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R Kirk Huntsman blog about Omer Reed

The dental industry includes more than just your dentist’s chair where you sit for a yearly  checkup. The business of dentistry is multilayered and multifaceted—which include, but aren’t limited to, the various elements of running a successful dental practice.

Many people have an undesirable association with the word “dentist,” because they think of the traditionally painful aspects of dental exams. As a dentist (or someone who works in a related area of the dental industry), it can be discouraging to know and hear when so many people have a negative knee-jerk reaction to what you do. Which is why a number of dentists express dissatisfaction with their jobs.

But some folks in the dental industry are working to turn things around for the better.

In a Q&A with Forbes last week, Bill Dickerson, founder and CEO of the Las Vegas Institute of Advanced Dental Studies (LVI Global), talked frankly about how he dealt with burnout and fatigue early in his career. Dickerson offers good advice for dentists at every stage of their careers. Here are a few takeaways from his interview:

Why People Think Dentist Is a Bad Word

“Nobody really wants to see the dentist,” says Dickerson. “Patients come into your office and they’re under stress. They don’t want to be there, but they know they need to be there. Then you put a filling in the patient’s mouth and they leave. You might see the patient later in the grocery store, but they don’t even recognize you or know your name. And that’s why so many dentists don’t like being dentists. There’s a statistic out there that 67 percent of dentists wouldn’t go into dentistry if they could start over again.”

The People Who Need a Dentist vs. The People Who Want a Dentist

Wilkerson says he went to hear a lecture by Dr. Omer Reed on the philosophy of ‘want-based’ dentistry. The theory: Nobody really wants to go to any kind of doctor unless it’s to improve their appearance. So like a plastic surgeon, dentists have the opportunity  to create aesthetic-based services for otherwise happy patients who want to see them.

A Good Dental Practice Is Always Evolving

Dickerson’s LVI Global is one of many continuing education classes and training options for dentists. The thing to remember: Planning and strategizing for your dental practice shouldn’t end the day you open your doors. Continued education and seeking expert business advice are keys to maintaining a thriving, satisfying and profitable practice.