Northern Dental Alliance Welcomes New Member

The NDA - based in Minnesota, recently welcomed their newest dental alliance member, Leanne M. Mathieu Kramer. Ms. Kramer has worked in the dental profession for over 20 years. She brings her expertise for infection control and OSHA compliance training as well as implementation of these elements for dentist offices in Minnesota.

Leanne saw a need among these dental practices after working in the clinical setting for many years. With so much focus on quality patient care, new products and technology, many dentists and dental offices find it difficult to keep up with written infection control, MSDS, and radiation manuals.

She started her dental consultant firm Statements Plus Compliance Solutions, Inc. to help dentists achieve their other goals more efficiently and effectively.

Leanne is authorized by the Department of Labor as an OSHA Outreach Trainer in General Industry. Her memberships include, The Organization for Safety and Asepsis Procedures, American Dental Assistants Association, Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, and ChiroCode News.

What Minnesota Dentists Say About Leanne
"Leanne is the consummate professional. She has a thorough understanding of all OSHA policies and procedures. But more importantly, Leanne has a well-organized implementation plan that allows your dental office to be completely OSHA compliant. I would highly recommend Leanne and Statements Plus."
> Dentist in Bloomington, MN

"Let's be honest - no one enjoys OSHA, HIPAA or radiology lectures. Leanne makes it convenient and pain free. She is very organized. It's a great way for everyone to stay up to date and get CE. It also allows the doctors to focus their attention on other things."
> Pediatric Dentist - Coon Rapids, MN

"OSHA training needn't be a source of dread with you or among your staff. Get a professional to help! She will have both a diagnosis AND a prescription just for your dental practice. I offer a whole hearted endorsement of Leanne's services...she made the complex task a simpler one for us...all we needed to do is make one call. Thanks, Leanne!"
> Preventive Care, Restorative, Cosmetic Dentistry - St. Cloud, MN

The NDA encourages dentists to contact Leanne and make sure your practice is set up exactly how patients expect it already is - safe, secure, and health regulation compliant.
The Northern Dental Alliance graciously welcomes Leanne as a member. More importantly, her expertise and knowledge offers NDA's client-dentists a way to achieve even higher levels of success.

Sincerely, Dick Chwalek - Niche Dental President


Laboratory & Dentist Collaboration creates Beautiful, Healthy Smile Makeovers

What do consumers want from dentistry? They want lasting results. Will they always want to pay for it? That depends on how it is presented and what the dentist is actually able to deliver.

The right dental laboratory is an important element in achieving the level of smile makeover results most consumers "really" want. While everyone wants to pay as little as possible, dental patients expect their dentistry to last. Going the other direction (lower quality to hit a price point) in too many cases just exacerbates the low value view they have about dentistry.

Of course, it is not easy to overcome the low value issue when they want to pay less because they don't believe that there is value in doing more. Obviously, if you suggest more than the dental insurance industry covers, you are "selling" them a bill of goods.

The insurance companies are only looking out for their policy holders--would never steer them in the wrong direction. A dentist who is trying to heal patients has to be the bad person when they do more than an insurance company. Four years of dental school, a residency, thousands of hours of continuing education and many years of experience are merely a ploy to oversell their patients on some crazy idea of comprehensive health.

The dental insurance provider that covers $1,000 per year in dental work -- which pays for one or two restorations - has to be thinking only about the patient's long-term health. Their altruism is rock solid and is based on the best interests of their patients. That is the only way to think about it, right?

Then again, if you think about how most of us (dental consumers) access dentistry, which is usually haphazardly or only at the point of complete dental deterioration (see your state's edentulous stats here) then you might see how the $1,000/year is actually very problematic.
Imagine going five years without seeing the dentist. You can't get your $5,000 back from the insurance company (if you even have insurance). Plus your dental health probably has declined significantly. That $1,000/year might have covered things if we as dental consumers used it each year. But now you probably need to double it to correct what you have done to your smile.

So you are now up to $10,000 or let's say just $7,500. Maybe it has been 10 years since you have visited the dentist. Then it might be 2.5 to 3 times what it cost if you would have been a model preventive care patient so $25,000 to $30,000. Now who is snookering whom in this situation: the assertive dentist who actually has the expertise or the patient in denial with their insurance company with their paltry $1,000 handout?
While the insurance provider has not done anything wrong contractually, not accepting the dentist's comprehensive smile makeover plan often gives the patient the impression that the dentist is over diagnosing. Basically, the insurance company is saying, "continue doing one-tooth-at-a-time dentistry like they did back in the 20th century". Use 21st century technology for the restoration - but the same treatment strategy from back when high tech meant having the latest version of the Craftsman pliers--dentist edition.

Yes, $10,000 is a lot of money, and paying your dentist $30,000 might even seem obscene to some. Then again it was all the rage to pay a huge sum for a Harley chopper, but for some reason having a healthy set of choppers is worth so much less. 

Paying a car and bike salesman enough to live in a mansion is just fine. But a dentist that have a ton of debt before they even start their career, and does work most of us could not do (that actually makes people feel better in many ways) is looked at in a negative light for wanting to make you healthier and to make some money as they do it.

There might be a few Bernie Madoff dentists out there - but before you label every dentist in that vein - look in the mirror and see how well you can smile without one in your life.

When searching out a dentist that has your health in mind make sure they work with a dental laboratory that backs them up with a quality result.

Dental Marketing/Consumer Perception Commentary by
Dick Chwalek
Call 866-453-1026

Photos provided by Renstrom Dental Studio
View more of this Minnesota lab's cosmetic dentistry and smile makeover results.


Turn Around Marketing/Conclusion of Dentists Following The Sameness Stampede

Read Part One: Dentists Sap Their Value When Following The Sameness Stampede


So TURN AROUND. Go another direction. Say something different. Be something different. Don't be a dentist. Don't offer dentistry. Be an expert, a lifesaver, a people problem solver, a comfort achiever, or whatever fits your expertise, experience, personality, location, etc. Differentiate!

Simply by turning around you will get noticed. This is not about exclusivity or being a boutique dental practice. It is specificity. Be specific about who you are and what you can do for the dental consumer. Yes, this is focused mostly on people with a lot of discretionary funds. But people who want what "they now see" and would pay much more than you would ever expect -- will start coming in as well - even in this tough economy.

I have seen - how this tough economy is an opportunity for making this happen. While the go-go days are gone for now - in times like this people will think about what is really valuable to them. They are ready to change their focus.

Because everyone is chasing the same thing -- there is a lot still left on the table. Turn Around your dental marketing and you will see the rewarding banquet and so will they. Think about it. There are 75 million baby boomers and 10 of millions of even older Americans - the two groups that have all the discretionary money. Plus they have more extensive dental disease and smile makeover needs than the younger set. More dental needs, more discretionary money, not sure how things can get better than that!

More specifically, I read an article that estimated there is 0 billion in dental implants to be placed right now if everyone that needed them got them. Even if it is 0 billion - if 25,000 dentists turned around and focused on them that is 0K more per year in their pocket for 20 years. Just for dental implants. Without turn around dental marketing, most people will never "see" the value.

In reality a lot less than 10,000 dentists will turn around their dental marketing because following the marketing herd is very seductive. For example, there are oodles of low-cost "following/competing" dental postcards, websites and other marketing products online right now. Google makes it even easier to follow and consume sameness.

But let other dental practices chase the tail of sameness because that means even more money is on the table for you. Of course, being creative and changing the dynamic takes some thought and commitment. But if you want more consumers to turn around and see the value in your dental expertise, then turning around how you value communication might be worthwhile as well.


Your Two DENTISTRY Marketing Choices

  • A) To compete, go to,, and where dental marketing sameness can be searched in all its sap-a-licious splendor.

  • B) To turn around, see things differently, and help your patients and consumers in this way as well, Niche Dental can help put things into focus.

Contact Niche Dental - Email or Call 866-453-1026

Dental Marketing Commentary by

Dick Chwalek

Dental Communication Integration Consultant


Dentists Sap Their Value When Following The Sameness Stampede

There are TWO ways to approach dental marketing...

1) Compete 2) Turn around. 

Dentists Competing for Patients

Competing dental marketing is very challenging and costly in many ways because there are numerous players. Turn Around marketing is like judo: using the "generic heft and creative complacency" of this large group to take advantage of what they cannot see or target.

Competing marketing players are looking for everyone to be their dental patients. They see this huge mass of dental consumers and wonder why they can't get a large chunk of them. They want to fill the dental chairs and maybe at some point move them to higher-level procedures like cosmetic dentistry.

There is nothing wrong with dental practices that go this route. It is just that to compete in the general arena means you communicate in simple and similar terms like your competition. You say "FREE", half-off, toothache, and dental emergencies. Possibly you now say Invisalign, CEREC, Lumineers veneers, and ZOOM! But pretty soon every dentist is saying those things as well.

Dentists that follow and compete like this often get worn out. In addition, as they pursue this sameness strategy, dental consumers get trained to expect sameness. For example, most consumers want things at the lowest cost possible, you and me included. But there some things we also will pay a lot for. "I would like a new smile but it’s a lot of money. Plus I just bought a big screen TV and we are going to Mazatlan again this year."

What is wrong then; why is your dental expertise not a higher priority? Consumers do not see YOU! They see a dentist. They see dentistry. And they already "understand" dentistry. "It should be covered by dental insurance. It should be low cost. Of course, something should be free. And finally, when the dentist tries to explain why I need a lot of dentistry and it does not fit this sameness pattern, he/she is trying to 'sell me' something. 

But what if you have tons of dental CE? Can create lasting, healthy, beautiful smiles? Have many years of experience? Treat people not teeth? If you are doing one or all these things, YOUR consumers should see something else besides the "same idea of dentistry" people saw 30 years ago when things were more similar.

Yes, dental technology and all the cool cosmetic and restorative techniques can get you noticed. But the "new service/technology theme" is short-lived and often shallow in value because it is not focused on people. People make decisions and that means the "justification process" is complicated. Some of it is logical but it also has to do with fear, ignorance, complacency, and emotion. And a beautiful smile might only be a small influence on taking that final step.

People only connect to things that have deep meaning; otherwise "simple" rules the day. Free Whitening focuses on simple. Exciting, yes. But still simple, especially when Wal-mart also sells it. They only remember FREE -- whitening is forgotten quickly and then they think - free dentistry from the local dentist who must not have much expertise if he/she is promoting free services. Low cost marketing "works" - but where does it take you?

When dental consumers are not connected - you can lose them very easily. When you do general (competing) dental marketing you invite them to not expect value because you are competing with the same message everyone is offering. You are making the blur of sameness blurrier. Sameness is valueless when it comes to dental treatment beyond cleanings and "fillings". 

More on Sameness Stampede Marketing In my next Dental Coaching Blog entry. NOW POSTED.

Contact Niche Dental - Email or Call 866-453-1026

Dental Marketing Commentary by

Dick Chwalek

Dental Communication Integration Consultant


Building a New Dental Office?

The pitfalls of building a new dental practice can multiply in this kind of economic and business environment. Therefore, it makes sense to get an expert involved to eliminate all the common, and not so common, trial and error mistakes. 

Of course, determining the right expert to handle the development of your dream practice can be another challenge. 

Be sure the company, contractor, group or individual you select to develop your new office is working as much as possible in your interest. Plus the firm should be very familiar with the dental industry and the specific needs of dentists who are often sole proprietors. 

My understanding of the ins and outs of finding, buying, leasing, or constructing a dental practice is fairly limited, but it seems to come down to three main areas: financing, design efficiencies, and project containment

The dentist's positive outlook first envisioned can quickly deteriorate if the wrong location is chosen, he/she takes on too much of the project, or an element (like architectural design) is finalized too early in the process. Dentistry offices that are designed with little understanding of advanced equipment needs and dentist production realities make the servicing of debt even more difficult as well as being less healthy for the patient and the dentist. 

Project containment (my term) is making sure all the elements of office construction -- from local permits to the completion date -- are effectively managed.  Too many dental offices are developed without a good handle on all THREE of these areas. To avoid having your Grand Opening date blown out of the water, consider a firm with expertise in all aspects of developing a dentist's dream office.

One firm you should consider is Ymker Building. The firm has designed, built, coordinated, and/or helped finance many family, general, and restorative/cosmetic dental and specialist practices around the country. They coordinate, develop or supervise most everything.  Whether you are starting out or want to take your current practice to the next level, Ymker Building can get you moving in the right direction.

I have met with Micah Taintor of Ymker and discussed his firm's capabilities. The way Ymker is structured is very intriguing. Review their website, and Micah's LinkedIn profile. Read about what their dentist clients have said. Then call Micah.

Successfully build your dream dental practice by working with a firm that knows how to avoid the nightmares that do-it-yourself (general contracting) misadventures can spawn.

Sincerely, Dick Chwalek 
> President of Niche Dental - A Comprehensive Dentist Focused Consultancy

For Integrated, Connective, Advanced Strategies for your Dental Practice
Call 866-453-1026 - Ext 251


Effective Dental Patient Scheduling: Part 3 of 3

This is Part 3 of 3: to Read the First Installment - click here.

Topics Covered in Part 3
  • The "In Between" Prospective Dental Patient
  • Dental Patient Communication Conclusion
The "In Between" Prospective Dental Patient
Your dental office is the pond and this caller is fishing without enough bait. They really don’t understand what Dr. Expert Dentist Of Dentistry does differently than every other cosmetic, restorative, or implant dentist, but they want to know more.

Problem is they would be initially shocked by this dentist’s fee structure and comprehensive treatment plans. The key here is guidance not necessarily scheduling them for a dental appointment or smile consultation. Yanking on their line too hard now could just get a hook in someone’s eye or send them to another dental practice’s pond.

Here is what your dental office front desk person should listen for…
• They might have seen Dr. Expert Dentist's ad, some reference or heard from someone about Dr. Expert Dentist, but little has been decided
• Insurance might come up, only because they think they need to mention it (phone answerer shouldn't bring it up)
• Want more info from Dr. Expert Dentist of Dentistry (don’t assume it’s an in-practice consult request – Dr. Expert Dentist email or phone call might work)
• Lots of questions (answer them – explain an initial consult to them – get comprehensive in conversation – etc.)

Dental Patient Communication Conclusion
By identifying the dental patient's preparedness, you are able to deliver right dose of communication so they are not overwhelmed with your treatment recommendations.

Make sure new patients are prepared to accept the level of dental care you present to them. Then prepare yourself to be THE cosmetic dentistry, dental implant, smile makeover expert and generate revenues to match!

Call to get your communication prepared for case acceptance success.

866-453-1026 ext 251

Dick Chwalek - Niche Dental President
Dentist Marketing Coaching
Dental Communication Consulting