Dental Practice: Core Values

The Values We Want

Sometimes when people come into the coaching at the Dental Success Institute’s Elite Mastermind, we ask them some “fluffy” questions. Here’s a couple of them:

Now, most people who have worked through their business plan have a good vision, mission, and set of core values. However, almost no one says they evaluate employees upon those core values. Why is that?

We love to set the rules, and write down grand visions and values. When it comes down to living those values, sometimes it’s a little different. Sometimes we love to espouse that we “live” these everyday, but when it comes down to time for the rubber to meet the road, we don’t hold people accountable to these values.


The Values We Have

There’s also the other problem of “Shadow Values”. These are the dark sides of the values- or values that hide right below the surface and can be super detrimental to the organization, team culture, and long-term health of the organization. According to

Similarly, an organization’s shadow values gain their power from being kept below the surface. At their worst, they are destructive mutations of the official values which pose an existential threat to the integrity of an organization’s ethical culture.

Despite the official values of ‘teamwork’ and ‘respect for individuals,’ one case study company’s implicit leadership model was widely recognised as one that valued ‘autocracy’ and delivering ‘success’ at any cost.

Reading through that should scare any dentist into some self-reflection. We often say we focus on health, but when it comes down to it, do we put ‘watch’ on teeth when we know there’s going to be an issue. We say we focus on honesty, but when it comes down to it, do we hide behind half truths because we are afraid of an employee being angry or mad?

Oftentimes, setting up a system of monthly accountability can help mitigate employees who stray from the core values. It might even help us keep true to what we strive for in ourselves!

P.S. If you are a DSN Member and want access to all our examples of the Monthly Accountability Assessments, you can download them free in the Document Library part of the DSN Website. Including assessments for:

Dental Practice: 7 Ingredients for WOW Service

The Recipe for Success

Transform your dental practice front desk into patient pros. Keep your practice healthy by knowing your numbers, enhancing your team’s customer service skills, and turning more callers into happy and healthy patients.

Check out the seven easy steps below to deliver exceptional patient service:


Be obsessed with providing an amazing experience and making a difference with every call.


A caller should hear their name at least three times during your call.


When you lift others, you will find that it will lift you too! Positivity will make a significant impact on the caller. Remember kindness throughout the entire call.


This will further the connection between you and the caller.


The goal is to learn the caller’s needs and share their concern!


Finding an answer/solution, persistence (go above & beyond every time) Keep your promises! If you tell a caller you will follow-up, return a call, escalate a concern, etc… be sure you do it!


Stay tuned for more quick tips to improve your overall patient experience!

Patient Prism
DSN Preferred Vendor


Dental Practice: PPOs vs OPPs?

The Treadmill World

We live in a world addicted to consumerism and thinly-veiled desires luring precious discretionary dollars out of the wallet. As for investing in one’s health, society somehow has digressed into a mechanized, commoditized, and subsidized mindset. Leverage assumed by the omnipresent insurance plan often renders a provider with little say regarding the context and content of care. Unprecedented increases in cost of goods sold have plunked the average PPO write off into a 44-50% range only amplified by futile fee increases. Margin pressure generated by declining reimbursement rates reflects the most aggressive line-item expense never located on a P&L statement. Growing for growth’s sake attempting to out run the overhead squeeze is unsustainable regardless of one’s mastery of the “treadmill.”

Does this resonate with your personal situation? Approximately 90% of private practice dentistry is directly involved with PPO and/or reduced fee assistance programs. Fundamentally, nothing constructive has enabled dental benefits plans to evolve with economics and time. What once was a hedge against catastrophe no longer represents a definable insurance program but essentially a subsidized coupon book. Heavy participation with PPOs challenges the fundamental tenets for owning and running a healthy dental practice: autonomy, lifestyle, and financial independence. The notion of an entity disconnected from the doctor-patient relationship levying the final say upon healthcare decisions is a huge disservice to patients by encouraging reduced focus on the basics. Thankfully, foundational principles rooted in prevention and wellness greatly aid the delivery of oral health care outside the constraints of benefit plan mandates.


Insurance Independence  

The path to insurance independence is paved by challenges, unique stipulations, and calculated steps to successfully shed the proverbial handcuffs. Time in the marketplace and timing the decision generally outline the process. The following six elements are essential prerequisites to a reduction and/or full-scale elimination of insurance dependency:

  1. Know Yourself:Our greatest freedom is the freedom to choose our attitude.” -Viktor Frankl
  1. Know Your Data: “When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported back, the rate of improvement accelerates.” -Pearson’s Law
  1. Know Your Team: “The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual.” -Vince Lombardi
  1. Know Your Community: The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.” Coretta Scott King
  1. Know Your Services: “If you do the work you get rewarded. There are no shortcuts in life.” Michael Jordan
  1. Know Your Consumer: “Life is a matter of choices, and every choice you make makes you.” John C. Maxwell

Is it time to make PPOs Other People’s Problems?


Thomas C. Reed, DDS

Owner City Center Dental Group

Follow me in the Twisted Kaleidoscope room of DSN

Dental Practice: Value Add Acquisitions

Finding Diamonds

A term that I was introduced to when I first started to explore practice ownership was this idea of a “value add practice.” I view these opportunities as diamonds in the rough. For example: an aged practice where the cost to enter is low, but cash flows are also less than ideal. Now, some people would prefer to spend more and have the security of cash flow off the bat. I agree, it’s great to have the security of built in cash flow; but, another way to look at value add opportunities, is like a start-up with a little bit of a head start.

Recently, myself and one of our associates went out and partnered on a satellite location, as an alternative to blowing out a wall and expanding (only because that is not an option with our building–otherwise I prefer that solution), but ALSO as an alternative to going out and buying or renting a bigger facility and getting into an expensive new build out.

An aging 6 op practice came across our plate for about two-thirds of what it would cost to build a 2500 square foot start-up. We evaluated the opportunity and jumped on it.


Polishing Diamonds

Below, you’ll see the face lift to the patient lounge. It looks like a whole new office, but all it cost was some paint, lighting and furniture. In the op’s we swapped out for bigger monitors, in steri and lab we ripped off the cabinet doors and put in tip out bins. Finally, my experience has been that most older dentists are pack-rats and hoarders so we cleared all the junk out to fit our minimalist approach. We implemented our systems and softwares and now we are off to the races.

To ramp up patient flow, we are doing many of the typical marketing strategies as well as getting out in the community with various grassroots campaigns. We often get caught up in SEO, postcards, adwords–all important, but getting our faces out there and meeting people can go a long way and really help the momentum of any business that is trying to grow.

There are also many old charts, inactive patients that we have been able to recapture. Many practices lost patients when covid hit and those patients have not circled back to the dentist. We are finding that these patients are actually motivated to come back in and are glad that we tracked them down.

There are a multitude of different ways to get into practice ownership. None right. None wrong. If you’re looking to own your first practice or expand, I share this as an opportunity to reflect on what opportunities are available and how you can capitalize. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and do the work.

To your success,

Dr. Chris Green
Dental Success Blackbelt Coach
Co-Founder The Practice Launchpad

Dental Practice: Cost of Implant Failure

What If?

Recently my friend Dr. Scott Froum, renowned Periodontist, called me up and asked me, “Have you ever calculated the cost of what happens when an implant fails?” Now I’ve calculated a lot of things, including costs of procedures, costs of build outs, and the return-on-investment for marketing, but the cost of our dentistry failing? Nope.

His response, “We need to write an article on this!”

We all know that implants are amazingly successful. It’s awesome that we have this option for our patients, and of all the options available in dentistry to replace a tooth implants are hands down the best option. And while there’s a lot of literature around the success and failure of implants and the clinical techniques to help implants, there’s no literature around the costs surrounding implant failure.


The Cost

We added up all the costs associated with extra appointments that include: follow up visits, removal visits, post op appointments, new implant placement appointment, follow up appointments, scanning appointment, and a new abutment/crown. From chair time, employee time, the cost of a bad review, and your lost production, these costs add up to a huge number. What’s the total? $4,234.87

Now that’s a rough cost, but the worst is when you factor in the profit on the initial procedure. In the case where you have no insurance discounts or participation, you might walk away making just $43, but in the worst case, you might actually lose around $2,400.

In any case, the earlier you catch possible failures, the better. If you can intervene early, then you save yourself possibly up to $4,234!  We see cases all the time like this inside Dental Success Network, and if you have cases like this, the faculty inside DSN is there for you!

It was an honor to get to participate in this article with Dr. Forum, and if you’re interested in more information about his content, you might want to follow him in Perio-Implant Advisory.

PS –  When implants fail, there’s no better group of experts to lean on than the faculty like Dr. Scott Froum, Dr. Taher Dhoon, and Dr. Daniel Briske at the Dental Success Network!

PPS – The entire article was published in the November issue of Dental Economics, which you can subscribe to for free and read the digital versions.

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

The Plus Side of PPOs

A Year in Review

With the year coming to an end, something I have looked back on this year with excitement is a more positive view of being a PPO office.

A shocking statement, I know.

We have been heavy PPO since the start, almost 8 years ago. Over the last 5 we have slowly been changing the dynamic. This originally began when we started working with Unlock the PPO in 2018. What started out as us simply wanting them to help us negotiate higher fees turned into getting much more acquainted with the insurance world. Most of the plans that we had signed up to be providers for was simply because the owner before us did, so we did. We found ourselves working so hard to see so many patients for very little production.

It seemed impossible to meet daily goals, do good dentistry and not feel like you were running around like a chicken with your head cut off! This was not the way we wanted to treat our patients and we knew we didn’t want to continue growing a practice in that direction.

The longer we stayed in network with these low reimbursing insurances, the more and more new patients came in utilizing it and the race continued. After analyzing all of our in network plans, we started our process of dropping the lowest reimbursing 1 or 2 at a time per year. Waiting until the end of the year to drop any of them to try and retain as many patients as possible by giving them the opportunity to ask questions and potentially switch their plan to one we were remaining in network with. We only suggested they switch to one we knew at the end of this plan we would still remain in contract.


A Year Ahead

2023 we will start the year with only being in network with insurance companies that pay 80% or more of our office fee schedule. With this percentage we are able to do quality dentistry, have the time to develop relationships with our patients and meet our production goals. Of course, being in network still comes with its own set of problems. Problems that you can solve as long as you recognize them and create systems to prevent them in the future.

Wishing you the best in 2023!

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!


The Excursion

I’ve written before that I like to ride my bike, and recently I did an excursion that pushed me to my limits. In Canyonlands National Park outside Moab, Utah there’s a road that goes around and into the White Rim Canyon. This road is typically traversed by 4-wheel-drive Jeeps and some bikers over multiple day guided trips, and is considered one of the most beautiful parts of the park. My friends and I were crazy enough to bike all 100 miles of this rough road in one day. We did it last year in about 12 hours–finishing in the dark. But this year, we came more prepared and started earlier in the morning to hopefully really nail this ride.


The Challenge

It started fast, the road conditions were great, and the temperatures were cool. However, as we dropped down 2,000 feet into the canyon along some steep roads the conditions instantly changed and we slogged through the next 40 miles of roads at a snail’s pace. We were averaging 4 or 6 miles per hour on our full-suspension mountain bikes. The dry conditions had turned this normal dirt road into a sand-trap of dust. Our tires were swishing around and it took maximum pedal strength to just move forward at a walking-pace.


As we debated how horrible this torture was, my wise friend said, “Just add the words ‘Right Now’ to your thoughts. This sucks – right now. We’re moving slow – right now. I want to pick up my satellite phone and call for air-extraction – right now.”


Your Challenges

Sometimes in our practices we go through times of employee turnover. We go through stretches of fillings giving sensitivity. We have implant failures. When these tough times inevitably occur it’s a good idea to always add the words “right now” to the end of our mental monologue.

When we frame it that this sucks “right now,” it helps us realize that every feeling and season in our practice is temporary. The good times are short lived, and the bad times are short lived too.

It’s during these bad times, the short ones, that we also need to take notice of what we can do to help the situation to be more short lived. If your front desk doesn’t know what to do and screws up, then what can you do to help train them to be better? Maybe utilize an online platform like Front Office Academy to help teach new/better skills?  When your implants are failing, what can you do to treatment plan and execute better? Maybe watch some more online CE on Dental Success Network or go to an in-person course at Colorado Surgical Institute?

No matter what, we know that things always change. To be complacent with where you are, or to feel trapped in your current situation is just not realistic. Everything has a “right now,” and then it will be different.

PS –  If you’re going through crap and don’t have a strong support community like Dental Success Network, consider joining – ‘Right Now!’

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

10th annual dental success summit

Register for the 10th Annual Dental Success Summit

June 15th-17th | San Antonio, TX

Learn More