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Marketing the Dental Practice — Community Involvement

Dr Alexa Vitek

Dr Alexa Vitek

Getting involved in your community can be a great way to give back, as well as raise awareness of your practice and bring patients to your door. But with so many deserving causes and different opportunities, it can be a challenge to direct your energy to where it will be most effective.

In March 2013 ADA New Dentist News spoke with a number of new dentists about how they used community involvement as a practice builder. Dr. Alexa Vitek, who built a general dentistry practice from scratch in DeWitt, Michigan, talked about the importance of getting people who could be potential patients into the practice. Here’s what she said:

“I had great success donating custom whitening trays for a silent auction fundraiser,” she recalls, “it literally put new people in my chair.”

Dr. Vitek also organizes events for the merchants in the shopping center where her practice is located, including a holiday prize drawing. “Prize winners come to my practice to pick up their prizes, presenting another opportunity for someone to see firsthand how friendly and welcoming our practice is.”

What about you—have you used community involvement as a way to build interest in your dental practice? Leave your suggestions and experiences in the comments.

In the Market for a Disposable High-Speed Handpiece?

ADA Professional Product Review

ADA Professional Product Review

If you’re wondering who would use a disposable handpiece, consider clinical settings that present unusual operating conditions or challenging infection control situations where sterilization is not practical or cost-effective. Remote or mobile clinics, medical missions or military field installations all represent possible situations where a disposable high-speed handpiece would come in handy.

How might you make an informed decision about different disposable handpieces? ADA Professional Product Review™ provides product evaluations that are user-friendly, unbiased, clinically relevant and scientifically sound. Search the archives for other evaluations–from LED curing units and flowable composites to digital radiography systems, CAD/CAM and more than 70 types of restorative materials.

And if you have some expertise you’d like to share, consider joining the ADA Clinical Evaluators Panel to share your opinions on products used in your practice.

Learning to Manage your Online Reputation at Annual Session

Follow the New Dentist Track at Annual Session

Follow the New Dentist Track at Annual Session

It’s almost time for ADA Annual Session with over 300 lectures and interactive learning events to choose from. We suggest the New Dentist Track — these 21 courses were selected in consultation with the ADA New Dentist Committee, and they cover both clinical and practice management topics.

One course in the track is Are You Well-Liked? Why Online Reputation is Important to Your Online Success (Course Code: 7381), a course taught by Dr. Leonard Tau. Patients are talking about you, and this course is designed to help you put a plan in place to monitor, promote and manage a positive reputation for your practice online.

Important All courses – even free ones, like Are You Well-Liked? – are ticketed and must be reserved through the registration system. Plan your CE and register today

Giving Instructions Without Being Rude or Wimpy

mentoring

Giving instructions can be a challenge

Asking others to do something feels tricky sometimes. It can be easier when there is a clear line of authority, such as when you are the owner and you are addressing an employee, but what about a situation where you might work with a dental team member without being the boss? Or when you are asking someone who is a peer or a colleague to do something?

It can be easy to veer between the demanding I need you to do this (somewhat dictatorial) and the lame It would be great if you would do this (somewhat passive-aggressive).

In the book How to Wow, communications expert Frances Cole Jones suggests the phrase My request is…

For instance:

  • My request is that this project be completed before Monday
  • My request is for a location that offers free parking
  • My request is to mark all requests for vacation time on the shared calendar

The beauty of “My request is,” notes Jones is that it leaves people in no doubt that a request has been made of them by you, but because you haven’t used the “I/you” combination, you avoid their feeling overwhelmed or beleaguered.

What about you—are there any phrases that you’ve found useful when giving instructions? Share your answers in the comments.

Finding a Job — What Questions Should You Ask During the Interview?

open mouthWhen you are looking for an employment opportunity, remember that the job interview is a two-way street, with both parties assessing each other.

Dr. Ryan Dulde has put together a list of 30 Interview Questions for Finding the Right Fit. It’s worth checking out the entire list — Dr. Dulde not only suggests the questions, but often explains the underlying information you hope to learn by asking a particular question in the first place.

Here’s one that grabbed our attention:

To what extent do you expect an associate to be engaged in marketing in the community, volunteering, etc.? What is expected from an associate in terms of representing the practice? Be sure to ask yourself this too! How much time outside of the 8-5, if any, are you prepared to contribute to grow the practice …even as an employee?

Is there any question that you asked (or didn’t ask) that made a difference when assessing a job opportunity? Let us know in the comments.

Responding to Patient Comments Online

The ADA Practical Guide to Social Media PlanningSocial media provides a way for you to interact with patients, and it also provides patients with an outlet to comment on the services they receive.

The ADA Practical Guide to Social Media Planning recommends that you monitor any conversation online and aim to respond to comments when appropriate, remembering that not every comment requires a response. From the Guide:

To help determine if you should respond, ask yourself questions like:

  • Is there any value in responding?
  • Do I look uncaring if I don’t respond?
  • Is there anything positive I can say?
  • Can one response address several comments posted?
  • Who commented and do they have a large following online?
  • Does the comment or review show up prominently in search results?

The Guide also points out that Federal and state privacy laws, including HIPAA, apply to online conversations. Here’s the Guide again:

If you can only answer a question by disclosing health information, take the conversation off-line by posting something like, “I can help you with that. Is it okay if I look in your file and give you a call?” Or “Please call my office around 2 p.m. today, and I’d be happy to discuss that with you.” Then, after the call has been made, be sure to close the loop online with a post that reads something like, “Good to talk with you this afternoon. If you have any more questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out.” This illustrates to the rest of your audience that you’ve responded.

Interested in learning more about using social media in a way that makes sense for your practice? Pick up The ADA Practical Guide to Social Media Planning. Learn how to use social media in a way that will engage potential and existing patients; make your practice more visible in a growing sea of online information and protect and further your professional reputation online.

Have a comment about commenting? Be sure to share it in the comments!

Bounce Back after Time off

luggage

Am I forgetting anything?

Here’s hoping you had a great long weekend. While we never turn down a day off of work, sometimes extra time away can make it hard to get back into the swing of things.

If that sounds familiar, WikiHow has a list of suggestions for how to overcome the post-vacation blues. One tip involves incorporating some lessons from vacation into everyday life. Here’s one that stuck out for us:

Using the cellphone and the internet a lot less. When you’re traveling, cell phone and internet use soon turn into a case of using it only to keep people informed and to check that nothing untoward has happened. Apart from that, you’re usually not constantly talking or surfing for the sake of it; instead, you’re experiencing the rest of life.

If you are still in the mood for self-improvement, Lifehacker suggests that you use the time after a vacation to evaluate your packing list to reduce the likelihood of over-packing the next time.

Learn How to Spin a Toothbrush on Your Finger

It’s almost time for a three-day weekend and, to be honest, we are having difficulty focusing on anything too demanding.

The folks at Boing Boing have tracked down a video that does just what the title says — it teaches you how to spin a toothbrush on your finger. Be forewarned this video is not in English but that is unlikely to get in the way of your appreciation.

We would say more about this but the toothbrush keeps falling off while we type, so we are just going to leave this here.

Follow the New Dentist Track

Follow the New Dentist Track at Annual Session

Follow the New Dentist Track at Annual Session

Let’s face it—planning your CE courses at ADA Annual Session can be a little daunting with over 300 lectures and interactive learning events to choose from. Where do you start?

May we suggest the New Dentist Track? These 21 courses were selected in consultation with the ADA New Dentist Committee, and they cover both clinical and practice management topics.

One course in the track is Here’s How I Did It: Real Talk from New Dentists in Private Practice (Course Code: 5317), a panel discussion moderated by Dr. Chris Salierno. This open-forum course focuses on practice management for the new dentist. Audience members will submit questions from the floor. The course addresses practice management topics such as operations, financial management, marketing and human resources.

Important All courses – even free ones, like Here’s How I Did It – are ticketed and must be reserved through the registration system. Join the conversation; register today.

Leadership: What they don’t teach you in dental school (Part two)

Dr. Jonathan Ford

Dr. Jonathan Ford

By Dr. Jonathan Ford

I recently attended the ADA New Dentist Conference in Denver. The conference had a great mix of continuing education for the young dentist, including a special emphasis on leadership development. Here is part two of the leadership skills that I learned at the ADA New Dentist Conference—read part one here.

 1.     Have fun! One of my patients is my English high school teacher. During each of our visits, he always asks me if I have fun being a dentist. He always says, “If you have fun doing what you get paid to do, you will never work a day in your life.”

While dentistry isn’t always birthday cake and ice cream, it can be fun most of the time. This theme repeatedly showed itself at the conference. If you can foster a fun environment, you also create a “want-to” instead of a “have-to” environment. This will help you attract and maintain a great staff. If you can make someone laugh during a root canal on #15 or an extraction of #16, it will create a more accepting patient base and attract a dynamic group of patients. People want to be in a fun environment. As one of the speakers stated, “Ultimately, life is about having the most fun possible before you die.”

2.     Recharge your own batteries As a dentist, you are definitely responsible for the margins on the crown you just cemented and how tight the contact is on #14-DO. In addition, you are probably the chief operating officer when the dental chair breaks down in room one. You are the chief technology officer, when the computer in room two doesn’t turn on. You are the chief customer relations officer when a patient complains, believing their co-pay is incorrect.

You are ultimately responsible for everything in your dental office and that includes yourself; therefore, you need to set time aside for you. It can be exercise like running or yoga. It can be meditation or writing in a journal. Do whatever it is that helps you recharge yourself relax.

Additionally, take time off. My wife and I have an agreement that we must plan our next vacation before we take our current vacation. It gives us something to look forward to upon our return and it helps to know that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

I hope this gives you some insight into the ADA New Dentist Conference, and also gives you some ideas on how to better yourself and lead a successful dental practice. Hopefully, I will see you next year at the ADA New Dentist Conference in Kansas City, Missouri July 17-19, 2014.

***

Dr. Jonathan Ford is a general dentist in Huntington Beach, California. He served as the New Dentist Co-Chair for the Orange County Dental Society in 2011 and 2012. He currently serves on the Council for Endorsed Programs for the California Dental Association. You can reach him by emailing him at drjonathan@fordentalgroup.com.