How dentists can use Twitter to get more patients

After Facebook, Twitter is arguably the next most important social media platform for dentists attempting to get more patients. Unlike Facebook, however, Twitter moves at a lightning-fast pace. This means that a different strategy is required to stay relevant and keep your practice at the top of prospective patients’ minds. Here are some ways to use Twitter to grow your patient list.

Customer Service

Twitter is a wonderful way to answer patient questions that do not violate confidentiality. All of your Twitter followers can read the answers, and these can be excellent jumping off points for conversations between patients or prospective patients. The longer you can keep someone on your Twitter page, the more he or she will be exposed to your services and branding. And free advice is priceless. If patients can get help on your Twitter page, they are more likely to remain loyal to you.

Tips

Another form of free advice, daily or weekly dental tips can encourage people to remain active and engaged with your Twitter page. You can boost your number of followers by posting signs in your office, complete with your full Twitter URL, encouraging patients to follow you for free tips. Just be sure to always deliver content as promised.

Coupons and Promos

Want to increase your business on consistently slow days? Offer a promotion that provides a discount on a specific service, valid only on a certain day of the week or during a particular month of the year. Twitter is an easy way to announce these promotions without spending a lot of money on advertising.

Patient Insights

If you are interested in tweaking your practices to better fit your patients, Twitter is a natural place to ask patients what they like and dislike. For example, you might toss out a general question such as, “What one thing could we do better?” Or you might ask for more specific feedback: “If you have had a filling since we switched to laser dentistry, how do you think the new procedure compares to the old way?”

Networking

One of the most valuable aspects of Twitter is its tremendous networking capacity. Follow others in your industry and regularly retweet their content to help your patients. Join various dental events throughout the year, and be sure to post about them on Twitter using the event’s dedicated hashtag. You can also stay on top of trends and current events that may give you ideas for content to create.

Community Connections

Be sure to follow other small businesses and organizations in your community. This helps build your standing in the community, shows other local businesses that you are open to networking, and helps to strengthen your credibility and your relationships with both current and prospective patients. You can also search twitter.com for your city to find people’s questions about dentistry, and then respond to them. This can help you build connections with those who need oral care.

Ascent Dental Solutions is a full-service agency dedicated to helping dentists build their practices and map out their careers. It is the brainchild of Dr. Kevin Coughlin, who earned his doctorate at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine and currently serves as a faculty member there. While Dr. Coughlin continues to practice dentistry as the principal owner of the 14-location Baystate Dental PC, he has a strong passion for helping fellow dentists maximize their success. If you are interested in learning how to take your dental practice to the next level, please contact Ascent Dental Solutions today at (800) 983-4126 to learn how Dr. Coughlin can help.

Grow your practice with a targeted referral strategy

We all want more clients. If you want your practice to grow one of the best metrics you can use to track success and predict future growth is how many new patients come through your door each month vs those you lose.

There are many strategies you can use to keep your funnel full, including advertising and sponsorships that will help increase your brand recognition. However one of the most significant things we can do in the healthcare industry to improve our businesses is increase referrals from existing clients.

I recently spoke to Stacey Brown Randall from Growth by Referrals about how a properly implemented referral strategy can help dentists get more of the patients “they want” to choose their practice.

“First you need to be willing to touch business development everyday,” says Randall.

“When I started paying attention to how we are taught to do referrals – which is to ask – it really sounded like a cold call to me.”

For Randall “the ask” was a significant barrier. So she developed a system whereby you identify who the clients you already have that you would like to have more of and turn those existing patients into advocates for your business by going beyond once or twice a year contacts and actually offering the type of client experience that keeps you top of mind.

“We typically refer people who are like us,” says Randall. “However only 20% to 30% of clients refer on a consistent basis. So you need to have the right client experience and referral strategy in place so that when opportunities for referral occur people are saying ‘you have got to go see my dentist’.”

This is a great point as it does not simply mean that you are increasing the number of referrals – but also the quality of those who are referred.

If dentists do their tracking properly there is always a referral source. Whether it’s a personal referral, or a referral from an insurance company or even another healthcare professional.

“A lot of referrals should be coming from other practitioners,” says Randall. “So dentists and other healthcare professionals should be cultivating those relationships.”

If you would like to learn more about Stacey you can visit her site www.GrowthByReferrals.com.


Ascent Dental Solutions is a full-service agency dedicated to helping dentists build their practices and map out their careers. It is the brainchild of Dr. Kevin Coughlin, who earned his doctorate at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine and currently serves as a faculty member there. While Dr. Coughlin continues to practice dentistry as the principal owner of the 14-location Baystate Dental PC, he has a strong passion for helping fellow dentists maximize their success. If you are interested in learning how to take your dental practice to the next level, please contact Ascent Dental Solutions today at (800) 983-4126 to learn how Dr. Coughlin can help.

Selling a Dental Practice to a Corporate Buyer

If you are selling your dental practice, it is important to be aware that not all buyers are individual dentists. Corporate buyers are becoming more and more common. The two categories of corporate buyers are dental management organizations (DMOs), and small group networks (SGNs). The main differences are that DMOs are large, owning from 30 to several hundred dental practices, and that DMOs have virtually unlimited resources. SGNs are small, typically owning less than 20 dental practices, and are limited in their available investment capital.

Assessing the Offer

Regardless of which type of corporate buyer has put an offer on the table, it is important to carefully assess the offer. Fortunately, there are 5 simple steps to help you decide whether the offer is right for you.

Know your value: You cannot accurately assess the offer that is made unless you understand the valuation of your practice. There are numerous ways to perform this valuation, and there are many complex factors that can affect the value. Therefore, a professional valuation is always advised.

The buyer may make an offer that is significantly higher or lower than your valuation. If this happens, it is important to learn why. Get professional advice if you are considering an offer outside your valuation range to be sure you are getting a fair deal.

Understand the buyer: You probably already know that you need to investigate the financial strength of any prospective buyer. For a corporate buyer, this should include asking your accountant to review the company’s earnings expectations, financial statements, and tax returns. Also check references and reviews, with an eye toward developing an informed picture of the company’s track record of purchases and sales.

In addition, it is important to understand the buyer’s goals. Corporate buyers want to acquire the existing patient base and grow the practice’s profitability. They generally want to retain the current owner as a manager, which may or may not interest you. They also have an existing transition process focused on cutting costs and maximizing revenue. Your economic goals become tied to the corporation’s.

Know the payment structure: Regardless of who buys your practice, financing will likely be involved. With a corporate buyer, though, the structure may be highly complex. For example, a portion of the purchase price may be contingent on your ability to hit certain goals and objectives over a predetermined number of years. In addition, you may receive a portion of the purchase price as equity in the company rather than cash. You may even be required to purchase additional equity.

Know the risks: Signing a contract with a corporate buyer involves a great deal of risk. You do not know the corporate buyer that well, and there is no recourse for equity stakeholders if the company goes belly up. However, if you are willing and able to assume the risk, are willing to work hard to hit goals and objectives, and feel confident in the purchasing entity, you could make a strong return on your investment.

Because corporate purchase agreements are highly complicated and involve high levels of risk, it is vital to seek professional advice. Only you, your financial advisors, and your dental business advisor can determine whether a corporate buyer makes sense for you.

Ascent Dental Solutions is a full-service agency dedicated to helping dentists build their practices and map out their careers. It is the brainchild of Dr. Kevin Coughlin, who earned his doctorate at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine and currently serves as a faculty member there. While Dr. Coughlin continues to practice dentistry as the principal owner of the 14-location Baystate Dental PC, he has a strong passion for helping fellow dentists maximize their success. If you are interested in learning how to take your dental practice to the next level, please contact Ascent Dental Solutions today at (800) 983-4126 to learn how Dr. Coughlin can help.

Dental Practice Valuation: How Much is Your Practice Worth?

Like anything else in life, there is an easy answer to the question, “How much is my dental practice worth?” “However much someone is willing to pay.” The reality is that you can have valuations done all day long, and they will conflict with each other because they are based on different methodologies, and at the end of the day, none of them really matter if no one is willing to pay the valuation price. Still, valuation is a vital component for both buyers and sellers, so it is important to have a professional valuation completed.

Academic vs. Real World Valuation

It can be argued that there are two basic ways to value a dental practice: academic and real world.

The academic approach is used to generate a written appraisal. There are many different formulas, generally based on capitalization of earnings, discounted cash flows, or even net tangible and intangible assets. Take a few years of data, apply a generally accepted multiplier, do some hand waving, and arrive at a number. If performed by a financial expert with subject matter knowledge in dental practices, this will arrive at a reasonable valuation.

The real-world approach acknowledges both the usefulness of appraisal formulas and the importance of understanding the market. Practice brokers specialize in dental practice sales transactions, and are experts in the current marketplace. While there is no central database of dental practices that are currently on the market or have recently sold, practice brokers have enough experience to know what similar practices are generally selling for.

The Limitations of Valuations

Of course, the problem is that no two dental practices are ever truly that similar. One might be owned by a dentist who has fine-tuned overhead expenses to an extremely low level that a buyer may not be able to match. One might have a base of long-time patients who have had all major procedures done and only come in twice a year for cleanings. Perhaps the selling dentist does rare procedures that the buyer cannot or does not want to perform, or maybe the seller is unusually speedy at performing complex work. The patients might be extremely loyal to the selling dentist, and many may decide to leave rather than stay with the new dentist.

On the other hand, the buyer might be a hot new dentist who performs virtually all services in-house, while the seller referred most complex cases out to specialists. The buyer might be more marketing savvy, or more committed to digital dentistry, or have more of a flair for the business side of the practice.

Likewise, the value of the office lease must be considered. Is it stable, and are the payments reasonable? What about the location of the practice? Is it in an up and coming neighborhood, a long-established one, or an area that is in decline? Parking, visibility, staff, reputation, and many other details must also be taken into account.

All these factors and more make dental practice valuations both an art and a science. Because dental practices have few hard assets, and are not interchangeable commodity goods, it is crucial that any valuation be performed by an expert who understands what happens after a practice is sold. The best valuations are done by those who are excellent at quantifying the likely future productivity and profitability of the practice for the buyer.

Ascent Dental Solutions is a full-service agency dedicated to helping dentists build their practices and map out their careers. It is the brainchild of Dr. Kevin Coughlin, who earned his doctorate at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine and currently serves as a faculty member there. While Dr. Coughlin continues to practice dentistry as the principal owner of the 14-location Baystate Dental PC, he has a strong passion for helping fellow dentists maximize their success. If you are interested in learning how to take your dental practice to the next level, please contact Ascent Dental Solutions today at (800) 983-4126 to learn how Dr. Coughlin can help.

Keys to Selling a Dental Practice for the Maximum Price

Dental practice valuation is a highly complex blend of art and science. Ultimately, though, any practice is worth whatever a buyer is willing to pay for it. If you want to maximize the selling price, there are a few things you can do to make your practice more attractive to potential buyers.

Accounts Receivable

The majority of dentists are happy with an accounts receivable cycle as long as 45 days. Still, if yours is significantly lower, it can prove that your practice has a healthy cash flow. Upgrading your revenue management technology and procedures can help.

Location

While the real estate idea of “location, location, location” does not fully apply when selling a dental practice, there is no denying that location matters to prospective buyers. In particular, buyers are interested in the demographics and population trends of the area, as those affect the patient base. For example, a buyer interested in complex restorations would likely prefer an affluent area with an older demographic, while someone who specializes in pediatric dentistry will want to be in a neighborhood with lots of young families.

You don’t need to move your practice in order to sell it, but you will get the best price by focusing on buyers whose primary interests match the demographics of the area. Of course, if your practice attracts patients who are willing to travel a long way for your services, that can be a selling point on its own.

Practice Philosophy

Everyone has a different philosophy and approach to treatment, and you certainly don’t need to change yours. However, if you are looking for the maximum selling price, you should be sure to discuss these topics early on with each potential buyer. Every buyer is hoping for a strong, existing patient base, as well as to focus on the areas of dentistry that most interest him or her. It might be that a buyer can see a new direction for your practice in the form of additional services or new technology, but if your approaches are wildly different, some of your existing patients might leave after the sale. Buyers are aware of this risk, and will likely not offer top dollar for practices that do not naturally mesh with their ideas.

Intangible Assets

Dental practices generally have a wide variety of tangible assets, such as equipment and furniture, but intangible assets can add tremendous value to the practice. Brand equity and intellectual property are typically the most important. Brand equity includes, but is not limited to, such factors as reputation, perception of service, and loyalty from both patients and employees. Protecting the brand can be a very important element in the sales process, and a top brand can bring a significantly higher price.

Intellectual property includes anything that you developed that is unique to your practice, such as codified policies and procedures, treatment methodologies, and ways of managing the business side of your practice. The more successful your practice is, the more your unique intellectual property is likely to be worth at the time of sale.

Technology Considerations

It would seem obvious that sophisticated dental technology automatically raises the selling price of a dental practice, but this is rarely the case. At the time of sale, technology is really only worth the demonstrated financial impact that it has on the practice. In other words, you may get a premium for a piece of technology that demonstrably improved processes and, in turn, revenue. But simply running out right before the sale to buy new software will not get you much return on your investment.

There are a couple of reasons for this. First, there is a plethora of dental technology on the market, and most dentists like to equip their offices with the technologies they like best. Second, used equipment has a very low cash value. Finally, the buyer may be entirely unfamiliar with that shiny new program you installed, and unimpressed with your claims of what the salesperson told you it could do. Being able to point to results is key.

Ultimately, the best way to obtain the maximum price for your dental practice is to start long before you are ready to sell. Build the best practice you can, constantly refine and improve your processes, and create a strong brand. When you are ready to sell, focus on buyers who are looking for what you have to sell, and whose philosophies mesh well with your own.

Ascent Dental Solutions is a full-service agency dedicated to helping dentists build their practices and map out their careers. It is the brainchild of Dr. Kevin Coughlin, who earned his doctorate at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine and currently serves as a faculty member there. While Dr. Coughlin continues to practice dentistry as the principal owner of the 14-location Baystate Dental PC, he has a strong passion for helping fellow dentists maximize their success. If you are interested in learning how to take your dental practice to the next level, please contact Ascent Dental Solutions today at (800) 983-4126 to learn how Dr. Coughlin can help.

Dentists need to adopt a business mindset

I’m a working dentist.

However, all my success has come because I run my practice as a business.

If there is one major complaint I have about dental schools, it’s that they focus on the skills you need to perform exactly one half of your job – clinical skills.

But being a successful dentist who runs one or more practices takes a lot more than knowing your way around the gumline. It takes business sense.

When I was starting out I had to learn these lessons. I wasted a lot of time and a lot more money making mistakes and learning from them. In the end I figured it out and was able to grow my business to include 14 practices.

I did this by developing processes and procedures that I was able to replicate over and over again.  

Today’s young dentists have it even harder. Many of them graduate with so much debt that setting up a practice of their own right out of school is prohibitively expensive. So they join an existing practice as an associate.

Even then there is very little preparation provided in schools to help them land that first job or succeed and prepare for a financially secure future.

That’s not to say established dentists don’t have their own issues when it comes to the business of running a practice.

With Managed Service Organisations (MSOs) and Dental Service Organizations (DSOs) growing and expanding into just about every marketplace, established practices are increasingly feeling the competitive pinch.

It hard to compete when your competitor has the power to muscle suppliers and vendors because of the scale of their purchasing power.

So can an independent dentist succeed in this environment? Of course they can. But it means managing the practice as a business first. Dentists need to constantly reevaluate processes and procedures and offer superior service that makes every patient a brand ambassador who happily refers them to friends and family.

So how do you develop the skills necessary to manage your career in this business? If you are struggling at the beginning of your career or you are worried about MSOs and DSOs eating your lunch then you might want to start by looking at coaching programs for new dentists or advanced business coaching for dentists.

I’m happy to chat and help you decide what your next steps should be so that you can enjoy the success you deserve without wasting a lot of time trying to figure it out yourself. Drkevin@ascent-dental-solutions.com

Dental Practice Purchase Agreement: What to Look For

As the name suggests, a dental practice purchase agreement is the document that actually spells out the terms and conditions of the sale. This should be drafted by an attorney to ensure that all legal concerns are addressed. Still, it is vital for all dental practice buyers and sellers to understand what needs to be in the dental practice purchase agreement. Here are some of the most vital but often overlooked clauses.

  1. Contingencies

Any purchase agreement should have listed contingencies, or specific events that must occur in order for the purchase to move forward. Should any contingencies fail to happen, you can walk away with no liability. Sample contingencies include, but are not limited to:

Approval of the existing records by the buyer’s accountant

Obtaining a loan at the desired terms

Buyer’s assumption of the existing or entry into a new lease at acceptable terms

Buyer obtaining attorney approval of the purchase agreement

  1. Non-Compete Covenant

A non-compete covenant prevents the seller from practicing dentistry within a certain geographic radius from the purchased practice for a period of time. This covenant needs to be detailed, specifying which related activities, such as becoming a shareholder or director of a nearby practice, are allowed or prohibited. Of course, if the seller stays on with the practice for a period of time, the non-compete covenant should not start until the seller’s last day of employment at the practice.

  1. Defective Dentistry

If something small goes wrong with dental work performed prior to the sale, it is reasonable to expect the buyer to fix it. However, if substantial failure occurs, responsibility for fixing it should be allocated between the buyer and seller. A common provision states that the seller can choose to either return to the practice to fix the work or pay the buyer 50 to 75 percent of the buyer’s customary fee to perform the work, and specifies both the time period for which the election is in effect and the method by which the buyer will notify the seller of such issues.

  1. Warranties and Representations

Warranties and representations are the seller’s statements on which the buyer’s purchasing decision is based. All verbal representations should be written into the purchase agreement. Common warranties include broad statements about the worthiness of the practice, such as having no liens or encumbrances on the assets and the seller’s dentistry license never having been revoked.

  1. Accounts Receivable

Most dental practices have numerous accounts receivable, or monies that are owed to the practice. The buyer may choose to purchase all, none, or some of the accounts receivable. This election, along with specifics on how any accounts receivable retained by the seller will be collected, should be written into the purchase agreement.

Other Documents

While the purchase agreement is the key document in a dental sales practice purchase, it is not sufficient on its own. Other important paperwork that should be carefully drafted includes, but is not limited to:

Non-disclosure Agreement

Intent to Buy Letter

Deposit Receipt

Office Lease (if applicable)

Purchasing a dental practice is a fairly straightforward process. However, carefully drafted paperwork, created or approved by an attorney, is vital to ensuring that all relevant issues are addressed up front and in writing.

Ascent Dental Solutions is a full-service agency dedicated to helping dentists build their practices and map out their careers. It is the brainchild of Dr. Kevin Coughlin, who earned his doctorate at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine and currently serves as a faculty member there. While Dr. Coughlin continues to practice dentistry as the principal owner of the 14-location Baystate Dental PC, he has a strong passion for helping fellow dentists maximize their success. If you are interested in learning how to take your dental practice to the next level, please contact Ascent Dental Solutions today at (800) 983-4126 to learn how Dr. Coughlin can help.

Estimating the Cost of Buying a Dental Practice

Whether you are fresh out of dental school or have been working as an associate for several years, the time may come when you want to buy your own practice. More and more dentists are choosing not to go this route, opting instead for corporate dentistry, but there is an undeniable appeal to owning your own practice. Yet it can be tough to figure out exactly how much it will cost to buy a practice. Here are some considerations.

Valuation

The valuation is simply how much the dental practice is worth. This is determined by formulas that range from simple to highly complex, and is always an approximation. Still, the valuation is the jumping off point for negotiating a purchase price, so it is important to have a professional appraisal. Common valuation methods include:

Income-Based Valuation

Based on either capitalized earnings or discounted cash flows, income-based valuation works well for dental practices that have a strong history of growth. This type of valuation can be more challenging for newer practices and those that have gone through financial issues.

Market-Based Valuation

Market-based valuation can be a desirable choice for a newer practice without much history, as it is based on the market data of similar practices in the area. However, it is not generally considered as reliable as income-based valuation.

Net Asset Valuation

Net asset valuation attempts to put a dollar figure on not only tangible assets like chairs and real estate, but also such intangibles as the goodwill the practice has developed. It is tricky, since as much as 85 percent of the value may be intangible, but can be the right choice for practices that have had financial problems or have major tangible assets.

Other Considerations

At best, valuation is an educated guess. There is simply no way to take into account all of the factors that are part of buying a dental practice. Here are a few more things to consider:

Unexpected Overhead

Equipment breaks. Staff members must be paid. Operational budgets may not be streamlined. Although a careful look at recent budgets can help you plan, always build in a cushion for unexpected expenses.

Inherited Staff

Until you actually purchase the practice, you have no real way to know how the staff operates day to day. From family troubles to workplace feuds, staff members are human beings with lives that are often messy. Be aware that workplace productivity will never be as high as it seems on paper, and try not to schedule more than 80 percent of any individual’s day. Over time, you may need to weed out bad apples to boost staff morale.

Patient Transitioning

Accepting change is hard for most people, especially when it comes to their healthcare. Some may leave the practice altogether. Prepare your budget for a dip in patient numbers, and make a plan for actively recruiting new patients.

Referrals

If you are a specialist, tapping into an existing referral network is vital. If you don’t have a local network, and one didn’t come with the purchase, you will need to invest some money and time into building those relationships.

It is nearly impossible to predict all of the costs associated with buying a dental practice. However, if you start with a professional valuation and then set aside cash to meet unexpected expenses, you will go a long way toward quickly achieving profitability.

Ascent Dental Solutions is a full-service agency dedicated to helping dentists build their practices and map out their careers. It is the brainchild of Dr. Kevin Coughlin, who earned his doctorate at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine and currently serves as a faculty member there. While Dr. Coughlin continues to practice dentistry as the principal owner of the 14-location Baystate Dental PC, he has a strong passion for helping fellow dentists maximize their success. If you are interested in learning how to take your dental practice to the next level, please contact Ascent Dental Solutions today at (800) 983-4126 to learn how Dr. Coughlin can help.

The right way to handle chronically late dental patients

In addition to my dental consulting business, I’m also a practicing full time dentist. So I deal with the same issues that my consulting clients deal with day in and day out. I can tell you that one of the biggest pet peeves of dentists (and lawyers and anyone else who takes appointments) is the chronically late client.

My expertise is helping dentists implement the proper processes and procedures to help them through all the different phases of their career.

Although I consider myself an expert, I’m also human and I still make mistakes. The trick is to identify the mistakes and take steps to ensure they don’t become career killing habits.

How you treat chronically late patients can have a serious impact on your dental practice. Before I go further, let me explain what I mean about chronically late. This is an individual who is 15 or 20 minutes late, between 50 and 75 percent of the time.
We all have them.

Here’s how we mishandled a recent situation and what it cost us. Firstly, this is an individual who is known (and expected to) be late for most appointments. As usual they began with an apology, followed by an excuse. They knew they were late, but it was traffic.

Our front desk coordinator was in no mood to hear it. She said “you’re almost 20 minutes late and something like this cannot continue to happen.”

With that the individual turned around and walked right out of the office. Less than 45 minutes later, I received an email saying how dissatisfied this patient was with our organization. He went on to say how unhappy he was about the way he was treated and how he had tried his best to be on time for his appointment.

The result of that particular process and procedure around dealing with late patients was that we lost that individual as a patient – who’d been with our practice for over ten years – as well as his wife and their three children.

Office processes and procedures have a dramatic effect on your day-to-day bottom line as well as your reputation and referrability. At this point, I haven’t seen a social media post or Google review from our former patient, but I’m sure it’s coming.

So how could we have handled this situation better? The correct way would be to get the patient seated and comfortable. The next step would be to explain that their appointment was at such and such a time and because they were late, we would do our very best to coordinate and complete their care.

In this particular case, it was a simple hygiene appointment. Most dental practices these days will have dental assistants, dental hygienists, doctors and associates to handle a hygiene appointments, regardless of how late that patient is.

The point I would try to make in this example is that scolding a patient for being late as they walk in the door should never happen. Save the “education” portion of the visit until after the appointment is completed.

If this was handled correctly, I think the average person would accept that because they were late it might take a little extra time to get their procedure under way. The result of not handling it properly was a financial hit to our company and to our reputation. And I’m sure if it’s happening to me, it’s happening to others.

So when, not if, you have to have a conversation with a chronically late patient, wait until after the set procedure and then have your treatment plan coordinator simply say to Mr. or Mrs. Smith, “is there a time that is better for you so that you won’t be late? Is there a way that we can coordinate the appointment so it is easier for you and there’s less stress on you?”

Proper and clear communication is the best way to reinforce expectations and remind patients that arriving on time is their job.

Why Continuing Education is Critical to Your Success in Dentistry

Every state requires dentists to comply with mandatory continuing education requirements. In addition, there are a wide range of optional continuing education courses available to dentists across the nation. If you are a practicing dentist, though, you might wonder why. After all, you are using your clinical skills every day, so you certainly aren’t rusty. Yet even beyond the need to comply with regulations, continuing education is vital for all dentists. Here’s a look at why continuing education is critical to your success in dentistry.

Emergency Care

Maintaining current CPR certification is mandatory in most states. Many also require continuing education credits in topics such as infection control, blood borne pathogens, and HIV/AIDS. Some require dentists to have regular training in ethics, professional responsibility, and recognizing the signs of abuse.

All of these are topics that the average dentist does not frequently confront. You probably have sterilization and infection control procedures in place that work well for your day to day operations. You likely face few situations that require you to perform CPR or make complex ethical decisions. Yet when you suddenly find yourself in an unusual scenario, you need to have sharp, recently practiced skills that you can rely on.

Innovative Technology

Technology continues to develop at lightning speed, and there is no way that the average busy dentist could keep up with all of the new possibilities. Continuing education courses that focus on technology sum up your new options and present them in a way that is fast and easy to digest. You will receive enough information that you can then easily research any new tools that catch your eye.

New Clinical Skills

The field of dentistry is also transforming rapidly, partly due to innovations in technology. Dentists today have more options than ever before for treating different dental diseases. Continuing education courses give you an overview of new techniques and methodologies, some of which could revolutionize the care you are able to provide.

Changing Business Landscape

“Disruption” is the new buzzword in business, as companies attempt to turn old ways of doing business on their ear. As new disruptors enter the marketplace, service providers such as dentists must stay on their toes. Agility, streamlining, and the ability to pivot as needed are key skills that any business owner must learn. Attending continuing education classes focused on the business side of your practice ensures that you stay aware of the changing landscape and are prepared to take on new disruptions as they occur.

Continuing education requirements can feel like just one more thing on your never-ending to do list. Yet these classes are the best insurance your dental practice can have against the ramifications of a rapidly changing field. When looking for continuing education courses, try to select a range of topics that address emergency care, technology, clinical skills, and business knowledge. Your success will be worth the hassle.

Ascent Dental Solutions is a full-service agency dedicated to helping dentists build their practices and map out their careers. It is the brainchild of Dr. Kevin Coughlin, who earned his doctorate at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine and currently serves as a faculty member there. While Dr. Coughlin continues to practice dentistry as the principal owner of the 14-location Baystate Dental PC, he has a strong passion for helping fellow dentists maximize their success. If you are interested in learning how to take your dental practice to the next level, please contact Ascent Dental Solutions today at (800) 983-4126 to learn how Dr. Coughlin can help.