I’m thrilled to welcome Dr. Heath Brantley to the show for an interesting discussion about what it really means to be a dentist and how you can develop a deeper connection with your patients.
Dr. Heath Brantley graduated from dental school in 2013 and began working as an associate for two years. He always knew that he wanted to buy his own practice and despite the discouragement he received from others along the way, he remained focused and worked hard to follow his ambitions. It wasn’t long before he bought his own dental practice, “Wendall Family Dentistry” in his hometown of Wendall, NC.
On the podcast we discussed:
- Heath’s journey from finishing dentistry school to working as an associate and how he came to open his own practice in his hometown of Wendall
- Important characteristics to look for when you’re looking to buy a practice for the first time
- Why seeking advice from an attorney is necessary when buying or selling a dental practice
- How you can connect with your patients
- An insight into laser dentistry technology and how Heath uses it in his practice
- How giving your patients hope should be one of your top priorities as a dentist
If you would prefer to listen to the podcast hit play below:
Here’s a more detailed overview of our discussion:
Opening a practice in a small town
I was intrigued to find out more about Heath’s journey from starting his career as an associate dentist to becoming the proud owner of his own practice.
We discussed the lack of opportunity in a small town like Wendall for a practitioner to buy his/her own practice. The town has a population of fewer than seven thousand people, and Heath faced a lot of obstacles when he began looking for the “perfect practice” to buy in the area. However, he knew that Wendall was the place where he wanted to run his business – so he refused to give up.
Heath admits that during his struggle to find the right establishment to open a dental practice in the area, he “tried to make something out of nothing.”
What to look for when buying a practice
Although there were a few practices available, none reached Heath’s expectations. I asked him about what he considers to be the most important characteristics when buying your own practice.
He advises that when you’re in the process of searching for a practice to buy, you need to find one that has a high density. This means that there is enough potential in the area for you to open and maintain a successful practice, rather than investing in a practice that’s ‘doomed to fail.’
Find a practice with good patient base numbers, which refers to how many active patients a practice has and the overall recall rate. Ideally, Heath wanted to invest in a practice with at least 2,000 patients, and if he couldn’t find one, he would build his own practice instead.
Advice for new practice owners
We talked about the early days of his practice and how much it has grown over the years. When he first bought it, the practice had around eight new patients each month. The technology wasn’t great, and the computers were dated. He had to update a lot of the technology and invest money in bringing the practice “up to scratch.”
Heath advises new practice owners to seek advice from a CPA or an attorney so that you remain level-headed and don’t get bogged down with the details. Whenever you’re selling or buying your first practice, you’ll have a lot of pressure on your shoulders, and sometimes it can be difficult to break free from that to make the right decisions for yourself and your practice.
Through a lot of hard work and dedication, Heath and his team were able to grow the practice substantially. He introduced a more extensive option of procedures such as root canals, surgical extractions, and laser dentistry.
How to connect with your patients
Sometimes it can be difficult to establish a connection or bond with a patient. A lot of the time, this can be due to the way in which the dentist is talking to the patient.
For example, if you talk to a patient while they’re in the chair or while you’re looking at a computer screen or down at your notes – you lose that initial connection, and it makes it difficult for the patient to trust you.
One of the best things you can do to connect with your patient is to talk to them on their level, both physically and conversationally. Make eye contact and as I always say, “inform before you perform.”
Give the patient an overview of what the visit will entail, what they can expect, how long it will take and ask them if they have any questions for you. This helps to establish a deeper connection, and it makes the patient feel more comfortable and confident.
Laser Dentistry Technology
When Heath bought his practice, he knew that he would eventually need to invest in different forms of technology such as Cone Beam and CEREC. He gave himself a timeline of two years to buy these two machines, but because the practice did so well, he was able to purchase both machines within the first six months.
Heath attributes a lot of his practice’s growth and success to this new technology. He also invested in expanding laser dentistry procedures at his practice, which includes hard tissue and soft tissue treatments.
Laser dentistry treatments are appealing to patients because:
1. Most procedures do not require anesthesia
2. They have a speedy recovery time
3. The chance of getting a bacterial infection decreases
Heath said that since he began using laser dentistry treatments, the profit of his practice has increased by up to 60% with a 99% success rate.
Giving your patients hope
During our discussion, we talked about what it means to be a dentist and how we have the power to give our patients hope.
It’s important to let your patients know that it’s okay to say no to a procedure. Whether they can’t afford to pay for it or they are unsure if they want to go ahead with a treatment plan, they should be able to say no without fear that they’ve missed out on their only chance.
Give your patients hope and let them know that if one day they wake up and decide to say yes, you’ll be there for them.
To watch the full episode hit play on the video below:
My discussion with Dr. Heath Brantley warranted a Part Two, so make sure to follow me on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with the show and tune into the second part of this fascinating interview with an inspiring dentist and practice owner.
This article originally appeared on T-BoneSpeaks.com.