How dentists can have it all -- money, freedom, and more

2020 01 23 19 26 0800 Dentist Patient Hygienist 400

Practicing with purpose, escaping dental school debt, maximizing profits, and living the best possible personal life can happen if dentists embrace technology and build strong dental teams, according to a session at the ADA's SmileCon 2021 meeting in Las Vegas.

Clinicians, especially millennial dentists, want to improve patients' health, enjoy what they do, and make money, while still having plenty of time for their families, hobbies, and other interests. Unfortunately, clinicians leave dental school not knowing how to run a business, and they can get stuck in a cycle of working too many hours but still not maximizing profits, said Gary Kadi, CEO and founder of dental practice management firm NextLevel Practice.

"Work more to have more: That's a myth," Kadi said. "Millennials are smart. They use technology and shortcuts to free up their time to enjoy life and life experiences, while still coming from a place of purpose."

More than 90% of dental practices have business models that are chaotic and "run like a 1950s car," he said. Dentists need to step away from the past and use platforms that reduce inefficiencies and automate tasks, as well as analyze and implement strategies that allow clinicians to earn the most while working the least.

To get on the right track, dentists need to recognize and address the problems they face on a regular basis. Because most of these problems are recurring, such as failing to attract new patients, insurance frustrations, friction between team members, and open spaces in the doctor and hygiene schedule, they won't get better until lessons are learned and they are fixed, Kadi said.

Next, clinicians need to build a strong team of employees who are committed to a unified vision for patients and the practice. These people should know the practice's vision and be capable of implementing it even when the clinician is away, he said.

Finally, dentists need to set goals, such as getting a certain number of patients healthier within a five-year period or buying a new practice. Then, they need to use their teams to help the practice reach sustainable results, he noted.

"You can find your practice potential and reach it," Kadi concluded.

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