An emphasis on esthetics

Dec. 1, 1998
I cannot believe that the last month of the year is here already. The last few months have been a blur of dental meetings, speaking engagements, and product launches. I have just returned from the ADA meeting in San Francisco, which was a great meeting. The annual session set all kinds of records for attendance, and it offered wonderful weather, a beautiful city, and outstanding food (all of which I managed to enjoy).

Joe Blaes, DDS, Editor

e-mail: [email protected]

I cannot believe that the last month of the year is here already. The last few months have been a blur of dental meetings, speaking engagements, and product launches. I have just returned from the ADA meeting in San Francisco, which was a great meeting. The annual session set all kinds of records for attendance, and it offered wonderful weather, a beautiful city, and outstanding food (all of which I managed to enjoy).

It`s that time of the year again. Time to look at our year-end figures and see where we stand. Time to begin planning for next year. Most of you will be considering your annual fee increase. The typical dentist will raise fees in the 3 to 7 percent range. This will cover inflation and maybe a little bit extra for good measure. Most of us march in lock-step down the road of small increases to keep up with inflation. We do not look at how our fees are positioned, and we are losing money as a result.

Be sure to read the articles that accompany this month`s annual fee survey. Dr. Charles Blair will tell you how to rebalance your fees based on data that he has been collecting from clients. He will show you what factors to consider and why. What do the percentiles mean, and how do they influence where you are with your practice? Don`t just raise your fees; analyze them and look at your procedure mix. Learn how with the "numbers guru of dentistry" - Dr. Charles Blair, on page 38.

Dr. Jim Pride takes a look at your responses to the questions in this year`s fee survey and comes up with some interesting observations. Don`t miss his article on page 32.

I am convinced that the key to maintaining a fee-for-service practice is offering elective dental procedures to our patients. Esthetic procedures are among most popular elective ones. I also believe that it is difficult, if not impossible, to diagnose and treat these esthetic cases unless we have exposed ourselves to the training necessary.

I have made the decision to place more emphasis on managing the cosmetic practice in 1999. There will be two issues devoted to esthetic dentistry, and each month we will have a feature article on another phase of the esthetic practice.

In February, Dental Economics will sponsor the first of many two-day meetings on Cosmetic Dentistry. The conference will be hosted at the Westin Horton Plaza in San Diego on February 5-6. We have a great lineup of speakers who will show you how to transform your dental practice. We want to attract those dentists who have tried some cosmetic dentistry but have not become totally involved. Check out the ad on page 19 and be sure to read my article on page 17 for more information.

In this issue, you also will find information on the second annual Dental Practice of the Year contest, sponsored by The Levin Group and Dental Economics. Call and get an application and start working on it. Just getting the staff involved in a project like this can be very exciting and rewarding. Last year`s winner had everyone involved, and they are really proud of the award. Call The Levin Group for more information or for an application.

I pledge to you that I will continue to improve the magazine, that I will respond to both your encouragement and your criticism, and that my constant goal is to provide the information to help you improve your business skills. My hope for you is that you will become passionate about your profession and the services you provide. It is a wonderful life!

During the upcoming holiday season, as well as during the new year, may God bless you abundantly and may He watch over you and guide you.