How AI will Change Running a Dental Practice

Unlocking the Power of AI: Revolutionising Dental Practice Management

Artificial intelligence (AI) is changing the way we live, work, and do business. It’s having a big impact on various industries like education, healthcare, and finance. One field that is benefitting from AI is dental practice management. AI is helping dental practices streamline their operations and enhance patient care. It’s changing the way dental practices work by automating administrative tasks and predicting patient needs. In this post, we’ll explore how AI is used to manage dental practices and how it can improve patient outcomes, increase efficiency, and generate more revenue. If you’re a dentist looking to enhance your practice management, keep reading to discover how AI can create new opportunities for your dental practice.

The role of AI in revolutionising dental practice management

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is changing the field of dentistry too. It can handle lots of information and do complex tasks, which is why it’s being used to manage dental practices. AI offers dentists and their teams opportunities to be more efficient, accurate, and provide better patient care.

Traditionally, managing dental practices required a lot of manual work and human judgement. But AI has become a valuable tool that streamlines operations, improves diagnosis and treatment planning, enhances patient communication, and overall improves the dental experience.

AI is great at automating administrative tasks like scheduling appointments, reminding patients, handling billing and insurance claims. It does these tasks quickly and accurately, freeing up valuable time for dental professionals to focus on giving the best care.

AI algorithms can analyse huge amounts of patient data like medical history, X-rays, and treatment outcomes. By finding patterns and insights, dentists can make more accurate diagnoses, create personalised treatment plans, and predict potential oral health issues before they become serious. With AI technology, dentists can provide proactive and preventive care, leading to better patient outcomes and satisfaction.

AI is also improving patient communication and engagement. Chatbots and virtual assistants powered by AI can answer common questions, provide educational materials, and even schedule appointments. This not only increases patient satisfaction but also reduces the workload on dental staff, allowing them to focus on more critical tasks.

Furthermore, AI helps dental practices optimize their operations and resource allocation. By analyzing patient flow, appointment patterns, and staff efficiency, AI algorithms can identify bottlenecks and inefficiencies. Practice managers can then make data-driven decisions to improve workflow and staff schedules. This leads to increased productivity, shorter wait times, and a smoother patient experience.

Click here to check our webinar on what tools you use for your business.

Understanding the challenges faced by dental practices

Running a dental practice comes with its own set of challenges that can hinder efficiency and growth. Understanding these obstacles is crucial for utilizing the potential of AI and improving dental practice management.

One major challenge faced by dental practices is appointment scheduling. It can be difficult to keep track of a full schedule with multiple patients and different types of appointments. Manual planning processes often lead to errors, double bookings, and significant delays for patients.

Patient engagement and communication are also problematic for dental practices. It can be inefficient and time-consuming to keep patients informed about their appointments, treatment plans, and preventive care. Lack of effective communication can result in missed appointments, low patient satisfaction, and ultimately, loss of revenue.

Managing dental records and information presents another obstacle. Traditional paper-based systems are not only cumbersome but also prone to errors and data loss. Retrieving patient records becomes a time-consuming process, affecting the overall efficiency of the practice.

In addition, efficient management of dental supplies and equipment is essential. Lack of proper equipment or supply shortages can lead to disruptions in patient care and unnecessary delays.

These challenges highlight the need for innovative approaches to simplify dental practice management. AI-powered technologies can revolutionize the way dental practices operate by addressing these challenges and improving overall efficiency and patient satisfaction. AI has the potential to automate appointment scheduling, send automated reminders to patients, implement electronic health record systems, and optimize inventory management. Embracing AI in dental practice management can result in improved efficiency, increased revenue, and enhanced patient experiences.

Contact us to find out more

The potential of AI in solving dental practice management issues

It’s amazing how artificial intelligence (AI) can revolutionize dental practice management. With advancements in technology, AI has become a powerful tool that can address various challenges faced by dental professionals and streamline their daily tasks.

One significant challenge that AI can tackle is appointment booking. Traditionally, dental practices have handled appointments manually, which can be time-consuming and prone to errors. However, AI-powered systems can automate this process by intelligently analyzing patient information, dentist availability, and other factors to schedule appointments efficiently. This not only saves time but also ensures optimal use of resources and improves patient satisfaction.

AI can also play a crucial role in enhancing treatment planning and diagnosis. AI algorithms can assist dentists in making more accurate and well-informed decisions by analyzing a large amount of patient data, such as X-rays, dental records, and medical history. This can result in better patient care, fewer mistakes, and improved treatment outcomes.

Moreover, AI can improve patient communication and engagement. AI-powered chatbots can instantly answer common questions, schedule appointments, and make personalized recommendations. This enhances the patient experience, reduces wait times, and increases customer loyalty.

Additionally, AI can streamline administrative tasks like billing, inventory management, and insurance claims processing. By automating these processes, dental practices can save time and resources, allowing their staff to focus on more critical aspects of patient care.

While AI in dental practice management is still in its early stages, its potential is immense. We can expect AI to become increasingly important in transforming dental practices, increasing efficiency, and providing improved oral healthcare to patients as technology continues to advance. By incorporating AI into practice management, dental professionals can enter a new era of innovation and productivity.

Streamlining appointment scheduling and patient management with AI

Managing a dental practice can be complex and time-consuming in today’s fast-paced world. Dental professionals face numerous challenges, including patient management and appointment scheduling. However, with the advancements in artificial intelligence (AI), these challenges can now be overcome more efficiently and effectively than ever before.

One area where AI is transforming dental practice management is appointment booking. In the past, dental practices relied on manual scheduling, which often led to double bookings, missed appointments, and unhappy patients. AI-powered scheduling systems have eliminated these issues.

AI algorithms analyse various factors, such as dentist availability, patient preferences, and treatment durations, to automatically schedule appointments in a way that maximises efficiency and minimises conflicts. This reduces wait times and ensures smooth appointment experiences, saving time for dental professionals and increasing patient satisfaction.

Furthermore, AI can assist in patient management by organising and analysing large amounts of patient data. By using AI algorithms, AI systems can identify patterns and trends in patient data, allowing dental professionals to make more informed decisions regarding treatment plans and personalised care.

For example, AI can help identify patients at higher risk for certain dental conditions based on their medical history, lifestyle factors, and genetic predispositions. By proactively addressing potential issues and providing individualised preventive care, overall oral health outcomes for patients improve.

Additionally, AI-powered chatbots can enhance patient communication and support. These virtual assistants can provide instant responses to common inquiries, such as information about treatment options, post-operative care instructions, and appointment availability. By automating these interactions, dental practices can free up staff resources and improve patient engagement, even outside of office hours.

In conclusion, AI has the potential to transform dental practice management by streamlining appointment booking, optimizing patient management, and enhancing communication. By harnessing the power of AI, dental professionals can unlock new levels of efficiency, productivity, and patient satisfaction, ultimately revolutionizing the way dental practices operate in the modern era.

Enhancing patient communication and engagement through AI-powered tools

Artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming various industries, including dental practice management. One area where AI is making a significant impact is in improving patient communication and engagement.

In the past, dental practices relied on phone calls, emails, and face-to-face interactions to communicate with patients. However, these methods often proved to be time-consuming and inefficient. AI-powered tools are changing the game by streamlining communication processes and providing a seamless experience for patients.

One way AI is enhancing patient communication is through the use of chatbots. By integrating intelligent virtual assistants into dental practice websites or mobile apps, patients can easily ask questions, schedule appointments, or get immediate support. Chatbots offer quick and accurate responses, reducing the need for patients to wait on hold or wait for a reply to their messages.

Moreover, AI-powered tools can analyse patient data and preferences to personalise communication. For instance, dental practices can utilise AI to automatically send appointment reminders, follow-up messages after treatments, or even oral health tips tailored to each patient’s specific needs. This level of personalised communication improves patient satisfaction and fosters a stronger relationship between the patient and the dental practice.

Additionally, AI enables dental practices to engage with patients through voice-controlled assistants. Using smart speakers, patients can access educational content, receive guidance on post-treatment care, and ask questions about oral hygiene. These voice-activated assistants allow patients to stay connected with their dental office in a convenient and interactive manner, ultimately leading to improved oral health outcomes.

By utilising AI-powered tools for patient communication and engagement, dental practices can enjoy several benefits. These include increased patient satisfaction, personalised experiences, and improved efficiency. As the dental industry embraces the potential of AI, it becomes evident that it is reshaping how dental practices manage patient interactions and prepare for a technologically advanced and patient-centred future.

Leveraging AI for accurate diagnosis and treatment planning

In the field of dentistry, the use of artificial intelligence (AI) has brought about a significant breakthrough in diagnosis and treatment planning. By harnessing the power of AI, dentists can now achieve more precise and effective results than ever before.

AI algorithms have the ability to analyse large amounts of patient data, such as medical history, X-rays, and clinical notes, with impressive accuracy and speed. This allows dentists to detect even the smallest dental conditions or abnormalities that might be missed by human observation alone.

Furthermore, AI-powered software can provide valuable insights and recommendations based on the analysed data to assist in treatment planning. By considering factors like patient preferences, clinical guidelines, and best practices, AI algorithms can create customised treatment plans that improve both patient outcomes and practice efficiency.

The ability of AI to learn and adapt over time is one of its greatest advantages in dental practice management. As more data is fed into the system, the algorithms continuously improve their diagnostic accuracy and treatment planning capabilities. This enhances patient care and allows dentists to stay at the forefront of their field by leveraging the latest advancements in AI technology.

Additionally, incorporating AI into dental practice management can streamline workflows and reduce human error. By automating routine tasks and integrating AI-powered systems into existing practice management software, dentists can save valuable time and resources while ensuring consistent and reliable results.

It is important to note that while AI is revolutionising dental practice management, it is not meant to replace the expertise and skill of dental professionals. Instead, it serves as a powerful tool that complements their knowledge and experience, assisting them in providing superior patient care and achieving improved outcomes.

By embracing the power of AI, dental professionals have the potential to usher in a new era of innovation, precision, and efficiency in diagnosis and treatment planning. With the help of AI, dentists can elevate their practice to new heights, benefiting both their patients and their own professional growth.

Automating administrative tasks and improving efficiency with AI

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a game-changer in many industries, including dental practice management. One of the great advantages of AI in this context is its ability to automate administrative tasks, streamlining operations and improving overall efficiency.

Traditionally, dental practices have had to deal with tasks like appointment scheduling, patient record management, and billing. These tasks are not only time-consuming but also prone to human errors. However, with the power of AI, these processes can be automated, allowing dental professionals to focus more on patient care.

AI-powered systems can intelligently handle appointment scheduling by analysing the availability of both the dentist and the patient. AI algorithms optimise scheduling by considering various factors, such as treatment duration and required equipment, to maximise efficiency and minimise patient wait times.

Another area where AI can revolutionise dental practice management is patient record management. With AI-powered systems, patient records can be digitised and organised in a structured manner. This enables quick access to patient information, including medical history, treatment plans, and progress. AI algorithms can analyse this data to provide personalised treatment recommendations based on patient-specific factors, ultimately improving the quality of care provided.

Moreover, AI can simplify the billing process by automating tasks such as insurance checks, claims processing, and payment reminders. This not only makes it easier for dental staff to perform their jobs but also reduces the likelihood of payment processing errors or delays.

By automating these administrative tasks, dental practices can achieve significant time and cost savings. This allows dental professionals to focus on providing exceptional patient care and enhancing the overall dental experience, as resources can be allocated more effectively.

In conclusion, the impact of AI in dental practice management cannot be underestimated. By automating administrative tasks and improving efficiency, AI empowers dental professionals to streamline operations, provide better patient care, and ultimately revolutionise the way dental practices operate. Embracing AI technology can usher in a new era of efficiency and effectiveness in dental practice management.

Click here to read our article on COVID-19 and the healthcare industry: what has changed?

Addressing concerns and misconceptions about AI in dental practice management

Like any new technology, there are often misunderstandings and concerns when it comes to AI in dental practice management. However, it’s important to address these concerns and provide accurate information in order to fully understand the potential benefits and capabilities of AI in this field.

One common concern is the fear that AI will replace human dental professionals. While AI can automate certain tasks and streamline processes, it is not meant to replace the expertise and judgement of dental professionals. Instead, AI serves as a powerful tool to assist and enhance their work, allowing them to focus more on patient care and complex procedures.

Another misconception is the belief that AI is too complex or expensive to implement in dental practices. However, thanks to advancements in technology, AI is now more accessible and user-friendly than ever before. Many dental practice management software now incorporate AI features that are specifically designed to improve workflows, enhance efficiency, and provide valuable insights for better guidance.

Additionally, some may have concerns about the security and privacy of patient data when using AI in dental practice management. It is crucial to select reputable software vendors that prioritise data security and comply with industry regulations. Strong security measures, such as encryption and access controls, can help protect patient data and maintain confidentiality.

Lastly, the accuracy of AI in diagnosis and treatment planning may raise questions. While AI algorithms are constantly improving, they are not meant to replace the diagnostic skills and experience of dental professionals. Instead, AI can assist in analysing large datasets, identifying patterns, and providing insights to support more informed decision-making.

By addressing these concerns and misconceptions, dental professionals can embrace the potential of AI in practice management. It allows for more efficient operations, better patient care, and staying at the forefront of technological advancements in the field. AI has the potential to transform dental practice management, empowering dentists and practitioners to provide exceptional care in an increasingly digital world.

Embracing the future: Steps to incorporate AI in your dental practice

Incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) into your dental practice can completely transform the way you manage and treat patients. AI has become a powerful tool that can improve various aspects of your practice, from patient scheduling to treatment planning, thanks to advancements in technology. Here are some steps to help you embrace the future and successfully integrate AI into your dental practice.

Identify areas for AI integration: Start by assessing your current workflows and identifying areas where AI can make a significant impact. This could include automating appointment scheduling, streamlining administrative tasks, analysing scans or X-rays, or enhancing patient communication.

Explore AI solutions: Once you have identified the areas for AI integration, research different AI solutions available on the market. Look for reputable companies that specialise in AI for dental practice management and have a proven track record of successful implementations. Consider factors like ease of use, compatibility with your existing systems, and the level of support provided.

Implement AI gradually: Introducing AI to your practice doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing approach. Start by implementing AI in one area of your practice, such as automated appointment reminders or improving patient communication. This way, you can gradually familiarise yourself and your team with the technology and assess its impact on your workflow.

Train and support your team: As you bring AI into your practice, it’s important to provide adequate training and support to your team. Ensure that everyone understands how to use the AI tools effectively and how it can enhance their daily tasks. This will help maximise the benefits of AI and ensure a smooth transition for everyone involved.

Click here to read our article on building a dental team

Evaluate and monitor performance: Regularly monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the AI tools you have implemented. Assess whether they are improving the patient experience, increasing efficiency, and achieving the desired outcomes. Make any necessary adjustments and stay updated on new AI technology updates.

By embracing the future of AI and carefully planning, implementing, and evaluating its integration, you can unlock its potential to streamline operations, enhance patient care, and take your dental practice to new heights. It has the power to transform the way you manage your practice and provide exceptional dental care.

Contact us to find out more

AI can play a significant role in enhancing marketing efforts in a dental practice

Using AI can greatly improve the marketing efforts of a dental practice. Here are a few examples of how AI can enhance marketing strategies:

Data analysis and customer segmentation: AI can analyze large amounts of data from sources like patient records, website analytics, and social media. By finding patterns, AI can segment the target audience more effectively. It can identify potential leads and create personalized marketing campaigns based on patient preferences, behaviors, and demographics.

Personalized marketing campaigns: AI-powered algorithms can generate customized marketing content, such as emails, social media posts, and ads. By using patient data and preferences, AI can create personalized messages and offers, leading to higher engagement and conversion rates.

Click here to read our article on email marketing for dentists

Chatbots and assistants: AI-powered chatbots can provide instant responses to patient inquiries on websites, social media platforms, or messaging apps. They can answer frequently asked questions, schedule appointments, provide basic dental information, and even offer personalized oral health recommendations. This improves customer satisfaction and streamlines administrative tasks.

Click here to read more about should you use social media in a dental practice?

Predictive analytics: AI can analyse historical patient data to predict future behaviours and outcomes. By identifying trends and patterns, AI can anticipate patient needs and preferences. This allows dental practices to anticipate demand and adjust marketing strategies accordingly.

Image analysis and treatment planning: AI can analyse dental X-rays, scans, and images to assist in treatment planning and diagnosis. By providing accurate and efficient analysis, AI can enhance the patient experience, contribute to better treatment outcomes, and even be used for patient education and case presentations.

Online reputation monitoring and sentiment analysis: AI can track brand reputation and monitor patient sentiment through online reviews and social media platforms. This data helps dental practices identify areas for improvement, address customer concerns promptly, and leverage positive feedback for marketing purposes.

Optimization of marketing campaigns: AI can analyse real-time performance of marketing campaigns, enabling dental practices to make data-driven decisions. By monitoring key metrics such as click-through rates, conversion rates, and engagement levels, AI can provide insights and suggestions to optimise marketing efforts for improved results.

Click here to read our article on how to market your dental practice online

It’s important to remember that while AI can enhance dental practice marketing, it should be used in conjunction with human expertise. Dental professionals and marketing experts should collaborate to develop effective strategies and ensure that AI applications align with ethical considerations and patient privacy regulations.

Click here to read more about Marketing to Millennials for Dentists

How AI tools (like ChatGPT plugins) can help analyse and suggest solutions for SEO or website issues for dental practise

In a dental practice, AI tools like ChatGPT plugins can help analyse and suggest solutions for SEO or website issues. Here’s how they can be useful:

Website analysis: AI tools can analyse the structure, content, and performance of a dental practice’s website. They can identify issues like broken links, missing meta tags, duplicate content, slow page loading times, and other SEO-related problems. By examining the website, AI can create a comprehensive report highlighting areas that need improvement.

Keyword research: AI tools can help identify relevant keywords and search terms that potential patients might use when looking for dental services. By analysing search patterns and user behaviour, AI can suggest optimal keywords to target in website content, blog posts, or meta tags, thereby improving the website’s search engine visibility.

Click here to read our article on how to create a website for dentists

Content optimization: AI tools can assist in optimising website content for search engines. They can analyse existing content, suggest improvements to enhance keyword usage, recommend formatting changes, and provide insights to improve readability and user experience. Additionally, AI can suggest topics for blog posts or articles to increase traffic and help identify content gaps.

Competitor analysis: AI tools can analyse SEO strategies and competitor websites. They can identify keywords, backlinks, or content strategies that competitors are using successfully. Dental practices can use this information to gain a better understanding of their industry’s competitive landscape and make well-informed decisions regarding their own SEO strategies.

SEO performance tracking: AI tools can monitor the SEO performance of a dental practice’s website over time. They can track key metrics like search rankings, organic traffic, and conversion rates. AI can assist dentists and marketers in understanding the impact of their SEO efforts and making data-driven decisions to enhance performance by providing regular reports and insights.

On-page optimization tips: AI tools can provide real-time suggestions for on-page optimization while creating or editing website content. For example, as a dentist writes a blog post, an AI module can analyse the content in real-time and suggest improvements to optimise headings, meta descriptions, or internal linking to ensure best SEO practices are followed.

Voice search optimization: AI tools can help dental practices optimise their websites for voice search queries. With the rise of voice assistants like Siri, Alexa, or Google Assistant, AI can analyse conversational search patterns and suggest content improvements to align with voice search queries and provide answers to common dental questions.

Click here to read more about SEO for dental websites in 5 steps

It’s important to remember that AI tools can provide valuable insights and suggestions, but they should be used in conjunction with human expertise. Dentists and marketers should interpret the insights provided by AI tools, apply their industry knowledge, and make informed decisions to truly enhance their SEO strategies.

We hope you found our blog post on using AI for dental practice management helpful and inspiring. Embracing AI can revolutionise how dental practices operate as technology continues to advance. By automating administrative tasks, streamlining patient management, and enhancing diagnostic capabilities, AI has the potential to greatly improve efficiency, accuracy, and patient satisfaction. We encourage you to stay informed about the latest developments and collaborate with experts in the field as you consider implementing AI solutions in your dental practice.

Check out Samera learning centre

Grow Your Dental Practice with Samera

Join the Samera Alliance buying group today for free to save money on your consumables and assets, increase your profits and grow your dental practice.

You’ll get access to exclusive discounts on the consumables, products and equipment you need to build and grow your dental practice. You’ll also get exclusive discounts from our Alliance Partners, covering everything from HR, IT and legal services to utilities, compliance and dental technology.

Join for free. Save money. Grow your dental practice.

More on Growing a Dental Practice

For more information on growing a dental practice, check out the articles and webinars in our Learning Centre, like our guide on How to Grow a Dental Practice.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

How to make a successful NHS to Private transition

In this free webinar, hosted with Patient Plan Direct, we discuss why the appetite for exploring the transition to private dentistry has never been as prevalent and what it takes to manage a successful conversion.

Moving away from the NHS to private dentistry is a big decision and one that requires detailed analysis and planning. Whether you’re looking to make a gradual step to private dentistry or leave NHS dentistry for good, we cover the steps Patient Plan Direct take to support a practice in achieving such an objective and why offering a dental plan is a vital component.

Click here to read our articles Samera.

Download the slides:

Join the Samera Alliance Buying Group

The Samera Alliance is our growing network of dentists, practices and leading industry suppliers, designed to help you save money, grow your profits and build a better dental business.

Join today for free to be a part of our dental buying group, which gives you access to exclusive discounts and offers on the consumables, equipment and products you need to run a successful dental business.

You’ll also get better rates and terms for a wide range of services like HR, IT, utilities, insurance, legal services and much more!

Grow Your Dental Practice with Samera

Join the Samera Alliance buying group today for free to save money on your consumables and assets, increase your profits and grow your dental practice.

You’ll get access to exclusive discounts on the consumables, products and equipment you need to build and grow your dental practice. You’ll also get exclusive discounts from our Alliance Partners, covering everything from HR, IT and legal services to utilities, compliance and dental technology.

Join for free. Save money. Grow your dental practice.

More on Growing a Dental Practice

For more information on growing a dental practice, check out the articles and webinars in our Learning Centre, like our guide on How to Grow a Dental Practice.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

Switching Your Payment Plan Provider

In this free webinar, hosted with Patient Plan Direct, we discuss how switching your plan provider can significantly save your practice money without worrying about any patient drop-off thanks to the new ‘Simple Switch’ process.

Grow Your Dental Practice with Samera

Join the Samera Alliance buying group today for free to save money on your consumables and assets, increase your profits and grow your dental practice.

You’ll get access to exclusive discounts on the consumables, products and equipment you need to build and grow your dental practice. You’ll also get exclusive discounts from our Alliance Partners, covering everything from HR, IT and legal services to utilities, compliance and dental technology.

Join for free. Save money. Grow your dental practice.

More on Growing a Dental Practice

For more information on growing a dental practice, check out the articles and webinars in our Learning Centre, like our guide on How to Grow a Dental Practice.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

How To Grow A Dental Practice

In this article, we’ll take a look at all the different factors you need to consider to grow a dental practice. From structuring your finances and accounts to digital marketing techniques, this guide will cover everything you need to know when it comes to growing a dental practice.

Why the Climate is Right for Growing a Dental Practice

According to a report published by IBIS World in 2017, the size of the dental market in the UK was £6.7bn, with a growth projection of 1.1% over the following five years. This means that the time is right to grow a dental practice. If you get it right, you can take advantage of the growing UK population, which is leading to a growing demand for dental health services nationwide.

The UK population is continuing to grow. By 2039 it’s estimated to reach 74 million. You can take a look at more detailed figures, provided by the Office for National Statistics. A growing population leads to an increased need for resources, including dental care. As strain on NHS dental care increases, there is an increased need for good quality private dental care.

The population is also ageing and, as the only part of the human body that has no self-repair ability, teeth require on-going repair and maintenance, if they are to last into later years. As I have discussed with several clients in recent years, there is plenty of opportunity to scale a dental practice, as long as the scaling process is completed correctly.

Listen to our podcast on the climate for dental practice growth in the UK.

Factors to Consider When Growing a Dental Practice

In order to grow a dental practice, it’s important to have a good understanding of the methods that you need to use. Making the right use of these methods is essential if you want your dental practice to expand and thrive.

From accounting and finances to the in’s and out’s of digital marketing, it’s essential that you consider all aspects of the business when you decide to grow your dental practice.

Click here to read more articles about growing a dental practice.

As a dental practice grows, there is likely to come a time when significant additional funding is required in order to scale further. This funding may be needed to purchase new equipment, to extend a current practice, or to buy more dental practices to become a group.

The first point I want to make is that it’s not all about profits when it comes to growing a dental surgery.

It’s important to consider the costs of running a practice, which are also likely to increase significantly over the coming years. For instance, payroll costs can account for almost 60% of revenue expenditure on average. In 2019 especially, the increase in the National Living Wage made a significant difference to dental practices that employ younger administration and support staff.

Click here to read more about the costs of running a dental practice.

These cost increases need to be factored into any decision to scale a dental practice. Other on-going costs that should be accounted for include non-payroll related expenses, such as the purchase of materials, payment of utility bills, insurance premiums and the cost of marketing.

The obvious lesson to take from all this is that any dental practice owner needs to concentrate their efforts on increasing revenue as soon as they take over at a practice or start up their own dental surgery. It’s these efforts that make expansion a possibility.

Click here to read about how easy it is to start, scale and sell a dental group.

Contact us to find out more

Work with Professionals When Looking for Growth and Acquisition Financing

In the same way as it’s important to work with expert dental accountants and dental solicitors when financing and buying an initial dental practice, it’s also vital to work with professional brokers when you plan to grow your dental practice.

Click here to book a free consultation with our finance team and discuss your options.

Never forget that a dental surgery owners talents lie with running the practice itself and not with accounting or legal implications. It’s better to work with experts to deal with these factors. on these aspects of scaling a dental practice with clients on many occasions and it’s made the process a lot simpler for them.

Click here to read the 5 reasons you need to use a commercial finance broker.

Actions

  • Contact a dedicated dental accountant if you haven’t already. You can read more about what look for in a dental accountant here.
  • Contact a commercial finance broker before you approach a bank or other financial institution to borrow finance. It’s important that you make sure the broker you work with has extensive experience in the UK’s dental sector. They will be able to make sure you choose the right option and get the best deal for your business.

Apply for Financing

There are a wide range of reasons for which you may need to raise funds as a dentist. From expanding the premises and equipping new surgeries to raising working capital or paying off outstanding debts, there will most likely come a time when you need to raise commercial finance.

Click here to find out more about funding options for dentists.

Banks and other financial institutions want to reduce their risk and tend to only lend to businesses that can prove they have reliable revenue and are in a position to make repayments on time.

It’s worth bearing this in mind when making decisions to grow a dental practice. Planning ahead is essential. Ideally, plan 10-12 months ahead of time, and make sure that revenue is optimised and accounts are up-to-date and accurate before applying for funding. When you apply for funding, be prepared to provide a significant amount of documentation including:

  • An up-to-date business plan.
  • Up-to-date and accurate accounts (personal and business).
  • Up-to-date tax records.
  • Details of expenditure.
  • Detailed analysis of proposed finance spending and growth of the practice.

Click here to find out more about how banks judge dentists.

Having everything in one place before applying for growth or acquisition funding makes a successful outcome more likely. 

You can find more webinars and articles on financing the growth of a dental practice here.

Actions

Structure Your Accounts and Finances Correctly

We’re dental accountants at heart and we firmly believe that structuring your accounts correctly can make or break your business. You can save time, money and effort when you go digital with your accounts and use programmes like Xero and Quickbooks. Automating your accounts and finances with these kinds of programmes brings huge benefits for your business. You can read more about the benefits of automated accounts here.

As we’ve already mentioned, it’s essential that you choose a dental accountant who has experience in the dental industry. It’s not enough to find a good accountant. They need to have a working knowledge and understanding of the tax, accounting and financial issues facing the UK’s dentists.

Click here to listen to our podcast episode on how to structure your finances.

Actions

Contact us to find out more

Maintain a High-Performing Team

When you set up your dental practice, you put a team in place that you could trust. It’s important to retain this team if you want to grow your dental practice successfully. This means that you have to consider several factors.

Make Sure The Working Environment is Positive.

A working environment that is less than positive will deter people from wanting to remain working at your practice. Make sure that everyone is aware of the vision of the practice and working towards it. You should also make sure that members of your team have access to the training and technology that they need.

Watch our webinar and listen to our podcast on leadership skills for dentists.

Encourage Good Performance.

You cannot grow a dental practice without having a high performing team in place. This is why it’s so important to make use of key performance indicators, SMART objectives and an effective appraisal system that includes an emphasis on personal development.

Read our article on building a dental team.

Make Sure That Communication Works.

Effective communication is central to the success and growth of any dental practice. This may sound easy, but communication can become confused and messy if you let it. Make use of tools such as a communications strategy, an Intranet system and weekly team meetings, to help make sure that this does not happen. It may sound simple, but a clear communication strategy that everyone understands can make the world of difference in any workplace.

Click here to watch our webinar on The Language of Communication.

All of these factors can help you to keep your high performing team in place.

Actions

  • Set KPI’s and objectives with your team.
  • Dedicate a specific time each week (or every 2 weeks at the most) to meet with your team to listen to their ideas and air any issues.
  • Make sure you are open about, and that your team buy into, your vision for the practice. Be prepared to make some tough decisions about staffing if any of your team do not buy into the vision and objectives of the practice.

Use Marketing to Grow A Dental Practice

You can have an exceptional dental practice, but it’s not going to grow and flourish if you do not market it effectively. Optimised marketing is essential to the growth of any business. It’s important that you emphasise the benefits that people can get from choosing your dental surgery, rather than simply concentrating on the brand itself.

It’s these benefits that will attract people to your practice and make it easier for you to retain their loyalty.

The first step is creating a website for your dental practice that ranks highly on Google and converts patients. It’s important that you understand the basics of SEO for websites, if you’re planning on creating it yourself. You can find out more about SEO for dental websites here.

Remember to keep your website’s layout simple. Make sure everything is easy to find and the menus are simple to navigate. Whilst you need to pepper your website with videos, images and other widgets, it’s essential to keep in mind that speed is paramount – don’t go overboard! Do not forget to optimise your website for mobile, as more people use mobile devices to access the Internet than use desktops or laptops.

You can find out more about creating a website for dentists here.

When you are marketing your dental practice, do not forget to make full use of social media. This is where large numbers of potential patients spend time, and it’s the perfect place for you to reach them and communicate with them. You can also choose to pay for social media advertising, as well as other advertising options, such as Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising.

Click here to read more about growing a dental practice with social media.

Your website and social media’s content should be central to your marketing efforts. You need to make sure that the content is fresh, interesting and well-written. Starting a blog may seem time-consuming but you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to get into – and how useful it is for marketing! Start writing your top tips, start educating patients on your different treatments, start a newsletter and you’ll start attracting new, interested leads.

Click here to read more about writing content for dentists.

By getting the marketing right, you’ll attract new patients, convert leads and retain new patients far easier. Digital marketing especially is becoming more and more important with each year. You need to make sure you are paying attention to SEO, social media and PPC in particular to ensure the growth of your patient list and practice.

Watch our webinar on Using Marketing to Increase Profits.

Actions

  • Perform an SEO audit on your website and improve the on-page and local SEO as much as you can. You can learn more about SEO for dental websites here.
  • Start writing blogs and articles, as well as creating video content with your team.
  • Improve your social media profiles and start posting your blogs and engaging with patients – set aside an hour a day for either you or a team member to post and respond to followers.
  • Start some simple Google Ads campaigns using your most popular treatments and your location as keywordsfor instance ‘invisalign Brighton’, ‘dental implants Wigmore Street’
  • Use these 5 free ways to grow your dental practice.

Attract Emergency Patients

Emergency patients are our secret weapon to growing a dental practice. Emergency patients are actively and urgently looking for a dentist right now. They’re most likely in pain, a little desperate and willing to travel farther than general patients. This means that, while other patients are idly considering dental work sometime in the future while they look at your website, emergency patients are looking for a dentist right here and right now. They’re hot leads just waiting to be converted.

The best bit is that you’re not just trying to attract patients for one-off emergency treatment. You were there for them when other dentists weren’t – maybe even their regular dentist. If your front-of-house staff are good enough, this gives you a real chance of turning these emergency patients into regular patients. Patients will travel farther than you think for a dentist they like – make sure that dentist is you!

Click here to listen to our podcast on using emergency patients to grow a practice.

Actions

  • Make sure your website has a page dedicated to and optimised for emergency dental appointments.
  • Give patients as many ways as possible to contact you in an emergency – for instance; WhatsApp, Facebook messenger or you could forward the practice phone to your own personal mobile out-of-hours.
  • Offer as many evening and weekend appointments as are feasible for your team and practice.
  • Set up PPC campaigns on Google Ads and Facebook Ads for emergency dental appointments in your area.

Contact us to find out more

Retain New Patients

Attracting new patients is not enough to grow a dental practice, you need to make sure that they are retained. There are several things that you need to do, in order to make sure that this happens.

  • Make a good first impression. That includes maintaining a welcoming but tidy waiting room and making sure that reception staff are friendly as well as efficient. The importance of friendly front-of-house staff that your patients get on with cannot be overstated!
  • Engage with your patients. No-one expects you, or the associates who work at your practice, to be best friends with patients. However, you do need to engage with them. Few patients will return to a dentist who is unapproachable and distant.
  • Remind patients in a friendly manner. We all lead busy lives, and it’s easy to forget things like dental check-ups. Keep your patients engaged by sending them friendly reminders, but do not harass them with constant contact.
  • Monitor the retention of patients. In order to understand how your patient retention efforts are working, you need to monitor their effectiveness. If you do not do this, you cannot hope to grow your dental practice successfully.

Read our article on retaining new dental patients.

Actions

  • Set up a simple contact form on your website (just ask for name and email address) and encourage people to sign up for a newsletter. Send these contacts offers, discounts and updates once a month.
  • Set up a referral programme and offer benefits to patients who return and refer a friend.
  • Upload your patient list to Facebook and encourage patients to follow you on social media. Make sure you are posting interesting content and engaging with your followers as often as possible.
  • Install an automated process for reminding patients of their upcoming appointments or that they need a check-up soon.
  • Set up a cheap brand awareness campaign on Facebook Ads and Google Ads targeted at audiences who have already been on your website.

Expanding a Dental Practice

For anyone who is successful in scaling a dental practice, there will hopefully come a time when a physical expansion is necessary. There may be an option to re-design the current surgery in order to make this happen, or it may be necessary to acquire additional property, in order for expansion to take place.

Optimising the use of current space

The first question to ask when looking for room to expand is, “How effective is the current use of space?” For instance, staff break rooms do not need to be large, luxurious spaces. They simply need to be a place to take a reasonably comfortable break before returning to work. It may be possible to use some of this space as a treatment area.

Unused hallways and storage areas can also be utilised. Taking the time to consider the current usage of the entire surgery space, and coming up with new design options, can save on the cost of having to acquire additional premises, in some circumstances.

Click here to read our guide to commercial mortgages.

Dealing with the landlord

This will only be an issue if the leasehold of the property is not owned by the dental practice. If this is the case, it’s important to discuss any refurbishment or re-design ideas with the landlord, before any work commences. Failure to do so could lead to legal complications further down the line.

Depending on how good or bad the relationship with the landlord is there could be an argument for involving a dental solicitor in the discussions, or at least seeking their advice and support.

The Issue of Planning Permission

If the purpose of the premises is to remain the same, it’s unlikely that planning permission will be needed. However, there may be times when there will be a need to acquire planning permission when extending a dental practice. For instance, part of the property which is currently being used as a residence may be converted for business use, or neighbouring residential property may be purchased for conversion.

Any property that is going to be used as part of a dental practice should have Class E planning consent. If the correct consent is not in place, it’s possible that enforcement penalties could be imposed. It’s always best to check if planning consent is needed, before going ahead and making any changes. The government provides advice on this subject.

Click here to read our articles.

Our Expert Opinion

“There’s no one particular route to grow a dental practice, it requires a multi faceted approach to ensure you achieve your goal of growth. Marketing, finance, pricing, teamwork plus of course great clinical care, all contribute to growing your practice.”

Actions

  • Contact a commercial finance broker to discuss your financial options when it comes to expanding the practice.
  • Conduct market research and be certain you will have the capacity to fill the extra surgeries or chairs after expansion.

Grow Your Dental Practice with Samera

Join the Samera Alliance buying group today for free to save money on your consumables and assets, increase your profits and grow your dental practice.

You’ll get access to exclusive discounts on the consumables, products and equipment you need to build and grow your dental practice. You’ll also get exclusive discounts from our Alliance Partners, covering everything from HR, IT and legal services to utilities, compliance and dental technology.

Join for free. Save money. Grow your dental practice.

More on Growing a Dental Practice

For more information on growing a dental practice, check out the articles and webinars in our Learning Centre, like our guide on How to Grow a Dental Practice.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

How Emergency Patients Can Help to Grow your Dental Practice

The Dental Business Guide Podcast Episode | March 10th 2021
Arun Mehra & Smita Mehra

Arun Mehra: Hello and welcome back. This is Arun Mehra from the Dental Business Guide podcast and today I’ve got Smita Mehra, how are you?

Smita Mehra: Yes, very well. Thank you, Arun, very good. Just looking forward to talking a little bit more about emergencies today.

Arun Mehra: Yeah, so today Smita is going to share her experience and knowledge and expertise on how to get emergency dental patients. Now obviously, this has perhaps been an odd year to say the least.

But maybe you want to share a little bit of experience of what you did in your practices, and then how this has translated into your business and then how you can suggest other people to do it themselves as well.

Smita Mehra: Well, yes, as you rightly said, it’s been quite an odd 12 months really for us. Well, as it has been for everybody, certainly in the dental field, and obviously wider fields.

Patients Don’t Want General Treatment, But They Still Have Dental Emergencies

But what what I found most interesting, certainly recently over the last few months of lockdowns, and then Boris Johnson making speeches and somebody else coming on to to make either further lockdown restrictive speeches or opening things up, is that our emergencies and new patients and people calling the practices have been very linked to these announcements that the government makes. 

So for example, if Boris is announcing further restrictions or a new lockdown, suddenly we get a lot of cancellations, and people will phone up in fear. Whereas conversely, recently, they’ve started to open things up. And Boris spoke just a week or so ago about the roadmap to recovery. And suddenly, the phone starts to get very much more busy as confidence grew. 

Emergency dental patient in pain

So what we found during the sort of worst phases of lockdown when the books did really go quiet, is that we realised that people weren’t going to come in for general treatment, they weren’t advised to move around. And they were trying to restrict movement of people. So the only reason and way that people would be coming to us would be an emergency situation.

So no check-ups and general treatment, but just more emergencies. So we decided to focus our online attention to marketing towards emergencies and same-day appointments. And we also opened up our hours, we increased our hours of opening, we increased our days of opening. And we went to seven days a week. And that helped.

Arun Mehra: So, obviously it was a difficult time for everybody. But the team stepped up, correct?

Your Team Needs to Step Up

Smita Mehra: Yeah, we’re very, very lucky, the team stepped up, everybody stepped up, they stepped up their game. And it ended up being very fruitful in many ways. But the other thing to remember is that we’re looking at just the business of the book and the figures. Now reflecting back on it, one of the big reasons we ended up doing quite well at that point was because none of the dentists were taking time off, none of them were taking holidays.

And so those, I don’t know, four to six weeks or more, that dentists would normally take time off, and hence the books would go quiet or your patient base would go on holiday, for example, through the month of August or at Christmas, those quiet periods weren’t there. 

Conversely, it was quiet in many other ways. But if you then busied up the books by getting people in to do the only thing they could do, emergencies, then that obviously generated further treatment and goodwill.  

Arun Mehra: So on the emergency front, how did you get the message out through the various lockdowns that, firstly, that you are open, but also that you can deal with emergency patients.

Contact us to find out more

Get The Word Out There

Smita Mehra: The first thing we did is we announced it on our website, on our homepage that we were open or not open, depending on which lockdown we were in. We also made sure that we had regular social media updates, whether it be Facebook or Instagram, going out, reaching out to our patient base and beyond. 

We had simple things outside the door, we had a blackboard out which notified you of what our current status was. And we also emailed our patient base just to let them know whether we were closing down or opening up etc. So there were various modes of communication that we used.

Dental Patient in pain

Arun Mehra: Okay, but then obviously, that’s to your existing patient base. What about attracting new patients? How did you go about doing that?

Smita Mehra: That was mostly based on website and Pay Per Click marketing, and just notifying patients or notifying the wider public through our homepage on the website. That’s the predominant way.

Arun Mehra: And am I right in saying that one of the team was fully solid and creating content around emergency care and content around COVID. What to do in the instance of COVID and therefore, when people were searching for seeing a dentist during COVID, the page is ranked organically very, very well.

Smita Mehra: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, we had a couple of people and one certainly was working full time on just creating new and interesting and relevant content, even during the first lockdown nearly a year ago now.

So that two odd months that we were closed or quiet, you know, a couple of people were in the background really working to build up content, that then really helped us once we opened up because we were at a certain level, because of the organic growth of the content that we had. 

Open a Dental Shop

And that was at a period when most websites or most dentists were completely, you know, locked down and the sort of locked the door and left the building as it were, both physically and metaphorically. So because we didn’t do that, because we didn’t leave the building metaphorically. And we were really working sort of backstage on all of these things.

We even built an online shop literally within a couple of days, with the help of our online marketing team. And that, you know, carried on, it held some traction with emergencies that were coming in, I would direct them to the shop. And they would purchase emergency kits and temporary filling kits, etc. 

From there, that wasn’t a huge amount of business in terms of revenue. But it was just that we were keeping things going online and keeping our methods of communication going. And the phone calls, I was answering the phone calls throughout the first lockdown, almost 24 hours a day. So there were open lines of communication at all times.

Arun Mehra: Okay, great. So, obviously now, getting emergency patients seems to be the big thing that you’ve focused on in the last year. Now, I suppose, as a result of lots of NHS practices, not providing much or limited care.

That’s obviously helped, not just in your practices, but other private practices out there in terms of clients I’ve spoken to. So now, for those people who haven’t targeted emergency patients in the last 12 months, what do you think the benefits are to you to your business?

Pick Up the NHS Slack

Smita Mehra: Well the privilege is that we are fully private. So the provision of NHS obviously, they’re very, very stretched at the moment and have been for the last 12 months. And due to the lack of provision or how stretched they are, people have been making a private call and coming to us through other means. 

So in other words, they were NHS patients, but obviously they’ve had to make the call to come privately. Now, I know that there will be a core of patients who perhaps can’t afford it and have gone to hospitals.

But then there are groups of people who can afford to be treated privately, they’ve just chosen to go down the NHS route, but now have realised that actually through the private route the provision of care and the immediacy of the care that they’ve received has been far superior, just because the ability of what private practices can do at the point of need, so it’s really, really helped. 

The new patients that have come through over the last 12 months have been phenomenal, because not only have they turned into treatment, and they’ve referred their friends and family to us. But the types of treatment that we’ve been doing have been much more complex.

Contact us to find out more

And, even things like leads from that, things like Invisalign, for example, which Okay, it’s not an emergency, but it’s very lockdown friendly. So, you know, that’s been doing very, very well as well. So, yeah, for us, it’s been actually, it’s turned out to work well so far. 

Solving Emergencies Creates Goodwill

Arun Mehra: So then, if I’m a dentist and I’m running my own practice, emergencies is a great angle, as you said, for those people, get them out of pain sort their problem out. 

Smita Mehra: And the goodwill that that creates has been phenomenal. And the comments and the reviews that we’ve got, as a result of it have been brilliant, and also very heartening for the team. And given the team a big morale boost at a time when it’s been tough.

It’s been really tough working with all of the peopIe. And in those conditions, it’s not been easy at all. But to be fair, if your team steps up, then you know you have everything.

Arun Mehra: Okay, brilliant. So there you have it thank you so much. I think the points you’ve raised here, are that emergency care has been something that you and your team have focused on and delivered to a very high standard. And your marketing team have also stepped up to help you there. 

So if for anyone else, thinking about going down that route to build a solid business is to have a good foundation of having emergency patients. Or sorting people out their pain has to be the number one priority and then everything else can be built upon that degree.

Smita Mehra: Yeah, absolutely. And so it’s very clear that there’s Front of House that need to step up and step in and deliver but it’s also very much back-office. And it really has almost been like, I liken it to a game of netball. You know, you’ve got people who pass the ball to the goal attack or the goal shooter.

And without the ball coming to the goal shoot, there are no goals to score. So it is really a team approach and it’s not just the people who are delivering the care. It’s in private practice, certainly from our experience, it’s been a whole team approach that has led to, you know where we are today.

Arun Mehra: Thank you. There you have it. That’s Smita telling you all about how to get emergency patients. That’s been really, really helpful. Really, really interesting. So watch out for our next podcast and or listen out for our next podcast and which will be very, very soon. Thank you.

Smita Mehra: Thanks. Have a great day.

Marketing a Dental Practice: Further Information

For further information on how to effectively market a dental practice, check out our Learning Centre here, where you can find articles and webinars like our guide How to Market a Dental Practice.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

5 Free Ways to Grow a Dental Practice

Do You Want More Patients Through the Door?

Follow these steps to make that happen! 

Whether it’s growing your practice even further, gaining the clientele back or getting new patients in – the aims may be different but the rules are still the same. 

The pandemic has impacted all our businesses in one way or another. This is not the time to admit defeat. We as dental practice owners need to rethink and revamp our strategies to get more patients through the door. Remember, they are all out there and the need for oral care is now more important than ever, it’s just a matter of promoting your business in the right way to get the patients through your door.

Click here to read our articles Samera Learning Centre.

Here are 5 FREE ways to grow a dental practice. 

1. Set up and improve your social media channels

Before your reputation around town or patient feedback gives your practice some clout, the biggest and most important aspect of your dental practice is your social media channels. Especially with most people staying at home with a lot of time on their hands browsing and scrolling, your social media channels need to speak for your business as a brand.

Most people look at a business’s social media account before making the decision to book an appointment. This doesn’t just mean simply updating your business’s Facebook status once a week. It is important to make yourself known on at least more than one social media platform.

Let’s be frank, a dentist’s Instagram page will not be as popular as an influencer, but continuously putting out good content such as educational facts, get to know the staff posts etc will help you gain a following. Making a first impression on your social media channel is integral to gaining more patients.

Actions: Improve your social media channel homepages right now. Make sure your about section is detailed and engaging, get your best behind the scenes videos and team pictures on there, make your contact details visible and give them options!

Click here to learn more about using social media in your dental practice.

2. Email your patient/client list

This is a great way to reach people. Going to the dentist if you are in pain or even for a regular routine check up is usually last on everyone’s list, especially now. Oral health seems to be less of a priority, many are unaware dental practices are even open.

Sending an email or two to remind people about getting their check ups or even updating patients about clinical events, opening times or any regular updates will help ease patients’ mind and their fear of coming to the dentist.

It all ties together, updating social media posts, emails, maybe even a newsletter once a month or two. It helps patients get to know you more than just a dentist they have to see once a year.

Emails work! It has proven to be a great way to reach people. Setting up a newsletter including incentives, offers or discounts can also prove to be very beneficial to getting more patients through the door, old and new- No one likes to miss a good offer! 

Action: Create a quick and easy form on your website’s homepage for patients and visitors to easily sign up for offers or newsletters by leaving their name and email address – that’s all you need to ask for. Now start contacting them! Give them updates, send them discounts, let them know about your new services.

Click here to read more about marketing a dental practice.

3. Optimise for SEO

Optimising your SEO does not have to be a huge ordeal. You can begin with downloading SEO plugins like Rank Math or Yoast for free. Both tools are very simple to use and will help you easily and effectively improve your websites SEO.

Remember, SEO begins with content that is well written. Keywords are also key! Placing them strategically around your content will help you a lot more than trying to add the keyword in every sentence.

For more help and advice on the best ways  to market your practice check out our Guide to Marketing a Dental Practice.

Action: Download Rank Math or Yoast and start following the programme’s instructions on each page. Improve the wording and use of keywords, make sure you have subtitles (H2,3,4 tags) with those keywords, improve your meta descriptions, use internal and external URL links, use images and videos on your pages.

Click here to read more about SEO for dentists here.

Contact us to find out more

4. Optimise for speed

Speed is one of those things that is often overlooked, however this step is extremely crucial. The speed of your website is a huge ranking factor as it is a sign of quality user experience. A site with fast speed will result in better user experience whilst a slower website will result in a poor user experience. Faster sites create happy users and happy users are more likely to visit your site again. Google is getting really big on speed, so this will become more and more important in the future!

Action: Use a free online tool to check the speed of your website. Use lower resolution, size or quality images to make your most important pages faster, download a programme like Lazy Loader to improve speed.

Click here to read more about creating a website for a dental practice.

5. Create content

Creating consistent and high quality content is an invaluable way to promote your brand and engage with your consumers. Quality content helps attract that right audience to your website and your business. Whether the content is written or content of a different media, starting to write content or making videos for social media is completely free and a great way to broaden the exposure your business gets.

Remember!

Writing about relevant content is an incredibly useful tool to organically increase traffic to your website and your services. 

When most people hear ‘content writing’, they think simply writing articles. However, content writing is not just for blog posts. In fact, content writing is important for all different types of content formats, including scripts, web page copy, Youtube video description, social media posts, email newsletters and keynote speakers amongst many others. Simply put, writing is the ultimate foundation for pretty much any type of content that you publish. 

Action: Start blogging right now. Create top 10 lists for your patients, give them your top tips for dental care, write articles about their different options for treatments like Invisalign vs traditional braces. Create videos of your team and your practice. Share this all on social media and your website – advertise yourself! The more active you are on your website with high-quality blogs, articles and videos, the better Google will rank you.

Click here to find out more about creating content for dentists.

Grow Your Dental Practice with Samera

Join the Samera Alliance buying group today for free to save money on your consumables and assets, increase your profits and grow your dental practice.

You’ll get access to exclusive discounts on the consumables, products and equipment you need to build and grow your dental practice. You’ll also get exclusive discounts from our Alliance Partners, covering everything from HR, IT and legal services to utilities, compliance and dental technology.

Join for free. Save money. Grow your dental practice.

More on Growing a Dental Practice

For more information on growing a dental practice, check out the articles and webinars in our Learning Centre, like our guide on How to Grow a Dental Practice.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

7 Survival Tips to the NHS Tendering Process

The NHS tendering process can often feel like something of a minefield. Use these 7 survival tips to make the process a little easier to navigate.

EBITDA Is the tender financially viable for YOU?

Do a high level costing; consider number of patients you will see, the type of service you will provide, what’s the average number of UDA per patient, location needs and how far is it away from where you live, will it be associate/principal led, research any recruitment issues and consider your mobilisation plan.

Have a strategy and stick to it.

What’s your USP and what do you want to create for the community.
Agree your baseline EBITDA, UDA rate, profit generated and if the figures don’t work – reconsider your strategy, be realistic.

Get your ducks in a row

Inform your accountant well in advance and prepare them for possible information required in a short timeframe. Speak to financial advisors regarding loan affordability as most tenders require proof of cash/funding. Consider the company structure, partnerships, subcontractors or consortiums. All new legal entities may require business plans, cash flow forecasts and balance sheets.

Read the specification document

All your answers are in the document, go through each section and highlight main points and cross-reference with questions.

Answer the question

Use bullet points initially for your first draft and refer back to the specification document to ensure you have answered the question. Look at the weighting for each point, don’t waste energies writing war and peace for a ½ point! Don’t waffle!

Set realistic deadlines and adhere to them

Its imperative to manage your time effectively as you only have a short timeframe to complete your answers, create deadlines, milestones and use a project planner if necessary.

Contact us to find out more

Don’t wait until last minute to submit the tender

Understand the portal and its workings, read all the clarification questions as most likely someone has already asked your question.

Be ready to submit at least 2 hours before submission, clearly label all attachments and don’t cross-refer as usually different people read different sections.

We would strongly suggest submitting 6-12 hours before, just in case portal crashes (sorry, it can happen) you can still amend after submission.

Click here to read our article on Dentist and Dental Associate Expenses Guide

Happy tendering….Keep Calm and keep hydrated!

Speak to a member of the Samera team on how we can help you tendering process, we offer a tender review, bespoke full tendering service, we can also help you find new premises, financial funding and helping with business plans!

More on the NHS tendering process

For further information on our NHS tendering process support please visit here

Dental Accounts & Tax Specialists

As dental practice owners ourselves, we know what makes a clinic tick. We have been working with dentists for over 20 years to help manage their accounts and tax.

Whether you’re a dental associate, run your own practice or own a dental group and are looking to save time, money and effort on your accounts and tax then we want to hear from you. Our digital platform takes the hassle and the paperwork out of accounts.

To find out more about how you can save time, money and effort on your accounts and tax when you automate your finances with Samera, book a free consultation with one of our accounting team today.

Dental Accounts & Tax: Further Information

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

The Language Of Communication

Smita and I were privileged to have Dr Barry Oulton share his expertise on the language of communication on a recent webinar.

Barry is a very experienced private dentist and an excellent communicator, in this webinar he shares his tips and tools on communicating in dental practice.

Click here to read our articles Samera.

Grow Your Dental Practice with Samera

Join the Samera Alliance buying group today for free to save money on your consumables and assets, increase your profits and grow your dental practice.

You’ll get access to exclusive discounts on the consumables, products and equipment you need to build and grow your dental practice. You’ll also get exclusive discounts from our Alliance Partners, covering everything from HR, IT and legal services to utilities, compliance and dental technology.

Join for free. Save money. Grow your dental practice.

More on Growing a Dental Practice

For more information on growing a dental practice, check out the articles and webinars in our Learning Centre, like our guide on How to Grow a Dental Practice.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

Transform your Dental Practice Profits

Click here to read our articles.

Grow Your Dental Practice with Samera

Join the Samera Alliance buying group today for free to save money on your consumables and assets, increase your profits and grow your dental practice.

You’ll get access to exclusive discounts on the consumables, products and equipment you need to build and grow your dental practice. You’ll also get exclusive discounts from our Alliance Partners, covering everything from HR, IT and legal services to utilities, compliance and dental technology.

Join for free. Save money. Grow your dental practice.

More on Growing a Dental Practice

For more information on growing a dental practice, check out the articles and webinars in our Learning Centre, like our guide on How to Grow a Dental Practice.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

Leadership Tips for Dentists

Webinar – Are you a Leader in your Dental Practice?

Podcast: The Importance of Leadership Skills in Dentistry

Arun Mehra: Hello everybody, this is Arun from the Dental Business Guide podcast and today I’m delighted to say we’re joined by Simon Gambold. Hi Simon, how are you?

Simon Gambold: Morning, Arun. Very well, thank you, really pleased to be here.

Arun Mehra: Great to have you today. Now Simon’s got a wealth of experience in the dental world, I’m not sure how many years but I’m sure he’s gonna tell you in a minute. And he’s held very senior roles at Henry Schein here in Europe, in the UK. And now he’s very busy coaching and helping clients with their leadership strategy. So Simon, give us a bit of a background about yourself.

Simon Gambold: Thanks, Arun. Yeah, I spent 25 years plus in the dental industry. Now, my background was business and marketing. And early, quite early on in my career, I realised that building and leading teams is what I was passionate about. And then I almost stumbled upon the dental industry. 

You know, 25 years ago, I also realised I love working with dental teams, that the passion of people who want to improve oral health and support their communities. So after a couple of decades with Henry Schein in leadership roles, I decided to stop flying around all the time, flying around Europe, and set up my own coaching business, engagetheteam.co.uk; which is really about adapting leadership skills to suit dental practice owners and dentists generally. 

How to improve their leadership skills, how to engage their teams to produce outstanding patient experiences, and long term sustainable growth for their practices. And I have a number of clients, I’ve been coaching and doing some webinars and you know, I’m really enjoying it.

Why is Leadership So Important?

Arun Mehra: Fantastic. So now, obviously, we’re in changing times as they say, I wouldn’t say difficult times, but they’re definitely challenging and changing times. Why is leadership so important in these times?

Simon Gambold: Well, it’s a fantastic opportunity for leaders and leadership as a skill set. It’s something that we never seem to find time to do. But right now is a perfect time because our teams really need us. And teams look to their leaders for guidance, or reassurance, or clarity. And many of us have learned in our practices, providing consistent clear communication both to our team and our patients is critical.

If we don’t communicate with people, they’ll step into the vacuum and make up their own story. And people get very anxious. So a key role now for leaders is to be clear and consistent and reassure people. And you know, some of the teams I work with – very strong teams, very proactive, work together really well and came back from the first lockdown and there were all sorts of challenges around child care and mental health and people were unsure. And a lot of practice owners who thought their team would just fall back in together working well found that, actually, there were issues and challenges. 

We’re seeing that in the lockdown now. So it’s more important than ever that we practice your leadership skills and the opportunity to improve the performance of the team. And as a result, the patient experience is there if we spend time on developing our leadership skills.

Contact us to find out more

Different Styles of Leadership

Arun Mehra: Sure. And I guess in this environment, as you said, leadership is paramount now. And we’ve seen various styles of leadership by various governments out there, some better than others. Okay, but it’s still that those same principles still apply to you, to an individual running a business. Am I right in saying that?

Simon Gambold: That’s right, yes. And that’s a very good way to look at leadership and the results of leadership, different leadership styles from different leaders around the world. Some are empathetic and sympathetic. Others are very much, you know, brusque, and ‘there’s no problem’, sort of ‘sort out for yourself’ kind of thing. 

So we can take those parallels when we look at our teams. And you know, being a leader is about influencing people in a direction. It’s the art and science of influencing people in a particular direction. But as leaders, what we’re trying to do is help our teams be more successful. And the opportunity for us is to support them, understand their concerns, look for their ideas, help them with the resources they need, and give them permission. And that’s about engaging with our teams. So it’s all about talking to our teams, engaging with them, and helping them be successful.

Arun Mehra: And there’s the phrase leaders are born or they can be taught, I guess. So what’s your view on this type of situation or this topic? 

You’re Not Born a Leader

Simon Gambold: That’s one of the first questions I usually get, you’re either born leader or you’re not. And of course, I say no, that’s not the case. And I’m an example, I think, of someone who by just practising techniques and sheer hard work, you know, you can master most things and leadership can be mastered.

But you need a lot of practice. And I liken it to when you’ve come back from a clinical course in placing a new direct composite, and you’ve done the technique, and you’re going to practice on a first patient, and you prepare the cavity and you etch it, and you bond it, and you place the composite in, you layer it and you do a very, very precise process, and you do it exactly the same way. 

And the second patient, you do it the same and the third patient. You don’t come in on the second week and go, ‘actually, I wouldn’t bother with the etching, I’ll just put the bond and the composite in’. You don’t come in a third and go ‘actually, I’ll just place the composite’. You don’t do that, because the failure rates will go up on the restoration. 

And leadership is like that, we have to have consistent behaviours, and repeat them and repeat them and repeat them. And what we do and what we say is really important. And the more we do it, the more successful we’ll be as leaders. So I think creating leadership behaviours that are consistent, is really, really important. And it’s just like practising a new clinical skill, very similar.

Arun Mehra: But if I just look at myself, okay. I’ve been in business almost 20 years, and I look at my leadership skills, what they were when I started out to what they are now. Now, I’m sure people will judge me differently. But if you talk to my team, but just looking at myself, I think I’ve, I suppose, I’ve practiced it, practiced it by just doing it, as you said, and you get better and better. And I think, in my mind, the best leaders are the best listeners. What would you say to that?

Listening is the Key Skill

Simon Gambold: Yes, totally agree. Listening is really important. But practice alone doesn’t work. You have to practice, reflect on what happens and adapt. So how did that interaction go? What went well? What didn’t go so well? What could I do differently next time? So by reflecting and learning, you improve your performance. And yes, listening is the key skill. So, you know, asking open-ended questions and listening to people’s answers. That’s the key thing.

Arun Mehra: True, very true. So okay, I’m a dentist, I’ve got a dental practice. I’m busy in the clinic every day. How are they going to practice this? What is one thing they could do to improve their leadership skills?

Find Time for Your Team

Simon Gambold: The key thing for me, I think, and the step, the first step for anybody is to have open, honest one-to-one conversations with their team to sit down with its members, and just talk to them and listen to what they say, really listen. 

And that’s how you find out what’s going on in the practice. You find out what people’s ambitions are, what their ideas are, what the obstacles are. And in many cases, you give them permission to do the things that they know need to be done. The big challenge when starting down this road is that dentists, like a lot of professionals, are the production engines of their business. Five days a week dentists are practising clinical dentistry. So when do they become leaders? 

The problem with going on a leadership course is most of them are designed for large organisations with full time leaders. So when I was running Henry Schein UK, I mean, I had 650 people in 13 locations, but that’s all I had to do. Okay, now, when I spoke a dentist last week, who wants to retain me and he said, ‘well, nine to five, five days a week, I’m doing clinical dentistry’. Now running the practice, I fit in around that. And that’s a very tough place to start. So you need a leadership programme that’s designed for that kind of situation. 

So the programme I put together is around if you have two or three hours a week, half a day a week, you can put a leadership programme together based on that time. Now you should be spending 20% of your time, if you’re a principal, running the practice. If you’re not, you’re not going to be effective. 

But for many dentists, it’s very challenging for them to put that much time aside. So, there are a number of steps you can take around digitising the processes in the practice. Outsourcing some like finance, for example, you should outsource the finance. Some sometimes it’s appropriate to outsource marketing. And then thirdly, delegating a lot of what the principals do, they shouldn’t be doing. And similarly when they’re billing clinical time, are they billing the top end cases or billing time that isn’t productive for them. 

Contact us to find out more

So by adapting what they do, they can make those two or three hours a week, and then use that time to start practising those skills. And it all starts with having those conversations with their team.

Arun Mehra: Sure. So a key learning point here is that if people haven’t, is to sit down and arrange those conversations, whether it’s virtually or in person, with their teams or individuals in their teams. And do that on a relatively regular basis. Correct?

Schedule Regular Meetings

Simon Gambold: Yes. And people are very nervous because they’re nervous about what they’re going to hear. But what I would say is, it’s worse not to hear it. Because you know, there’s an elephant in the room and just pretending it’s not there is not going to help you long term. 

So you’re better off having the conversation, finding out what the issue is. You don’t have to answer that issue, then. And then it’s very important to listen, make notes and say, you’ll come back to somebody. And it’s important to go away and reflect on what you’ve heard, talk to colleagues, find a mentor, another practice owner, maybe who’s more experienced, talk through what you should do, and then go back to the person.

You don’t have to solve the problems there and then. And a lot of people are nervous about having those conversations for that reason. 

Arun Mehra: It’s interesting just earlier this week, I had a conversation with a team member, a really good team member of mine, and we’re going down a certain route, okay. And perhaps I was blinded by my strategy. And he said to me, I think we’re doing the wrong thing here. We’re doing it completely wrong.

And he said, ‘I hope you don’t mind me saying that’. I said, ‘No, absolutely not. I do want you to say this. How am I supposed to know otherwise? Okay. That’s why you’re in the team’.

So I listened to him, heard him out, talked to him, talked about the issue to another team member. And now we’ve kind of changed tack as a result of that. And that goes back to the listening skills, that goes back to making people feel that they can be listened to as well, I think that’s a really important thing. 

Your Door Needs to be Open

I remember when I used to work in the corporate world, in the city in investment banking – the door is always closed, the boss was sitting in his room, the door was closed, it was never an open-door policy. 

But I’d like to think the way I try and get people to engage in my team is that the door is always open or virtually open, that they can pick up the phone, email me and tell me if they don’t like something, or they’re unhappy with something, or they think we’re doing something incorrectly. That’s a very valid point. Okay. So you think that Dentists have to find that time to really make the most of building a team and building a business? Correct?

Involve the Team in Creating Strategy

Simon Gambold: Yes, there is an opportunity to be more productive, to deliver a better patient experience, a more fulfilling work environment, and sustainable, long-term growth in the business. Now that you don’t have to do that. I mean, many practices have operated very successfully, without doing that. 

What we’ve seen with COVID is a step change in the profitability of practices. And many practices move from being in the black to being break-even or in the red. And, you know, there’s an extra requirement now, for principals to be aware of that, and to tap into this potential of their teams. 

What you said just now is really interesting. It’s very typical for us to formulate a strategy, then go and excitedly present it to our team. And of course, the team are like, ‘Oh, hang on a minute’. And what I coach people to do is to involve the team in creating the strategy, get their ideas in, because they’re buying into the solution, and not everybody will agree with everything, clearly. 

But by involving them in that process, when the strategy is rolled out, they own it, they’ll take responsibility for delivering it. But yes, you’re right, you need to have that open mind. And that open door policy can only work if you’re trusted as a leader. And the best way to be trusted is, in my experience, to be open and honest with people. I like to craft, I like to create stories, I mean, that I didn’t make them up. These are real stories about my experience where I’ve got something wrong. I’ll tell people about that. And it creates trust. 

So when my doors open, and people come in, they really feel they can talk to me. But it’s all about how you react, if you’re really really busy. And you’re waiting, you’re thinking about the next patient and the treatment plan and an issue in the practice. And somebody walks into see you and they see all that stress on your face, they’re gonna go, ‘I won’t do that again’. 

Be Careful of the Language You Use

One of the techniques I taught myself, because I saw that in people’s faces sometimes when I was interrupted because I had an open door policy at Schein. People would come in, and I could see on their face they read my impatience. Before I looked up from my desk, I would compose my face, relax, smile and look up at them and say, ‘well, how can I help you?’ to try and convey that I was focused on them and I wanted to hear it. 

Those techniques, if you practice them, they become you. Okay, for example, when someone says ‘how are you?’ I started to say, ‘I’m very well’ unless I was not feeling well, in which case I wouldn’t say that but if I felt okay, I’d say ‘I’m very well’. And after, after a while you do start to feel really well and you it lifts your spirit and it lifts other people.

Leadership for Associates

Arun Mehra: Well, the language you use is so important, isn’t it? Language is everything. It conveys a story of who you are to others, but also to yourself. So the more you have that positive message going out there, the more positive you will feel for sure. So I totally agree, totally agree with you. So obviously, we’re talking about people who might be owning practices. What about the people who might be associates or team members? Why is this all relevant? Why is this relevant to these guys?

Simon Gambold: Well, that’s a good question. Originally I designed my programme for practice owners. But as I spoke to dentists, I realised that some dentists told me (actually one of the first groups I spoke to said to me), you know, you shouldn’t just limit this to practice owners. And I thought about that and realised, of course, that all dentists are leaders in the surgery, whether the team will report to them or not, they are leaders. 

And, in fact, the team look to the dentist. So in a practice, when something happens, or there’s a problem, the team will look to the dentist, what do I do? And what do they say? What do I do or not they’re looking to the dentist, so all Dentists have an opportunity to play that role more effectively.

And of course, many dentists do want to go on to practice ownership anyway. So sure, it’s worth it. But it’s a good skill to have in life and, and dental care professionals as well can be leaders. A dental nurse can take a leadership role in a particular aspect of the practice. But I didn’t want to spread myself too widely. So I wanted to focus on dentists. There’s another coach I work with, and she trains practice managers.

Contact us to find out more

How to Develop Leadership Skills

Arun Mehra: Okay, fantastic. So now, where would someone who wants to develop their leadership skills, where do they start?

Simon Gambold: So I think looking for a coach or mentor, someone who can guide you. And I said earlier, you know, the classic leadership courses are not really suited to what practice owners are looking for. There are people like me out there providing bespoke programmes, and mine is, I think, unique in that it focuses on team engagement. 

But finding a mentor, someone you respect, who maybe has run a Dental Group you’re part of can provide you with some ideas. The key thing is to start those conversations with your team, and to take the step out of your comfort zone. Have those conversations, try new ideas, try things out and you will, you will make mistakes and things will go wrong. But that’s how we learn. 

People are very forgiving and they also are looking for leadership. That’s the other thing – people want to be led. People want to work in an environment where they understand what their contribution is, they trust their leader, and they are open to being told what to do. And if they feel they can trust you. And, you know, you may make a mistake, but your next interaction is what matters. And, by the way, whilst words are important, it’s what we do. That’s the most important thing. We have to walk the talk.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Arun Mehra: Yeah, actions, as they say, speak louder than words, don’t they? So you can talk it, but you have to actually follow through with it. How true, how very true. So okay, on that note then, the values of an organisation are really important here, I guess, in terms of getting the message out to your team.

How would someone go about creating those values or communicating those values of an organisation to their team? Was it something they would do together?

Culture Flows From Your Values

Simon Gambold: Well, you’re right, values are important. And the whole culture and organisation flows from the values, which flow from the leadership. It’s how we behave, how we interact with each other, and with our customers. I like to work. I like to get teams together to agree with the values. And you can decide on what your personal values are, and just tell other people. But if you bring a team together, it’s a great team building exercise. 

Get the team to work on how they want to treat each other? How do they want to be treated? And then how do they want to treat patients? People come up with a similar list of they want to be happy, professional, they want to have fun, they want to be honest and open. So the same things come up.

But it’s about the process of getting people to agree to a set of words that they will live by. And these can then be used when you’re talking to your patients about what the practice will do. And they should be used in recruitment, it’s really important that as you recruit, you recruit people with a similar value set, so they fit in well with the team. So it’s an important part of that team engagement process, setting the values.

People Want to be Led

Arun Mehra: Yeah, very true. Okay. And I think as you said earlier people want to be led. I look at people around me. Humans by virtue I think want to be led by somebody and shown the way. Not everyone is a leader or perhaps not everyone wants to be a leader as well. And there are people who are followers and they will follow those leaders, which is a really relevant point in business today in the world today. 

So in summary, Simon, in terms of how do people go about finding out about your training and your coaching and your courses? How do they do that?

Simon Gambold: Well, first of all, I’ve got a website, engagetheteam.co.uk. And I do webinars for various dental groups, BDA, Alpha Omega, and various other smaller groups.

So I’m out there, okay. And I think there are other people doing this. And it’s important to reach out to people that you feel you can work with, whose values coincide with yours. And finding a mentor who’s running a successful practice, is doing it the way you want, is really key. Someone to help you reflect on what you’re doing and bounce ideas off. 

And we’ve got to make the time to do this. One of the key things, one of the key habits I like to do is to have a time each week when I reflect on the previous week, and think about that Monday morning or Friday night, how did the week go? What could I do differently, what I’m going to do next week, and that’s a 15 – 30 minute slot.

But put it in your diary, blank that time out. So no one can put an appointment in there. And make sure you do it and don’t skip it. And those kinds of disciplines will really advance your skills.

Arun Mehra: Fantastic, that’s really, really helpful, Simon. So the leadership, as Simon’s mentioned, as I totally believe is absolutely paramount to success in business, not just financial success, but just to your team, your happiness, the people around you.

 I think it affects you in so many ways. And you can bring these skills that Simon’s mentioned very briefly, into not just your business, but your life. And I think that’ll be the overarching benefit in any way. So if you want to know more, I think you can get hold of Simon at engagetheteam.co.uk.

And if you have any further questions, I’m sure he’d be delighted to to help you. So thank you, Simon today for your contribution to this podcast. And I look forward to you coming again soon on hearing and perhaps talking about maybe about communication or something like that.

Simon Gambold: I really appreciate the the invitation and the time, Arun. Yeah, there’s so much to talk about on this programme.

Arun Mehra: Yeah. Happy to come back whenever you want me to so brilliant. Thank you. Thanks, Simon. Cheers.

Click here to check out our articles Samera learning centre.

Grow Your Dental Practice with Samera

Join the Samera Alliance buying group today for free to save money on your consumables and assets, increase your profits and grow your dental practice.

You’ll get access to exclusive discounts on the consumables, products and equipment you need to build and grow your dental practice. You’ll also get exclusive discounts from our Alliance Partners, covering everything from HR, IT and legal services to utilities, compliance and dental technology.

Join for free. Save money. Grow your dental practice.

More on Growing a Dental Practice

For more information on growing a dental practice, check out the articles and webinars in our Learning Centre, like our guide on How to Grow a Dental Practice.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.