Cosmetic Denistry 99

Dec. 1, 1998
We`re bullish on the future of dentistry. In fact, we`ve invited some of the brightest minds in dentistry to San Diego in February to discuss how elective procedures can give your practice that leap into the future.

We`re bullish on the future of dentistry. In fact, we`ve invited some of the brightest minds in dentistry to San Diego in February to discuss how elective procedures can give your practice that leap into the future.

Joseph A. Blaes, DDS, Editor

I am bullish on dentistry. I believe that, over the next five to 10 years, we are going to see changes in our profession that we never dreamed possible. The number of dentists is going to decline; the number of people seeking care is going to increase. A revolution is coming and, if we have positioned ourselves to take advantage of it, our practices will grow beyond our dreams.

The trend toward elective procedures continues. The days of drill, fill, and bill are gone. The paradigm has already shifted. People are much more sophisticated today. They want choices and options. They want service and quality, and they are willing to pay for it. Ivoclar has called it the "Esthetic Revolution," and it is fueled by market demand for cosmetic elective procedures.

But you must be ready! You must have the clinical training and the business training to make a successful transformation of your practice. There is an old saying, "If you don`t know what you don`t know, you can never know." I have watched dentists look at a case and then refer it out. Either they don`t know how to treat it, or they don`t understand what can be done with some of today`s new materials. Many times, this patient does not return and is lost to the practice. You begin to get the reputation of not being aware of what is new in dentistry.

I was examining a patient today who told me that he needed a new filling and had asked his dentist to place a composite. The dentist said that the material was not strong enough. The patient is now sitting in my chair. He wanted a "tooth-colored filling" that would blend with the rest of his teeth. When that dentist could not supply it, he sought another. This will happen more often as the revolution progresses.

Your journey begins by becoming a better listener. Keep your mouth shut and listen for a change! Answer a question with a question. Determine what your patients` expectations are and then meet them. Many dentists try to sell a patient a Mercedes when they don`t even know if they want a car.

Bob came to me for a second opinion. He had been told by his dentist of 25 years that those couple of loose teeth meant that it was time for full upper and lower dentures. We listened to Bob. He wanted to be able to do two things. One was to smoke cigars. Well, really, he wanted to chew on a cigar and he wanted to be able to go out and have a nice steak dinner. We based our solutions on his wants and saved his teeth with the help of crowns, a precision partial, and implants. Twelve years later, he is still able to chew cigars and have a nice steak dinner.

You continue your journey by learning with enthusiasm and passion for what you do. This motivates you to become the best at what you do. Every morning, we should be able to look in the mirror and say to the reflection in the mirror: "I`m the best!" The alternative is not very good. Your love of what you do will serve you well in case presentation. Because if you love it, you believe it. People can recognize this and you become believable.

You must become clinically competent. With this experience comes the knowledge of what is possible. How rotations can be corrected, bites opened or changed, dark stains lightened, spaces closed, and shapes changed. Now you stop referring those cases because you know that you can do the case as well or better.

Now the business of the practice raises its ugly head. You do your first implant case and you set your fee too low. By the time you finish the case, you have lost money. So you decide not to do any more implants. You must now learn how to present the big cases and get them accepted. And started. Learn how to analyze your numbers. Monitor them. In the last few years, I have consistently collected 100 percent of my accounts receivable. Obviously, many people prepay their dentistry.

You cannot produce this type of dentistry and do it well if you are constantly being interrupted. This dentistry requires focus and concentration. So you must learn new scheduling methods. Maybe you start by setting aside a morning or afternoon that will be strictly cosmetic cases.

I am asked many times about where to get the training. I believe that it depends on what level you are on. If you are just starting out, you have certain needs. You want to be sure the training meets the needs. That is why Dental Economics decided to get into the seminar business.

The first annual Cosmetic Dentistry 99 will feature Drs. Roger Levin, Bill Dickerson, Paul Homoly, Michael Miller, Joe Massad, Bill Blatchford, Joe Blaes, Larry Emmott, Steve Poss, Chris Pescatore, and Mike Miyasaki. I cannot believe we were able to bring these people together on one weekend. Each one has been selected for that special message that he has for the dentist just getting started in cosmetic dentistry. You cannot afford to miss this weekend in San Diego in February 1999!

Don`t forget your staff in this journey. When I first started my journey into cosmetic dentistry, I got my staff involved in the process. I wanted to be sure that they were as excited as I was. I had lost the mesial corners of my two front teeth in a bicycle accident when I was 11. All through dental school, everyone wanted to crown my front teeth except me. When porcelain veneers came along in the early 1980s, I had my answer. One of my partners placed two porcelain veneers that lasted 12 years. My team was excited by the change in my looks. They began to look at their own teeth. I restored everyone, even if it was just replacing some occlusal amalgams.

My hygienist had a really crooked smile - rotations in the centrals and laterals and prominent cuspids. I was able to do some instant orthodontics for her with porcelain veneers and give her a beautiful smile. I cannot tell you how many cases she sold just by showing patients her "before" model and then smiling for them. They could not believe the change.

Your number-one priority is to get your own mouth properly restored and then restore the people who work for you. I laugh when I hear staffs telling me that they could not afford to get their teeth fixed because the dentist they worked for was charging a fee. These people will make or break your entry into the esthetic revolution. I want as many people on my side as I can get. Don`t charge them - not even a lab fee. Make their cosmetic makeover an employment benefit. It is money well spent.

I believe that one of the easiest beginning points is bleaching. After teeth are bleached, many patients continue with other cosmetic procedures such as composite bonding, tooth-color inlays and onlays, veneers, simple tooth recontouring, gingival recontouring, and adult orthodontics.

The important thing is to take the first step and make the commitment to begin your practice transformation. Call (888) 299-8062 for more information about Cosmetic Dentistry `99.

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