What we heard in September

This month, dental professionals spoke with Becker's about diversity initiatives, investments, insurance and DSO activity. 

Here is what 12 leaders told Becker's in September: 

How 1 organization plans to support people of color in DSOs

Tobi Bosede. Founder and President of People of Color in DSO: There was Women in DSO and I had seen their success and the community they had. I'm also relatively new to the dental industry ... My background as a whole is in AI, data and technology. I've always worked in that space in different industries, whether it was healthcare, telecommunications or finance and so, now that I'm in the dental space, I was just looking around, like I see women but usually when I see the women stuff and I see the minority stuff, there are usually those basic things. The closest thing I saw was the National Dental Association, which is like the [American Dental Association] but for African Americans, or the [Society of American Indian Dentists], but those are all for dentists. They weren't just for professionals in the dental field like how Women in DSO was for women in the dental space. I was just shocked that there was absolutely nothing. 

6 dentists' best investments of 2023

David Blanchard, DDS. Riverside Family Dental (Menomonee Falls, Wis.): The best investments I've made have been in my staff and my own continuing education. In order to beat the staffing crisis and differentiate my office, the intangibles are key — training assistants on new technology to display your intent to keep them on staff and adopting new procedures/protocols to demonstrate progress to your staff and patient base. This has proved to be a far better investment than hard equipment or new and improved supplies. 

How 8 dentists are easing patient nerves

Usha Hecht, DDS. Hecht Family Dentistry (Carmel, Ind.): Communication is the key to making patients feel more at ease and comfortable during appointments. One skill that is always in need of improvement is listening. When a patient presents with anxiety it is important to ask the why's and when's in a calming manner and then listen. Usually, they will open up and that will help you understand to better serve them. Trust is also important and may take a few visits to earn. It's such a wonderful thing when a patient who has dreaded coming in leaves with a happy smile and looks forward to coming back. 

Why 1 DSO exec expects 'seismic' change in the dental industry

Scott Asnis, DDS, founder and CEO of Dental365 (New Hyde Park, N.Y.): Our sites are set on continuing to lead the market as the premier dental healthcare company, not just DSO. We look forward to continuing to expand and being at the forefront of dental care and the mouth-body connection. I believe there's going to be a seismic change in the future oral healthcare [industry]. In a few short years, you won't recognize the dental landscape. Saliva testing will be part of the standard of care for all dentists. My dentists are already trained to be oral physicians. Saliva testing is here to stay and it's part of our molecular dentistry that we perform for patients. This is the future of dentistry. 

Why 1 dentist dropped PPO plans

Michael Davis, DMD. Smiles of Santa Fe (N.M.): Since insurance fee schedules remain static or virtually stagnant, the answer was easy. Drop participation in PPO plans, or stay on the PPO plans and aggressively upsell non-covered services. I selected the former option. 

Work is simpler and the patient base continues to improve. Profitability was enhanced. No one needs work like a tele-marketer, to hustle sales of unnecessary treatments. This may not be true for all demographics.

'Things are really out of control': How rising costs are affecting dental practices

Pasha Javaheri Saatchi, DMD. Pasha Dental (New York City): Everything is increasing. We thought once the pandemic normalized, it would provide a respite from the increased costs in supply chain issues and inflation, but that hasn't been the case. Payroll has also increased tremendously. The widespread staffing issues that have plagued dental offices instilled a fear in me. I was happy with my staff and with pay transparency becoming much more prevalent. I had to offer very competitive wages to keep them.  

'Still in the early innings': Q&A with MB2 Dental COO Justin Carroll 

Justin Carroll. COO of MB2 Dental (Dallas): Our selection process is pretty stringent; we only partner with about 5 percent of the opportunities per year. Partner fit and alignment on long-term goals are the most important. Financial operational KPIs, revenue stability, patient retention, payer mix, margin profiles, growth potential and strategic market fit are the main things we look for. 

What 5 dentists wish they knew before starting their careers

Myron Bromberg, DDS (Los Angeles): I never realized that the private practice dental profession I was entering would be so gratifying, satisfying and pleasurable for me, with terrific relationships with my patients, staff and colleagues, all the while affording me an enviable lifestyle. If I had to do it all over again, I would do it exactly the same way. Sadly, someday I will have to stop doing this. It will be a sad day for me indeed. 

The 'cold truth' about dentistry

Raul Escalante, DDS. San Marcos, Calif.: I started my career in dentistry 33 years ago and graduated from dental school at the age of 26. I thought at the time, that once I had my degree, it would be easy to get started, just hang up a sign at some strip mall "and they will come." Boy, was I wrong. Dental school did not prepare me for the business side of dentistry. A career in dentistry isn't just about working on teeth, it's also about running a business. You have to be familiar with tax laws, payroll, overhead management, advertising, dealing with employees, purchasing equipment and on and on. I had no idea how to deal with any of these issues when I started. 

What 6 dentists want to see done differently in the industry

Misako Hirota, DMD. Owner of Hirota Dental (National City, Calif.): I would like to see an overhaul of the insurance industry. The rates have not changed in over 20 years for some procedures and they are bundling procedures so as to reduce the reimbursements to providers. I see more and more dentists choosing to become out of network and this ultimately hurts the patient more than the insurance company. We need nationwide MLR laws so there is more transparency into how insurance premium dollars are really spent.  

What 6 dentists wish patients knew about their job

E. M. Ferneini, DMD, MD. Greater Waterbury Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons (Waterbury and Cheshire, Conn.): In order to have a successful practice, you have to be a caring individual and treat each patient with compassion. I wish patients understood that we strive for the best outcomes. However, any dental treatment is based on the patient's collaboration and compliance. Patients should understand that being proactive about their health can improve their health in general, including their oral health. Improving our patient outcomes relies on having them be compliant with our instructions. 

What 14 dental industry leaders are focused on to finish 2023 strong

Ray Caruso. CEO of Lone Peak Dental Group (Denver): Our main focus for the rest of 2023 is improving team retention. We strive to provide meaningful purpose for our doctors and team members where they wake up inspired, feel empowered to make a difference at work and leave fulfilled at the end of each day. We are committed to hiring and onboarding the best people, but we need to take it a step further. We are working to provide career development, leadership training and opportunities for personal growth. 

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