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The Dental Rat Race in 2013

I gave my kids a gift for Christmas this year that I enjoyed WAY more than they did. It’s a board game called Cashflow by Robert Kiyosaki. I loved it, because I am determined to teach my kids that money does not, in fact, grow on anything, including trees. The game has a starting point and a smaller inner circle on the board called the Rat Race. To escape the portion of the board known as the Rat Race, a player must achieve a passive income that exceeds their monthly expenses. Simple, right? Just create investments, income properties or other interests that create more monthly cash flow than you spend every month. This leads to playing a much bigger, more lucrative part of the game.

So, what if you could create a dental practice that did the same thing? What if your two hands were not necessary to have the practice cash flow? OR, what if you could create enough cash flow to have the practice succeed with your production only a few days every month? What if you could structure your practice to be able to do a few chosen procedures that you truly love, rather than being “Jack of all trades”? Or you could choose to work less hours IN the practice and more time working ON the practice. The real question is what if you had the power to create whatever your dream practice looks like to you?

What would the picture-perfect practice be for you?

I will venture a guess that the practice picture would appear differently for every single one of us. For me, it’s no general dentistry anymore – I just don’t enjoy it as much as I once did. I also don’t check hygiene patients, so I am not tied to an every day schedule in the practice. Clinical dentistry for me is one to one and a half days per week. For me, it is Invisalign and placing and restoring dental implants, and Trudenta TMD/headache therapy. It can be life-changing dentistry for many patients.

I also love improving the business systems of the practice in order to maximize the patient experience and overall happiness, while increasing hourly production for all care providers. I spend a lot of time marketing the practice in order to maintain a healthy patient flow. I truly enjoy the business and clinical sides of dentistry, although I do realize this is not the case for many dentists.

For me, it is my dream way to practice. I love my role as the leader, marketer and clinician in the practice, on my own terms. The funny thing is that when I practiced dentistry the way that it has “been done” for decades, I was miserable. When I customized my practice to my needs, my family’s needs and our patients’ needs, everything fits. Patients know if you are passionate about them and the dentistry you provide every visit for them.

It took a ton of work, humbly learning my weaknesses as well as improving my strengths, a clear strategy and a great desire to love my profession as much as I thought I would when I graduated from dental school. Is your goal to escape the rat race or are you just doing what you’ve always done to get what you’ve always received? Practicing dentistry in 2013 is a puzzle, but when you focus on the right pieces, it can become a beautiful picture.

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