Getting Started in Dentistry
During our podcast episode, Dr. Mach tells her about her journey in dentistry and how she started as a dental assistant before becoming a dentist herself. She owns her practice in Iowa
Going Out of Network
Dr. Mach recently transitioned to a fee-for-service model, which has been challenging but rewarding. In fact, she says that when a dentist does this, they may feel that their work is more valued, and there is satisfaction in setting their own fees when going out of network with insurance companies.
Dr. Mach responded, “ Sure, some patients may leave. However, the patients that stay are doing it because of their loyalty to you and your office.”
Unlike the days while under contract with one or more PPOs, the schedule may have been more “full” and stable. Due to the percentage of patients leaving the practice, there may be inevitable holes in the schedule. This will be a mindset shift to get over as this is the new reality.
It is important not to dread these gaps in the schedule but to redirect your thoughts and be productive during the slow periods. Some great advice is to use this extra time wisely by working on productive tasks during gaps and prioritizing same-day appointments.
Lessons Learned from Past Mistakes
If she had a redo button, she would not have held on to Delta Dental for as many years as she did. She went fee-for-service with everything but Delta but found that her schedule was just getting filled with Delta patients rather than the fee-for-service patients. She advises limiting the growth of one insurance company and being more strategic in transitioning to fee-for-service. She advises strategically reducing insurance participation with a well-thought-out plan.
Life Coaching for Dentists
Dr. Mach is a founding member of the International Academy of Dental Life Coaches.
Dr. Mach’s focus is to help women in dentistry with around ten years of experience and provides one-on-one coaching sessions.
Laura explains the role of coaching in helping dental practitioners manage stress and improve their practices. Laura then explains her journey into life coaching and how it helped improve her practice’s profitability and enjoyment.
The coaching focuses on mindset, awareness, and changing thoughts to create more satisfying outcomes. Laura’s most successful clients are women who have been practicing dentistry for at least ten years and have created successful practices but feel unhappy or burnt out.
She started coaching based on her experiences and created a coaching practice around it. They talk about reviewing stress and situations and making choices.
Advice for Young Dentists
Today’s young dentists face many challenges, such as high student loan debt pressures. Dr. Mach emphasizes the importance of having a coach early in their careers. Coaches help us make better choices and set up a more enjoyable practice.
When you are building something new, it’s not a straight line with an end. Enjoy the ups and downs.
Dr. Laura Mach advises young dentists to give themselves the grace to grow into the person they’re becoming and to know that everything won’t be perfect.
It is important to nurture oneself and understand that mistakes and failures are part of the journey. Young dentists need to be patient with themselves rather than strive for perfection.
Be sure to check out Dr. Laura Mach’s www.Loveyourpractice.net, where she offers a podcast, a free course, and coaching services. A great example of one of the courses that she provides is about the proper way of correcting an employee using the principles she teaches in life coaching.
About the Author
Dr. Eric Block DMD, CAGS, FICOI, FICD, FAADS
Dr. Eric Block is a full-time practicing dentist in Acton, Massachusetts, husband, and father of two kids. He is known as The Stress-Free Dentist and hosts the Stress-Free Dentist Podcast.