Advice for Young Dentists with Dr. Dhaval Patel

Advice for Young Dentists with Dr. Dhaval Patel

Welcome back to another exciting episode of T-Bone Speaks. For this episode, I invited my good friend and CEREC expert, Dr. Dhaval Patel, back onto the show.

Dr. Dhaval Patel is a practicing dentist at Pleasant Grove Dental Group and Orthodontics in Roseville, California. He graduated from Maharashtra University of Health Sciences in India and had been practicing dentistry since 2005. He’s well known as the “CEREC Guru” and is the founder of the popular Facebook group, “Keep CERECing,” Which is dedicated to helping dentists learn and grow as CEREC users. 

Dhaval takes a very personal approach towards dentistry and always works to build a good relationship with each of his patients. He focuses on removing the fear that many people experience when visiting the dentist and always strives to provide quality dental treatment with the utmost patient satisfaction.

On the podcast we discussed:

  •  Creating a clinical culture of excellence within a DSO environment and the benefits of working with one
  •  A typical day in the office as a practice owner partnered with a DSO
  •  Working with CEREC and Zirconia
  •  Aesthetics of a Zirconia Crown and how to improve it
  •  Dr. Dhaval Patel’s advice for young dentists
  •  Overcoming common challenges of owning a dental practice
  •  How to attract the right associate
  •  The importance of having a personal savings plan to achieve economic flexibility and freedom
  •  Setting expectations with your associates and how to hold them accountable

To listen to the podcast episode hit play below:

Read on for a more detailed overview of our discussion.

Advantages of Working in a DSO 

There’s a lot of myths surrounding DSO’s, and one of the biggest things I learned from my discussion with Dr. Dhaval Patel is the fact that most of them are false.

Many people assume that when you work in a DSO, you’re stuck doing mediocre dentistry at best. However, Dhaval proves this is not the case. He not only owns a practice, but he has also created a clinical culture of excellence.

Dhaval talked about some of the benefits of working in a DSO:

  • There are often many specialists working in the same office, including orthodontics and oral surgeons
  • You can leave the business side of running a successful practice to the DSO
  • You have more time and control to focus on what’s important to you, whether that’s taking care of your patients or improving your clinical skills etc.
  • The clinical decisions of the practice are in your hands
  • You don’t have to worry about achieving a demanding production quota

CEREC Dentistry and Zirconia Crowns

CEREC is a remarkable piece of technology that allows patients to have a crown in just 2 hours! Dhaval is a massive fan of CEREC dentistry, and during our discussion, he talked about the ups and downs of using zirconium crowns.

Zirconia is a member of the titanium family and can be milled by a CAD-CAM into the shape of a tooth. Dhaval has used zirconia for the last several years and talked about the benefits of the material for crowns, with particular emphasis on the fact that he can go super thin with it. This means that he doesn’t have to reduce the size of the actual tooth to make the material fit.

I wanted to know more about zirconium crowns and if it had any aesthetic issues. As you may already know, zirconia is not very translucent, which can make the crown look less natural than a porcelain crown.

However, Dhaval said that this isn’t a problem because he uses a procedure called “Zirconia Infiltration.” This process involves using water-based infiltration liquids to pre-sintered zirconia and following this with a mirror finish polish to help internalize color and improve the aesthetics of the restoration.

Advice for Young Dentists

Advice for Young Dentists with Dr. Dhaval Patel

An area that I think dentistry needs improvement is the advice we give to young dentists. 62% of newly graduated dentists join a DSO environment, and not all of them are good. Most young dentists will not own a practice because of the shift in demographics, economics and the enormous debt they have when they leave dental school.

Dhaval shared his top tips and advice for young dentists:

1.   Work with practices that incorporate technology and embrace that technology for yourself

2.   Develop your clinical skills and keep learning

3.   Improve your case presentation and case acceptance skills, or you won’t be able to do the dentistry that you want

4.   Invest in a high-quality DSLR camera and learn how to take good photos to help you better document cases, build trust with patients and improve case acceptance

Attracting the Right Associate

Dhaval discussed some of the challenges he faces in his practice. The biggest issue was finding the right associates.

So, I decided to give Dhaval some advice about associates since it’s something that I’m very passionate about. Finding the right associate doesn’t have to be hard. If you want to find the right person for the job, you have to be intentional about what you want from someone.

You should be honest and upfront with potential employees and let them know the good and the bad of working with you and your practice. If they’re still interested after all that, then you know you’ve got a real candidate to consider.

Another piece of advice I shared with Dhaval is the importance of spending one-on-one time with each member of your team. Why? Because I’m most invested in people when I know them.

I spend 10 minutes alone with each member per week, and we have a casual chat, we talk about the practice and our personal lives too. When I know what’s going on in my employee’s life outside of work, I know how it could affect life inside the practice.

Importance of a Personal Savings Plan

I always emphasize the importance of having a personal savings plan. If you have that, you can achieve economic flexibility and freedom to choose what type of dentistry you want to do and when you want to do it.

I put money into my savings account each month, and I treat it like a bill that HAS to be paid. I also put up to 3% of my revenue towards practice growth because I want to completely revitalize my practice with new chairs, floors – everything.

If you want to have financial flexibility and the freedom to choose how you want to spend your time, you NEED to start saving.

CEREC Training

If you want to find out more about the work Dr. Dhaval Patel does and sign-up for his CEREC training workshop, you can find out more about this and our other courses on the website 3d-dentists.com.

About the Author Tarun Agarwal

Dr. Tarun Agarwal represents the next generation of leadership for the dental profession. As a respected speaker, author and opinion leader, he is changing the way general dentists and their teams practice.

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