Over the last five years, my practice has doubled in revenue. In 2010, it grew 18% while other practices were struggling to break even. The practice has produced more than $1 million in each of the last five years with fewer than 28 clinical hours per week, 100% collections, and less than 60% overhead. It normally attracts more than 30 new patients per month. We are able to maintain these levels of success while participating in more than 15 preferred provider organizations (PPOs) as well as several reduced-fee plans. I attribute the success of the practice to five key factors clinical skills, systems, team, technology, and new patient acquisition.
Although every factor plays a key role in the growth and success of a practice, technology has the most significant impact on my practice’s ability to generate highquality restorative dentistry in a more efficient and less stressful way. My practice utilizes Dentrix for administrative and clinical management. With computers in every operatory, office, and support area, we are able manage the business of dentistry from any location.
In addition to Dexis digital radiography, we regularly use intraoral cameras in every operatory, diode and erbium lasers, and, most importantly, E4D chairside CAD/CAM technology.
As a full-time general dentist, CAD/CAM technology is a subject that has been of significant interest to me. I incorporated CAD into my practice more than 10 years ago and have been a proponent of the technology and its efficiency ever since. Although I began with Cerec in 2003, as soon as E4D came on to the market, I made the switch. The software, support, training, and results were more in line with my practice goals and vision, and I felt more confident in the longevity of the hardware. While both systems can produce high-quality restorations, I felt that I would be better supported in achieving success with E4D.
The decision to purchase and implement new technology can be challenging. In a PPO practice where fees can be as much as 30% lower than in a fee-for-service office, the decision can be even more intimidating. With lower potential profit margin, added capital expenditures can have more of an impact on your bottom line. I considered several factors when choosing to add E4D to my armamentarium. Quality, fit, and durability of the restorations were the primary focus of my clinical decision. The profitability, practical application, and ROI were the primary focus of my business decision.
With the advent of new, more durable and aesthetic materials, CAD/CAM restorations are predictable, successful, long-lasting, and possess excellent aesthetics. As the technology becomes even more pervasive, these materials and their capabilities will only improve. The added and tremendously valuable benefit is that these restorations can be fabricated in less time with less added cost. In addition, should there be a failure of the restorations, remakes can be easily managed as the original digital impressions and designs are saved.
Every single patient visit costs a practice time and money. Each time a patient is seated, we use perishable goods, expend valuable chair time, utilize staff time, and must track and manage scheduling. The average crown delivery visit requires 30 minutes of chair time and costs a practice more than $50 in overhead expense.
It is critical to maximize efficiency in order to remain profitable, and one visit is more efficient than two. The economics of single-visit versus multiple-visit indirect restorative treatment is obvious and impactful.
Beyond the financial ROI are the intangible and immeasurable benefits that single-visit dentistry provides. Reduced cancellations and emergencies (no temps and no insert visits) help to free up valuable chair time and improve office flow. As you reduce the number of visits necessary to complete treatment, you reduce demands on your team, freeing them up to focus on other areas of productivity.
Additionally, CAD/CAM is a great marketing tool. For your patients, the standard process for crown fabrication has always required two visits. With E4D, now only one visit is necessary. This is unique and sets you apart from many other dentists. When patients leave and talk about their visit to friends, family, and co-workers, the fact that they got their crown in one visit versus two will be a good selling point and will raise a lot of interest. Being unique improves marketability and increases referrals. Additionally, with time being as precious as it is, your ability to provide dentistry in less time and fewer visits will improve the likelihood that a patient will say “yes” to treatment.
There are typically four barriers to case acceptance: money, fear, trust, and time. CAD/CAM addresses the time issue very effectively by saving your patients visits. They will appreciate your investment in their time savings and return the favor in referral.
My peers routinely ask me about how to use technology most effectively to cope with rising costs and lower margins. I often answer by suggesting that they incorporate CAD/CAM into their practices. I am confident that the chairside CAD/CAM is the future of restorative dentistry, not only from a clinical perspective but also in terms of profitability and marketing.
Although the decision to implement new technology into your practice can be stressful and challenging, reduced productivity due to outdated technology should be of greater concern.
Make an investment in your office, your team, and your practice, and the results you see will far outweigh the financial concerns that are preventing you from making a huge leap forward and a difference in your dentistry.
If you are interested in learning how Million Dollar PPO Coaching and Consulting can help improve your practice visit our Web site.
Dr. Matthew Krieger is CEO and founder of Million Dollar PPO, a dental practice consulting and coaching company serving dentists across the United States. Its core philosophy is increasing profitability through increasing efficiency. It works with its clients through various programs to ensure that they have the understanding and the tools to create the practice that they’ve always dreamed of.