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4 Important Factors to Keep Top-of-Mind Before Starting (and Running) a Dental Implant Office.

by | Jun 15, 2024 | Articles, Tips and Tricks | 0 comments

There are so many options when starting a dental practice. It’s important to find a niche for any entrepreneur, and this is especially the case when choosing which specialization you want to pursue as a dentist.

Here’s another way to say it: there are so many types of “dental-specialization” pies out there, and what’s awesome is that we have the autonomy to choose which slices we want for ourselves. If you’re reading this article, you’ve chosen to eat from the “dental implant” pie (gross to think about, huh?). Jokes aside, there’s a big learning curve ahead, and I’m here to help you expedite the process of starting a niche dentistry practice focused on implants.

So, let’s get started. What are four important factors to keep top-of-mind before starting (and running) a dental implant office?

1. The contents of your schedule may be just as important as having “proper” dental implant certification.

We dentists navigate a tricky maze of red tape no matter what speciality we choose to pursue. When it comes to the intricate procedures involved with providing patients with dental implants, the red tape can really add up. Before we know it, we can become wrapped up in legalities until we find ourselves falling down. 

As a Star Wars nut, I like to relate it to how the AT-AT’s get taken down in Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. If you’re unfamiliar, Luke Sywalker and his fellow rebel pilots fly around the legs of these big, scary, four-legged machines and use ropes to trip them. When it comes to being a dentist, it can feel like attorneys and patients alike are coming at us like we’re AT-AT’s and they’re Luke Skywalker with his rebel pilots.

Sorry, I had to nerd out. The point is, you don’t want to end up like an AT-AT. So, in order to avoid legal trouble, you’ll want to have the right credentials. This can come in a plethora of ways, and most people do so by getting a dental implant certification through the American Board of Oral Implantology (ABOI) or becoming a “Fellow” in the Association of International Dentistry (AIED).

You may not be doing dental implants exclusively, rather adding this service to your current dynamic. Believe it or not, one of the most important—and often overlooked—components when it comes to pleasing an attorney is “volume proficiency,” or the number of procedures your schedule is actually full of. Dental implant certification can totally be important, but something many dentists forget about is what makes up your schedule on a day-to-day basis.

2. Take things one step at a time and focus on managing patient expectations.

While volume proficiency is important, don’t rush into getting hundreds or thousands of dental implants under your belt. With the right marketing efforts, it shouldn’t take too long before you’re placing hundreds of implants over the course of only a few months. But you don’t want to get in over your head.

Think about it: you’re setting yourself up to deal with unhappy patients and potential lawsuits if you embrace the chaos. High-ticket clients tend to come in a lower volume than those who are looking to get a cleaning, filling, and so on. Take it slow when performing dental implants, as these are tricky procedures that should never be rushed. Managing patient expectations is key in a niche dentistry practice like this.

To add to that, getting patients to walk through your doors and sit in your chairs is already difficult—and it’s even harder with expensive procedures. You’ll set yourself up for disappointment if you expect to have people rolling in like you’re throwing a house party. Be realistic when managing patient expectations about the process.

3. Folks can get mean; keep your chin up when dealing with unhappy patients!

Upset patients will be a factor in any dental practice, no matter the specialization. When it comes to procedures as high-ticket as implants, it’s not uncommon to be deemed a money-grabber. It’s important to keep your chin up and realize that you’re helping your patients keep their chins up by giving them the smiles they deserve.

If folks aren’t suspicious of us wanting their money, they may be unhappy about how uncomfortable a dental implant procedure can be—which is totally understandable. It’s near impossible to avoid causing any pain when performing a dental implant, and there’s a reason the majority of patients are prescribed painkillers afterward. This is often a recipe for an unhappy patient who may end up calling a few times post-surgery, even if you do all you can to minimize how uncomfortable the process is for them. Dealing with unhappy patients is part of the job in a niche dentistry practice focused on implants.

So, take pride in what you do and don’t let any upset folks get under your skin too much. Because of your amazing talents, your patients will be able to chew food, smile confidently, and have peace of mind. You’re changing lives on a daily basis and giving them a second chance at having teeth. That’s a whole lot more than most others can say about their profession. So, don’t forget to give yourself a pat on the back! 

4. Some patients may not be able to afford a dental implant but desperately need treatment.

Offer patient financing options. It’s important to consider that many people who are looking for a dental implant need it because of drug abuse. In those situations, patients typically don’t have too much cash saved up to afford an expensive procedure. If you can lend a hand, they’ll be extremely grateful and more willing to accept treatment.

Not to belabor the point, but dental implants are a high-ticket procedure. Even those who have successful careers and a good income struggle to afford treatment. It’s helpful if you can offer patient financing options.

One option is giving patients the choice to subscribe to a plan where they pay over the course of a few months instead of doing one, lump-sum payment. Another option may be working with insurance companies so that patients don’t have to spend so much out-of-pocket. Figuring out patient financing options is crucial in a niche dentistry practice focused on implants.

I hope this helped!

While this article may not tell you how to run a dental implant office (we’ll get to that soon enough), I hope I shed light on some factors that are important before you start your business. Whether you’ve chosen implant dentistry as your niche or are merely interested in it, knowing the importance of narrowing down your aim is an important step. So, congratulations on having the right mindset for pursuing a niche dentistry practice.

I run a community full of dental professionals who can give you some nuggets of wisdom about your running all sorts of dental practices. So, join the Nifty Thrifty Dentists Facebook group and reach out! People from all across the globe will be happy to let you in on their two cents.

Glenn Vo
Author: Glenn Vo