There Are Two Kinds of Dental Practices …
The Capabilities-Driven Practice is built around the business and patient model that became the standard for dentistry around 1967, when insurance was introduced and many people suddenly had coverage for regular hygiene. Its systems—for insurance, recare and accounts receivable—have been organized around that model.
It’s a model that’s designed to deliver tooth-based care to people who make dental care decisions based on insurance. Team job roles are based around this model. Even the practitioner’s commitment to CE and professional growth is designed to accommodate this model of delivering everyday care in an efficient way.
This model, though, was introduced at a time when the most expensive crown was about $90, so the $1,000 personal insurance limit covered a lot of dentistry. That’s obviously not the case anymore, yet most practices still follow this model out of habit.
A capabilities-based practice is by its nature limited. The focus is on the dentistry the team is comfortable presenting and that patients are comfortable accepting. It’s dentistry that takes place within a long-established world of its own.
The Possibilities-Based Practice on the other hand, sees the exciting revolutions happening in the world beyond dentistry and wants to become a part of it. The people who run these practices are not content to stick with the old template.
They ask themselves challenging questions: What are patients looking for today? What is their mindset? What things do they value most highly? Why? How can I get them to value dentistry that way? How can I get them to engage with me in a meaningful way on social media platforms? It’s not about just re-paving the old path with new technologies, it’s about rethinking the quality of the experience from the ground up using contemporary patient goals as the starting point.
That doesn’t mean you throw out everything the capabilities-based practice stands for, it’s just that you should look at that tooth-based model as a foundation to build on. Regular recare and maintenance should be a given. The new world of dentistry is beyond that.