Choosing Value…The Most Important Parameter of a Shade

November 23, 2020 Lee Ann Brady DMD

When we send tooth color or shade information to the dental lab, the most important aspect is the value. This is the light reflectiveness of the tooth. We describe it as looking bright or gray. Choosing value is important, and it is often overlooked.

Value is the amount of light reflected off of an object. Low value occurs as light goes through an object or is deflected away from our eyes. High value occurs as light is reflected back to our eyes. Teeth that are lower in value appear grayer. Teeth that are higher in value appear brighter.

Value was difficult for me to choose until I started using the VITA 3D-Master Linearguide system that uses the same designators as the VITA Toothguide 3D-Master system, but additionally has a dark gray card that allows you to make value comparisons from 0 (zero)–the most reflective, to 5–the least reflective. I just put the dark gray value lineation card (shown above) against the patient’s teeth and move it from right to left to find the value that has the same light reflectiveness as the tooth. Based on the value I choose, the VITA 3D-Master Linearguide tells me which cards in the system to use to select the chroma and hue.

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Lee Ann Brady DMD

Dr. Lee Ann Brady is passionate about dentistry, her family and making a difference. She is a general dentist and owns a practice in Glendale, AZ limited to restorative dentistry. Lee’s passion for dental education began as a CE junkie herself, pursuing lots of advanced continuing education focused on Restorative and Occlusion. In 2005, she became a full time resident faculty member for The Pankey Institute, and was promoted to Clinical Director in 2006. Lee joined Spear Education as Executive VP of Education in the fall of 2008 to teach and coordinate the educational curriculum. In June of 2011, she left Spear Education, founded leeannbrady.com and joined the dental practice she now owns as an associate. Today, she teaches at dental meetings and study clubs both nationally and internationally, continues to write for dental journals and her website, sits on the editorial board of the Journal of Cosmetic Dentistry, Inside Dentistry and DentalTown Magazines and is the Director of Education for The Pankey Institute.

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Many Don’t Realize Their Pain Is Abnormal

November 20, 2020 Kelley Brummett DMD

When working with participants at The Pankey Institute, I help them analyze dental cases to assess the risk for joint and muscle problems. I often hear, “The patient is not reporting any pain.” Yet, the dental records indicate the patient is at high risk of experiencing pain.

I have discovered a question to ask my patients that reveals their personal pain tolerance. “When you have a headache or muscle pain, at what level of pain do you take an Advil?” Some patients say at level 1 or 2. Others say not until it is a 12. Patients are all up and down the scale.

This one question leads to the patient’s self-discovery about how they perceive pain and potentially tolerate abnormal pain when they are “diseased.” Further conversation helps the patient understand symptoms they have been dismissing indicate abnormalities that can be “treated” for a healthier, longer-lasting dentition and more comfortable life.

And this brings me back to how we diagnose and plan treatment in general. Sometimes the questions we ask our dental patients aren’t structured to get us the information we are hoping for. If we gather inaccurate impressions from their responses to our questions, we go down the wrong path clinically. Asking more powerful, well-crafted questions allows us to better know the patient and get more complete information to better understand their situation.

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Kelley Brummett DMD

Dr. Kelley D. Brummett was born and raised in Missouri. She attended the University of Kansas on a full-ride scholarship in springboard diving and received honors for being the Big Eight Diving Champion on the 1 meter springboard in 1988 and in 1992. Dr. Kelley received her BA in communication at the University of Kansas and went on to receive her Bachelor of Science in Nursing. After practicing nursing, Dr Kelley Brummett went on to earn a degree in Dentistry at the Medical College of Georgia. She has continued her education at the Pankey Institute to further her love of learning and her pursuit to provide quality individual care. Dr. Brummett is a Clinical Instructor at Georgia Regents University and is a member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. Dr. Brummett and her husband Darin have two children, Sarah and Sam. They have made Newnan their home for the past 9 years. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, reading and playing with her dogs. Dr. Brummett is an active member of the ADA, GDA, AGDA, and an alumni of the Pankey Institute.

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Five P’s for a Better Future

November 12, 2020 North Shetter DDS

In times of disruption, small changes can have a large impact. Follow the 5 P’s and see where Proper Planning to Prevent Poor Performance leads you.

Those of you who experienced the joys of boot camp may remember the 5P’s: Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance. Since we are all stuck waiting to get back to the office, now is a great time to work on plans for a preferred future.

Although we will be opening in a disrupted world and the market we left has been transformed by forces outside our control, good business principles and practices remain valid. Here are some key performance indicators adapted from Roger Levin’s 2019 article about the KPI’s every dentist should know.

Production, Collections and Profit

Review your production, collections and profit for the last 12 months. Levin points out that the trend on each of these items should be up. Sounds simple but it is not. Dig in and analyze deeper. Start with monthly figures and look for trends, then weekly and daily. What are your most productive procedures, days, time of days? When was your last fee increase? Analyze your outstanding accounts. You should be collecting 98% with only a small percentage over 60 days outstanding. How much are you writing off due to insurance mandates? How profitable are you? Have you set any goals? Understand that any item in your practice that is not true overhead is profit. Now you are ready to start working “on” your business.

What percentage of your active patients is currently scheduled? Nobody should every leave your office without another appointment. Your goal should be 98% of active patients are scheduled for some form of care. What is your case acceptance rate? Are you tracking patients with planned treatment that is not scheduled? What is your average production per patient? What is your average production per new patient? It should be at least two times greater than existing patients. What is your hygiene cancellation rate? If you are not happy with what you are learning, now is the time to be planning for better outcomes.

Overhead

Now is the time to carefully assess every item included in your overhead. If you have a practice generating a million dollars, a 2% decrease in overhead is $20,000 directly to profit. Levin Group tells us that general dental practices should have overhead at 59%. Very few practices meet that goal. It is very likely that new mandates from the government will be coming for PPE and testing. Now is the time to get lean and mean in this area.

Patients

Are you tracking your monthly new patient growth and your patient attrition? With all the media attention to aerosol spreading of Covid-19, it is likely there will be resistance to treatment and dentistry in general. Knowing your current situation is important. It is imperative that you use every means available to help your current and new clients understand that you are concerned for their health and safety as well as to emphasize that deferring treatment will only lead to future more difficult and expensive problems.

Staff Costs

The elephant in the room…staff costs in a general dental practice should be 25% of collected production. Your team members are the most expensive and most important part of your business. You may want to share your homework with your team – or even involve your team in the exercises above.

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North Shetter DDS

Dr Shetter attended the University of Detroit Mercy where he received his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree in 1972. He then entered the U. S. Army and provided dental care at Ft Bragg, NC for the 82nd Airborne and Special Forces. In late 1975 he and his wife Jan moved to Menominee, MI and began private practice. He now is the senior doctor in a three doctor small group practice. Dr. Shetter has studied extensively at the Pankey Institute, been co-director of a Seattle Study Club branch in Green Bay WI where he has been a mentor to several dental offices. He has been a speaker for the Seattle Study Club. He has postgraduate training in orthodontics, implant restorative procedures, sedation and sleep disordered breathing. His practice is focused on fee for service, outcomes based dentistry. Marina Cove Consulting LLC is his effort to help other dentists discover emotional and economic success and deliver the highest standard of care they are capable of.

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