Jul
17
2013

Dentistry is often mentioned as a specific area of focus to utilize as a profit center. It certainly can be a major profit center in a general practice. Unlike a hysterectomy, teeth are a renewable resource. If you have 1,000 dogs in your practice, you have 42,000 potential tooth patients. Likewise, 1,000 cats will provide you with 30,000 teeth to work on. That's enough to keep any general practice medically busy and financially profitable 365 days out of the year.

If it is such a great way to provide excellent medicine along with generating a profit stream, why then does the thought of maintaining a dental operatory seem as much jolly fun as pulling a carnassial tooth with gigli wire and a pair of pliers in between solidly booked 15-minute appointments?

Part of the reason dentistry is torture is that we assume we are automatically competent at it, because we are, after all, veterinarians and therefore can automatically perform any procedure. The reality is that in order to achieve the highest state of performance, that of being unconsciously competent, several things must be in place. There must be passion in the people doing the procedure who are provided with proper ongoing training so they have high technical skills along with the appropriate equipment. These tools, along with a case load large enough for the dental staff to have the opportunity to become unconsciously competent is the root of success.

When we attend marketing sessions extolling the profitability of dentistry, it is like looking at the crown of a tooth and making an evaluation of the root system without taking X-rays. The crown can represent the profitability, but it is in the root system where the essential components of dental success lay in the general practice. It is the time and the procedural intensity required, steep learning curve, and special equipment that must continually be maintained that lurks unspoken below the surface.

Comments (1) -

Katherine Knutson
Katherine KnutsonUnited States
7/27/2013 10:46:08 AM #

It would be great to generate some discussion on this or other topics.  Anyone out there wanting to discuss veterinary medicine?  Let me knowSmile k

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