How new dentists can begin to build their dental practice

January 19, 2012 2:31 pm Published by

I have the fortunate, or unfortunate, perspective of receiving visits (phone calls or emails) from  many former dental students who became disillusioned by dentistry because they fell into the wrong dental practice(s).  They hadn’t studied as hard to create their career in dentistry as they did to get through dental school.  Many didn’t know how.

Early practice building tips for young dentists:

Young dentists should create their own simple four to eight page website, e.g.  Put on your resume, personal and dental photos, and dental practice interests.  Put your email address and phone number (your personal cell number).  You can list your current office address(es) and easily change it if you move.

Ask your current employer(s) how you will be compensated if you bring your own patients into their office and will you maintain ownership of these patients.  Confirm that referrals from these patients also count as your patients.  Better to get this all in writing…

Then create your own business card that lists your name, website, email and phone; don’t bother listing your address(es) since you may move.  This is what you want to give out to people you meet every day and night after first asking for their business card in conversation.  At the end of six to twelve months you should have 50 – 200 of other people’s business cards to then create a mailing list.  At the end of two years you should have 100 – 400 etc.  You must do this.  Use this mailing list to send out biannual mailings (avoiding December) e.g. Valentine’s day and Labor Day.  This will help build the patient nucleus you personally need to grow and then truly love dentistry.

Young dentists should also actively attend local dental society meetings to meet established dentists with good reputations.  This can help lead to associateship and partnership opportunities in the better dental practices.

I hope this helps.

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Below is what you want to avoid.  Each week we typically receive three unsolicited associate applications from dentists in a similar situation.  What do you think of a dentist who has worked for eight years and has zero self-referred patients?

To:  The Center for Special Dentistry. I am a GP who is looking for a position and I came across your website.  I really loved what I saw and read about your office and I would love to be considered for an associateship if you are looking.  I am very personable and friendly and have always had a good repoire with patients.  I am very detail-oriented and productive in my work and my patients have always appreciated that.  I have been out of school for almost 9 yrs and did a one-year GPR and have been working in private offices almost 8 yrs.  I am comfortable with implant restorations and cosmetic dentistry and love both and I am also invisalign certified. I have attatched a copy of my CV for your convenience.  Please contact me if you feel that I may be compatible with your office.  Thank you for your time. Dr. —

To:  Dr. — Our practice has typically grown from within, i.e. pre-dental intern, to dental student and part-time intern, to associate in our practice after graduation and then junior partner.  However, If you have a good dental history and a nucleus of your own patients then you may call to schedule a visit. Dr. Dorfman

To:  The Center for Special Dentistry. I have a great dental history but I do not have a patient following.  But please feel free to keep my information on file in case you find that your needs have changed sometime in the future.  I thank you for your time and very prompt response. Dr. —

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Why doesn’t a dentist who has practiced for nearly nine years have a patient following, i.e., a nucleus of their own patients?

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This post was written by Dr. Jeffrey Dorfman