Thursday, February 19, 2015
According to the Institute of Medicine, more than 63 percent of dentists are 45 years or older. This means that the vast majority of us are nearing the time when we can hang up our floss and start dreaming of Caribbean vacations and relaxation. These last few years before retirement are critical in setting the value of your practice.
It is important that practitioners continue to make investments in dental technology until the moment they sell to maximize their practice valuation. I have been a dentist for nearly 40 years and have seen my practice’s value increase exponentially as a result of several strategic dental technology investments I have made. The market is swarming with hundreds of products making all types of outrageous claims but I ask three simple questions to guide my purchase decisions:
- How will this tool improve my practice’s efficiency?
- Will this tool significantly improve the patient experience?
- Will this product increase my practice’s revenue?
The key to a successful practice and career is a commitment to innovation. I’ve taught at the Tufts University School of Dentistry, was a consultant for the New England Patriots, have served as a lecturer at prominent dental events and been a pioneer in the use of dental bonding materials. I don’t think I would have achieved nearly what I did if not for my inability to stay still for too long. Pushing myself beyond my comfort zone is the modus operandi and the catalyst for my interest in new technologies. Two examples of dental technology that I adopted early and have added major value to my practice are the CEREC CAD/CAM and Solea dental laser.
CAD/CAM has been an integral component of my practice since the 1980s. To me, the technology is synonymous with dentists who want to take their practices to another level. When I was first introduced to the technology, I ran what I knew about CAD/CAM through my three filters and it passed with flying colors. The technology enabled me to conduct one-stop, minimally invasive crown procedures that yielded better outcomes and shortened operating times.
A more recent example of the positive impact that new technology has had on my practice is the Solea dental laser. It is the first CO2 9.3 µm dental laser to be cleared by the FDA for hard and soft tissue procedures, and I was one of the first dentists to use the technology. Solea differentiated itself by allowing me to virtually eliminate anesthesia and blood from my operative procedures. Without anesthesia or bleeding, I save a lot of time and perform soft tissue procedures that I used to refer out.
My practice’s revenues have gone up exponentially and I’m performing as many as 6 additional procedures per day. The patient benefits are also noteworthy. Recently, I had a patient with a sensitive mouth who had been putting off her appointment for months. With Solea, I performed 7 total restorations in 3 separate quadrants in just more than an hour (75 minutes). The innovative dental laser allowed me to circumvent both the patient’s nerves and the anesthesia’s limitations in order to maximize the value of the appointment.
In dentistry, if you’re not changing you’re dying. Truly successful practitioners are those who balance their love of the science and craftsmanship of dentistry with business acumen. Stagnant dentists watch helplessly as market forces shrink the valuation of their practices and miss the huge opportunities that sweep the industry.
I’ll be retiring soon, and but right now being able to perform more procedures per day creates more revenue which increases the value of my practice. This has a significant impact on the sale price of my practice when it’s time for me to transition to the next phase of my life. By performing 6 additional procedures per day, I’ve added $200,000 in production in just this last year year.
Don’t lose out on major opportunities, stay curious, stay informed and strive to innovate until the very last day you come into the office. Your retirement account will thank you.