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By Dr. Steffany Mohan
I was recently challenged to develop my success formula for achieving growth and ensuring that all of my team members are healthy, happy, and secure in their jobs, and that includes me. To explain to others my vision for the practice, my goals, and how we'll achieve them in 2013, I've identified five key things we do that have led to our success, and how I've applied these key things to my business plan for 2013 and '14. As you move further into 2013 and look ahead to next year, there are things that you can do to realize growth and prosperity.
We have a goal to bring in 100 new patients per month, every month, and we've been doing this for the past seven years running. We bring in new patients in a way that ensures that we are a fit for them and them for us. We help them get the care that they need and want.
We also have a mission to ensure that patients with certain needs in our community are receiving care as well as we can possibly provide it. In other words, we are confident that we can take excellent care of patients who visit our practice. We offer services that are not readily available in our community, and we promise our patients that we will take care of them. No matter what, we are with them in their care.
With systems in place and team effort, we do this without making the practice crazy and chaotic, but by sustaining the health of our practice. We strive for leadership, integrity, and quality -- the same qualities that I'm sure my colleagues aspire to demonstrate. We train and prepare to treat patients through ongoing clinical continuing education and practice building, just as we would if we were performing on a stage.
This may sound simplistic to dentists (and crazy to others), but my business plan involves choosing an area in dentistry that really appeals to me, learning as much about it as possible, and then implementing it into my practice. Key to this endeavor is ensuring that what I choose has the capacity to create a huge positive impact in my patients' lives. Additionally, the focus should be something fun and rewarding that everyone enjoys. This can be easily achieved when the results of care and positive patient outcomes alone make practice services enjoyable.
Positioning the practice is something most dentists might never have time to think much about. I'm constantly planning for the long-term health of my practice, so I think about it constantly. What do we do, and how do we do it, so that patients perceive it as something they can't get anywhere else?
Many marketing consultants advise dentists to pick a niche area in dentistry and market those services. I agree, but I've kicked it up a notch by saying choose something that you can become extremely passionate about and that can also make a life-changing difference to your patients.
To demonstrate how these five activities influenced my practice business plan and decisions for 2013, let me describe what our practice has implemented this year.
We decided to incorporate a state-of-the-art system for assessing and treating patients who couldn't find long-lasting relief elsewhere (TruDenta, Dental Resource Systems, Inc., Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, www.DRSdoctor.com). This enabled us to accomplish two of five activities in my plan -- provide care needed in the community, and focus on a target or niche market. According to the statistics, an estimated 80 million Americans could benefit from this care.
Not many dentists have tackled chronic or migraine headache issues because there has never been a predictable protocol for relieving these patients of their symptoms in a dental office. Dentists often referred to a physical therapist or other medical professional to assist with a patient's care, or in many cases, prescribe a lifetime of orthotic use.
I had no idea how many people in the U.S. suffer from headaches on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. These are not simply "my head sort of hurts today" headaches, but debilitating or recurring headaches. I learned that several of my team members suffered from these headaches. They didn't complain about them, and I had never asked.
In our practice, we have been able to provide approximately 95% of chronic headache and migraine sufferers with relief in 90 days or less without referring them to others. You can imagine the grateful reactions we receive from those patients when they experience true relief from their headaches in a few visits, often for the first time since they can remember. Not surprisingly, we're able to do something we love, and that our patients love us for, and that also enables us to attract new patients to our practice who are in need of this care.
When I say "us," I mean my entire team. That's because this systematic approach to care involves everyone in the practice -- office staff, dental assistants, dental hygienists, and me. It is this aspect of the system that rounded out the five core activities of my business plan, enabling us to work as a team after we'd all been extensively trained.
The potential economic impact of adding this therapy to a dental practice is significant. My conservative prediction is that we can add $300,000 to $500,000 in added production and collections to our practice in the next 12 months based on our initial success with the TruDenta system. After that, we should be able to grow more because there are so many headache and migraine sufferers, and there are predictions that stress will increase for people in the U.S. in the next few years.
This is not an area of dentistry that will decline anytime soon. To put the potential patient demand for this care in perspective, note that in a typical month, Americans search the terms TMJ, TMD, tinnitus, and migraines on Google about 1,535,000 times, compared to 469,000 searches for cosmetic dentistry, implants, and veneers. Therefore, if you want to develop a strategy for ensuring the short- and long-term success of your practice, consider the steps I've taken, as well as providing a new type of care to patients desperately in need of lasting relief. It could be your pathway to success in 2013 and beyond.
Dr. Steffany Mohan is a practicing dentist in West Des Moines, Iowa. In her practice, she places and restores implants, works with headache/TMD patients, and does 6 Month Smiles and Invisalign. Email her at email@example.com.
In many cases, only dental professionals can help the estimated 80 million Americans suffering from the painful symptoms caused by improper dental forces, called dentomandibular sensorimotor dysfunction (DMSD).
READ MORE "...it is imperative to include the training for orofacial pain, particularly those from temporomandibular joint and musculoligamentous tissues.” JADA Cover Story, 10/2015, Vol. 146, Issue 10, Pg. 721-728
20% of your existing patients suffer from DMSD, as do 20% of all Americans. Your team members quickly assess patients for "red flags" (which indicate DMSD), utilizing TruDenta's patented technologies.
The National Institutes of Health estimate that over 80 million Americans suffer from one or more of the symptoms of DMSD, including:
• Chronic Headache
TruDenta uses digital force measurement technology, powered by Tekscan®, for evaluating the amount of bite force that is present during closure, at closure, and while chewing. The technology is so advanced that it actually calculates the bite force and motion on a tooth-by-tooth basis. This digital exam literally shows a movie of the bite force in action revealing abnormal forces in the nerves, muscles and ligaments that are often the cause of symptoms.
Bite balance is also calculated to identify potential issues within the overall chewing system. READ MORE
A normal opening for an adult is 53 mm to 57 mm. Limited or restricted range of motion (less than 40 mm) is a reduction in an individual’s ability for normal range of movement. Along with opening movement, an individual should be able to slide their jaw to the left and to the right at least 25 percent of their total mouth opening in a symmetrical fashion.
When restricted movement exists, an imbalance in the system is present, and breakdown of the system is likely to occur. READ MORE
The TruDentaROM is a system of hardware and software that digitally measures cervical range of motion (ROM) impairment based upon AMA guidelines. This directly affects the proprioceptive feedback system of the dental occlusion, TMJ, and the muscles of mastication.
ROM impairment is another “red flag” which assists doctors in accurately diagnosing symptoms that are often dental force related. This data enhances medical insurance collections and the collaboration with referring medical doctors. READ MORE
A typical case requires less than one hour of doctor time in the diagnosis and minor occlusal adjustments during the rehabilitation period.
Treatments are performed by a trained team member once per week, in less than one hour. The most severe cases require 12 treatments. Therapies are spa-like, non-invasive and require no drugs or needles. Most patients report dramatic results after the very fist treatment. Note: The majority of patients utilize an orthotic only during the treatment period, up to a maximum of 12 weeks. READ MORE
The goal of therapeutic ultrasound treatment is to return circulation to sore, strained muscles through increased blood flow and heat. Another goal is to break up scar tissue and deep adhesions through sound waves.
Therapeutic exposure to ultrasound reduces trigger point sensitivity and has been indicated as a useful clinical tool for managing myofacial pain. Additionally, ultrasound also has been shown to evoke antinociceptive effects on trigger points. READ MORE
Sub-threshold microcurrent stimula¬tion reduces muscle spasm and referral pain through low electrical signal. It also decreases lactic acid build-up and encourages healthy nerve stimulation. In particular, microcurrent electrotherapy has been shown to help increase mouth opening significantly.
• Reduces muscle spasm and referral pain through low electrical signal
• Decreases lactic acid build-up
• Encourages healthy nerve stimulation
• Increases mouth opening significantly
Low level laser/light therapy is one of the most widely used treatments in sports medicine to provide pain relief and rehabilitation of injuries. Over 200 randomized clinical trials have been published on low level laser therapy, half of which are on pain.
Low level laser/light therapy decreases pain and inflammation, accelerates healing of muscle and joint tissue 25 to 35 percent faster than without treatment, and reconnects neurological pathways of nerves to the brain stem, thereby inhibiting pain. READ MORE