The Naked Dentist visits Dr. Delaware

2015 03 10 14 43 22 538 Marshall Curtis 200

What was the first R-rated movie you saw? Mine was "Pretty Woman." The film is one of the most financially successful movies in the romantic comedy genre, with an estimated gross income of more than $463 million worldwide, according to

Curtis Marshall is the vice president of marketing at Dental Intel.Curtis Marshall is the vice president of marketing at Dental Intel.

As the Naked Dentist, I strip a dental office of all its clothes, makeup, and accessories to reveal the true problem areas. Once the problem areas are identified, we can tone or occasionally perform surgery to achieve lifestyle and financial success.

In "Pretty Woman," Julia Roberts plays Vivian, a prostitute by profession and mindset. There were not many areas on her body that needed to be toned; she was nearly perfect. On the other hand, her lifestyle was out of whack. Although she looked fantastic, she was not happy.

Vivian is given money, clothes, and credit cards to be able to play the part of a wealthy girlfriend. At one point, she is even offered an apartment. To some people, this may sound like she hit the jackpot. But Vivian refuses, explaining this is not the fairy tale she wants to have.

Just like Vivian, all of us have our own "fairy tale" that we wish for. Most of the time, we do not want someone else to dictate our dreams. Some of us want to work fewer days, while others want less stress. Whatever your fairy tale is, I have a secret formula for you to live a better lifestyle.

This formula is complex, but I will break it down.

Here it is:

(Visits X Production/Visits X Collection/Production) – Overhead = Income

The four metrics above equal one important number -- your income. So let's go one by one to determine what can be toned or what needs surgery to improve your lifestyle.

True patient acceptance

Will increasing patient visits improve your lifestyle? Probably not. That requires more of your time and possibly more stress. Will focusing on overhead improve your lifestyle? For me, that just sounds like a headache with lots of time and stress.

The two areas within this secret formula that are suggested to improve lifestyle are collection/production (or collection percentage) and production per patient visit. Your collection percentage should be greater than 95%.

“To achieve a better lifestyle (your fairy tale), concentrate on production per visit.”

What is yours? If you are at or near that number, let's not focus on it at this time. But make sure you are monitoring it.

To achieve a better lifestyle (your fairy tale), concentrate on production per visit. The goal is to be at $350 to $380 per visit if you do all services (including wisdom teeth, molar endodontics, and implants), or $250 to $270 per visit if you are not doing those services.

So how do you improve your production per visit? Here are three things (out of many) that affect this number. Improving these three simple metrics has life-changing results.

  • Percentage of treatment identified
  • Percentage of patients who accept treatment
  • Percentage of the total dollars presented to those who accepted treatment

Knowing these three numbers is getting you as naked as the day you were born. The total of these three numbers is a metric I call true patient acceptance.

Seeing this number can be scary. It can make you feel as though you are not at a level you want to be seen at. But trust me, it is far worse to think your practice is fine and not know the naked truth.

I often get asked, "What percentage should my true patient acceptance be at?" That number is not a set number. What's important is that you increase that number until you reach a lifestyle that you desire and then maintain it.

Dr. Delaware

Here is an example of a dentist in Delaware. "Dr. Delaware" was not living the lifestyle he dreamed of in dental school, and his fairy tale profession was quickly becoming his nightmare. Dr. Delaware and I met, and I showed him the secret formula.

We focused on the three metrics that affect production per visit. Before monitoring these numbers, he was identifying treatment to 30% of his patients, with half of them (15%) accepting treatment. Of those 15%, they were only accepting 20% of the dollars presented, meaning Dr. Delaware's true patient acceptance was at 3%. It was his naked truth. He had known there were some issues, but seeing that number on the paper left him feeling exposed.

This percentage (3%) is not where Dr. Delaware wanted to be. After just two months of daily tracking of the three metrics listed above, his office increased each number by 10%. With only a 10% increase in each of those metrics, his true patient acceptance was at 7.33% -- more than doubled!

The next logical question would be: What did that do to his lifestyle? Dr. Delaware now works fewer days than before, he is not worried about the growth, and his take-home dollars have increased by 44%.

After stripping down Dr. Delaware and toning his practice, he and his team are living a better lifestyle, and they can also see the path to the fairy tale and will reach it if they continue to look at the areas within the practice that need improvement.

I hope you reach your fairy tale, and your lifestyle reaches a point where stress is eliminated and you are able to do the things you enjoy with your time.

Let's get naked together!

Curtis Marshall serves as the vice president of marketing at Dental Intel. If you would like your practice to be in the next Naked Dentist column and have your practice undressed, contact him at or 801-380-7070.

The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.

Page 1 of 149
Next Page