Your past and your future

Jan. 16, 2017
Ennui is common in dentistry, but you can do something to change it. Louis Malcmacher, DDS, MAGD, explains what motivates dentists to offer therapeutic and esthetic services to patients and how you can get started.

Ennui is common in dentistry, but you can do something to change it. Louis Malcmacher, DDS, MAGD, explains what motivates dentists to offer facial esthetic services to patients and how you can get started.

It is January. It is a new year. We just finished 2016. Were you happy with how it went? Could 2016 have been a better year for you and your practice? This article is based on my 35 years of lecturing to dentists. I have heard these comments from dentists since day one:

• "I am bored of dentistry."

• "I hate dentistry."

• "Why am I working twice as hard for less money?"

• "Why is my income flat (or down) compared to last year?"

• "I wish I had learned how to do this earlier."

• "Why do patients only do what insurance pays for?"

If you are an older dentist (like I am), here is my question to you: How many times have you said any of the above lines in the past 10-20 years? If you are a younger dentist (like I was more than 30 years ago) and you have already said these things, you may be burning out just as you are getting started.

For 35 years, I've heard the same things from dentists—no matter where they live, no matter how young or old, no matter their gender, and even scarier, no matter the state of the economy. Dentists from Beverly Hills to mid-America to New York City, from Seattle to Miami, and from San Diego to Portland, Maine, make these comments all the time.

Be honest with yourself. How many times over how many years have you said any of the above to a colleague, your team, or yourself? Here is a bigger question: When are you going to stop talking and start doing something about it?

Let me tell you what prompted this article. It was the American Academy of Facial Esthetics (AAFE) course that I gave at the 2016 American Dental Association (ADA) Annual Session in Denver to more than 50 wonderful dental professionals from around the country. This AAFE live-patient Botox training course included dentists of all ages, including those just starting out with one or two years of private practice under their belts and those like me who have been around for a while.

I spent some time talking to the attending dentists about why they were taking the course. The dentists attending this course and all AAFE courses can be categorized into four general groups:

1. New dentists practicing between one and 10 years—Most were taking this course to learn the skills necessary to provide the best possible therapeutic and esthetic treatment for the rest of their careers. They also reported interest because no capital investment or constant upgrades are necessary; they own this skill forever and can build on it for years to come.

2. Dentists practicing between 10 and 20 years—Many had already hit a practice growth plateau and were looking for new services to offer their patients, realizing that Botox is one of the most popular elective treatments.

3. Dentists practicing between 20 and 30 years—In addition to all the above reasons, these dentists were looking for new and innovative ways to solve some of dentistry's most frustrating problems, especially for patients with TMJ and orofacial pain.

4. Dentists practicing more than 30 years—Most of these dentists were thinking about adding value and production to their practices in preparation for transitioning. These mature dentists were also looking for easy-to-accomplish dentistry with a high ROI that is less physically and mentally stressful than traditional dentistry.

All of these dentists have one major thing in common. They have decided that talk is cheap, that enough is enough, and that they have been asking these questions for too long; they are finally doing something about it. They picked something that will make them passionate about their practices. These dentists wanted to add some excitement to their dentistry, and they wanted to provide their patients with the best therapeutic and esthetic outcomes available today. Isn't it time for you to do the same?

RELATED | Changing patients' lives

Author's note: You can visit to download my resource list, sign up for a free monthly newsletter, or find information about live-patient frontline TMJ/orofacial pain, Botox and dermal fillers training, dental implant training, frontline bruxism therapy and dental sleep medicine, and medical insurance.

Louis Malcmacher, DDS, MAGD, is a practicing general dentist and an internationally known lecturer and author. Dr. Malcmacher is the president of the American Academy of Facial Esthetics (AAFE) and a consultant for STATDDS. You can contact him at (800) 952-0521 or [email protected].

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