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Words of wisdom to new dentists: select a business model that fits

Sharing stories and insights as both an educator and a colleague from a small town Ohio private practice, Dr. Gary DeWood encouraged his audience to visualize where they want to go so they can take steps to get there.

In his Thursday morning continuing education course, Debt and the New Dentist, he said, "If you can picture it, you will find yourself, unconsciously, taking steps to make it happen. Thinking about the 'buts' will lead to what you think is the universe conspiring against you. But when you visualize, and things fall into place, just remember, it wasn't the universe aligning. You made it happen."

Dr. DeWood discussed business management strategies, from vision to mission to planning, during the program at the Hawaii Convention Center.

He also explained the differences between vision, hallucination and fantasy. "If it's an hallucination, no one else ever sees it."

As a dental student nearing graduation, Dr. DeWood said he worried about three things: getting out of dental school, passing the board and getting a job.

"I thought debt was the enemy and getting out of debt was the first thing I should do," he said. "But getting out of debt early cost me $3.8 million. I encourage you to think of debt as a business tool."

He encouraged participants to select a business model that fits their needs, but not to be afraid to adjust as their needs and goals change.

"Think about ideas you can take back to your practice. Visualize them and share them with your staff so they can help you make them happen."

Dr. DeWood, president of The Seattle Institute and vice president for clinical education of the Spear Institute in Scottsdale, Ariz., will present two Friday courses, TMD, TMJ and Cranio-mandibular Evaluation (with Dr. Henry Gremillion) and It's Better with a Plan: Grow Your Practice with the Revenue Goal Planner. He and Dr. Gremillion will also present Bite-splint and Occlusal Therapy in the General Practice on Saturday.