Line extensions

April 1, 2004
Often, at my lectures or after reading my articles, many dentists ask me how they should prioritize their time and money when it comes to continuing education.

Louis Malcmacher, DDS

Often, at my lectures or after reading my articles, many dentists ask me how they should prioritize their time and money when it comes to continuing education. What aspects of dentistry are up-and-coming, growing, and essential to your everyday dental practice? What services should you be providing to your patients? What skills are essential for dentists to have now and in the future?

Most dentists come out of dental school with the skills needed to do basic operative and crown and bridge. With the continuing parade of new materials in these areas, it is important to keep up-to-date and know which porcelains, composite resins, and bonding agents should be used in which instances. But I would like to go deeper than the basics — to areas where a general dentist can really expand his or her practice.

"Line extensions" is a term used in business and in most industries that means expanding the services you provide to your clients. This is always important to any dental practice. Sure, it is essential to have new patients coming into the practice, but right now, the best patients in your practice are the ones you already have. These are the kind of people companies refer to when they talk about repeat customers. Why are repeat customers so important? Because they have already been to your office, are comfortable, have had a nice experience, and, should something come up that interests them, would not hesitate to go ahead with more treatment provided by your office.

What have been the latest line extensions in your office? Which ones are important to provide to your patients? Let me give you a few examples of premium line extensions that can really benefit, grow, and stimulate your dental practice.

Endodontics is an essential dental service. I am still amazed at the number of general practitioners who do not provide endodontic services. There are so many great endodontic systems out there today that have made endo faster, easier, and better than ever. Listen to some of the gurus in endodontics today — Steve Buchanan, Cliff Ruddle, Barry Musikant, the Real World Endo guys, Rich Mounce, and Kit Weathers. There is no reason every general practitioner should not be doing anterior endodontics at the very least. Don't let your endodontist get too worried about this. The better and more proficient you become in endodontics — especially the diagnosis of teeth that need endodontics — the busier you'll be and the busier your endodontist will be.

Another great line extension is one-hour whitening. This has attracted more patients to the office than anything I can remember in recent history. This is something patients want, something they see in magazines and on television, something they will pay for, and it's a service you can provide easily. If you understand the basics of tray bleaching, you easily can get into one-hour whitening with the right equipment and minimal training.

You would think that with all the articles about aesthetics in dental journals, nearly every dentist in America is providing porcelain veneers. Veneers still offer a tremendous growth opportunity for your practice. There are lots of opportunities to learn about porcelain veneers at just about every dental meeting. Clinicians presenting excellent continuing-education programs on porcelain veneers include Yours truly, DE's own Dr. Joe Blaes, Dr. Robert Nixon, Dr. Robert Ibsen, Dr. Steven Weinberg, Dr. George Freedman, and many others. I would urge you to take courses that run the gamut from no-preparation porcelain veneers to full-preparation porcelain veneers, and then decide where these fit into your practice. Porcelain veneers are an underutilized service that has great potential to grow the aesthetic part of your practice. Aesthetic dentistry will continue to grow the dental profession for a long time to come.

Choose line extensions that interest you, and those which you are comfortable providing for your patients. No matter which new procedures you choose to add to your menu of dental services, line extensions help expand the service base to your patients, provide an opportunity to grow your practice, and provide patients with the ability to get the newest treatments dentistry has to offer from the person they trust the most — you, their family dentist.

Dr. Louis Malcmacher is an international lecturer and author known for hiscomprehensive and entertaining style.An evaluator for Clinical Research Associates, Dr. Malcmacher is a consultant to the Council on Dental Practice of the ADA. For close to two decades, Dr. Malcmacher has inspired his audiences to truly enjoy practicing dentistry by providing the knowledge necessary for excellent clinical and practice-management skills. His group dental practice has maintained a 45 percent overhead since 1988.For details about his speaking schedule, Dr. Malcmacher can be reached at (440) 892-1810 or via email at [email protected].

Sponsored Recommendations

Clinical Study: OraCare Reduced Probing Depths 4450% Better than Brushing Alone

Good oral hygiene is essential to preserving gum health. In this study the improvements seen were statistically superior at reducing pocket depth than brushing alone (control ...

Clincial Study: OraCare Proven to Improve Gingival Health by 604% in just a 6 Week Period

A new clinical study reveals how OraCare showed improvement in the whole mouth as bleeding, plaque reduction, interproximal sites, and probing depths were all evaluated. All areas...

Chlorine Dioxide Efficacy Against Pathogens and How it Compares to Chlorhexidine

Explore our library of studies to learn about the historical application of chlorine dioxide, efficacy against pathogens, how it compares to chlorhexidine and more.

Enhancing Your Practice Growth with Chairside Milling

When practice growth and predictability matter...Get more output with less input discover chairside milling.