Dentistry As a Job or As a Retirement Activity?
I started my career as a dentist in 1986. It is a career I had considered since I was four years old. The idea of becoming a dentist was always there.
Beginning in high school, I took my academics quite seriously and did all I could to “pad” my resume to assure my admittance into dental school.
On an October afternoon in 1981, I received in the mail my admittances to all three Texas dental schools to which I had applied. That day for me was one of my happiest; it was the day I had accomplished a lifetime dream.
As I began my career, I realized I was to become a target of investment brokers and counselors. They seemed very willing to offer me advice on saving and investing. They also were capable of assisting me in creating goals towards retirement. I remember asking for advice to achieve retirement at the age of 55. Boy, was I shocked to see how difficult that would be!
I am pleased to say my ideas have changed considerably as the years have provided me with some valuable wisdom. This wisdom I gained has allowed me to realize that for me I need to do something in retirement. There is no way that this guy can play golf five times a week and feel like he is living the retirement life he would be happy with.
Yes, I would enjoy playing more than the perhaps once annual time I play now. However, I realize that I need to be busy; I need to be contributing to this world in some way; and I need to do something meaningful. I have also realized that I absolutely love practicing dentistry, I truly enjoy our patients, the best patients in the world, and I realize that I feel very privileged to care for our wonderful patients. It is tremendously rewarding.
To me, providing dental care is so rewarding that even if I was to win the lottery, I still truly believe I would continue to practice. Perhaps I would cut back to three days a week; however, even with lottery winnings, I do believe I would continue doing what I am doing now because I very much enjoy it. I do believe we are helping people as well. I cannot imagine a more blessed life for me.
So, if you have any concerns about how much longer this 50 year-old dentist will be working, as long as the good Lord will offer me good health as He has done for this long, I believe I will be working as long as I am able to perform at the same high level of care. I truly can see that.
It is a joy and a privilege to do this.
Saving Patients More Money Over their Lifetimes
We know it sounds wonderful that you may get a denture somewhere for perhaps $400 a set. We know it sounds like you are saving money to pay $700 for a crown. It may seem like a great deal to get a molar root canal for $600.
Believe me, I know we all like to save money. But honestly, are we really saving money to pay these lower fees?
Looking at these lower fees, I can tell you that these fees approach the cost at which I provide those services. I certainly do not want to overpay for my costs of doing business. Is that what I am doing? Am I overpaying for my costs?
Let’s look at this another way. Is there a correlation between what I pay for my costs and the quality of the services I provide? Can this in any way be reasonable?
I can also honestly indicate to you that the highest cost I pay is my staff salaries. For most businesses, this is the case. My philosophy is that if I can get team members who truly care for their patients, who are good and honest people with sympathy and empathy, and who love the work they do, then I should pay them well.
Team members like this are like gold and these are the kind of people I would want to deliver dental care to me. Shouldn’t my patients deserve the same level of care that I would expect for myself?
The second highest cost I have is my dental lab fees. The dental labs make our crowns, our dentures and partial dentures, our implant components at times, our mouth guards, our orthodontic retainers, and other services.
The costs of the lab services depends on the costs of doing business for the dental lab. If they use lower quality metals, if they use cheaper denture teeth, if they use weaker dental materials, if they hire foreign or lesser experienced technicians, then they can charge me a lower fee.
Again, for me and my patients, I want to use the best materials and I want experienced dental laboratory technicians providing services for me and my patients. I work to provide a very good service. It is not my intent to provide patients with dental care at the lowest cost possible; for me, that would mean sacrificing quality in a big way.
Let’s look at this differently. If a patient receives much of their dental care at a low-fee dental office and saves much money, does that mean the patients will save money in the long run? In this life, there are no guarantees; however, it seems to me that patients who pay relatively little for their care may have a greater chance of experiencing problems with their care and may need to spend even more money to get care re-done.
Many of our patients have found that we have been able to save them money over the long run. We all realize we only have one natural set of teeth; should we skimp on paying to have this only natural set of teeth maintained?
Affordable Dental Care
I realize many of you believe you cannot afford dental care. Perhaps more of you may believe you cannot afford good and reputable dental care. Please allow us to calm your concerns. You can afford good and reputable dental care right here. We are committed to helping you.
One of the most important things you can do to save yourself money is to maintain regular professional dental care. I understand you may believe that is not affordable. However, I have seen way too many times that delaying regular care resulted in more severe problems with increased expense.
Please consider keeping up these regular preventive visits; this may be a much more affordable way to maintain your teeth.
Another way we can make care affordable through is by prioritizing any problems we find. We can assist you in spreading out your payments. In other words, not all the problems have to be addressed at the same time. You needn’t feel overwhelmed with this.
Another thing we can do to assist you with affordable care is to provide you with multiple options for payment. We accept most of the major credit cards, we do accept cash and checks, we accept insurance benefits as payment on your account, and we also accept CareCredit. Through CareCredit you can have interest-free financing for up to twelve months.
CareCredit also offers extended payment options for up to 60 months. We are also constantly looking into other options for payment to assist you with making your care affordable.
Our Traditional, Patient-Centered, Dentistry-Oriented Dental Practice
We all have seen many changes in the delivery of medical care. The insurance industry has created many guidelines that must be followed in order to obtain benefits from the insurance plans we may have. At times we must change doctors.
In other times we may need our primary care physician to make a proper referral to a specialist. Moreover, insurance plans may cover one drug over others; therefore, in a way they are dictating medical care.
This same scenario may exist for medical procedures. I do have concerns about the delivery of medical care in this country. Many of the changes in the past 20 years are more may have resulted in a decreased quality of care.
Thankfully, the delivery of dental care has not been severely affected by insurance companies. I do believe that Americans benefit from amongst the best dental care in the world. However, the delivery of dental care has changed quite a bit as well.
For instance, some insurance plans provide better coverage for patients who chose a dentist who is a preferred-provider. Preferred-providers have signed a contract that basically forces them to often accept lower fees for their care in exchange for having their dental practices marketed to employees of companies that offer the dental insurance coverage. These contract fees can be as much as 40% lower than the prevailing fees.
I do not understand how a dental practice can accept fees that approximate their cost of providing care. For me personally, I would have to sacrifice my quality of care; that is why we are not a preferred-provider for any plan.
My practice is centered upon quality care for my patients. It is not an ego thing for me. It is simply my following old fashioned values; I want to do things right the first time. I want to do as I would want others to do for me. It is just that simple and important.
The delivery of dental care has also changed by dentists themselves. Somehow many dentists feel the need to offer spa services, tanning services, or Botox treatments within their offices.
I suppose some dentists want to be a one-stop shop for the “extreme makeover” type of care.
It is important that dentists not lose focus on what we do. In some cases, this is lost. Dentists, in my opinion, should be focusing on providing dental services, and solely dental services. In some ways, dentists may be damaging the trust the public has had in our profession for so many years.
In my practice patients can feel comfortable in knowing that we will not attempt to sell them these spa, tanning, nor Botox type of services, ever. We realize our patients have come to trust us for our ability to care for their mouths, and to assist them in preventing unnecessary dental treatment and expense.
Perhaps our focusing on traditional dental care makes our practice unique when compared to others.
Is Our Office Right for You?
Many of you are surfing to find a dental office. How are these offices different? How do you know if my office is the right one for you? My aim is to assist you with that now.
If you are looking for an office where the dentist takes the time to find out exactly what your concerns are, what your desires are, and who makes decisions based on what you indicate, then my office is the right one for you.
Many offices for different reasons run on a double-booked or on a very tight schedule. Some dentists may not have the same unmistakable personal touch. We respect your time and your desires more than you know. If you like this for your dental office we certainly invite you to contact us.
Many new technologies exist in dentistry. Some dentists choose to have the latest technologies for the sake of being on the “cutting edge.” That may sound great; however, some of the new technologies may not stand the test of time.
You can feel assured that we only use newer technologies that have been proven by the test of time. I would not provide any services that I would not want for myself, my family, or my closest of friends.
Many dentists and doctors are constantly running behind. You find you may need to wait for up to 90 minutes to be seen. This habit is totally unacceptable, in my opinion. It really does bother me when patients have to wait. As a result I have my schedule managed in such a way that respects your time. My patients often comment that they “never” have to wait on me.
While I cannot guarantee that it will “never” happen to you, I can guarantee that our system of scheduling is set up to prevent seeing you past your appointment time. We honestly do respect your time. If our timeliness impresses you please do contact us to assist you.
While these characteristics are well and good, does that in turn mean that I am technically excellent. This is so difficult for patients to evaluate. Patients often evaluate their dentist by how nice they seem, by what the office looks like, by how comfortable their treatment appointments are, or by some other measure. I can assure you that my personality and skills are very compatible with providing care that is exceptional.
I have been recognized by my dental school instructors, by my referring specialists, as well as by our Patterson Dental Supply Cerec trainer-coordinator that my skills are exceptional. I also stand behind my work and replace it at no charge to our patients if for some unknown reason something does not last as it should. If this attention to detail is important to you then please consider contacting us now.
I appreciate your interest in me and my practice. One of the aims of our website is to give you an opportunity to determine if we are the right practice for you. We are very willing to provide this honest introspective view of our practice for you.
If we do interest you to some degree, feel free to contact us now so we can either visit with you on the phone, make a complimentary consultation visit for you, or schedule an appointment for you. You are in the driver’s seat with us. Simply tell us what you would like on your first visit and we will do our best to satisfy you.