hit us hard.

by Louis Malcmacher, DDS, MAGD

For more on this topic, go to and search using the following key words: Dr. Louis Malcmacher, Common Sense Dentistry, recession, reorganize, attitude.

There is no question that the recession has hit our economy and hit us hard. Many dentists are reporting a slowdown in their schedules, with patients putting off treatment longer and cancellations going up. Note that I said many dentists, but not all, are reporting this. Some dentists are actually reporting that their numbers are up and their business is increasing.

So why are some dentists doing better in the recession, some dentists doing the same, and some dentists doing worse or much worse? As I meet hundreds of dentists every single week wherever I lecture, the answer always comes down to two things — attitude and reorganization.

First, your attitude will make all the difference in the world. Yes, we all know that the recession has caused huge job losses and an incredible lack of consumer confidence. If you and your dental office are going to roll up into a ball out of fear, and patients see the fear in your eyes, I guarantee you they won't proceed with treatment and subconsciously you will steer them away from doing any dentistry at all.

Every other business and industry is reorganizing and shifting the way they do business. It's time to reorganize your professional career as a dentist. When times were good, dentists used the excuse that they were too busy to learn new skills through continuing education. When times are bad, dentists worry that if they acquire new skills, patients may not want to pay for them. Stop making excuses and get out there and get trained in new areas of dentistry that you haven't explored before. Hands down, the most successful dentists we see are the ones who invest in themselves and their teams with quality continuing education.

Here are some suggestions, especially for a down economy, of some procedures that are big winners for patients and your practice:

1 Endodontics — There are so many quality endodontic courses available that I don't even know where to begin. For the general practitioner, the Ultradent ART Endodontic system is simple to learn and a very proficient endodontic system. Essential Dental Systems gives outstanding hands-on courses using their EZ Fill Technique, which is designed for beautiful endodontic results.

2 Implants — Learn to love the edentulous and denture patient again and learn about regular implants and narrow diameter implants, which are now affordable and easily accepted by patients. You can contact Imtec, a 3M company, and Dentatus Company for their course schedules on narrow diameter implants. Many companies, such as Nobel Biocare, Biohorizons, Straumann, Zimmer, and OCO Biomedical offer continuing education on their implant systems as well.

3 Botox and dermal fillers for every dental practice — Even in this economy, these are very popular patient treatments that dentists around the country are starting to learn and offer. These services are not only for medical/dental spas, but also for routine dental practices. Many states allow dentists to perform these procedures entirely, and many other states allow these procedures when they are directly related to dental treatment. You can use these procedures to enhance cosmetic dentistry, treatment of TMJ and bruxism, and smoothing of facial wrinkles to enhance esthetic dental cases. This is certainly one of the hottest topics I address in my lectures. Hands-on training is available through a number of venues.

4 Occlusion — There is certainly a need for more courses in this area, but there are a number of good hands-on courses out there. The Scottsdale Center of Dentistry and Las Vegas Institute (LVI) offer intensive training on occlusion. Occlusion is the backbone of success for all of your dentistry.

Simply put, your best investment during these difficult economic times is yourself and your training. Now more than ever is the time to look at yourself with a critical eye and see how you can improve your clinical skills. This is a sure recipe for success for the challenges that we all have to deal with every single day.

Dr. Louis Malcmacher is a practicing general dentist and international lecturer, author, and dental consultant known for his comprehensive and entertaining style. Contact Dr. Malcmacher at (440) 892-1810 or send him an e-mail at [email protected]. Go to for more information on his lecture schedule, audio CDs, to download his resource list, and to sign up for a free monthly e-newsletter.

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