We would like to welcome 2 new additions to the smilehelper family. Dr. Andrew Johnson (Salt Lake) and Dr. Brian Hanson (Grand Junction) have recently had new additions to their families in the form of new baby boys. Both babies are growing fast and doing great. Special thanks to our patients who had to reschedule appointments while the deliveries were made. The proud new dads are back to getting some sleep and look forward to seeing patients on their regular schedules.
We are finally opening our Midvale office. I know all of our Salt Lake and Wyoming patients will be thankful to have a location closer to where they live. Our address is 7001 S. 900 E. #340. The office is just off I-215 and really easy to find. There are lots of stores and restaurants to keep you busy if you are an all day patient. To find our location in the building, enter the south doors and head up the stairs. We will be the office at the top of the stairs.
Dr. Andrew Johnson is the dentist/owner of this new location. Dr. Johnson is committed to the same ideals and goals that make affordable dentistry possible, and looks forward to building a practice that is built on quality care at affordable prices. Initially, our office will only be open on Thursdays. Dr. Johnson will only be doing implants, dentures, crowns, and surgery out of Midvale. For other services patients will still need to see him in Grantsville. Give us a call, your pocket book will be glad you did.
Dr. Curtis’s Office in Grantsville Utah has finished the interior portion of the remodel. This expanded office allows us to offer larger operating rooms with more privacy and a private checkout area that ensures patient treatment and financial information is not being discussed in the waiting room. Other upgrades place our phone calls in a private area and new dental equipment.
Next up is finishing the outside of our project. This portion will expand and re-pave the parking lot and include professional landscaping. Next time you visit us look twice, the transformation of the office and grounds is unbelievable. See you soon.
Helper Update: The main section of our Helper Utah remodel is all but done. We have just a few odds and ends to tie up. The remodel has doubled our space and makes work much more comfortable for patients and employees.
A few things patients may notice are larger and more private work areas. We have also added a large waiting room with Keurig coffee and Cable TV. It also has 3 new sofas and numerous chairs. My favorite thing about it is it is away from all the noise and commotion of the dental office.
My favorite thing about the remodel is the fact that we now have a dedicated business center that privately handles phone calls and business interactions with customers.
Grantsville Update: Project is almost done. I hope that by the end of July it is completed. Thanks to all the patients who don’t mind visiting while we finish our remodel.
Grand Junction Update: Project is just starting and I am hoping it is open for business by the 1st week of July. Thank you to all our patients who continue traveling from Colorado to see us. This office should make your lives easier.
Evanston Update: This Project is on hold until the state issues permits. I never thought Wyoming would be such a difficult place to get a business going. If we are lucky we will be ready by September.
See you soon
When I walked out of my last dental appointment I remember thinking to myself “ What just happened and why did that cost so much?” Over the years I have heard many patients make statements like these when expressing their previous dental experiences. This has helped me to realize that in order for our dental practice to thrive educating our patients is crucial. We should inform our patients not only of the treatment being done or recommended, but we should also advise about after-care, future appointments, at-home care, treatment alternatives, financial resources, insurance coverage, and fees, thus ensuring their ability to make informed decisions. It is our goal for every patient to know exactly what needs to be done, why it needs to be done, and how much it will cost.
As a dental healthcare provider it is our ethical duty to make sure our patients understand ”what” is being performed as well as the risks and costs associated with it. Our patients appreciate knowing they will not be surprised about the procedures.
Informing our patients about “why” a procedure needs to be done gives us the opportunity to explain the x-rays and exam in a simple and coherent way. We make sure that our patients know the particulars of a recommended treatment such as its necessity, urgency, and expected outcome.
Part of educating our patients is explaining alternative treatments and their respective benefits. Dental problems can be resolved through a variety of treatments, each having unique costs and benefits. Although one may be preferred, we make sure patients have all the information they need about alternative treatments so they can make informed decisions.
Being up-front and accurate about how much it will “cost” has probably done more for the success of our dental practice than anything else. A higher than expected bill may prompt a level of distrust towards the dentist. Researching an insurance plan prior to a patient’s appointment provides accurate quotes both in the office and over the phone. We make every effort to make sure our patients know exactly how much they can expect to pay. No surprises.
Educating our patients about the “what, why, and how” of their dental health not only helps to provide great dental care but establishes a high level of trust. This trust is a big reason why patients return to our office and recommend us to family and friends. Education is a patient’s right, and it is our responsibility as a dentist.
For as long as I have been in dentistry I have heard experts say “get an exam and cleaning every 6 months.” The logic to this is straight forward. Catch tooth decay when it is small and protect your teeth and your checkbook from large problems later. But I have never been shown any hard stats on why 6 months is the magic number.
Our own study
We might do a study of our patients to determine the cost differences between patients having regular checkups and those waiting beyond the 6 month mark. However, we did study for 2 months patients at other offices and here are the results:
Average Total Treatment Planned Per Patient: $303
Average Total Treatment for patients who made 6 month check up: $163
Average Total Treatment for patients who had a checkup 7-24 months: $616
Average Total Treatment for Patients with 2 years between checkups: $844
Average comparison of having a checkup every 6 months versus once yearly:
6 Months Yearly
2 check ups …………………………………….$200 1 checkup …………………$100
Treatment 2 exams …………………………..$326 Treatment 1 exam ….. $616
Yearly Total ……….$526 Yearly total …………..$716
Advantage goes to checkups every 6 months, costing about $200. Other advantages that were noticeable in our study were the number of patients with no decay who maintained a 6 month interval. Fifty five percent of patients that maintained 6 month intervals were not diagnosed with decay. For those who came in once a year, the percent droped to 28%. For those patients who went longer than a year, all were diagnosed with decay!!
We will continue to build on this study. But the results are obvious: get that exam and cleaning done. Catching problems early pays off substantially.
TOC, also known as the Theory of Constraints, is the business philosophy that we have used to build our business. This Post will provide a short overview of TOC. Future posts will highlight how it is used inside a dental practice.
The Theory of Constraints (TOC) focuses on the concept that “A chain is no stronger than its weakest link.” This means that businesses, processes, and systems are held hostage by their weakest link. Most dentists automatically assume that staff is the weakest link. Sometimes this is the case but sometimes it is simply a process that the office does that creates the “constraint”. TOC management can be put into use on many levels of a business.
The underlying premise of Theory of Constraints is that a dental office can be measured and controlled by variations on three measures: throughput, inventory, and operational expense. Throughput is the rate at which the system generates money through sales. Inventory is all the money invested in purchasing things intended to be sold. Operational expense is all the money the system spends in order to turn inventory into throughput. In dentistry the focus is on throughput and operational expense.
I have visited many offices, and the primary constraint has been the dentist’s throughput (i.e.more fillings than crowns). Handling this constraint varies from office to office. After identifying the constraint, the next step is to improve the constraint, or make it perform at an optimum level (i.e. produce higher end procedures). The next critical step is to make all other processes in the office subordinate to the constraint (i.e. improved scheduling and advertising). The third step is to elevate the constraint by finding other issues that continue the constraint. The final step is to determine if the constraint has changed. If the constraint has changed, which it eventually will if you find the real constraint, focus is then needed to identify the next major constraint.
It sounds like common sense but it is difficult to find the primary constraint in a dental practice. Most practices never find the real constraints of their businesses and therefore drift along in the land of seminar management fixes. Search your business honestly and find the true constraint. Only then will your practice jump to the next level.