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Put More Money in Your Pocket With This…

Dr. Todd Shatkin and the Scoop on Mini Implants
Q:  Thank you very much for doing this interview. I appreciate it, and I obviously have personal experience with what you do, and I’m a little bit biased because I love it. The first thing I want to ask you is:  Tell me about Dr. Gordon Christiansen coming out to your center and what he said about mini implants and what he said about what you do?
A:   Well, it was a great experience for our group. I have been working on trying to get him out here for a while and was fortunate that he had the opening to come out and lecture with me on the mini implants. Gordon has been a tremendous supporter of mini implants for the past seven years or so. I first went out to meet him about seven years ago, I think it was, and met with him at his offices in Provo, Utah. And he ended up spending about an hour and half with me and started showing me cases that he was doing with mini implants, and I had shown him some of my case that I had been doing with mini implants, and it turned out that we were doing a lot of the same things. So we immediately struck a chord and kind of built a nice relationship, and he became very supportive.   At that time, he wasn’t out in the forefront of minis because he was kind of checking it out and making sure he wanted to go full-boat supporting it, where I was already out there pushing it pretty hard. And he encouraged me to continue pushing, and then over the coming year or two he started getting more excited and more involved and now he’s a very strong avid supporter of minis and lectures on them and writes about them and teaches them. He was doing crown and bridge on mini implants like I was back seven years ago.
Q:  I’m going to ask you two questions about two different aspects of minis because I have really specific opinions about this, and I think that we’re going to say exactly–or we would say exactly same thing. First of all, I’m going to ask you financially what minis have done for you and for other people that have started using them as much as we should, I think.  And then tell me what it does for patients, for their lives and what kind of impact it makes for patients?
A:  Sure, the impact, it changes people’s lives, especially people who have difficulty wearing dentures, people who are dental invalids because they have lower dentures that slide all over the place and they hurt, they’re uncomfortable, and they can’t keep them in, they have to use glue all day long. When you put these four mini implants in and stabilize the lower denture, and they can snap them in place and eat and function immediately on them, it really is a dramatic change in their lifestyle.   Any time that we can have an impact on what a patient does on a daily basis has a huge influence on their life. For example, people who have been wearing glasses or contacts their whole life and end up having a LASIK procedure or a different eye procedure that allows them to not have to deal with glasses or contacts that makes a significant impact on their life.  The same thing holds true for people who have difficulty with dentures and partials because they have to deal with it. It’s just one more thing every day that they have to deal with, and if they can eliminate that burden, it makes an impact on their life. So people who have this done constantly come in, and they are so grateful and appreciative. They give me hugs, and they thank me profusely for changing their life. So that’s one of the greatest things about it.  Very gratifying. And then you have the patients who are missing one or more teeth and just want to have a better aesthetic appearance and be able to function better with chewing and that’s another thing that changes people’s lives, obviously. They can smile more. They’re more comfortable in public and going out and things like that.
Q:   I did one recently for a guy that was getting married and he had come in for a consult maybe a couple of months before, and then he came in and it was three weeks until his wedding and he said, “I really want this implant, and I want a crown over it. What can you do?  And this was the only option. That was the only thing that I could have done for him, otherwise he would have had a flipper at his wedding. It was really amazing.
So then financially on the other side, because it’s very cost effective for patients compared to conventional implants. That’s one of the huge benefits for patients, but financially for a dentist that starts placing mini implants, I know what it’s done for you financially, and I know what it’s done for me financially, it’s been a big, big win, bigger for you obviously than me, but I’m just getting started. This is something that I haven’t done for all that long and you’ve obviously done for a very long time. So financially for dentists what do you see with their financial picture?
A:  Financially, it’s such a rewarding procedure because you don’t have to do a lot of dentistry to make a good chunk of money. Mini implants, what I teach in my seminars, if they can do two cases a week, which is essentially two lower denture stabilizations a week or eight implants per week, they can earn $400,000 more in practice revenue that year. That’s only about two hours of chair time. So as you can see, it can make a dramatic shift in your practice’s financial outlook, and in this economy, it can have a good boost to a practice which may be suffering or lacking in their resources.
Q:   That’s been the case for my practice. I was only doing Invisalign before I started doing implants and minis and conventionals, but I do more minis than I do conventional implants because it’s just so simple, and the patients like it because it’s cost effective and we can market toward people that hate their denture. I had a guy in the other day, he just said, “I’ve only had this denture for about six months, but I miss tasting food.” His upper denture, he wanted the palate cut out of the denture, so that he could taste food again. I mean, a week later he could taste food again.
Let’s talk about your center and your courses, can you give me some information about that?
A:   I have been spending so much time traveling and lecturing around the country at different hotels that I have decided that it would be more beneficial for me and for my dentists who get trained by me to actually come here to Buffalo to see our entire operation. So we put a state-of-the-art training center in, and we can train 55 dentists at a time. We’ve given four courses, and we’ve sold out pretty much all of them.  It’s turned out to be really great. We have the state-of-the-art equipment. We’ve got live surgery, which is awesome. We can do live surgery, and they can watch it on an 80-inch screen, and the face is as big as the screen, so it’s better than even looking over my shoulder in the operating room. And then we get to have feedback during the surgery. I can talk to them, and they can ask questions.  So not only do we have a great training center, we have a great hands-on training program now with motors at each station. Doctors get to drill on mandibles and practice placing the implants and with the surgical stints and all that. That’s really been a huge, huge benefit. Gordon Christensen came out for one of our meetings recently. He came out and lectured with me, which was really great.
Q:  I’ll tell you too, one of the things since I started placing mini implants, hopefully most people understand that I can market things pretty well, but with just some simple marketing, I have done, in the first couple of months I did 50 mini implants. It’s such a cool procedure. I mean for me, literally, we added $20,000 a month to our bottom line overnight. It’s a big, big deal.
What makes Shatkin F.I.R.S.T. different?
A:  How do we differ from other companies that sell mini implants or even conventional implants? Well I think the biggest thing, number one is when a doctor is starting out or even as they continue to move forward, I personally review and assist in case planning on every case they send. So I’ve placed over 11,000 minis now in the last 13 years, and I will help them along the way and hold their hand especially in the beginning where they need the help the most.  What we do is provide surgical guide stints for the dentists so that they can place the implants with confidence and not be concerned about the positioning of them and also they can place the implants and crowns in one or two visits using our surgical stints and either temporary or permanent crowns at that first appointment, so that the patient can leave the office with teeth, and I think that’s a really big benefit because patients go home and talk about that. That’s something that builds.  We also have a full-service dental laboratory that makes all the crowns, bridges, and dentures for mini implants, as well as the surgical guide stints, and we also distribute the Intra-Lock mini implant system, which I truly believe is the top system on the market. There’s a number of them out there, and there’s more popping up all the time, but the great thing about Intra-Lock is they’ve got a tremendous scientist behind their design and manufacturing. A guy who’s not only a scientist, but also a dentist, Thierry Giorno, who runs Intra-Lock, and that has helped us tremendously because we have a wonderful product to offer our dentists.
Dr. Steffany Mohan:  When I first started doing cases, I knew that you were doing the surgery on a model and that I could just sort of mimic that, and I did my first few cases. It was so easy and of course, you gain confidence, and you learn. I did a couple of stupid things in the beginning, I [locked] on a surgical guide, one of the first cases that I did, and I was like, “Mm, I better not do that again.” But I learned from it, and that wasn’t very smart, but I’m sure it probably takes special talent to be able to do that.  It’s so simple, and I recommend it to clients all the time because, first of all, your patients really want this, and if nobody around you is doing it, you kind of owe it to your area to be providing this kind of service because patients don’t even know it exists.  I’ve never seen more people more happy to pay $4,000 or $5,000.  I’ve had many days where it’s not unusual for us to do $20,000 or $30,000 in dentistry in a day!
Dr. Todd Shatkin:  It’s true. I had a doctor here visiting who attended my course a month or two ago. He came in to spend the day, and I actually did an implant on him at my lecture last time right out of the audience.  He was in the audience taking my course.  He said, “You know, I’ve got this tooth, number 9.” And he said, “Hey, do you want to do it now?” And he was joking, and I said, “Are you serious?” And he said, “Yeah,” and I said, “Let’s go.” So I brought him downstairs in front of everybody, there were 50 dentists, and I did his surgery. We placed the implant, put a temporary crown on immediately, extracted the tooth, used my bone cement, replace bone cement, and cemented the temporary, and he came back yesterday, and I put his permanent crown in, and he spent the day with me. He saw me do five patient consultations, and we sold over $50,000 in dentistry.
Well, you know, one of things that the further I get along in my career. It’s my 17th year now practicing. The biggest thing for me is that I’ve learned that sales people can’t tell you how to do dentistry. They can’t teach you how to do dentistry. They really shouldn’t teach you how to use the bonding agents, and they shouldn’t teach you how to use composites. Really you need somebody that’s been there and done that and knows exactly what’s happening.   I’ve learned practice management from other dentists. I’ve learned clinical stuff from other dentists. I’ve been out to Provo with Dr. Christiansen and taking courses from him out in Provo, and I feel so much more confident learning from somebody that’s actually done what they’re talking about.  That’s why people come to me for marketing because I’m doing it in my practice, and I understand what works and what doesn’t work and what the process is if something doesn’t work. Like you said, it’s okay, a failure; failures happen in endo, failures happen with crowns, failures happen. Who hasn’t had some failure? I mean it happens. And then you have to get past that and learn from it and that’s important.

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