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    Can your dental practice survive without new patients?

    Without growth, your practice runs the risk of becoming stagnant.

    What is the state of your dental practice right now? Are you growing? Are you winding down in preparation for retirement? Are you holding steady and happy with stability? Many dentists embrace stability.

    After all, we’ve chosen a profession that is fairly safe, has reasonable hours and pays a good salary. If you’re not losing patients, why should you work to attract new patients? What’s wrong with the status quo?

    There is plenty wrong with a “stable” practice. A dental practice is like an organism. It's got multiple “organs” (or departments), all working towards its overall health. When one department is sick, the whole practice suffers. And, like a living organism, the alternatives aren’t growth or stability. They’re growth, or a slow but certain death.  Why do you need to grow to survive? Consider some of the effects of a stagnant practice.

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    A stagnant practice can’t offer new services

    It’s a great time to work in dental medicine. Our field has benefitted from all sorts of technological advances. 3D printing and chairside milling technologies let us give our patients top-of-the-line treatments in a single appointment. We’ve got a better understanding of the oral-systemic health link than ever before. We can prevent disease and decay, treat infections effectively and help our patients improve their smiles through orthodonitcs and other means and manage their chronic conditions.

    However, training and technology require pretty large up-front investments. In a growing practice, there’s enough money coming in to train staff, buy new tools and reconfigure spaces to work with new technologies and work flows. In a stagnant practice? Your services remain stagnant too. That means you can’t invest in patient care, and you no longer provide the latest and best treatments.  As other dentists in your area adopt new technologies, you’ll lose patients and go from stagnant to dying.

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    In a stagnant practice, skills get rusty

    So, a practice without growth means a practice without new services. Well, that’s not a big deal, right? After all, your old services are just fine. You’re happy with them, your patients are happy with them. What’s not to like?

    If your practice isn’t growing, you’re seeing the same patients over and over again. You get to know their teeth very well. You may become an expert at dealing with those particular mouths and those particular patients. You’ll have stability, but not variety.

    They say variety is the spice of life, but it doesn’t just add interest to your practice. Variety also adds challenges. It encourages you and your employees to stretch in new directions, learn new skills and hone difficult techniques. Without the variety provided by a growing practice, you can fall into a rut. And that means that when an existing patient has an odd problem, you and your staff won’t be qualified to address it.

    Continue to the next page to see other detrimental effects...

     

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