Self-Care for Dentists

Being a dentist can be one of the most stressful occupations that one can have. Between the physical demands of the job, the attention to detail that must be performed with each procedure, dealing with patients that are nervous or upset, and trying to run a business, it’s easy to see where the stress could come from.

Knowing the demands of the job and understanding the impact that stress can have on your overall health, it’s important that you are aware of and maintain not only your physical health but your emotional and mental health, as well.

One of the keys to reducing your stress level is to find a healthy work-life balance. It’s something that you will need to be intentional about as you plan your days and weeks.

Here are several ways to practice self-care:

  1. Get some form of physical exercise a minimum of three days a week. Exercise will not only have a positive impact on your physical health, but it will help you de-stress and increase endorphins, making you happier during your working hours. Find something you enjoy doing so it doesn’t seem like a chore.
  2. Do something fun on the weekends. Take note of the things that you enjoy doing. Whether it’s arts and crafts, hiking, boating, or entertaining, make it a point to try to include some time devoted to this on your weekends off.
  3. Carve out social time. It’s important that you spend time around people that make you happy and that you don’t feel a need to discuss work related matters with.
  4. Make sure you have good professional support. Whether it’s an organization devoted to working with dentists or a network of other dental professionals in the area, it’s important to have a personal network that you can turn to that fully understands what your day to day life is like.
  5. Keep a journal. Journal keeping encourages you to be more aware of your thoughts and feelings and can help you solve problems.

Making self-care a priority can be a challenge if it’s something you haven’t done before, but you will see results very quickly if you implement even just one or two of the above ideas.

Here is a great resource the: Self Care for Dentists Booklet developed by New Zealand Dental Association.

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Why Buy a Dental Practice?

Running your own dental practice can be extremely gratifying and profitable. But just how do you know if it’s the right move, and if you’re the right candidate to run it? Being a great dental practitioner doesn’t necessarily make you a good business owner. We’ve put some tips together to help you navigate these tricky questions and more.

You could buy a dental practice if …

… You are moving to a new area

 If you are relocating, starting a practice from scratch will be a huge step backwards. That means, the fast-paced working style you are used to will probably shift down a few gears.

Buying a dental practice that is already established can help you keep a similar momentum to what you are used to. It can be more fulfilling financially and emotionally than starting from square one.

… You want to be your own boss

Not everyone is a good follower; some of us have leadership traits that are extremely well defined, making it difficult to work for someone else. If you are an independent person who has a clear path in front of you, owning your own dental practice might be for you.

… You do not want to start from scratch

Buying an existing practice that has a staff contingent means you don’t have to start training people while canvassing for new clients, and that can make the world of difference to your working life.

… You want more business

Another common reason why a dentist might buy an existing dental practice is because their current operation is quiet. Buying an established practice gives you access to new patients, but there are some questions that should be considered.

Why is your current practice slow? Is it because your location is not ideal, your marketing is too flat, or your staff are not supportive enough to help you build and grow the business? If your current practice is experiencing set backs, sit back and take stock of why, before committing yourself to more financial debt. You may very well be treating a symptom and not the root cause of the problem. Identify and address the problem before embarking on an adventure with another practice.

If you are doing something wrong, there is a big chance you will transfer this error to your new endeavor.

… You want to find a better practice location

Renovating and redecorating can be expensive. In some instances, it makes better business sense to buy a newer practice than to fix an old one. Is your upgrade attached to a rebrand? Do you want to introduce new services? If so, buying a practice could be for you.

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Ways to Prepare Your Staff for Your Transition

If you’re selling your dental practice and you’ve put a lot of effort into building your dream team, it’s important to put your staff at ease before and during the transitional period. Don’t wait to let them know that you’re selling your practice and that a few changes may occur within the office once the transition takes place. Here are five quick tips to prepare your staff for your dental practice transition:

Don’t Skirt Around the Transition

Address your staff on an individual basis, with regard to the impending change. Be direct about the sale, your reasons for selling and praise each staff member’s contribution to the practice. Acknowledge the important role each person plays and state that you would like them to continue to perform this role.

Acknowledge that the new owner will not necessarily follow the same systems that you did, and prepare the staff mentally for the transition by giving a heads-up on what they can expect.

Develop a Transition Strategy

The sale will not happen overnight, it will take some time to prepare. Similarly, each staff member should be given enough time to prepare mentally for the changes. Create milestones in the transition strategy for when certain changes need to be made.

Be Involved

The hand-over process requires your involvement. Your staff need an introduction to the new owner, some insight into what he or she will bring to the practice. If the new owner has your endorsement, your staff are more likely to be accepting. You have led the practice to that point; you can also lead the staff effectively through the transition process.

Make it Clear That You Have Protection Measures in Place to Look After Your Staff

For most staff members, their job security and remuneration packages may be a source of stress. Let your team know you are batting for them and that you have arranged for their earnings to increase of remain the same.

Get Everyone On the Same Page

The transition is a branding decision and all stakeholders should be given, and give out, the same story. Each staff member should be briefed on what to say to patients who ask about the change, and they should all be relaying the same information.

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3 Tips to Keep In Mind To Maintain Longevity Throughout A Dental Career

Starting in the field of dentistry it can be a new and exciting challenge.

Sometimes, however, as time goes by, obstacles may arise that sway our capacities and our motivation. As human beings we crave novelty, and doing the same job day in day out for many years can become challenging.

To make sure you maintain a long and profitable practice you will want to keep a few things in mind. These are equally relevant for young dentists who may be passing through the honeymoon phase of their new career and older ones who are looking to reignite their interest.

Here are 3 tips to consider in order to maintain longevity throughout a dental career:

  1. Keep yourself in good physical health.

One problem with healthcare professionals is that they often don’t practice what they preach. For example, I’ve known a large number of dentists and doctors who smoke cigarettes – despite knowing better than anyone the health risks. But this doesn’t mean they are immune to the laws of nature.

The health of a dentist is incredibly important when it comes to career longevity. Being stuck in the same static positions all day for years can do a lot of damage to your neck and back – typically resulting in a poor posture.

It’s important that dentists take up some form of physical exercise, whether it is simply running or swimming, or a practice that improves flexibility and stability such as Yoga or Pilates can help make a difference in their health.

You may also want to consider periodically visiting a chiropractor if you’re experiencing any kind of pain.

  1. Stay interested in the practice of dentistry

Generally, the more you know about a topic; the more it interests you. Unfortunately, as dentists who have worked in the industry for many years will attest, at a certain point everything starts to get a little repetitive. There are only so many filings, root canals and check ups you can do before you start to lose the spark you once had.

Keep on top of industry news, such as updates in technology and legislation, so you’re coming across some of the more fluid and interesting aspects of dentistry.

  1. Find new challenges

When something becomes too easy for us, it is inevitable that we will eventually find it boring. Try to find new ways to challenge yourself whether that is in the procedures or the practice itself.

You can always experiment with marketing and other areas of running your business. If you’re doing well financially but are relatively bored, you may want to hire new staff or try utilizing social media to increase your presence in the community.  This may also help to maximize the value of your practice by bringing in new patients.

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NAPB Dental Practice Broker 3 Important Points to Keep In Mind When Rebranding Your Dental Office - Source Flickr CC, Credit Wurlitzer Heart

3 Important Points to Keep In Mind When Rebranding Your Dental Office

Markets and trends change, and eventually, there comes a time when your dental practice may need to be rebranded.

If you have an established practice, you may just want to update your image. For example, maybe your logo needs a redesign, perhaps you’ve recently purchased a practice, or maybe you have a partner that has moved on. In these scenarios, you may want to let your community know of the changes that have been made to your practice.

Here are 3 important points to keep in mind when rebranding your dental practice.

  1. Invest in a high-quality logo

A modern image can bring you thousands of dollars in revenue in the long term, so it’s not unreasonable to invest in a high-quality logo. It’s important to strive for something that will be iconic and memorable.

To save money there are dozens of websites that offer professional graphic designers at affordable prices – for a crowdsourcing or freelancer networks you can look to something like Coworks. Your logo is the moniker everyone will associate with your business and reputation so consulting with a trusted experienced brand marketing agency first to at least understand your options and take advantage of their associations is most advised.

One option is to have two or three alternative logos and show them to your clients via social media or in person in the office. Ask them which they prefer and they’ll be happy to be involved in the process.

  1. Recognize the importance of oral health on the rest of the body

The world is slowly but surely becoming more accustomed to the idea of a holistic approach to medicine. Long gone are the days when dental procedures were performed by barbers.

Unfortunately, poor oral hygiene can cause problems with digestion, inflammation, and even brain function. Patients want to know about the systemic impact of their dental health on the rest of their body, so ensure all of your staff are knowledgeable enough to answer any questions they may have.

This also means working with patients to suggest when they should see a physician, should you see signs of potential illnesses such as diabetes, allergies, or sinus issues.

  1. Double check that your branding is consistent in all areas

This seems like something that would be pretty obvious, but you’d be surprised how many practices fail to make sure this is the case.

It may be a signature at the end of an email, a twitter handle or some old business cards, but typically something is forgotten in the transition. This may not seem like a big deal but can cause a lot of confusion if prospective clients come across a now defunct brand and think that your dental office is under new management or has moved.

Whether you are looking to hold on to your practice for years to come, or potentially sell in the near future, rebranding can bring your dental practice a lot of value.

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Twitter Basics for Your Dental Practice

Twitter is a great way to share and grow your practice, promote your services or products, and get to know your patients. Navigating Twitter takes a little finesse, so consider this basic information before you begin.

Setting Up Your Account

The first step to navigating Twitter is to create a Twitter account. Choose a Twitter account name (handle) that you will use as a Twitter “address.” The handle needs to include your practice name, location, or specialty. For example: @SmithsDentalTucson. Create your account using a business email address that is separate from your primary email address. Fill in the profile information with your business information, and use a profile image that includes your practice brand or an image that encompasses your practice. Use an eye-catching background image related to your practice, services, or products—perhaps an image of your building or your smiling staff.

Promote & Have Fun

Twitter is a one-of-a-kind marketing tool. Use Twitter to promote upcoming specials, new services, and your business in general, but don’t let every tweet be self-promotional. Share links to articles or special interest news as well as interesting information about your staff (a new assistant joins the staff, your head hygienist is running a marathon, etc…), community events you’re involved in, and even links to your blog where you can share related information.

Create and use fun or promotional hashtags (see below), and be sure to retweet and like posts that mention those same hashtags or mention your practice (handle) in their tweet.

Pick Your Friends Wisely

With billions of people on Twitter, be careful who you “follow.” Some businesses choose to only follow other businesses within their industry—and that’s okay. Blindly following every person that follows you will leave you open to spam. Pick your friends wisely. One pro tip: Don’t follow any profile without a profile image or without coherent profile text.


The “hashtag” (#), is a symbol used throughout Twitter to indicate a word or phrase you’d like to highlight in searches or to create a trending topic. To help create a strong Twitter presence, choose an official hashtag phrase to include with each of your tweets so that your followers and people searching for you on Twitter will see the hashtag and click on the URLs you share. For example, Smith’s Dental in Tucson could use the following hashtags #MakingTucsonSmile or #BrightSmilesinTucson.

Navigating Twitter can be daunting, but once you understand the basics, it will be an incredible marketing and patient engagement tool that will make your practice stand out.

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Transition Dos and Don’ts

It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been in business, a dental practice transition can be highly stressful and complex if you don’t manage it through a broker. To help demystify the process and ease you into a seamless transition, we’ve selected our top tips to let you know the dos and don’t of a successful practice transition.

Do Separate the Emotional and Financial Aspects of Your Decision

Sure, you may have put a lot of yourself into your practice and you may have mixed emotions over your decision to sell, but you don’t let your emotions dominate your decision-making.

Don’t Forget the Tax Implications

The lump sum that an interested party has offered you may look very attractive at face value, but have you considered tax costs? While you can’t negotiate how much tax you pay, you can structure your sale price more attractively to compensate.

Do Look for Assistance

Dental practice brokers help dental practices make the transition. So why do it alone?

It’s also important to mention that each sale has its own complexities and special needs that you need to consider. Perhaps an outright sale and hand-over is not ideal for your particular circumstance.

Do Have a Plan and Embrace Team Work

Follow a strategic approach, have a checklist and document each step of the process. Seek advice from a broker, your attorney and your accountant so you know you have all of your bases covered. Having the right collaborative team will ease much of the stress involved with a practice transition.

Do Brief Your Team and Ease Your Staff into The Transition

Your staff may be mature, responsible and capable but you can’t assume they will all just slip into their new roles as if nothing has happened. Use your finely honed chair-side manner to prepare your staff for the change, and get their support.

Do Vet Your Transition Expert

Selling your practice is a big deal. Look into the credentials and experience of the transition broker you want to hire. If you don’t know where to start, ask your colleagues for referrals. Compile a list and interview people, just as you would if you were filling a position in your practice.

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NAPB Dental Practice Broker Is Direct Mail Still Worth It for Your Dental Practice - Flickr, Credit Bogdan Suditu

Is Direct Mail Still Worth It for Your Dental Practice?

If you are looking to establish or maintain a reputable and profitable practice you will sometimes find it hard to balance being both a dentist and a businessman.

Regardless of where you put most of your attention, you need to understand the importance of effective marketing.

Much has been said in the last few years about the increasing importance of digital marketing and the changes in both technology and clients, as Gen Y becomes the largest demographic of consumers in the world.

Many businesses however still focus heavily on print related marketing – they hand out physical business cards every chance they get and are committed to using direct mail as part of their marketing strategy.

So one pressing question is; is direct mail still effective?

And the answer is a resounding YES!

This is for a couple of reasons. First, for local businesses such as dental clinics, a large part of the marketing is based on building a personal connection and a printed letter or handwritten message will always feel more familiar than an email or text.

Second, the Internet can be incredibly competitive, and as more and more businesses are focusing their efforts on Internet marketing, the potential for you to have some success with direct mail increases.

So how can you make sure you direct mail is effective?

We’ll cover this in more detail in a future post, but for now here are a few points to keep in mind.

Integrate your online and offline efforts. Your mail should include a call to action and a link to your website, as well as a contact email and Facebook details for your practice.

Provide offers. If you offer coupons or discounts for whitenings and check ups then prospective clients are far more likely to open the mail. Something as similar as a 25% discount for an initial consultation could give you huge value in the long run if it brings you a long term client.

Make it easy to read. People are used to reading differently in the Internet age – their attention spans are a lot shorter. So don’t include a mountain of text in your letters, just make sure it is simple, spaced out, and anything important is bolded.

Track the mail. Don’t just send everyone the same mail; existing customers and prospective customers should receive different messages. Customize the letters as much as possible depending on whom the client is that you are sending it to.

With a little focus, direct mail can bring your practice a lot of value. Experiment with different offers and formats today and see how effective they are at generating leads in your area.

NAPB | National Association of Practice BrokersDENTAL PRACTICE BROKERS

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Top 5 Ways to Create Patient Loyalty

With the proliferation of new dental practices opening across the country, retaining patients and attracting new ones is crucial to maintaining a level of practice success. No one opens a dental practice and hopes to close their doors within the first year. No patient visits a dentist and hopes to have a bad experience. To make sure you remain a success, retain your patients, and attract new ones, consider these top five tips to creating patient loyalty.

Be Flexible

The problem with maintaining regular business hours is that most of your patients also keep regular business hours at their places of employment. This means that in order to make and keep an appointment with you, they must take time off work, which can be a hardship to some.

To keep patients coming back and to attract new ones, consider having at least one day a week when you offer business hours earlier in the morning or later in the evening, so that people who work during the day can still make and keep appointments.

Create a Brand

Branding is an increasingly important part of business marketing. Branding is literally creating a mark on whichever industry you’d like to target. For dentists, you’ll want to create a brand that allows your patients to quickly recognize you.

Include a strong online presence by utilizing social media and blogs on your website. Every piece of your business should have the same color scheme, the same tagline or call to action, and should feature an actual trademarked emblem.

Patient Focused Schedule

One of the biggest complaints in the medical and dental industries is that many patients have to wait too long for their appointment, even after arriving on time. Long wait times occur when doctors overbook their appointments. While this may allow you to see more patients in the day, this can also leave those patients with a bad taste in their mouths.

To retain patients and gain new ones, consider scheduling your appointments with this in mind: The patient arrives on time for their appointment, the you need to be on time, as well.

Keep it Neutral

With the current level of stress and tension throughout society, it isn’t necessarily wise to share your political, religious, moral, or societal views with your patients or within your patient’s hearing. Many people are passionate about what they believe and depending on their own beliefs, you may have offended or lost your patient.

Get Involved

Community involvement is a strong indicator to patients that you truly care about them, their community, and the well-being of others. Getting involved in community events, planning and hosting community events, and even volunteering your professional services during times of tragedy or emergency can leave a lasting impression on anyone who hears your name.

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NAPB Dental Practice Brokers 6 Phone Tips for Closing Prospective Patients - Flickr CC, Credit Alan Clarke

6 Phone Tips for Closing Prospective Patients

Keeping regular dental patients coming in the door is a matter of having a proven and reliable sales funnel in place.

Whether your clients are coming from direct mail, personal referrals, or by way of the Internet – at some point you’ll need to speak to them either on the phone or in person. If you’re looking to sell or hand over your practice you will need to establish a solid sales funnel to prove to a buyer that your business model is sustainable.

When receiving a call from a client, make sure you and your staff are pushing for appointments and not simply going through the motions or passively answering questions.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when speaking to prospective clients on the phone.

Set an intention. Make sure you have a goal from the call, whether it’s for the client to set a date to call back that week or to get them to agree to an appointment.

Be knowledgeable. Answer any questions your patient has with complete confidence. People come to a dentist to get their teeth cleaned but they also want to be as comfortable as possible, and they need to have confidence in you in order to feel reassured about their care.

Spend enough time building rapport. You don’t need a master’s degree in communications to be able to understand the basics of building rapport. For the most part, it is a matter of developing empathy and general interest in your patients. One thing you can do is to start the conversation with a question. Simply ask them how their family or work is going – if they are a returning patient, try and get into the habit of picking up the conversation where it left off last time.

Make sure you answer all questions. Always finish the call by asking if they have any more concerns. Not everyone will speak up on the phone. They may think the question they have is silly even if it’s completely valid. It’s up to you to get it out of them.

Give them instructions about what they need to do next. Let them know when you’ll be in touch or when they need to be in touch, and exactly what they need to do if they have a procedure coming up. Also, always make sure to follow up with an email or a text so they don’t push your conversation to the back of their mind.

Have you trained your staff in best communications practices? Are there any tips we’ve missed out? Let us know in the comments!

NAPB | National Association of Practice BrokersDENTAL PRACTICE BROKERS

Dental Practice Transitions Selling a Dental Practice
Dental Practice Valuation Dental Practices For Sale