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10 Things I Learned at the Hinman Dental Meeting

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This weekend I attended the Hinman Dental Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia. I was impressed by the wide variety of classes!  I had the opportunity to take several, and here are ten things that I learned.

1. You can't run a practice alone. To be successful, you'll need to work with an attorney, banker, CPA, insurance, agent, dental supply rep, dental lab, and a mentor.

2. Create value. People buy what they want, not what they need. Nobody wants a crown, but if you educate them on the benefits of a crown they may want the outcome it can provide.

3. Get to writing. You have a 100% better chance of achieving a goal if you write it down and have accountability to a person. Write down what you want to accomplish and share that with your mentor to make sure it happens!

4. Ask the right questions. At morning meetings with your staff, ask "What was the best thing that happened yesterday?" instead of "How are you?" It pushes your staff to think about what went well so you can build on that and keep the good things going.

5. Find your passion. It's important to find your true calling within dentistry. Only 20% of people in the workplace are fully engaged. 60% of people could take it or leave it, and 20% of people despise their jobs. Let's be in the top 20% and find something that we're excited to do every day.

6. Recruit patients continually. The average practice loses 10% of patients each year to "natural attrition" (death, moving, personality differences). In order to maintain your patient base, you need to bring in 10% more patients each year. In order to grow, you need even more!

7. Check your location. A good rule of thumb when starting a practice is that you need 2000 people per dentist. Scout out the area you'd like to go to and see if the area can support you.

8. Hygiene can help. Expanding the role of your hygienist can double your revenue. Hygienists can perform around 20 functions - utilize them all.

9. Think beyond the mouth. Dental erosion is a huge issue. Work with your local G.I. doctor to help your patients be their healthiest. What should you be looking for? Palatal cusp wear on one side and buccal wear on the lower anteriors - your patient is sleeping on their side and acid is entering their mouth.

10. Be careful when suturing flaps. As you get further from the base of your flap, the tensile strength decreases. Start your suture needle 3mm from the edge of your flap.


I'd like to thank the wonderful speakers who taught me so much - Dr. Wayne Kerr, Mr. Steven Anderson, Mr. Wes Moss, Mr. Joseph Jordan, Dr. Gordon Christensen, Dr. Parag Kachalia, and Dr. Lee Silverstein. I highly encourage everyone to attend the Hinman Dental Meeting held annually in March in Atlanta, GA!