Is Insurance Getting In the Way of Your Treatment Plans?

Many practice owners have asked, “why is insurance such a pain to deal with?” But many who complain about the hand that feed them are also some of the most insurance driven offices I know of.

Don’t knock it if you are the one who chose to sign on the dotted line.

Today, at least 7 out of 10 people are suffering from some form of dental disease. According to the ADA, many people avoid dental treatment due to perceived high expenses. But when you drill down the the real issue, it really comes down to lack of perceived benefit or no sense of urgency.

Recently on a podcast with my friend and Periodontist, Dan Thunell, he explained: That one thing I always try to keep in mind whenever a patient sits down in my chair is I am not just treating the patient, but I am treating the doctor that is associated with that patient. And so, if I keep that in my mind, it sure helps me to make good decisions and, stay out of trouble.

As you know, dental insurance really isn’t insurance at all. It is a $1000 or $1500 prepaid benefit. If you want deeper relationships with your patients, don’t think about the insurance as the primary concern. DO think about the person, their needs and values, and working with their other medical providers as needed.

In my humble opinion….
Should you be insurance driven, no. Should you be insurance friendly, yes!

It means a lot to (some of) your patients to have insurance, but it shouldn’t be the main focus in a PPP (PrePaid Practice).

THE KEY to a PPP
Get rid of insurances that are not profitable. Offer flexible financing and stop letting your team (and your own verbiage) be dictated solely by insurance.

You reap what you sow. If the first thing your hygienist says is “insurance doesn’t cover it,” then what do you think the patients reaction will be? Flip that around to “we offer…” or “have you heard of…” and shed positive light on what you have to offer.

Good relationships with patients and referring offices are the key to growing your profit and your patient loyalty.

Until next time!

Dr. Tyler Williams

Are You STILL Doing “Old” Dentures?

One of the most common complaints of dentists offering dentures is how many appointments it takes.

Now there’s a better way. Here’s an excerpt of my recent interview with Dr. Lawrence Wallace, oral surgeon and inventor of the one-step denture:

Just going back to my practice, I remember that, in my practice, about 70% of the immediate dentures that I delivered, the dentist would send over the case with the patient, and I would do the surgery to deliver the immediate, and then they would go home. Most of them didn’t fit. And that bothered me. Also having the need to provide prosthetics for nursing home residents, assisted living home residents, even safety net clinic clients, there wasn’t access to care, and the costs were prohibitive. This is when I decided to develop this process. It took me a lot of years to develop this process. We went through many materials, many prototypes, and finally got to the point where we developed the ability to create the complete denture in a single visit of about an hour, that’s upper and lower. Its base was developed through measuring 1000s of edentulous models consecutively that came through a major dental lab. Putting those numbers together into a spreadsheet and coming up with the five sizes of our dentures that we have. I’m getting a little ahead of myself here. So, I developed this process, basically to give back to society to provide teeth for the hundreds of 1000s of teeth that I removed. 

The One Step Process

The natural process is based on a thermoplastic pre-formed denture template. It is made out of thermoplastic acrylic, which when heated in boiling water becomes malleable. So, the process is very intuitive. All of you know how to take vertical dimensions. You all know basic occlusion. It’s not utilizing any processes that you don’t already use in your office. 
So, the process is to take an alginate impression, pour up a Quick Set stone model, and then take that model and the denture template which fits the closest to that model. And now, as I said, there are five sizes, and it’s going to be close, but it’s not going to be perfect. It’s not going to fit right down on the ridge, but it will fit in the mouth. The next step is to put it in the boiling water pot and make it malleable 30-45 seconds, maybe a minute, if you’re a little higher elevation, and then from that model to that template. At that point, you take it to the mouth. Check patients with a fox plate to make sure you have the electrical line and the interocclusal line Frankford horizontal. But I like to go by the pupillary line. If you match the pupillary line, and that is not necessarily perfectly horizontal, you will get a more aesthetic look for your denture.So, if you try it in the mouth, you will trim off the flanges because you need two or three millimeters of flange space to do their line and then take it to the mouth and do a chairside reline. We do recommend a certain relying material, but any PMMA acrylic denture relines material will work. So, the upper is typically done. First, you get the smile line, the patient gets to look at it.The process is then repeated with a lower one. It is recommended that when you start the process and you want to measure the vertical dimension, on the nose and chin, measure that distance with the patient in a relaxed position. And then just put that aside for later on.
But an even easier way to determine vertical dimension is to take your four fingers, put them up underneath your nose. At the bottom of your fingers is your vertical dimension. It just couldn’t be easier. Here that on the chin point. There’s your vertical. And you’ll go back to that later. As long as you don’t lose a finger between now and when you get it. And then you will continue to do the upper denture first and get the smile line. Repeat the process with the upper one as well. Finish the denture which is a manual process that takes 10 to 15 minutes, and it’s done. Check with articulating paper. But it is recommended to use pressure indicating paste for the upper.

Benefits

You don’t need an outside laboratory. So, it’s one visit of which you are in total control with no outside laboratory needed. There’s no time factor of waiting several days or a week between visits. So, you get to complete it on that first visit. You can complete it to patient satisfaction right there on the spot. They get to see the aesthetics when they finish it. If there are any high spots, you have adjusted them with the pressure indicating paste, or, and the articulating paper, which is always recommended.

Last time. Decrease cost. More patient satisfaction!

It’s been great for my practice and could be for yours too. (By the way, I have no financial interest in this product, just wanted to pass along something that I thought you could benefit from as well). 

Until next time, 

Dr. Tyler Williams

Pinecrest Practice Growth

WIN-WIN MEMBERSHIPS

In part 1, we covered four reasons why you should make your membership plans more valuable (valuable builder) and different than Dental Insurance. Not a “discount only” plan (profit killer).

HOW TO SET FEES

In our office we sent out a lot of surveys and study local and national trends.

Knowing when and what your patients and prospects are looking for is key.

For example, if you offer sedation or laughing gas in your practice, it is never covered by dental insurance. Consider that as a benefit to be included within your membership plan/plans that patients can receive a discount, or for free as membership benefit.

For a lot of people, especially people who are really scared of the dentist or have extreme anxiety, that benefit alone will help them switch and join your membership plan because they know that you’re going to help them conquer their fear to get their dental care.

So remember to not fall into that rabbit hole and then don’t keep digging that hole deeper if you have already.

When you take a bad turn or make a bad business decision, remember it’s okay. We’ve all done it in one way or another. That’s how we learn. Sometimes it’s time to stop what you’re doing and change direction. Time to pivot. The same can be done if your membership plans aren’t as profitable or patient-centric as they could be.

Going forward, make it a resolve with your membership plans to create value and make it about offering services and products that are unique and interesting to your patients. Make it an apples to oranges comparison to insurance. Be insurance friendly, but not insurance driven. Don’t play a game that you won’t win. Play the game that sets you in a category of one to your ideal patients.

As Steve Anderson described in his book, The Bezos Letters:

Test – build – accelerate – scale

PODCASTS UPDATE
For more growth tips for your practice and personal life, listen to our Free, recent podcasts https://yourpracticegrowth.com/podcasts/ here. Recent interviews include: Patient marketing strategies, Practice Profits, and Botox.

THIS WEEK…
…read more about practice building topics on this week’s blog post yourpracticegrowth.com/blog here.

Have a great week!

Dr. Tyler Williams, D.D.S.

MEMBERSHIPS DONE RIGHT!

This week we are sharing with you a tip about membership plans in your office.

You know, there’s a lot of talk these days about membership plans, and dental savings plans.

Unfortunately, most of them are done wrong.

Done incorrectly, you actually may be losing money, or setting yourself up for failure. If you’ve ever heard of sunk cost syndrome, which is when you have a big hole, and you continue to dig and try to get out of that hole, and really just get into a deeper pit. This is a disappointing game that many practice owners get ensnared with.

DONE WRONG
If you’re trying to make your membership plan work like insurance, then let me share a secret with you.

We’ve had the best success doing it the opposite of conventional thinking. If you design it as a flat rate discount, you’re just becoming a commodity and will be compared to insurance.

“Sign up for our dental savings plan and you’ll save 20% on all fillings, wisdom teeth and crowns.” WRONG!

DONE RIGHT 

Why should you setup your plan different than flat rate discounting, or worse yet trying to mimic dental insurance? Here are 4 reasons: 

1. Your profit margin in different services you offer varies. 

2. Be selective. You don’t have 20% give on every service you offer. You get to decide what is discounted down vs. valued up.

3. The other problem with flat discounting is that starts to look, feel and sound like insurance. Then you are just trying to play a game you won’t win. Your membership patients see you for the relationship and personal value you offer, not because of deductibles and coverages.

4. Add unique value. Create more value that’s not included with insurance. Like extra exams, X-rays, free laughing gas, etc. 

Now take this information, go out, and boost the value you offer your patients, rather than discounting it down to nothing. 

In part 2, we will cover how to set fees for your membership plans.

PODCASTS UPDATE
For more growth tips for your practice and personal life, listen to our Free, recent podcasts https://yourpracticegrowth.com/podcasts/ here. Recent interviews include: Patient marketing strategies, Practice Profits, and Botox.

THIS WEEK…
…read more about practice building topics on this week’s blog post yourpracticegrowth.com/blog here.

Have a patient-profitable week!

Dr. Tyler Williams, D.D.S.

Are You “Addicted”?

As a practicing dentist, you’ve probably seen the effects of patients who have addictions to narcotics. I’ve never had any problem like that myself, but I’ve treated a few patients over the years who formerly had those problems and have shared with me how much it ruined their life, and how much work it was to turn that around for them.

So just like a muscle, you’ve got to get out of your comfort zone and be able to do things differently and work with people who will challenge your ideas and talk with you about what you are doing.

Just think – maybe there’s a better way to do this, maybe you should be thinking about working on or doing things in your practice in a different way so you don’t get stuck in the comfort zone of complacency.

When you work out, that’s when growth hormones are released. So whether it’s weighted, or running, cycling, or whatever it is, between workouts or when you rest, your body releases growth hormone, and that impacts your mind and your body allows its muscles to grow.

Now there’s a certain point that you don’t want to go beyond, which is overworking your muscles. This could tear a muscle or damage a muscle, but as long as you’re working in an environment that causes you to stretch a bit each day, and work a little bit harder each day, that’s the kind of people and business you should spend your time in.

And celebrate your accomplishments and wins!

In our upcoming Membership growth mastermind, we’ll be talking about getting off the insurance bandwagon, so you can still be insurance friendly like we are. But you’ll discover how to be insurance dependent and how to attract patients who want to see you for the value you offer, not because you’re the discount dentist or the insurance-driven dentist.

You want to have a purpose-driven practice, not an insurance-driven practice. More to come soon on this topic in our upcoming blogs, but if you’d like more information about the growth mastermind, we’d be happy to share that with you.

Until next time. Have a fantastic week!