Why Should Dental Students Attend FDC2016?

The FDC department asked Paula Cohen, a dental student at the University of Florida College of Dentistry, a few questions regarding our annual convention.

1. As a dental student, why do you attend the Florida Dental Convention (FDC)?
FDC gives students the opportunity to learn techniques and concepts that are outside of the traditional dental school curriculum. I’ve also had the opportunity to meet alumni and practicing dentists who have since become incredible mentors!

2. What do you see as the biggest takeaway from the convention?
I think the biggest takeaway is that dentistry truly is a profession of lifelong learning. Every year I go there’s something new and exciting to learn about.

3. What would you say to another dental student thinking about attending FDC? Why should they attend?
I would say, “Go!” Attending FDC as a dental student is the only time in your entire career that you’ll be able to go to something so valuable without having to pay for registration or courses. Tell your ASDA chapter that you’re interested in going, and definitely take advantage of the free CE!

4. What is your favorite part about attending FDC?
I loved the New Dentist mixer, The After Party! It was incredibly fun, and I ran into some recent alumni who were well on their way to establishing themselves as dentists.

Are you a new dentist or dental student? FDC2016 offers a one-and-a-half day New Dentist Program exclusively for new dentists (graduate of 2006 or later) and dental students. Click here to learn more about the New Dentist Program, “Success is your Future: The New Dentist Guide for Success (C63).”

FDC2016 will be held June 16-18, 2016 at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center in Orlando. FDA members receive FREE pre-registration. Click here to register today!

Fluoride Critics Use Flint to Push Their Own Agenda

Florida Dental Association (FDA) member Dr. Johnny Johnson is what you might call a fluoridation expert. He is the co-founder and president of the American Fluoridation Society (AFS), an organization that recently was created to debunk myths and clarify the evidence behind fluoridation’s safety and benefits.

In light of the water crisis in Flint, Mich., Dr. Johnson submitted an article to Dentistry Today to help educate and reassure the public that everything possible is being done to identify and resolve this issue. In addition, the AFS is working with other communities around the U.S. and the globe to help them understand this problem. His article, “Fluoride Critics Use Flint to Push Their Own Agenda,” was published on Dentistry Today on March 21, 2016 and can be found by going to http://bit.ly/1q4xfUm.

Dr. Johnson can be reached at Johnny@americanfluoridationsociety.com.

The Key to Sustainable Practice Growth

By Dr. Mark T. Murphy

When asked what would solve their lack of busyness problem, most dentists respond by saying they “need more new patients.” Although a steady increased stream of clients would help fill the hygiene and dental schedules in most practices, it is expensive and the most difficult to quickly achieve. Acquisition of new business requires either a strong social and public media blitz (tougher to effectively target market without spending a lot) or steady referral growth (which takes time). Fortunately, there are diamonds at our feet that we can take advantage of, but it requires a bit of a paradigm shift in thinking.

How we look at the problem sometimes is the problem. That’s why a shift in perspective sometimes is needed to move past a recurrent obstacle. By looking at the problem differently, we may be able to see solutions that were previously limited by our point of view. “More new patients” is not always the right answer.

The single biggest opportunity for sustainable growth in most practices is right under our nose. In the average practice that we have worked with or researched, a little more than 70 percent of the existing patients are leaving with a re-care appointment scheduled for a specific date and time. Most of us think we are better at that, but when you actually stop and measure it for one month, you will feel differently. It is easy to significantly increase the percentage and impact how full your hygiene schedule will be.

1. Measure: Just by measuring, your team will become more attentive to this behavior (prescheduling re-care) and the results will improve.

2. Track: By setting an improvement goal and tracking how many patients leave with a next hygiene appointment in real time (using notes on the day sheet, an excel spreadsheet or software like funktionaltracker.com), your future schedule will be more full.

3. Speak: Rehearsing verbal skills around this helps to get more patients to schedule. “Mrs. Jones, I know how you feel. Sometimes I don’t know what I am doing in six months, either. But, let’s do this: Let’s book something for now that looks like it might work. If you have to change it as it gets closer — no big deal. But, it is so much easier to trade a one-hour time slot for another one if you already have an appointment than if you don’t have one.”

4. Celebrate: Re-measure the result each month and share the success with your team. Reward them appropriately so they know how much you appreciate their effort. It is way less expensive to pre-book and stay busy than to try to fill an empty schedule a few days ahead of time.

The obvious part of this story is that it works! The bonus is that when you have more hygiene patients and a fuller schedule, you will de facto have more dentistry to do from that. Most practices range from 25-35 percent of their production from hygiene visits and the rest from restorative. So, for every dollar you find by pre-booking better, you should find $2-3 more of restorative need. Helping more patients have healthier mouths and getting to do more of the dentistry that is fulfilling drives these behaviors. Money never leads, it only follows.


Dr. Murphy is the principal of Funktional Tracker and lead faculty for Clinical Education at Microdental, and can be reached at mtmurphydds@gmail.com. He will be speaking at FDC2016 on Thursday, June 16 and Saturday, June 18. “Introduction to Treating Sleep Apnea in Your Practice: From Getting Started to Medical Billing” will be on Thursday at 9:30 a.m. and “Evidence-based Shade Communication in Restorative Dentistry” will be later that day at 2 p.m. On Saturday, he will present, “Improving Case Acceptance, Moving Past Insurance Entitlement,” at  10:45 a.m. during the New Dentist Program, “Success is your Future: The New Dentist Practical Guide for Success.”