For many years now dentistry has been a tight rope balancing act between ethical skilled clinical dentistry and making a profit.
It is clear that dental businesses cannot succeed without being successful businesses in their own right, but it is also clear that this must be done in an ethical and honest way, this is not ever the easiest balance to strike.
For all of us it would be much better if there were no money involved in healthcare and we could just get on and ‘do the right thing’. It is also clear that particularly in independent dental practice, if we are unable to provide high quality premium procedures which patients value we will not be able to continue to run our dental businesses. This is where the identification of clinical pathways to improve the dental business comes into play in its clearest way.
The biggest mistake that I see dental professionals making is that they choose a clinical pathway that they think is profitable for their business which they don’t actually like or they are not actually good at.
The world does not owe any of us a living and we should not be remunerated for doing substandard or poorly thought out work just because we are clinicians.
Just because you are a dentist does not mean you are good at orthodontics, endodontics, periodontology, implant dentistry or restorative dentistry. These are skills that are learned and practiced and without proper instruction and application is it not possible to become proficient at these. If you are going to invest a lot of your life in becoming good at something it helps if you already enjoy it. While I do believe it is possible to love what you do over time it’s easier to do what you love to begin with and ultimately if you become good at it, it will invariably make you a living. Most of the patients that you have looked after for many years until you bought your practice trusted you and were happy for you to begin offering a wider range of treatments based on increased learning and skills acquisition. If you explain honestly to patients that you are bringing new techniques into your practice, not only will this impress your patients with your commitments to your clinical practice but it will also help retain patients in the longer term. To do this in implant dentistry requires the ability to identify the correct implant course to enhance your knowledge and basic surgical skills, in restorative skills and in post-graduate dentistry overall. This allows you the chance to develop your business environment, your team, your patient base but most of all yourself.