On this week’s podcast episode, I speak with Dr. Kristina Palmer
Kristina grew up in Michigan and later moved to Milwaukee to attend dental school at Marquette University. She graduated in 2005 and immediately knew she wanted her own dental practice. Kristina is an avid MSU sports fan and participates in various marathons and fundraising events to help raise money for charities. She bought her own practice (Kristina Palmer DDS) in 2012 and has always strived to improve her patients’ smiles each day at work.
On the podcast we discussed:
- The evolution of Kristina’s practice and how it has changed over the years
- How to get started with sleep apnea
- Marketing tips and learning how to market new services to your existing patients
- Importance of having ‘procedure champions’ in your team
- Implementing sleep apnea and other sleep dentistry services to your practice
- Transitioning from student to teacher in regards to new procedures at your practice
- Sleep as a team driven process and the low overhead costs of getting started
- When you should bring on an associate to help ease the workload
To listen to the podcast episode click on the player below:
And here’s a bit more detail about our discussion…
Evolution of Kristina Palmer DDS
I asked Kristina how her practice has changed since she transitioned from associate to practice owner and how different procedures evolved over the years.
Kristina said that the main advancement the practice underwent since she became the sole owner was the introduction of new technology such as the CEREC machine. CEREC is used to design a tooth restoration using high-quality three-dimensional imagery.
Getting started with sleep apnea
Kristina attended the Sleep 101 course at 3D Dentists last year, which motivates team members and practitioners to look at sleep apnea differently so that they can understand how to implement it into their practice.
Following the course, Kristina began to implement sleep appliances to her practice and delivered 28 sleep appliances between June and December 2017.
Marketing sleep services
I was interested to know how Kristina marketed sleep services to her patients. She admitted that in the beginning, she marketed very minimally and only to patients that were ‘low hanging fruit.’ In other words, the people she ‘targeted’ were existing patients that already had a problem and she only made them aware of the service.
I think this approach is not only smart marketing but smart dentistry. If you can empower your team members, provide the education and implement a plan, you can do excellent on your existent patient base.
Specialist team members
Kristina talked about her team members with a particular focus on her current hygienist, who is ready to ‘stop scraping teeth.’
My practice offers a range of procedures including implants, sleep, Invisalign and I always tell my team the same thing – there has to be a champion of each procedure and the position is open to anyone.
Transitioning from student to expert
As previously mentioned, Kristina attended a course for sleep apnea here at 3D Dentists. I wanted to know how she went from being a student at the course, bringing it back to her own practice and implementing it at a high level.
Kristina explains the steps she took to introduce sleep apnea, attributing a lot of her success to further education in the form of dentistry courses and educational programs.
She also noted three steps she took following the course at 3D Dentists:
• Learning about medical billing
• Having a ‘champion’ at the office
• Learning about the required software
Kristina firmly believes that if she didn’t take these three steps after completing the course, it would’ve taken years for her to get going.
It’s clear that Kristina was committed to succeeding with this procedure. She committed to the education and making sure she had the necessary tools to implement sleep apnea at such a high level.
Low overhead cost of getting started
I’m someone who believes that sleep is a team driven process, but it also has a low overhead cost of getting started. Despite what many of you may believe, you don’t need the latest technology to begin implementing sleep apnea.
When I spoke with Kristina, we talked about how easy it is to implement a new service once you have a few cases under your belt. I would suggest aiming to get those first cases underway within the first few months, or you risk losing momentum.
As we approached the end of the episode, it was Kristina’s turn to put me on the spot. I was open to any questions she had about sleep apnea or the general running of her practice.
Like many of my guests on the show, Kristina is considering whether or not it’s time for her to bring on an associate.
To answer her question accurately, I asked her a few questions of my own. If you find yourself in a similar position to Kristina, you can ask yourself the following questions to help decide whether you should bring on an associate to your team:
1. Are you planting dental implants?
2. Are you doing orthodontists or procedures such as Invisalign?
In Kristina’s case, she is not planting dental implants, but she is doing a lot of orthodontist work such as Invisalign. My advice to improve her business is to assign Invisalign as a champion item, and it won’t be long before she starts to see that procedure grow.
When people try to balance work and home life, it can be difficult to do either one successfully without having some struggle or time restraints in your schedule. I believe that most dental practices should bring on an associate when their number hits anywhere between $800,000 to one million dollars.
Kristina’s advice to other dentists
The last question I had for Kristina was this: What is the one piece of advice you have for other dentists to achieve success?
Kristina’s advice for success is to have the right team on-board. You have to take the time and the money to invest and train your team members to be the best that they can be.
Watch our conversation by hitting play on the video below:
You can get in touch with Kristina by sending her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or following her on Twitter.
If you would like to find out more about how you can successful implement sleep apnea to your practice, sign up for our sleep apnea course: Sleep Apnea 101.
Don’t forget to follow 3D Dentists on Facebook to keep up with the latest courses and head over to the T-Bone Speaks Facebook page to stay updated with the latest podcast episodes.
This article originally appeared on T-BoneSpeaks.com.