Catching the Wave!

Having been inspired by one of my client’s surfing décor in his office in Southern California, I could not help but draw the analogy of “catching the wave” during the most exciting time I have experienced in dentistry over the past 30 years.

Never in the history of dentistry has there been so much opportunity! The space-age materials and equipment from lasers to CAD/CAM, from endo microscopes to drugs that retard periodontal disease, to implants and veneers, provide unprecedented options in dentistry. Most significant of all, the public has become aware of a “pretty smile.” Whether that beautiful smile has been accomplished through bleaching, veneers, or orthodontics does not matter. What does matter is that a beautiful smile has finally become important to the public at large.

Insurance companies are realizing that to keep providers, they will have to pay UCR. In Arizona and some parts of California, they may even be driving UCR! Fees have finally risen to the point that dentists receive what they deserve for the products and services they deliver. I have never seen a better opportunity for dentists to be financially and professionally rewarded for practicing their chosen profession … and it’s going to get even better! If you haven’t already, you need to catch the wave!

More and more dentists are retiring, and fewer and fewer full-time dentists are replacing them. At the same time, the potential patient population continues to grow. These educated consumers are becoming more aware and more desirous of quality dental care … and they are willing to pay for it!

Are you taking advantage of these new opportunities to grow your practice? What follows are some questions you might ask yourself:

Are You Ready To Catch the Wave?

  • Have I really identified my target patient?
  • Is my marketing plan attracting that patient?
  • Do I have patients in my practice who are clogging the system? Are they accepting my treatment plans, following through with treatment, and keeping appointments?
  • Am I accepting reduced fees for my services? If so, why?
  • Do my case presentation skills convince my patients of the need for the comprehensive treatment indicated?
  • Am I providing a means for my patients to financially afford the treatment desired?
  • Are my clinical skills, equipment, and materials state of the art?
  • Is my team working with me to achieve the vision and values that I have for my practice?

If you can answer yes to these questions, I am sure you are experiencing the rush of riding the “big one” we have in dentistry today. If you have to answer no to any or all of these questions, you may miss the greatest opportunity that dentistry has ever had to offer.

H. M. (Hy) Smith, MBA, is president of Professional Transitions Inc., a full-service practice-management and dental-practice brokerage company with associates throughout the state of Florida. He has been assisting dentists in transition for more than 25 years. Smith also is director of transition strategies for the Pride Institute. He can be reached at Professional Transitions at (800) 262-4119 or by email at For more information, visit Smith’s Web site at

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