TBU #048 : How Do We Define Success as a Biomimetic Dentist?May 20, 2023
For biomimetic dentistry, how do we measure success? Think about this for a second.
Is it the money we bring in? Is it the amount of redos we do? Is the lifestyle that is created? Is it the schedule we have? Is it the amount of teeth we're saving? Is it helping our patients? The amount of onlays we do instead of crowns?
I'm sure it's different for everyone. But lets debate a few things...
One of my favorite people to follow on social media is Gary Vaynerchuk. He runs all sorts of different social business. He has media company, sports agency, he does consulting, public speaking, etc. He's been around for a while and is always sharing relevant content if you aren't familiar with him.
I came across this quote from him the other day on one of his accounts.
I caught myself thinking about this and how it applies to what I do. I love this quote. It's about a mind shift away from the norm, into something that is a deeper meaning. Success shouldn't be about money, but it should be a state of mind, how we feel, and ultimately give us more of a purpose for what we do.
SO... for me, success in biomimetic dentistry is about what it offers me.
Here's three ways that I define success in biomimetics.
1. Chair Time
On the business side, biomimetics offers me more chair time and a lower redo rate. It opens up the amount of people I can see in a day just merely by the fact that nearly all of my appointments are done in a single visit. Hardly are people coming back to seat something, to adjust the bite, to talk about why something is sensitive after a treatment, etc. I'm done with my restorative procedures in about 60-90 mins. Its great.
That open chair time allows me more time to on other tasks during the day.
Let's talk about exams. I've mentioned it before, but I'll spend a decent amount of time in my exams and consults. Other clinicians might hate this but its actually been beneficial to the growth of my practice. This is establishing trust, openness, and communication with my patients. It's working on internal marketing with the ones that are most likely to refer people to me. I'll often hear at the end of the exam, "oh, thanks for taking the time to clarify this for me", or "No one has ever explained this to me the way you have, thanks!". Thats almost always followed up with "I'll be sure to send my family over to you" or something along those lines. And best part about it, they do! So that free time I have in my schedule turns into productive time and a cheap way to market and find new patients.
2. Work Life Balance
I'm a busy person outside of my office. I have a family with three kids. All of my kids are very active in their hobbies and events. My daughter is doing about 20 hrs a week in dance, plays in the middle school orchestra, enjoys arts and crafts, and has a mini side business doing all sorts of beaded accessories like bracelets, necklaces, charms etc. My other tow boys are hardcore into baseball and are spending easily 15 hours a week practicing, games, and playing it with neighborhood friends. I also coach both of their teams. My wife and I like to go out as much as we can whenever the schedule allows too. The point is, I don't have much stress outside of the office worrying about cases. I'm not having to worry about if something is healing right, or the status of what's happening. For the most part patients aren't calling me either with giant toothaches or pains. I'll occasionally get a call that a crown has fallen off (not from me of course) or other minor issues. But that's like 5 times in the four years that I've had this office. So being able to turn my work brain off when I get home is a huge thing for me. Biomimetics brings that clarity and peace of mind. Partly due to the high success rate that we have in the office. Which brings to the next point.
3. Clinical Success
This is the part that I think most people are curious about. So far within dentistry, there really isn't anything that states or tells what is working. Within biomimetics, we always say that we prevent crowns, endo treatments, or other similar things. While it's true that there is a high rate of crowns that lead to root canals, it's hard to say how much our work is leading to root canals. The field of Biomimetics is fairly new and developing. The downside to what we do, is that we don't have much documented long term cases and survival rates. If you talk to those that have done this for longer, they will tell you they have cases of 5 years, 10 years, 20 years etc. But most of the time, the documentation is fairly poor and missing info. Regardless, it's something to be said that we have seen cases for for 20+ years. It can happen, and does happen.
So first, let's attempt to define clinical success. As mentioned in a previous post, insurances are covering 'fillings' about every 2-5 years. So if we can get longer than what the patient and insurance companies are expecting to get from it that's a win. That means we're above average.
I'd also measure clinical success based off the patient experience. The ease of the appointment, the post op sensitivity, the amount of chair time and visits are also something we need to consider. There is a lot of dentistry that can be done without anesthesia due to the how we remove decay and the parameters we work in as well as how the resin seals the dentin with our IDS steps.
In bigger more complex cases, I'd look at how long we are able to postpone a root canal, extraction or implant as well. Sometimes what we do has the sole goal of being able to buy time and postpone those bigger more permanent treatment options.
Success is complex thing. There's no one right or wrong definition. But one thing that's for sure, the better we get at delivering biomimetic dentistry, the more doors are opened to us.