New Mental Health Benefits with DSN

According to a 2016 study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association, dentists have higher rates of anxiety, depression and stress compared to the general population. Additionally, a 2019 survey conducted by the American Dental Association found that 79% of dentists reported experiencing burnout at some point in their career.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and DSN recognizes the importance of mental health support for dental professionals. Because of this,we are proud to announce that Dental Success Network, in partnership with Mango Voice, is now offering Talkspace to all members. 

Talkspace is a leading provider of online therapy and counseling services and DSN members now have access to its full service suite including: therapy and counseling, psychiatry, Talkspace Self Guided, meditation practices, journaling exercises, and so much more.

DSN members will have access to licensed therapists and mental health professionals through Talkspace’s platform, which offers therapy and counseling services via messaging, video calls and audio messaging in light of the mental health challenges faced by dentists. These same services average $450 per month when paid out of pocket, depending on the plan.

As a DSN member, you and your family now have access to online therapy at no cost
. This includes unlimited messaging, as well as the option to use one 30-minute live video session (via chat, audio, or video) with your Talkspace therapist each month. 

We are thrilled to partner with Talkspace to provide our members with access to mental health support. Dentists face unique mental health challenges, and it’s important you have access to high-quality care and support. We believe that this partnership will make a real difference in the lives of our members.

Join DSN today to get access to Talkspace as well as the many other resources DSN provides including our exclusive dentist only community, 100+ hours of CE, exclusive vendor discounts and more. 

Building Your Own Recruiting Deck

Our friends at Polaris have some great tips to share with you!

If you are going to build a successful group practice, you’re going to be recruiting a lot of associates; and, if you are going to be recruiting a lot of associates, you are going to be competing against highly trained, professional recruiters. How do you intend to “present” the merits of your business in hopes of having the best candidates choose your business over that of your competitor? Here’s an example:

Want more tips like these? Catch up with Polaris Co-Founder, Perrin DesPortes, on Workplace at Dental Success Network!

P.S. Reminder, DSN members now get access to Talkspace! Get more info here.

Mental Health for May and Beyond!

According to a 2016 study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association, dentists have higher rates of anxiety, depression and stress compared to the general population. Additionally, a 2019 survey conducted by the American Dental Association found that 79% of dentists reported experiencing burnout at some point in their career.

Did you catch these episodes about mental health on The Daily Dental Podcast and The Dentalpreneur Podcast?


The Dentalpreneur Podcast:


The Daily Dental Podcast:

We are proud to announce that Dental Success Network, in partnership with Mango Voice, is now offering Talkspace to all members. Join DSN today to get access to Talkspace as well as the many other resources DSN provides including our exclusive dentist only community, 100+ hours of CE, exclusive vendor discounts and more.

Do You Have a Training Plan?


Culture Hiring

We are in a new age of hiring and Dental Success Network is seeing more members hire for culture over skill. When hiring a good culture fit, it is up to the leaders in the practice to dedicate an adequate amount of time to training to ensure the success of the new team member. Creating a training plan can help with holding your new team member accountable and create a mutually beneficial bond.

Here are a few tips and resources to help implement an effective 30-60-90 training plan;

  1. Start with creating the “Ideal Team Player” using the office’s core values, mission, and vision statement;
  2. Create a job description for each department using the Ideal Team Player and the office department daily checklist to summarize day-to-day tasks;
  3. And, create a 30-60-90 training plan which sets benchmarks that encompass the Ideal Team Player, job description, and daily checklist.

Implementing a 30-60-90 day training plan leads to team unity, clarity of job description and expectations, effective communication, and –most importantly– identifying early if this team member is the best fit for your practice.


Want More?

Want to hear more about hiring and accountability? Join Ashlee Hirschfeld, COO at Dental Success Network and Dr. Summer Kassmel, black belt coach and faculty member for the Dental Success Companies as they discuss how to hold the front office team accountable when you don’t know what they should be doing.

Click HERE to register.

Join DSN today to get a 45-day free trial!

Dental Practice: “Do You Take My Insurance?”

Our Favorite Question

Do you just love it when they ask that? Well nowadays, I actually do! Here is why: I have figured out a way to answer that question that attracts the highest percentage of callers I have ever experienced. How do I know? I tracked it.

In my practice we have an extremely simple method for tracking our success rate in converting new callers into new patients. Ever since I implemented my newest scripts for handling the most common incoming calls, our new patient conversion rate has skyrocketed!

Before I unveil the “magic answer,” I need to back up a bit and give you some critical background reasoning that explains where I am coming from.

Point #1: Most people think most dentists and dental practices are the same.

We all know that this could not be further from the truth. But still, that is what most people think. It is a shame, but it is true. Why?

Point #2: Very few dental practices do anything to differentiate themselves from other practices, including when people call.

Call 10 dental offices, chances are you will get at least 9 very similar types of conversations and none of them will be that good.

Point #3: Most people choose their dentist for the wrong reasons; mainly, no dentist has shown them the right reasons to choose the right dentist.

One of those wrong reasons is “going where they take my insurance.”  Sure, that may be a financially driven decision; but, you and I know: if they only knew the difference, in most cases they would choose their new dentist for other reasons! That dentist could be “you,” but only if you handle the situation properly.

Point #4: Just because they have bad insurance does not mean that they are bad patients.

Whatever you do, please do not forget this point! Having weak insurance does not mean they value their health any less: they simply have a crappy plan! Their employer is trying to save money. They may not have been trained to value dentistry any more.

The assumption that these people would automatically be undesirable patients is completely off base. And because of the points listed above, they usually do not know any better when they choose a dentist based on the limitations of their plan. We have a huge opportunity here.

Point #5: All people that call your practice deserve the same opportunity to become great patients in your practice!

Why would you deny someone that chance based solely on their insurance plan? I am sure you have had great patients with bad insurance and bad patients with great insurance; the two are not directly related!

Now, you can kick them out if you like and they may “disqualify” themselves in some other way. But, you do not want to prevent a good patient from entering your practice because they do not know how to choose you yet.

The phone rings, and you get that infamous question: “Do you accept my insurance?”  What do you do? I promise I am going to give you the answer, but first I am going to give you three things you absolutely should not do. These are so important that I need to list them here:

Finally, we’ve arrived at the answer to this perplexing question. My assumptions are:

  1. Your practice does not participate in any DMO’s, PPO’s, or other “restrictive” managed care dental plans that lower fees;
  2. Your practice does accept payments from “traditional” insurance plans that do not restrict fees or a patient’s choice of dentist;
    And, patients in your practice have the option of paying in full or paying the “estimated” amount not to be paid by their insurance.
  3. (If your situation is different, you will have to modify this reply. It is still instructive to study it and consider the rationale behind it.)

Caller Question: “Do you take my insurance?”

Your Response: “Absolutely, we work with almost every plan. Do you know if you are forced, or if it’s cheaper for you, to choose from a finite list of dentists?”

You may be saying to yourself, “That’s it? I read through all this stuff to end up with that?” Hold your horses, Kemosabe. I can tell you that the simple little quote above is remarkably effective!

When people ask this kind of question, it is obvious that they’re looking for a new dentist. It is also obvious that they do not know a whole lot of details about their insurance. This is a big opportunity for you to help them learn more about their plan and your office, and make a great decision to choose you as their new dentist!

Remember, the insurance question is merely an attempt for people to filter through their choices of dentists (and a terrible filter at that). By asking the above question and subsequently offering to help them learn about their plan, you will position your practice way beyond other dental practices in your area (unless any of them are reading this too).

It is a very positive statement. You are letting them know right away that you work with most insurance plans, and that you are willing to at least help them wade through the details of theirs. In doing so, most folks will be naturally inclined to reciprocate by choosing you.

Lastly, by asking a question, you will take complete control of the call: a big deal. Now you are steering the patient where you want them to go and where they need to go.

Of course, there is more to the above reply than meets the eye. You’re going to get 3 different answers to that question: “Yes (I have to choose from a list);” “No (I don’t);” and, “I don’t know.”  Wait until you discover how many people really do not know!

Spearing Your Whales

We want to “reel ‘em in!”  Our goal is to engineer the conversation so that the patient chooses to schedule their initial appointment with you. This will not happen if you just “field the question” without any purpose.

So as I review these exchanges, keep in mind the psychological dynamics involved, and how I tap into the emotions of the caller. Many of them will not be able to resist scheduling with you if you handle them properly on the phone. It is almost unfair!

The phone rings,and one of your team members (could/should be any team member) answers with their friendliest, happiest, most cordial voice. Then you get “the question:”

“Do you take my insurance?”

To refresh your memory, here’s my recommended reply:  “Absolutely, we work with almost every plan! Do you know if you are forced, or if it’s cheaper for you, to choose from a finite list of dentists?”

Patient Answer #1:  “No, I don’t have to choose from a list. I can go to whichever dentist I want.”

Your Response #1:  Great! You’ll be able to use your benefits here to their maximum extent. If you’d like, I’ll do a ‘Free Benefits Evaluation’ for you so we can find out the limitations of your plan. That way we can avoid any surprises if your insurance plan does not pay what you expect.”

There are many different psychological tools at work here. Among them is the concept of shaping expectations. Certain words are chosen for their effect on the prospect’s expectations about their plan. For example:

IMPORTANT NOTE: It is critical that you try your best to sound objective when explaining insurance issues to patients. You do not want your opinions to show through too openly to patients. It will appear as propaganda and may elicit skepticism. However, when you speak of insurance plans in terms of their limitations, you will find that your patients will quickly conclude for themselves that their plan is very limited no matter how “good” they thought it was before. This distinction is huge, as it often leads towards patients making better decisions for themselves regardless of their plan’s limitations. Instead of saying, “My insurance won’t let me,” they will say, “My insurance only pays so much for X and nothing for Y, but I want Y because it’s the best choice for my situation!”

From this point, you should transition straight to converting the prospect to a patient immediately by asking to schedule their first appointment.
If the prospect is still not ready to schedule, the “Free Benefits Evaluation” is a quick and cheap way to guarantee a follow-up discussion. The prospect in turn will often reciprocate by scheduling with your practice!

Patient Answer #2: “Yes, I do have to choose my dentist from a list.  Are you on it?”

Your Response #2: (Assumption of no PPO/DMO participation) “Ok. These plans really limit your choices when it comes to choosing the dentist you may want. But we have many patients who choose to have Dr. (your name) be their dentist even though they get fewer (or even no) benefits than they would get if they went to an office where it’s cheaper. In fact some of them had even left our office when their insurance changed to a more restricted plan but then they came back because they missed our level of service and care! We would love to have you as one of our patients! Would you like to experience the same level of service and care that our patients do?”

How could you say no to that? I know what you are saying, “That’s too much to say…I’ll never learn all that.” Hogwash! Just try it. Say it 5 times in a row comfortably. You will find that it will naturally flow right out of your mouth after a while of practice.

The magic of this dialogue is that it includes heavy doses of what world famous psychology professor Dr. Robert Cialdini calls “social proof:” if others are doing something, it must be a good thing to do. By explaining that you have “many patients” who appreciate your practice and the doctor so much that they pay more to go there, that is saying something!

You will likely gain about 1 in 3-5 new patients using this approach with PPO/DMO patients. That’s 20-33%. It may not seem like much, but every one is one that you had no chance of getting before!

You could always offer them a free evaluation to let them experience your office with no risk. Or, give them at-home whitening for just $97. The more you reach out to them, the more likely they will make their next dental appointment with you.

Remember, just because they have a sucky plan does not mean that they would be bad patients! Give them a chance to be a great patient in your office!

Patient Answer #3: “I’m not sure if I have a list or not. How can I find out?”

Your Response #3: OK, that’s fine. How about if I do a Free Benefits Evaluation’ for you so we can find out what the limitations of your plan are. That way we can avoid any surprises if your insurance plan doesn’t pay what you expect. Would you like that?”

Now, can you see how that differentiates your practice from all the others? I’d bet my future earnings that 9 of 10 dentists would tell callers to find out for themselves.

As previously discussed, this strategy virtually guarantees a second conversation with the caller during which you can outline the limitations of their plan. Then simply move to response #1 or #2 from there. Finally, do not ever forget to always invite: ask them to schedule!

Another big benefit of the “free benefits evaluation” not previously mentioned is that you can indeed avoid the surprise of a new patient having a different insurance plan than they thought. This cuts way down on any chances for the patient to be shocked by an unexpected bill or you feeling compelled to write it off at the end of the appointment.

Remember, the mere fact that you’re willing to do this for prospects greatly increases the chances that they will become patients!

Let us say you employ this strategy and capture just one extra new patient per week that would not have been scheduled otherwise. Many of you will do far better, depending upon your call volume.  Assuming a first-year patient value of about $800 per (a very conservative figure), you are looking at:

1 Patient x 50 Weeks x $800 = $40,000 increase!

And, just for fun, it’s very possible to double:

2 Patients x 50 Weeks x $800 = $80,000 increase!

Really, there is no true limit!  Understanding that fact is the key to stellar growth beyond your wildest dreams! As Napoleon Hill, author of “Think And Grow Rich,” so wisely stated, “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve!”

Now that you have the tools to master this frequently occurring situation, I strongly suggest that you share this information with your team. Also, let them know of your expectations for them to implement this and all the other concepts and strategies that can make your practice soar; then, just turn them loose and watch your practice soar!

The Value of Mentorship

What is a Mentor?

Often overused and abused, the concept of mentoring captures a significant role in the field of dentistry. Too often, we take for granted the native benefits and attributes of effective leadership. Anxious to swipe the coveted diploma and jettison for some storybook hamlet, the ascension to a doctorate in dentistry functions upon a binary scale. Suddenly paroled, this marks the commencement of a quaternary existence virtually absent of any previous insights other than what preamble or nascent narrative was deployed in the ivory test tube. Any notion of preparedness associated with the process is perhaps a measurable false positive. Taking the time to consistently invest back into oneself will prove to be one of the most invaluable deployments of capital over the course of a career.

Once unshackled from the educational arena, one must quickly aspire toward rather entrepreneurial rules intrinsic to the business of dentistry. Suddenly, in flow all the misconstrued essentials of oral health care as it relates to optimizing the operation of a dental practice. Many of the elements associated with individuality, lockdown of trade secrets, and general ill-will pessimism circulated amongst the rank and file rapidly invoke a bearish sentiment. With the level of business acumen and sophistication in play today, there may not be another moment in the history of dentistry where the marketplace has been more fluid and malleable for those who are qualified to participate. Because of the level of stability and predictability at its core, dentistry carries an inordinate attraction for outsiders lured in to try and tap the walled garden’s virtues. Taking inventory of the privilege at hand will deliver a realization that opportunity abounds.

Finding Your Mentor

Rather than clutching feverishly onto the marble bag as if the playground bully is about to swipe it, the opportunity to open up the playbook and introduce a more collective and inclusive perspective is paramount. Inherently a solo game, dentistry often leaves a practitioner and/or practice owner alone to slay the dragon. Uncertainty rules the day of late, and there is no shortage of macroeconomic forces to contend with. Thankfully, the invaluable elements of fellowship as legislated by a healthy mentoring program. The true grit, mental levity, and backbone to step out of the comfort zone and push the frontier is precisely what effective mentoring provides. Whether en-masse, small group, or one on one, the symbiosis between mentor and mentee(s) is palatable. Even the most accomplished leaders acknowledge the benefit of guidance and insight from their predecessors. This in turn will unfold a ton of times for the willing recipient.

From a practical perspective, the search for a qualified mentorship commences with an honest degree of self-awareness and clarity upon one’s true learning style, intentions, and commitment. A willingness to actively engage in collaborative learning formats whether upon a group or solo platform is a prerequisite. As for the mentor, an unconditional insistence for perpetually challenging the frontier while maintaining active listenership, frequent accountability, and routine availability is foundational. The confluence promotes a collective degree of engagement and education whereby both the mentor and mentee benefit. In the end, the decision to solicit the benefits of mentorship rest upon the intrinsic value of the trade. When both parties are vested, the outcomes are outstanding. Having another set of seasoned ears to listen and eyes to pour over the details will serve an invaluable purpose.

Dr. Thomas C. Reed, DDS
Owner City Center Dental Group
email: [email protected]
cell: 303-906-4788
Follow me in the Twisted Kaleidoscope room of DSN

It’s a good year to be ‘Tax-Wise’ – 9 Quick Tips

A Year in Review

In 2022 we’ve seen rising costs in all aspects of business and life due to inflation. While those increasing costs will undoubtedly have an effect on your bottom line, there are plenty of opportunities to adjust your 2022 tax filing to reduce the amount you’ll have to pay in a year where everyone’s feeling the effects of inflation.


Looking Ahead

Below are just a few items that could help save a bit of money in 2022. Bring these up with your licensed tax preparer to see if they can work for your business.

Opportunities to Save Through Strategic Tax Elections

Write-Off Eligible Losses Related to Depreciated or Worthless Assets

Tax Credits for Qualified Businesses

Other Items to Consider

Happy Holidays!

The Dental Success Network Team

Dentistry’s Largest Cover Up…

The Secret

US News and World Report list dentistry as being one of the top professions to get into based on the number of hours worked and the paycheck dentists bring home. In addition banks are tripping over themselves to lend dentists money because the default rate on a dental related loan is less than 1%.

However, because we dentists are able to generate enough production with our clinical skills, dentists are able to cover up some seriously sloppy business practices.

Imagine how much more you can take home, with no more production, if you tighten up the business and focus on the ownership techniques they didn’t teach us in dental school.


The Answer

Check out this clip above from Dr. Mark Costes’ talk at Voices of Dentistry this past January.

Here he helps you to establish your baseline and determine where to start if you are looking to tighten up your business practices, plug the holes in the bucket, and take home more income without any additional chair time.

If you are ready to execute, join us this year in beautiful Scottsdale AZ for Voices of Dentistry 2023 on Jaunay 20-21.

Use the code DentalSuccess20 to save 20% now!


See you in Scottsdale!

It’s that time of the year!!

Check out the incredible bundles that DSN has to offer ONLY for BLACK FRIDAY!

Looking to elevate your practice in the new year?
Check out our 45 Day Transformation Bundle!
45 Day Transformation Course: This 45-day crash course was developed from lessons learned in the trenches during Dr. Mark Costes’ personal multiple practice ownership journey and show you how to transform your practice in 45 days.

The Dental Practice Operations Manual:
The resources found in The Dental Office Operations Manual are the ultimate guide to creating your own in-office operations manual.

The Dental Marketing Manual: 
This book shows you HOW some practices are so much more successful in marketing than others and gives the keys you want to know to help your practice get the best return-on-investment for your marketing dollars!
Feeling overwhelmed at the idea of starting
a new practice?
Check out the Start Up 30 Bundle!
30 Day Startup Course: This 30-day crash course was developed by DSN Owners Dr. Mark Costes and Addison Killeen who have successfully opened multiple start-up practices that defy the norm.

The Dental Startup Manual:
In this guide, Dr. Mark Costes and Dr. Addison Killeen guides you through the journey from initial idea through first patients- plus saving you more than $50,000 in the process.

The Dental Acquisitions Manual:
This 339-page instructional manual covers everything you could need in buying a dental practice. From scouting locations for possible acquisitions – all the way through the challenges that may arise as you take ownership and work with a new team.
Give your team the tools they need to succeed!
Our biggest discount yet on one stop
Team Training!
Front Office Academy is built to help every employee of your dental practice work smarter, every process to run smoother, and every aspect of your business to be optimized to its fullest potential.

• Front Office
• Scheduling Coordinator
• Treatment Coordinator
• Insurance & Billing
• Office Manager
• Regional Manager
• Dental Assistant
• Dental Hygienist

Offers Expire 11/28/2022


New Year

As 2022 starts to wind down, now is the time to start planning on how 2023 will set your business apart. The last two years have been challenging to the dental profession in unprecedented ways. Now is the time to take ownership of your business and make 2023 your best year yet.

For over a decade, Dr. Mark Costes has coached thousands of dental professionals on how to evolve into “Black Belt Level” in the areas of leadership, systemization, team culture, overhead, and cash-flow control. Many of his past and current members have significantly increased their take-home income, experienced double-digit practice growth, and decreased the stress and chaos in the practices, all while decreasing the amount of time spent at the chair.


New Workshop

Dental Business Breakthrough is an intensive, hands-on, one-day workshop that will give its attendees the knowledge and tactical plan to create significant growth in their business acumen, systemization, profitability, and personal development.

Click HERE to register!

Armed with a new perspective and skillset, those who complete this course will walk away with a clear vision, benchmarks, and action plan that will help them to realize their full potential in their professional careers and their personal lives.

This course focuses on:

See you in San Diego!