Th 141258

Office of the Month

Jan. 1, 2004
I met Dr. Alan R. Grodin during a two-day veneer course that I gave in Chicago about two and a half years ago.

by Dr. Joe Blaes, Editor

Dr. Alan R. Grodin and staff, Clawson, Mich.
Click here to enlarge image

I met Dr. Alan R. Grodin during a two-day veneer course that I gave in Chicago about two and a half years ago. In order to get a feel of where the course attendees are in terms of experience with veneers, I always ask each one how many veneer cases they do in a month. Dr. Grodin answered "none." He had never done a veneer. At the end of the course, he said that he felt that he could go back and confidently do a veneer case.

Dr. Grodin went back to his dental office in Clawson, Mich. (a suburb of Detroit). It is a relatively small (about 1200 square feet) but very productive practice in a town of around 6,000 people that has an average household income of under $60,000. Dr. Grodin joined the original practice as an associate in 1982 and then bought the practice five years later. I chose Dr. Grodin because I felt his office shows that you don't need to build a fancy, new office to perform quality dentistry successfully.

This office is lean and mean. Despite working out of only two treatment rooms (with two more for hygiene), Dr. Grodin has refined and developed his practice so that it produces close to one million dollars per year. He is the only dentist in the office, with a staff that consists of two full-time hygienists, one full-time and one part-time clinical dental assistant, and one office manager. The staff is certainly a major key to his success. As Dr. Grodin explains, "I believe that any dental practice is only as good as the staff. I have tried extremely hard to surround myself with the best people possible." When he opens his practice door each day, there is over 125 years of combined dental experience waiting to serve his patients. Jan, his office manager, and Georgia, one of his hygienists, have been with him for his entire 21-year career. The rest of the team has been involved in dentistry for many years. The patients realize this and feel very comfortable in this practice. Dr. Grodin believes that seeing the same friendly faces at every visit is very important to his patients. There is a familial relationship that has developed between the doctor, staff, and patients.

Dr. Grodin takes pride in knowing that every patient receives the best dentistry possible, from the initial visit to the completion of the case to the recall visits. The equipment in the office is very up-to-date. All rooms are equipped with computers that run on EagleSoft practice management software by Patterson Dental. The hygienists love the hands-free voice activation component, especially when charting pocket depths during periodontal screening. Clinicians can make appointments from the treatment rooms, which reduces stress for the front desk and improves scheduling. Says Dr. Grodin, "The staff members are always helping each other out because we look at the office as a whole. We don't separate the different parts of the practice, such as front desk, hygiene operatories, and doctor operatories. Each staff member knows what is going on throughout the office, and that keeps things flowing smoothly. The closeness of the staff is a great thing, and honestly, there is laughter throughout the day as we try to have fun while still doing our jobs professionally."

Although Dr. Grodin has always seen a steady increase in practice production, his career took a major leap a few years ago after taking a porcelain veneer course in Chicago. "I went to Dr. Joe Blaes' "Virtuoso Veneers" course and was immediately able to implement the new knowledge into my practice. I wanted to use the best lab I could find to do my cosmetic cases, so I chose Aesthetic Porcelain Studios in Los Angeles, owned by David Block. I knew that David's lab was used by some of the most well-known dentists in the country, so he was my natural choice, and I'm tremendously pleased with the results."

Before taking the class, Dr. Grodin shied away from porcelain veneers, but afterwards he quickly became comfortable in presenting them to his patients. "I now routinely offer and perform many veneer procedures, and have done quite a few cases of 20 or more units. Incorporating porcelain veneers in my practice was definitely one of the wiser career moves I've made." Dr. Grodin doesn't do much advertising, but he finds that referrals from existing patients keep a steady stream of new patients coming. He also seems to get new patients from meeting people outside of the office in his regular day-to-day activities. "Happy patients tend to refer, and we strive to keep our patients happy. With the increase in public awareness of cosmetic dentistry, it seems we are getting daily calls for cosmetic consultations, which I thoroughly enjoy giving. The entire staff is involved and excited about these cases because they've seen the remarkable improvement in our patients' smiles with their own eyes, and are true believers in the benefits of cosmetic dentistry." This lean and mean practice style also leads to a very healthy bottom line.

Dr. Grodin's advice to other dentists is simple: "Bigger is not necessarily better, and quality definitely rules over quantity. You can have all the fancy toys and gadgets available in dentistry today, but if you don't have a friendly, happy, experienced staff, success will not come as easily. Treat your staff and your patients like family and you will reap the rewards. My office is small, but I feel that each day we do some amazing things!"

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