When I was a young dentist, I wanted to get into cosmetics.
I loved the idea of making a dramatic improvement in someone’s smile.
I didn’t actually think that it was more profitable, I thought if you were a dentist, you wouldn’t need to worry about money. Although this is true, I know dentists who work in the NHS and they have a great life.
Let’s not forget about the big picture – we need to enjoy ourselves.
Its not all about the money. Its about being healthy, wealthy and wise.
Now, let’s say that you do want to do it for all the right reasons, then great! Let’s talk about the things that no one tells you.
Your environment is probably the biggest determinant of how you develop.
I started working in the NHS as everyone else in the UK does.
My first job after VT was part private, and part prison.
Yes, you read that correctly. The two jobs were tied together.
But being in a Private only environment was so different to doing private work in the NHS.
I didn’t have to answer that “is this available on the NHS” question 20 times a day!
I was able to work at a more comfortable pace, and had the freedom to do the kind of dentistry that I was taught to do.
I mean, this was still single crowns and white fillings!
Skip forward a few years, and I thought (after doing a sales course) that I was an amazing dentist and I could start my own practice.
I was wrong, I wasted a lot of money and about 5 years. But what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger – right?
Well, by a fluke, I got a job as a low level dentist, doing white fillings and single crowns at a smile design practice.
This is where things REALLY took off. But slowly.
Being in this environment, I was able to practice the skills that I was taught, in a supportive environment, and learn from a fantastic cosmetic dentist.
Now, this could be a one off thing – but another excellent cosmetic dentist I know started at this same practice with little experience, he also did their smile design course, and was mentored and he is now really well known and excellent at what he does!
Now, we both started before video calls and online learning was a thing. We grew our social media from zero to wherever it is now, while no one knew of us.
But I know that if we were not at the practice, we would be doing the same thing, getting the same results, with the same income, going to courses to find some kind of escape from the mundane.
These days, we are getting excellent results for our students because they have access to online courses, and access to me to help them with their career progression.
Its all about perception and marketing
If your business is to help patients with full mouth problems, then once you have solved that, you cannot count on them to have a check up every 6 months, to keep your business alive.
The lifeblood of your business is new patients. So attracting patients to your business is critical, and making sure that they take some treatment up is also critical.
As humans, we buy based on our feelings, rather that logic.
People who would like to improve the look of their smile are going to want to have it done by the best looking practice (as long as they treat them well).
Before they even come in, they are judging you on the general look of your website and social media. This is why taking good photos is so critical.
These days, things are moving towards video. I think this is great, because its harder to create video, and those who do, will get the rewards.
Video brings emotion to your photos. The way you talk, the empathy that you show matters – its hard to fake that stuff.
I have worked with some dentists, who are not committed to taking good quality photos – and this is probably one of the biggest mistakes that you can make.
A lot of your marketing is going to come from the cases you treat.
You can easily get lifestyle photos, but the cases that you do are hard to batch and produce- this why you need to be taking photographs all the time.
I currently devote one day a week for content creation. This is everything from blogs, YouTube videos, Instagram videos. It takes a lot for me to think about this!
In the early days, you don’t need to spend so much time, look at one media, and focus on that.
Your patients will not be more demanding
I used to get told all the time, that private patients are more demanding, because they are paying a lot of money.
Yes, they are paying a lot of money, but as a clinician you need to be able to understand the objectives of the treatment.
Once you know this, you then know what you can, and can’t do.
Then its up to you to communicate this, and set the boundaries of what is possible.
Many of the patients that I see don’t want to go to their regular dentist, for the sole reason that we are able to explain things better than anyone else.
Note: They are not coming to us for our clinical skills (alone – they assume we can do what we say)!
A patients buying process can be a little complex, but you would be surprised to learn how little of it is dependent on clinical skill.
Clinical skill and experience is very important – you can’t keep faking it forever! But after the initial learning from courses, the rest is experience – you just need to do it again and again.
There is one shortcut – and that is to catch a ride with someone who has been there, and done that!
There is so much to do, it helps if a mentor can help you to prioritise what you need to do today and give you more personal advice.
You can find out more about the mentoring options we offer here, they include free courses on: Smile design principles, occlusion, advanced photography, restoring dental implants, how to get high value case acceptances, and there are plenty of courses in the pipeline, including hands.
In addition you will get regular video updates from me, where we talk about business skills, marketing, and anything that my students are struggling with.
If you want one to one help to achieve your goals, then there is an option to do this as well.
Just click the link below to look at the easiest and quickest way that you can progress to being a top cosmetic dentist.
If you want to increase the amount of cosmetic care you provide, see more complex cases, and enjoy more free time while stressing less about your income click the button below. Our mentoring programme is designed to give you the tools you need to built a successful list of patients.
Founder of Dental Notebox & Accelerator Mentoring Programme