Welcome to the Dentist's Office

Welcome to the Dental Office blog. On this site we will share information on how we conquer the real-world challenges that we each face in our pursuit of running high-quality, successful, profitable and harmonious dental offices.

The Dental Blog invites you to share your knowledge, successes, failures and crazy stories with fellow dental professionals. Sharing our combined knowledge, we can each create our own unique dream practices.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Know Their Kid’s Names!


The easiest and cheapest business building strategy you can ever employ is to build strong relationships with your patients. Not only do patients who like you tend to stay in your practice but they also tend to be your best sources of referrals.

I have never met a patient who did not LOVE to talk about their children (I love to talk about mine). I know that we are all busy, running behind schedule and going a million directions at a time during the day but nothing will help develop rapport with your patients than to ask them how their children are doing.

Better yet – ask them about their children by name and know a little bit about each one. Like, “How is Michael doing in soccer this year?” or “Did Mary take her SAT yet – I know this is her junior year.” Have a place on your chart that you can easily see that lists our all the family members names, ages and important aspects of their lives. Review this area before seeing the patient each visit.

Your patients will appreciate that you have taken the time to get to know a little bit about them and you will feel more connected to your patients. If you are not doing this now – start today.

Dr. Corey Gold
President - Advanced Continuing Education Systems
www.aces4ce.com

Monday, September 4, 2017

Who Makes Financial Arrangements with the Patient and Who DOES NOT!

In a typical, well-run dental office treatment planning is the responsibility of the dentist and the financial arrangements are made by the front office staff members. It is vital that these two areas stay separate and neither side encroaches on the others area of authority.

As a dentist, I would not be happy if my front office staff changed my treatment plan for the patient – in fact – I would be mad. If a patient had financial challenges and could not arrange for the treatment we had agreed upon, then I needed to be brought back in to re-explain the treatment plan or plan an alternative approach that solved the patient’s issues. The treatment plan is not to be set by the front office staff – that was not their area of expertise or responsibility.

Likewise, the dentist should never be involved in setting fees, insurance, payment plans or other financial issues that are the front office staff’s area of responsibility. The dentist should be the passionate dental professional and not involved in the money matters (from the patient’s perspective). The staff are the people who know the insurance and understand the office’s financial policies. It is their job to set the plan and then execute it. They talk money and payments – you the dentist do not.

It the patients believe that they can go around the front office staff to change the financial arrangements with the dentist then you have taken all the power and authority away from the people tasked to collect the money. The staff cannot set plans or collect moneys effectively if the patients know they can ignore them and go straight to you – the dentist.

Your staff will resent you usurping their responsibility and complicating their job. Your daily life will be harder as the dentist/CEO if the patients are asking you to make financial arrangements and are asking you for special considerations.

Do yourself a favor and just say “NO”. Tell the patients that you are awful at all the financial stuff and would most likely just screw it all up. Tell them you are the wizard of the oral cavity but that your staff is people who know the insurance and other financial stuff. Tell them the staff can help you the right way and that you don’t even know how to turn the computer on. Kid around and point them back to the front office staff.

Dr. Corey Gold
President – Advanced Continuing Education Systems
www.aces4ce.com

Monday, August 21, 2017

Who is in Charge of YOUR Practice?

The dentist as a CEO is a strange arrangement. As dentist you are often the boss and co-worker at the same time. This places many dentists in the role of wanting to be a liked co-worker more than wanting to be an effective CEO.

If the dentist CEO worries too much about being liked by the staff then they cannot effectively run the office as they truly wish. They are always afraid of making changes that the staff won’t like and are worried about losing their popularity with the team. They are also worried about the staff making their day more difficult or giving them the cold-shoulder treatment.

I am NOT suggesting that the dentist CEO act as an authoritarian and not take into account the effects of change on the staff members but I am saying that ultimately the dentist CEO must make business decisions that let them reach their business goals. As the dentist CEO, you are responsible for setting the business strategy for your business.

Most dentist CEOs are sole practitioners, they have spent considerable time and money to go to school, purchase and build a practice. The success of this practice directly influences the financial future of their family. Being a wise CEO and looking at the long term success of the dental business is absolutely necessary.

Although it may be difficult, as dentist CEO you must be willing to make strategic business decisions that you know are good for the long term health of your business, even if they are not popular. Your dental staff depends upon your business to be successful for their employment, they will either get on board your decisions or in unusual cases – they will have to leave your practice.

Being CEO is a big responsibility. A lot of people depend upon your decisions – your family, staff, and others. You cannot delegate the success of your practice to staff. You should ask for input, access the pros and cons of change and then decide how best to proceed for the long term success of your business. Don’t be afraid to build the practice you desire – be bold – chase your vision – make your dental office one you are truly proud of. Charge!

Dr. Corey Gold
President – Advance Continuing Education Systems
www.aces4ce.com

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Get Excited!

As the leader of your office, you set the tone. If you are not excited about your mission and goals, why should anyone else be. If you are fired up and excited abut making each day and case great then your staff will follow your lead.

Come in with energy and passion each day. Ask your staff to be their best. Try to do your best work each patient.

I see so many offices that appear to be zombie land. Everyone is just going through the motions. Ground Hog Day offices that aren't passionate about their work.

I would want to be treated by a doctor and staff that are highly motivated to do their best work. I would refer patients to an office that I thought was devoted to their craft.

Patients are more likely to accept your treatment plan when they believe you are really giving it your best.

You owe it to yourself, staff and patients to lead with your enthusiasm, energy and passion.

Dr. Corey Gold
President - Advanced Continuing Education Systems
www.aces4ce.com

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

"I don't feel well"


What do you when a staff member says they don’t feel well? My short answer is send them home with pay.
You have to have trust in your staff. If you do trust your staff, then if they say they don’t feel well – then they don’t feel well. Simple as that – you trust your staff.

If you doubt the sincerity of your staff when they tell you they are sick then you need to really consider your feelings about that member all together. Why do you doubt them? Have they given you other reasons to doubt their honesty and commitment to the dental team?

If you trust your staff then send them home when they say they don’t feel well. If you don’t trust your staff, then you need to really evaluate that person as a long-term member of your office staff.

Dr. Corey Gold

President – Advanced Continuing Education Systems


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Can Google Find Your Office?

Where do you look for items you want to purchase or services you need? Well, the answer for most people is that they look on the internet!

We are an internet crazy, iPad loving nation and that trend will not be reversing.

Knowing the internet is the place you need to be seen, the question you need to ask is, “how easy is it for LOCAL area people to find me on the internet”?

When someone types ‘dental office my city name’ into their Google or Bing search engine – do you pop up near the top? Is your dental office on the first page for your city search? If not – YOU LOSE!

Although the internet is worldwide, you are really only working on marketing to the area local to your office. You need to focus your marketing of your website to target the people who are looking for your services.

It is NOT expensive to tune your website to draw viewers from local area, both in organic (free) traffic and in paid traffic (Google AdWords& Bing/Microsoft Search). Paid traffic is very inexpensive because you will be targeting a very small demographic area.

In future posts – we will talk about how to accomplish these vital marketing steps. You MUST be near the top in web search for your area – any less is a huge financial loss for your office.

Dr. Corey Gold
President – Advanced Continuing Education Systems

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Retention is the KEY!

Most dentists, when pressed, can tell you how many new patients their practices attract each month. In fact, many dentists judge the success of their marketing efforts by this number.

While it is terrific to attract new families to our offices, the success of your practice is even more dependent on the number of patients you retain each month. Most offices do not keep track of the number of patients they lose each month. It is more fun to watch the inflow than to score the outflow.

I know offices that spend a great deal of money on marketing for new patients and spend no time or money on retaining the patients they already have. I have found that a lot of practices that attract a large number of new patients are actually operating at a net monthly loss of patients – they lose more than they attract. In fact – they are paying good money to have fewer patients each month.

The most effective, fun and natural form of practice marketing is patient retention. Quality patient follow up and appreciation can not only help you retain the patients you have but your current patients are your best and least expensive source for getting new patients. YES – the best way to get new patients is to keep your current patients happy.

In future posts we will discuss effective patient follow up and appreciation strategies that your practice can incorporate into your regular operating procedures. Good patient retention is an entire staff process that does not happen by accident – it is a carefully executed plan. Your entire staff should understand your patient retention plan and know their responsibilities in this critical business activity.

If you want to improve the number of patients your office sees each year, start with closing your back door first. Patient retention is the least expensive and simplest form of practice building you can do.

Dr. Corey Gold
President - Advanced Continuing Education Systems
www.aces4ce.com

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Leading by Deligating


One of the biggest mistakes made by dental CEOs is that they tend to micromanage their office staffs. They believe to be in control of their practice that they must be part of every aspect of their practice at all times. They want to make all of the decisions on every aspect of their practice. Not only is this management style counterproductive but it is also exhausting.

The best management style on every level is to hire talented people, share with them what you want them to do and then let them do it!

In no way am I saying that you are not going to be coaching your staff as they need guidance or corrections but you must empower your staff to make decisions within the scope of their job description. Talented and mature staff want to know what you expect of them and then to be trusted to do their job.

Avoid the common management mistake of only correcting your staff when they make errors – while this is important – you must also look to praise your staff for doing what you entrusted them to do. Praise goes further than criticism.

The most effective management style is to create an office of talented and responsible staff members who manage their areas of responsibility. Great staffs are full of members that respect each other and encourage each other to do their very best.

You are free to concentrate on your patient’s dental care when you know that your staff is professionally handling the other aspects of the office’s needs. Also, as the CEO of your practice, you are free to pick aspects that you want to control as your assigned areas. I liked to keep marketing, internet presence and continuing education as my areas of responsibility (aside from being in charge of the dental care).

Dr. Corey Gold
President - Advanced Continuing Education Systems

www.aces4ce.com

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Sit in your dental chair and look up

When waste last time you sat in one of your dental chairs and looked up?

Do you know what your patients are seeing when they sit in your chair? Are they seeing dirty looking lights? A they seeing discolored ceiling tiles? Are they looking at a blank wall or crooked cabinet?

I was recently in a dental chair and spent an hour looking at a light fixture that looked dirty. The fixture was not dirty - the light was just streaky from the disinfectant sprayed on it and then quickly wiped down. From my angle it looked filthy. I knew better - your patients won't.

If your cabinets are old and need repair - get them fixed, painted, etc. it the ceiling tiles don't match or are dirty - get them replaced. These are quick and inexpensive fixes that will really pay dividends.

Think if you went into a restaurant and the table appeared dirty, the ceiling looked rain damaged and the tables wobbled - you would never go back. People are nervous about going to the dental office already, don't give them a reason to question your office.

Do yourself a favor, sit in all your dental chairs, recline the unit and look at what you see. Fix everything that your patients might perceive to be dirty, tacky, broken or problematic. These fixes are not expensive and will give your patients more confidence in your office.

Dr. Corey Gold
President - Advanced Continuing Education Systems
www.aces4ce.com

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Closing the Back Door…


Most dental offices are very aware of how many new patients they acquire each month BUT most dental offices do not know how many patients they LOSE each month. When doing consulting for many dental offices I often found that offices with good new patient acquisition numbers often had a NET NEGATIVE patient flow!

Can you imagine paying large number of dollars in marketing to acquire new patients only to be losing patient base size each month? It happens all the time and the offices are blissfully unaware basking in the high number of new patient data – not realizing that they are actually shrinking in size.

The least expensive patient to acquire is the ones you already have. Let me say that another way – the most important part of the growth plan for your practice must be to keep your current patient base satisfied and STAYING with you.

Keeping patients happy is inexpensive and the easiest to accomplish practice growth thing you can do for your office. I know offices that spend over $10,000 a month on new patient marketing and don’t spend $1 or one minute on maintaining their current patients – a bad strategy and bad math.

A focus on current customer satisfaction is the key and most important step in growing and maintaining your practice size. Read other articles on this and other websites about customer satisfaction ideas and start implementing right away.
Dr. Corey Gold
President - Advanced Continuing Education Systems

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Make More $ with Cash Up Front Discounts

One of the best income and cash-flow generators for your practice is offering a discount for patients who pay for their entire treatment plan before the first session. The discount needs to be strong enough for patients to want to pay for the full treatment in advance. In my practice this was a 10% discount for complete prepayment.
There are several great reasons why accepting less upfront actually earns you more money and a smoother practice operation.

1                 Having the patient pay upfront ensures that you will be paid on all your treatment and greatly reduces your aging receivables. Your discount ensures that the patient waits for the insurance company to pay their share not you. It also means that you are always collecting your co-payments.

2                 Dentistry can appear expensive and everyone likes a discount. A reasonable discount percentage encourages people to seek the proper care and opt for the more complete treatment plan.


3                 Scheduling is a synch when most of your patients are fully paid in advance of their appointments. The patient simply calls and sets their times on your calendar. There are no more sticky phone calls between the staff and the patient before the appointment can be set up due to money issues. 

4                 You save considerable staff time and mental aggravation chasing past due accounts. Some dentist’s do not realize how much staff time it takes to collect money from people on payment plans. Not only does this staff time cost you money but it also means your staff is not working on other projects such as customer service, retention and other vital aspects of your practice.
I strongly suggest you consider giving cash up front discount for patients who pay in full for their entire treatment plan before the first visit. It is good business for you and represents a value to your patients.
Dr. Corey Gold
President - Advanced Continuing Education Systems
www.aces4ce.com

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Matching Uniforms or No Team Uniforms

I admit that this was never a big deal for me. I always let my staff decide whether they wanted to wear matching uniforms or not. It did affect me in that I had to wear the chosen scrubs but that was never a concern for me. My objective was to have a happy staff and almost nothing led to more disharmony than argumentation over uniforms.

Over the many years, I have had the staff choose all options. We wore the color of the day but different outfits, color of the day and matching outfit, no uniformity and everything in between. The funny thing was that no matter what the staff chose, it always wanted to change again soon.

Ultimately, we spent the majority of time wearing the color of the day and in matching uniforms. I think this was the cleanest and most professional look. I never got a vote – just the honor of paying – LOL.

Dr. Corey gold
President – Advanced Continuing Education Systems
www.aces4ce.com

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Monday Holidays: To Open or Close – That is the Question

Three-day weekend Monday office hours are a tough question for every dental office. On one hand you want to be open and present a convenient scheduling day for your patients, as most people have the day off work and school. On the other hand, your staff also wants the day off to be with their family.

In my practice we would look at the schedule in December and pick half of Monday three-day holidays to stay open and the other half to be closed. I would let my staff choose the dates to be open. The dates for the upcoming year were then set months in advance and allowed everyone to plan accordingly.

We would share these special Monday holiday open dates in our newsletter and website well in advance to try get the word out about these special availabilities. My schedule on the holiday Mondays were crazy busy. We would even start an hour early and run late. We would order in pizza for lunch and stay open all day as we needed the lunch break to get back on schedule.

As an offset for having to work the holiday Monday and filling the schedule to the top, I would allow each of my staff members to have an extra day off in the upcoming few weeks with pay. Only one staff member could take a day off at a time so the practice could still operate without much extra burden on the other staff members.

As a result, the office was open on a lot of Mondays of three-day holidays and presented a great opportunity for patients to get into the office. My patients loved using their free day to go to the dentist and not have to miss a day of their work. We were always crazy busy on those Mondays.

My staff loved the system too. They wound up having the same number of paid holidays. Half the usual Monday holidays and then they got to choose a day they wanted off with pay to compensate for the Monday holidays that we worked.
Dr. Corey Gold
President – Advanced Continuing Education Systems
www.aces4ce.com

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

What Hours to be Open?

Every dentist has to make many decisions in how best to operate their business. One of the first and most important decisions is what days and hours to be open.

The hard question to answer is should I be open at the hours that my patients have most availability (early mornings, evenings, weekends) or should I be open during hours that best fit my preferred hours.

A lot of patients will go to your website and see your available hours. They often won't even call your office if the hours listed don't match their schedule. Offices with limited schedules are missing out on a lot of business they don't even realize.

With everyone online today, many patients will surf the net for dental offices in their areas that's best fit their needs - days open, hours open, insurances accepted, servos offered. Your office is not their only option. You are in competition for patient business with a lot of other quality dentist who may be making their offices more accessible to potential patients.

Consider your patient's needs when setting your days and hours of operation. What seem to be small decisions are really huge decisions!

Dr. Corey Gold President
Advanced Continuing Education Systems
www.aces4ce.com

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Paid Search for Your Dental Office Website

Have you ever wondered why there are specific websites recommended on the top and side of the Google and Bing searches?

The answer is that those businesses pay to be shown when you make a specific search. Every time a person clicks on one of these recommended links, the advertiser pays a fee for that traffic.

Dental offices can use Google (AdWords) and Bing paid search to make sure that their office websites are being seen whenever someone types in a specific set of search terms. You can pay for very specific searches. For example if your office was in the city of Anaheim, California the you could pay for the specific search terms such as: Anaheim Dentist, Dentist Anaheim, dental office Anaheim, etc… Your website would only be recommended when those specific terms were entered into the Google search box and you only pay when someone clicks on your specific ad – this is highly target advertising – you are only getting viewers for people looking for your office.

You want your search terms to be very specific. If you were just to ask Google to send you traffic for the search term Dentist then you might get 100,000 viewers to your website but 99.9% would be from over 100 miles away from your office and not legitimate potential customers. You would also have to pay for 100,000 clicks on your ad to Google which would be a ton of money. You must be specific – you want to pay for targeted viewers.

Setting up your Google and Bing advertising is very simple but learning how to use the marketing features takes some time. You shouldn’t just set your marketing up once and never return. You should go back on a very regular basis and adjust your bids and make other adjustments to your online paid marketing campaigns.

You might be best off to pay your website designer to help you set up your marketing if they also offer that service. It will cut down on your learning curve.

Dr. Corey Gold
President – Advanced Continuing Education Systems
www.aces4ce.com

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Dental Website SEO

You have built your beautiful and functional dental office website but it will do you no good if no one ever sees it!

Step one is building a great website then step two is setting it up so when your patients type in that they are looking for a local dentist in your community that your website pops up at the top of the search list. This is called SEO or Search Engine Optimization.

I would suggest hiring a local SEO company to help you with this task. They will check to see how Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines actually read your website. They will also make adjustments to help the search engines properly find you.

Your website should be optimized for a specific kind of traffic – local traffic. Your website SEO should be tuned to draw traffic from people looking for dentist in the cities near your office. Your SEO company will be inserting key words and targeted webpages that draw the search engine’s attention for searches that match those of your most likely patients.

SEO sounds straight forward but it is a bit of an art form. You will be working with a local SEO company for a bit of time and adjusting your site content to maximize the potential local viewers over time.

Getting SEO maximized for your website is a huge move forward in marketing your website.

Dr. Corey Gold
President – Advanced Continuing Education Systems
www.aces4ce.com

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Do I Need a Website for my Dental Office?

YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!

First let me start by saying that I do not make or sell dental websites. Why am I saying this upfront, because I am about to sound like a dental website sales person. If your practice does not have a website, then you are INVISIBLE to the majority of people who are looking for you.

The days of the Yellow Pages is long over – I am not saying not to be in your local book but rather it is only 1/10th as valuable to you as your practice website (and I am being kind to the local directory guide).

Everyone has computers, iPads, tablets and phones connected to the internet today and people believe that anything they want to find information about should be available to them within seconds online.

Not only should your practice have a website – it should have a quality website. If I was to look for a dentist and find a cheesy or sloppy website, I would move on to the next website option immediately. I would also leave any dental website that had outdated information, multiple typographical errors or non-functional links.

Your website is the face of your dental office and you should spend some time and thought on how you want the world to see you. I would hire a professional website developer who has done dental offices in the past and understands the key areas your patients will want to explore on your website.

Smart offices make sure that their phone number, office hours and location are easy to find.

We will talk about elements of a great local area dental office website in other articles. Also – making sure your website is one of the first ones that people see when they look for a dentist in their area is just as important as having a great website. Having a great website that no one ever sees is no good either. We will talk about how local area website SEO (search engine optimization) in future articles. Bottom line –the #1 area you should be putting energy into to increase new patient business is your website!

Dr. Corey Gold
President – Advanced Continuing Education Systems
www.aces4ce.com

Thursday, February 9, 2017

What do vacations really cost?

Everyone loves vacations but what is the true cost of your vacation?

Well, first their is the cost of your actual vacation - the travel, hotel, food, etc. but then there is the hidden cost that is actually a LOT more expensive. You have to factor in the cost of your office for your week(s) off. You have a ton of overhead during your time off and no revenue coming in to offset your costs.

This means that every day you are closed has to be supported with revenue generated during your time on. The more weeks off, the more money you must generate during e weeks in to cover your down time.

Staff members rarely understand the true cost of your closing the office and giving them a paid vacation. They take it for granted that paid vacations are just part of the perks of working.

I find it helps to let your staff understand the true cost of their weeks off. Having a staff meeting to help them understand that the rent needs to be paid, insurances, salaries, utilities, phones, loan payments, borrowing costs, etc. They should understand that their free time is not free.

Bringing the staff into the overhead discussion often makes them appreciate the vacation time you give them. It often gives them incentive to find ways to increase revenue so that they can justify more vacation time.

A profitable business can afford to do MORE for their staff members - higher pay, more vacations, better benefits, new equipment, etc. Bring your staff into the conversation.

Dr. Corey Gold
President - Advanced Continuing Education Systems
www.aces4ce.com

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Teach an Old Dog a New Trick or Two

Are you still treatment planning like your first year in practice? I hope not if you have been in the profession for a while. Learning does not end with our graduation from dental school. Great dentists continue to expand their skills.

Keeping excited about your office and work can be a lot easier if you are still a student of the art of dentistry.

The profession is expanding at an amazing pace. Keeping up with the new alternatives and treatments takes time but is worth the extra effort.

Learning for the sake of expanding your skills is exciting!

Dr. Corey Gold
President - Advanced Continuing Education Systems
www.aces4ce.com

Monday, January 9, 2017

Keep Politics OUT of your Office!


Keep Politics OUT of your Office!

The best advice I can give you on talking about politics in your office is DON’T!

This rule applies to all the members of the dental office including the dentist (owner).

You will often offend individuals who have different political leanings and make them feel uncomfortable in your office. Uncomfortable people = ex-customers.

You will often offend other staff members who disagree with your opinions. Many times, the offended staff member will not mention to you they are uncomfortable with your voicing your political beliefs and will just quietly be agitated at you. This agitation will lead to disharmony in the office and often acts of passive aggressive behaviors.

Even when you think the patient or the staff member you are speaking to agree with your political beliefs, your conversation may be overheard by others who are near you.

The bottom line is that making customers and staff feel uncomfortable is a bad idea. Have strong political opinions but keep them OUT of the office!

Dr. Corey Gold
President – Advanced Continuing Education Systems

www.aces4ce.com