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Dental Consultants and Continuing Education

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bryant consultants and continuing educationYou may be asking yourself, “Why should dental consultants take CE courses?”  It’s simple.

Relevance.

Just as dentists, hygienists, and assistants take CE courses to advance their knowledge in specialties and procedures, consultants need to do the same. However, as a consultant, you have to advance your knowledge in EVERY aspect of the practice! We have to stay in the know about technology, codes, marketing/web design, analytics, and clinical procedures…it’s virtually endless. If you do not stay on top of the latest advancements in all areas of the dental practice, you become…irrelevant. If you cannot support a practice in every aspect, you will fail them as a client. And fail yourself as a consultant.

Technology in the dental world constantly is changing, daily. Lasers, implants, scanners, 3D printers, and dental software…the list is endless. As someone the practice has hired to help guide them in a positive direction, they will rely on you to provide them information on the technology that is available, and what products will work best for their current financial situation as well as their patient demographic. If you, as the dental consultant, are not attending CE courses that will garner that knowledge for yourself, how can you effectively advise the practice/doctor? The right technology will allow you to add services to the practice that will increase not only production and collection but provide the highest-level of care to the patients, which should be the goal of every practice. I have been fortunate enough to work with some fantastic folks at BioResearch. Lasers, tens units, BioPak…this technology is changing the face of dentistry as we know it.  They are passionate about dentistry and how their technology can be used to help change lives.  I enjoy working with them as they are next-level!

In addition to this, the dental team will learn skills that make them more valuable to the practice and gain trust with the patients. As a consultant, you will also encounter multiple types of dental software (Eaglesoft, Dentrix, Open Dental, PracticeWorks, etc…), and you will need to know how to maneuver through each one effectively. This requires not only continuing education in a “teaching” environment but hours upon hours of teaching yourself on your own time how to use these programs. You must stay on top of the changes that happen continually.

Proper coding for billing is crucial. So many practices do not bill for procedures that would generate more revenue because they lack the knowledge to do so. As a consultant, it is your responsibility to know the billable codes. CDT codes change every year. New codes are added, and old codes are deleted. It is, again, necessary for the consultant to take CE courses on such items so they can guide the practice in proper coding.

Marketing and web design are crucial to the success of any practice. SEO, ad-words, content, and design will bring the needed target patients to the practice to elevate it to the next level. As a practice grows and evolves, so will the type of patients they want to attract. From complex marketing and web design to simple self-marketing (asking for referrals from existing clients), the consultant has to know the latest social media crazes. Also, what content is needed to attract patients that the practice wants and needs to achieve the goals they have set.

Analytics are crucial in every practice, no matter how big or how small. It does not matter whether you are tracking numbers with pencil and paper, on spreadsheets, or using amazing software programs such as Dental Intell, Weave, or any other program. Every team has to know the practice’s goals for production and collections and look at the numbers on a day-to-day basis to know what they have to do to meet the goals. You can not make a plan to achieve it if you do not know where you are!!! Again, the consultant has to know what methods are available to the practice to help it achieve goals. This requires continual education in methods that can accomplish this. Talk with folks that work for dental software companies, look for different ways to track numbers (spreadsheets, etc…).

Clinical services need always to be added or upgraded to take a practice to the next level. Obstructive Sleep Apnea and airway issues have become prevalent in dentistry in the last several years. Many dentists are unaware of it or do not know how to integrate this into their practice. A dental consultant can only guide them in how to do this if they possess the proper education themselves. Courses for dental implants, orthodontics, sleep apnea, and CEREC are just a few examples. A consultant can only recommend these services to a client and tell them how it will add to the practice, which elevates patient care if they have the knowledge to do so.  

Continuing education is key. But so is collaboration. Personally, I love to learn. I love having my brain “tickled,” and I love pushing myself to learn as much as I can about everything dental…and some non-dental!! But I love to talk with people that have the same passion and drive that I do when it comes to the dental field and to helping people. That fires me up! I recently attended the Coaching Mastery Summit in Snowbird, Utah, that was hosted by one of our partners Dental Intel. This event was the single most inspiring, rewarding conference I have ever been blessed to be a part of, I cannot make it any clearer.

I met some of the most brilliant, kind, passionate, compassionate, excited, innovative folks I have ever had the pleasure to be around. The team from Dental Intel put everything they had into this Summit, and every attendee and speaker knew it. These folks were there to learn and soak up everything they could from one another so they could go out and pay it forward to their clients. There was no “competition.”  There were no “boundaries,” just people wanting to help people. A genuine desire to learn from and with one another. In a world that has become so hardened and unwilling to collaborate and work together, it was truly a few days I will never forget and invaluable new relationships that were fostered. I cannot thank Dental Intel and their team enough for bringing that group together. By the way, I spent a lot of time with this group of folks from Dental Intel. They are amazing humans that are passionate about what they do, and their software is nothing short of game changing! Check them out!  You won’t regret it!

Always keep learning. Always do your best. Always bring your best.

Sherri Merritt is a dental consultant and coach with Bryant Consultants. She has spent many years as a dental assistant, a trainer for Niche Seminars, and has worked under Dr. Brad Durham of Savannah, Georgia, who was the first dentist to be awarded a Mastership from the prestigious Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies. Her training and coaching techniques help practices around the country improve their practice systems and team communication to produce effective results, happier teams, and best of all, create a better patient experience. To learn more, just call (877) 768-4799 or email INFO@BRYANTCONSULTANTS.COM.

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