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    The keys to practice growth

    One owner reflects on how dentistry is changing and how other owners can grow their practices in the midst of it.

    I recently had the opportunity to interview a very seasoned dentist to find out what is helping his practice see amazing growth. Dr. Jim Bohn is the owner of Wake Dental Care in Cary, North Carolina.

    Tell us a little bit about yourself

    I graduated from Temple University School of Dentistry in 1996 (practicing 22 years). Although I enjoy the diversity of procedures that general dentistry has to offer, I most enjoy doing surgical procedures like third molar extractions and surgical implant placement. Being an extrovert at heart, the favorite part of my job is the interaction with our patients and team members.

    Dr. Jim BohnDr. Jim BohnI started my first dental practice in 2001 and sold it in 2009 to move to sunny North Carolina with my wife and daughters. Wake Dental Care opened in June of 2010. Our over-arching treatment philosophy is to be as minimally invasive and conservative to tooth structure while involving our valued patients in the best available treatment options that modern dentistry has to offer.

    What changes have you seen in dentistry in the time that you have been practicing?

    In the past 22 years, a lot has changed within dentistry. The material choices that dentists have available to them have improved dramatically.

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    For example, tooth colored filling materials are stronger and more esthetic while bonding agents have become more user friendly, less technique sensitive and stronger. We have also seen greatly-increased strength of ceramics (i.e., zirconia) used for making dental crowns and in many cases dental crowns can be made from start to finish in the same visit.

    It is much more common to see teeth replaced with dental implants (versus dental bridges) and the technology of implant design and improved integration of implants with bone has also improved longevity.

    The biggest and most exciting part of our changing dental field has been the digital revolution! We now frequently do a digital "scan" with an intraoral video camera that captures data and forms 3D images allowing our office to take digital impressions. These impressions are very accurate as there is no distortion unlike traditional dental impressions. The digital files are then emailed to the dental laboratory for fabrication of the dental restoration/prosthetic and they can be overlayed with other 3D Cone Beam x-rays to do virtual simulations for dental implant placement among other uses.

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    These dental scans are also used to manufacture clear aligners for tooth movement with Invisalign. Printing in 3D will also revolutionize dentistry in the next few years as most dental offices will be printing nightguards, dentures and surgical implant guides in our offices. The future of dentistry is bright and exciting!

    In your opinion, have these changes made things easier, or more difficult as far as practice ownership goes?

    These advances in dentistry have definitely improved the quality of care that we can provide. As with most things, there is a significant learning curve with each new technology, but once mastered, it will increase the speed and accuracy with which dental offices can provide better care. The cost of the technology can be a barrier to entry as the return on investment can be prohibitive, but just like VCR's (some of you may not even know what a VCR is), the price will eventually make sense as more and more dental offices implement the technology. 

    Up next: New patient acquisition

    Adam Smith
    Adam Smith got his start in the dental industry working for a company called Dental Intel. He was their first data analyst and worked ...

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