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Clinical & Business Mentoring for Dentists

There is a great synergy in clinical excellence with the business of dentistry as this applies to customer service excellence and business/clinical success.  Recognising the complex  and yet subtle interplay between clinical excellence, and an element of business savvy, Antwerp Dental Group is unique amongst dental practices in that our Academy provides business and clinical mentoring to all our associates.

This business mentoring programme teaches how to :

  • collaborate with the wider dental team to ensure clinical and business success
  • collaborate with your dental nurse with digital tools and the practice management system to develop and promote specific streams of work
  • assess patient’s motivation for dentistry, and how to ethically steer patients to agree plans that are appropriate  to their oral health by a consideration of psychometric profiles
  • help associates develop the pricing of their dentistry and how to ensure that they can work to a commercially viable hourly rate

The complete programme listed below takes approximately 3 years to complete from when an associate joins one of the Antwerp Dental Group practices. The programme takes the form of a peer mentoring exercise and action list development between the Clinical Director, the Associate, the Director of Operations, and a Practice Manager.

As a result, Associates attain better confidence and become commercially astute clinicians. Through Antwerp Dental Academy, clinical skills can be enhanced by tailored training from within the outwith group who become partners of our Academy.

Business Mentoring Programme

Pricing of Dentistry

Dentists  generally display good manual dexterity which make them technically expert with their hands. Dentists do however have a poor understanding of the pricing of dentistry. As a result, they often under-price private dentistry, and struggle to keep their clinical practice commercially viable.

Whereas the pricing of NHS Dentistry is fixed, this service does not generally provide a complete service and as a result, most dentists offer a mix of NHS and Private dentistry.

This mentoring module helps dentists :

  • attain a more though understanding of the costs of running a treatment room
  • attain a greater understanding of how to price routine non-lab based dentistry, how to price lab-based dentistry, and how to price for higher value cosmetic elective services
  • appreciate the value of building in the cost of failure such that failure can be addressed without additional charge, and be in a position to be able to offer patients stronger guarantees

This module will also help the Associate fully understand their Schedule and be able to use this information to performance manage themselves financially.

Ethical Selling and working with a Treatment Co-ordinator

A dentist works under the strict antecedent of the hippocratic oath and therefore they are always conscious of “doing good” by the patient at all times. A dentist would consider the need to “sell” dental services as vulgar. Within Antwerp Dental Group, we teach our Associates the art of “ethical selling” which contextualises informed consent within the hippocratic oath and as a result “ethical selling” occurs by educating the patient about their dental choices and nurturing the patient to make the correct choices for their oral health.

Treatment coordinators (TCOs) are dental nurses who have reached the highest accolade within Antwerp Dental Group. TCOs are dentist’s partners to help patients in their decision making.

ADG  teaches its associates to make effective use of the practice TCO to enable “ethical selling”. ADG also teaches its associates elements of DiSc profiling to understand patient motivation and behaviour. This enables our dentists to successfully “package” their treatment recommendations to enable better take up of important oral health choices.

NHS Mentorship

Practitioners with 2 years standing in the practice have the opportunity to be chosen to become mentors for GDC registered dentists who are seeking to attain an NHS performer number. These dentists are foreign nationals who have been awarded “Associate with conditions” status. Non-EU nationals typically have to follow a similar, but slightly more lengthy mentoring process and can attain an NHS performer number by becoming a “PLVE” dentist i.e. a performer who needs validation by a process known as “performer list validation by experience” (PLVE).

This is a paid position within Antwerp Dental Group – however the self development opportunity far outweighs the financial payment.

Becoming an NHS mentor is an important milestone in a dentist’s personal development within their journey in Antwerp Dental Group. Our Clinical Director returns the support the Mentor provides by providing an Academy with an evolving curriculum, and he himself supports the mentor within the linear postgraduate development framework described here.

It should be considered that in any postgraduate endeavour, any previous experience in clinical mentoring is counted favourably by colleges and Universities. As much as NHS mentoring serves to improve the mentees understanding of working effectively within the NHS, the mentor will be positioning himself/herself to working at a higher level, typically within private practice later in the personal development cycle.

Mentoring demonstrates a love of learning and one’s own personal development, and the mentoring process reinforces one’s own knowledge and validates that knowledge, resulting in deeper understanding and more effective and profitable clinical practice.

A dentist who attains skills in NHS mentoring can later explore the possibility of being a Foundation Dentist Trainer, and this process results in the dentists developing their leadership skills.

Verbalised Examination Technique

A “verbalised” examination technique enables our clinicians to successfully undertake a systematic dental examination of a patient and record extensive findings in an engaging manner such that the patient is more engaged with diagnostic findings.

Dr.Wadhwani, the Director of Antwerp Dental Academy has developed an evidence based systematic exam, which results in him dictating a detailed dental condition while his nurse rapidly types an extensive dental report containing diagnostic findings.

Dr.Wadhwani has found that his patients seem to really appreciate this method of detailed, thorough, and systematic examination of gums, teeth and jaws. He reports that since he adopted this examination style, patients have become more engaged and interested in asking questions about his diagnostic findings, and he has seen a dramatic rise in take up of treatment recommendations.

As part of Academy teaching, Dr.Wadhwani teaches his dentists his “verbalised”examination technique.

Tiered Appointment Books

After new dentists have been within ADG for one year, they usually develop a “relationship monopoly” with their patients. This means that they have mustered sufficient trust that patients are more inclined to routinely accept treatment recommendations around private dentistry.

Most dentists make the mistake of not attempting to co-ordinate their diaries to become more available to patients who start seeking more technically demanding dentistry. ADG supports dentists in “tiering” their appointment diaries to enable a more responsive service to patients who seek more advanced treatment options.

Within ADG, we recommend a 3 level tiering which is largely governed by the hourly rate generated :

Level One tiering – “loss leader” dentistry, short appointment intervals, typically £80.00 per hour

Level Two tiering – “routine” dentistry, one hour appointment intervals, typically generating £200.00 per hour

Level Three tiering – “advanced” dentistry, an open appointment session for a single session over 2+ hours, typically generating £300+ per hour.

Incremental Privatisation and collaborative dentistry

Dentists who have been with ADG for 2 years start developing an interest in Private dentistry and recognise the many shortfalls and limits within the NHS. As a result of an increase in technical skills, and a greater appreciation in the variety of treatments available, including “ethical selling”, and tiered appointment books, dentists comments an incremental privatisation. This takes the form of developing a private clinic, which may consists of a whole session of private dentistry.

In doing this, the associate develops a collaborative approach with senior clinicians, such as using the Specialist Endodontist, or Specialist Periodontist. When undertaking more complex restorative/orthodontic treatment planning, Dr. Wadhwani supports his dentists in a collaborative clinical approach by undertaking a detailed assessment of the patient and presenting his associate with a sensibly broken down treatment plan. As a senior clinician he supports his associates underatake more technically demanding clinical treatments by themselves by undertaking these treatments under clinical mentoring arrangements.

Special Interest Dentistry

Many astute and committed dentists are serious about their own educational and postgraduate development which is aligned with personal ambitions, and as a result pursue their own chosen educational programmes, which can be a mix of postgraduate certificates, diplomas, or Master’s level and specialist qualifications.  Antwerp Dental Group has supported many such clinicians.

Some of our associates have developed a special interest in sedation, restorative therapy, implantology, facial aesthetics, endodontics, periodontics , minor oral surgery etc, to name but a few sub-specialities of dentistry. Within Antwerp Dental Group we have supported an individual’s commitment to postgraduate education by further in-house training, developing referral pathways for that particular discipline, and appropriate digital marketing such as landing page development and use of google adwords and/or facebook business pages to nurture and develop leads for those dentists.

This support has enabled that clinician to hone learned academic skills and become proficient practically. This sort of postgraduate support empowers and enriches our clinician’s professional lives and improves revenue.

Our intense support for Special Interest Dentistry is not repeated by most of the corporate groups or smaller practices, and is a relatively unique feature and opportunity for associates within Antwerp Dental Group.

Private Conversion and Private Practice

Many dentists who have been with Antwerp Dental Group for a minimum of 3 years are encouraged to undertake a partial or full privatisation by means of dedicated treatment sessions or whole-sale privatisation with Denplan services and fee per Item services.

This transition is supported by our teams. Dentists who operate consistently and reliably enjoy a “relationship monopoly” with their patients as a result of build up if trust. This trust enables many dentists who struggle to operate within the NHS to successfully convert to private dentistry on a part or full time basis.

The Business of Dentistry

Long serving and advanced practitioners within Antwerp Dental Group work strategically and collaboratively with the Clinical Director, Raj Wadhwani. These individuals have transitioned most of the aforementioned stages of dental development, and they typically enjoy elements of bespoke clinical practice, and an excellent remuneration.

They are rightly concerned in maintaining their competitive advantage and our Clinical Director is committed to ensure this is protected. The Associate and Clinical Director consider strategic changes within the group and elements of marketing to maintain the business position.

Our Clinical Director undertakes annual research within the Business of Dentistry to attempt to keep abreast of material developments that may affect the climate of dentistry.

Advanced Clinical Mentoring

Practitioners who have grown and supported the processes above are also supported to develop advanced treatment skills. Our Clinical Director has found that practitioners have sought advanced clinical mentoring in the following 7  key areas. As a result, a clinical mentoring programme has been developed for each of the following key areas

  1. CAD/CAM Dentistry
  2. Straight wire orthodontics
  3. Invisalign Treatments
  4. Minor Oral Surgery
  5. Sedation
  6. Surgical placement and restoration of dental implants
  7. Facial Aesthetics

Advanced Clinical Mentoring is available to Associates of Antwerp Dental Group without charge. Clinical mentoring fees apply for dentists who are not part of our dental group.

Leaders in Dentistry through Service, Entrepreneurialism, Innovative Practice, Research and Teaching