An Early Bite with Dr. John Paul: “Can’t I Just Get This Done at the Mall?”

By Dr. John Paul, FDA Editor

When it comes to teeth whitening, how often do patients ask, “Why can’t I just get this done at the mall?” — which is patient speak for “I don’t want to pay what I think you are going to charge for results I want but can’t count on.”

Here’s what I tell them:

“Mrs. Gruntbuns, you certainly can go to that kiosk at the mall and get teeth whitening supplies there, but for the life of me I can’t imagine why you would want to. You don’t know where the person handing out the whitening supplies was last week. That lab coat they are wearing does not mean they are a dentist or even a certified assistant — there is no reason to believe they have any special training. There also is little or no regulation on the actual chemicals that will be sold to you. In Florida, there are regulations that say unless the person in the kiosk is a Florida-licensed dentist they cannot legally place anything into your mouth or shine a “special light” onto your mouth, but you as a consumer would have to report the procedure to see any enforcement.

When you come here, part of what you are getting is my training and expertise. I will advise you how likely whitening is to work for you. I can prescribe different products to suit your individual needs. My staff and I are overseen by the Florida Board of Dentistry and should we stray from the standard of care, my license and my livelihood would be in jeopardy. Besides the fact that I like you, I have a vested interest in running a clean office with the best products, the latest techniques and a well-trained staff.

I certainly won’t stop you from spending your money at the mall, but you should think about whether the rewards outweigh the possible risks, and whether there will be anything you can do if you are unhappy with the results.”

Have a question you have a tough time answering? Send it to Dr. Paul at jpaul@bot.floridadental.org.

FDA Staff Helps Make the Holidays Brighter

By Drew Eason, FDA Executive Director

The Florida Dental Association’s (FDA) staff is made up of a team of very caring folks. Several staff members got together and asked if the FDA staff could (voluntarily) “adopt” a family in need for the holidays, which is something they’ve done many times in the past. I thought it was a great idea and the team took it from there. They worked with a charity called Christmas Connection, which strives to meet the wishes and basic needs of underprivileged families from all religions, races and ethnic backgrounds in northwest Florida.

Here’s a little more information on our “adopted” family: They were brought to our attention from school guidance counselors. After receiving a phone call from a concerned neighbor, we learned that a 70-year-old grandmother in our community had just taken in her three grandchildren. It appears the father is in jail and the mother is unable to care for the boys. We understood that the grandmother lives in a mobile home and has given up her bed for the boys, so she now is sleeping on the floor. We called the grandmother and learned that the three boys have moved in with various family members over the years, as their parents came in and out of their lives. She said that she could not see the boys move around anymore and didn’t want them separated and placed in foster care, which was sure to happen. The boys came to her with nothing but the clothing on their backs. She is a retired school bus driver and lives on a small retirement and Social Security. She is doing the best that she can, but feeding and clothing three growing boys is depleting her financial resources. The school helped get clothing for the boys, which she was incredibly grateful for. She did, however, report that with limited income, there is little left for extras. Christmas would not be a possibility for the boys and it was breaking her heart. She is a sweet, soft-spoken lady with the goal of keeping this family together. She says that they didn’t ask for any of this, but have shown resiliency given the chaos in their life. She says that with God’s help, the boys have come a long way.

FDA staff stepped up to buy gifts the family requested, and anything left on the list was paid for via our “Dress Down for Charity” program. Simply put, most of the staff paid $20 to dress casually during December — and it certainly brought in a lot of extra money to put toward gifts for the family! The staff was able to do a great deal for the family, as you can see in some of the pictures! They bought a bike, clothes, toys, a comforter and much, much more! Our hope is that this will be a Christmas they will remember.

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7 Tips for Successfully Renewing Your Commercial Lease

By Ken Jorgenson, Carr Healthcare Realty

If you love your space, location and yes — even your landlord — start setting yourself up for a seamless lease renewal today. Renewing commercial leases can become a nightmare fast when tenants fail to pay attention to important renewal details. Early action is everything. Use these seven simple steps to save money and your space.

1. Start the process early.
Even if you’re not sure that you want to stay at your current location, you should begin the renewal process at a minimum of 12 months before your lease’s expiration. Then, whether you decide to stay or not, you will have done the research and preparation, and have multiple options. Having options is your greatest asset in lease negotiations. The longer you wait to begin the process, the fewer options you will have, and the more power you’ll give the landlord. So, start early and give yourself plenty of time to create a substantial list of possible locations.

2. Know the conditions of your lease renewal clause.
Oftentimes, leases incorporate renewal clauses as a safety net; if you have the clause, your landlord must allow you to renew your lease according to its terms. Depending on the market, using the lease renewal clause will either benefit or harm you financially. First, find out if you have a renewal clause. If you do, study its conditions (rate increases, notification time frame, etc.) and determine whether you want to act within the clause or start new negotiations.

3. Study your lease.
Before researching other locations, you really need to know the terms and conditions of your own lease. What kind of lease do you have? Is it a gross lease or net lease? Is it a triple net or full service? Also, what are you paying per square foot? Not to overwhelm you with questions, but these all are important factors for you to know when entering negotiations. Along with your rent, you also should take note of what, if any, concessions were afforded to you at the start of your lease.

4. Research the market.
Knowing your market can be a bit of a challenge because commercial real estate listings are not open to public access like residential listings. Multiple listing services (MLS) for commercial properties require expensive subscriptions that typically only real estate agents purchase. When going it alone, the best place to start is within your own building complex and immediate surroundings. Find out what new tenants in your area are paying. Do the rates appear to have dropped? Gathering this information may require making several cold calls, but it will equip you with the information you’ll need to be effective in negotiations.

5. Find alternatives.
While researching your market, you should compile a list of locations that would be viable options for your business if you had to move. Remember, having other options is essential for negotiating a better lease at your current location. Don’t give your landlord the upper hand. It’s essential that you walk into the renewal negotiations equipped with other locations to show your landlord that, while you want to stay, you have other options and can leave if the new terms are unreasonable. Set yourself up to save money and receive other accommodations.

6. Negotiate with everyone.
After creating your list of potential locations, you should begin negotiations with all of them, not just your current landlord. Use your market research, current lease conditions and potential alternative locations to negotiate for favorable lease terms with each landlord. While you may not actually want to move, getting great lease terms with a location comparable to your current location will provide leverage for you to negotiate a successful lease renewal, which equates to money saved for your practice.

7. Rewind and get an agent.
As you may have noticed, like the creation of a lease, the lease renewal process requires extensive and time-consuming work. Negotiating a successful lease renewal demands a lot of research, in-depth market knowledge and strong negotiating skills. Most businesses do not have the time or the desire to become experts in commercial real estate. If you would prefer to have an agent take care of the vast majority of the last six steps for you, then start your successful lease renewal process by contacting a commercial real estate agent.

Ken Jorgenson is a commercial real estate associate with Carr Healthcare Realty, representing only tenants and buyers, and exclusively working in the health care real estate space. Carr Healthcare Realty offers expert advocacy without conflict of interest. They understand the unique real estate needs of health care professionals and their vast experience saves their clients time and money. Learn more and get a free lease or purchase evaluation at carrhr.com.

An Early Bite with Dr. John Paul: “Why Are You Sending Me to a Specialist?”

By Dr. John Paul, FDA Editor

We’ve all had the patient who does most of what we suggest but never wants to leave our office. What do you say when your patient asks, “Why do I have to go to a specialist? I’m so comfortable here.”

“Mrs. Gruntbuns, I have a friend down the street who is an expert in the treatment you need. It’s all she does, and she is faster, better and cheaper than I could possibly be for you. What she can do in 45 minutes would take me three hours and two visits. For this procedure, my service isn’t the best and I want the best for you. When she’s done with your procedure, she will send you right back to me and I will take care of the other things you need.”

Maybe your patient needs more than one specialist. “Mrs. Gruntbuns, your condition is complicated and will need a team of dentists to restore your mouth the way you want it to be. We’ll work with specialists for those things because they do much better than I could, but I’ll always be the ‘general manager’ of your care. You may ask me questions anytime about the care I provide directly or the services our specialists are providing.”

Have a question you have a tough time answering? Send it to Dr. Paul at jpaul@bot.floridadental.org.