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branding

The Truth about Building your Brand

Branding

What is brand power?

Apple iPhones sell like crazy. In fact, the Apple brand has created a community of users that is the envy of major companies around the world. Why is that? Their phones aren’t actually better than others. Apple operates from a belief system, they stand for something that generates raving fans, while competitors just make cell phones. That’s brand power. How do we translate what we know about Apple to our own brand?

Whatever consumers see and believe about you is your brand. It tells your market what you stand for, what you believe, and how you should be perceived. Your brand, just like Apple’s iPhone, should set you apart from others who do what you do.

Establishing a brand is more important for a dentist than for big corporations. Large companies can spend a lot of money marketing unique products. In contrast, services offered by dentists are largely indistinguishable, and would require a large advertising budget to attract attention. For the most part, your local competitors market themselves as being identical to you, a Family & Cosmetic Dentist. Your brand should sell your uniqueness.

But I have a logo!
Many believe a brand is a logo, but a logo is only a graphic representation of your brand. In fact, some branding professionals believe logos are overrated. This is especially true when they don’t project an “image” expressing a story. When used properly, C. Whan Park, director of the global branding center at the University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business, points out they can be effectively used by emboldening their name, e.g. IBM, presenting a friendly image, the duck from AFLAC, or simply provide a meaningful visual, such as used by Apple, a bite from the Apple (maybe that fell on Newton’s head to spawn ideas). However, Park cautions, “We also do not suggest that brand logos themselves automatically create meaningful positive associations between a brand and consumers.” Very often, the logo needs to be reinforced with a clever tagline and advertising.

How do I create a great brand?
What would your patients say about you? Would it be a generic answer, or, would they be a raving fan? “Oh, Dr. X is a good dentist,” doesn’t describe a brand. A better response would be “Dr. X is the most thorough dentist I have ever had, always devoting time to explain everything. I always feel that they really care about me. That’s a dentist you can trust.” After you identify your brand attributes, identify every patient contact point, and make sure they are creating aligned patient experiences.

Another aspect of establishing a brand is having an area of expertise that targets a specific market. For example, if you want to attract denture patients, focus on comfort and chewing. Theodore Levitt, a former Harvard marketing professor once wrote, “People don’t want a ¼” drill, what they really want is a ¼” hole.” Focus on being an expert in offering what people really want, and then package it in your branding message.

How important is branding online?
Neilson research indicates 61% of consumers will search online for services. According to branding expert, Debbie LaChusa, visitors to your website “…don’t have the opportunity to come into your place of business, meet you, and experience your business environment and personality in person.” Your website should separate you from other dentists in your area. To make a good first impression and establish trust, graphic design and content need to immediately connect with a visitor’s concerns. You must quickly, and effectively tell your story

Summary

Take the time to identify your strengths and target market. Then, create a brand message that resonates with the consumers you are trying to attract. Work with your team to incorporate outstanding brand experiences into every patient touch point. Your patients will trust you, become raving fans, and spread the word.

 

Zr polishing charts

Zirconia, Eliminating Abrasiveness

Zirconia: Polishing and aging, does it destroy enamel?

We know zirconia crowns and bridges are nearly indestructible. But, what is the best way to polish this very hard material so it won’t be highly destructive?

As it turns out, a highly polished zirconia surface, over time, is less abrasive than emax, empress, and feldspathic porcelain. According to research by Grumser, et al, the other materials degrade over time and cause enamel wear, as well as wear to their own surfaces: “Polished zirconia surfaces showed lowest wear for material and antagonist. Wear mechanism of common ceramics was characterized by abrasive wear.”

Burgess also looked into aging of zirconia. In his paper, Enamel Wear Opposing Polished and Aged Zirconia, he explained using artificial aging of zirconia and simulated mastication to determine age related breakdown. They reported: “All zirconia specimens showed less material and opposing enamel wear than the enamel to enamel control or veneering porcelain specimens. The micrographs of the veneering ceramic showed sharp fractured edges and fragments of wear debris. Zirconia may be considered a wear-friendly material for restorations opposing enamel, even after simulated aging.”

Hmaidouch’s research comparing polished zirconia to polished porcelain was the most definitive when considering the method of polishing, as seen in the charts, above:

Methodology

“Polishing of the specimens: the ground surfaces were polished with a handpiece for 15 s and with 2 N pressure. Polishing was performed using an NTI polishing kit (HP 802104; P341, P3401, P34001): coarse at 15 000 r·min−1, medium at 10 000 r·min−1 and fine at 5 000 r·min−1

No statistically significant differences were found between the roughness of coarse-polished specimens and roughness of fine-ground specimens for both non-veneered (P=0.54) and veneered zirconia (P=0.99), but through medium and fine polishing, the roughness was significantly reduced in both groups.

The ground surfaces of FZ using the coarse red diamond instrument showed grooves that were reduced after using the following two grinding instruments (medium and fine) and after using the coarse polisher.

Porcelain surfaces ground with coarse diamond burs show ridges and grooves; moreover, many voids appear due to incomplete condensation. After polishing, the condensation defects remain but have been smoothed and slightly rounded; the voids from the porosities appear shallower. Traces of ridges and grooves did not disappear after polishing was completed; however, the polished side contained pitted areas with numerous surface irregularities.

Lower roughness of non-veneered zirconia specimens than that of veneered zirconia (VFZ) specimens was observed after each treatment procedure. This difference can be explained by the different compositions. SEM investigation of the treated surfaces showed that defects on the veneered surfaces caused by grinding were deeper than those on the zirconia surfaces, which led to the higher roughness values.

The roughness of the VFZ surfaces was not significantly reduced after either fine grinding or coarse polishing, which can be explained by the deep defects (grooves) caused by coarse grinding. These defects could not be completely flattened or removed, thereby explaining the higher roughness of VFZ specimens compared with the fine-ground and coarse-polished FZ specimens, which did not acquire deep defects after coarse grinding because of their higher strength.”

The key to long-term, safe use of FCZ is, a highly polished surface. This can be obtained with a course polishing wheel. In this case, the NTI polishing kit was used successfully.

megaphone

Building Competitiveness, Meeting the Challenges

Be Noticed

Even though consumer attention is in short supply, we need to be noticed to be more competitive. With the competitive landscape stacked against private practitioners, awakening consumers to the advantages they might offer is a tall order. For many dentists today, being noticed for the right reasons is the challenge.

Your Competition is a Triad of Insurance Companies, Dental Chains and Unethical Offices

Three Challenges Facing Private Practitioners and,

What to do about them.

Challenge #1

Insurance companies have lumped dentists together in nondescript lists for consumers to choose from. Consumers think all dentists are the same and should charge the same low price set by insurance. How do you convince patients to trust you and your fees more, and the insurance company less?

Challenge #2

Large Dental Chains are stealing about $150,000 in revenues from each private practice, annually, How do you attract new patients to your practice instead of losing them to better branded competitors?

Challenge #3

It has been alleged that patients are being deliberately mislead, daily in the name of better deals. But nobody is telling patients what to look out for.   How do you help consumers understand why your practice is different and trustworthy?

How to Get Noticed

The Triad survives for two reasons: uneducated consumers, and, unorganized dentists incapable of educating them. The Triad influences consumer attitudes on a large scale, tells consumers what they want to hear, and makes you pay for it. But, it doesn’t have to be that way.

OPT-in Dental Advantage is helping dentists like you be noticed for the right reasons. We are educating consumers daily about the value of ethical private practices, and the potential risks of misplacing their trust.

We separate ourselves as being trustworthy because our members vow not to Break Laws:

  • Running sham practice ownership schemes.
  • Using non dentists to design treatment plans directly or indirectly.
  • Diagnosing conditions that don’t exist.
  • Performing unneeded treatments.

We also educate consumers about routine violation of:

  • State insurance codes and good faith statutes
  • Professional Ethics and to look out for sub standard care

 Laws are being Broken

Because Nobody is Forcing the Issues,

The Public is at Risk,

And not being Protected

 

If you want to win a battle fought in the desert,

Take away the enemy’s water supply.

 

How should you respond?
The public is loath to be defrauded and assaulted. With OPT-In Dental Advantage and, our national public relations campaign promoting private practice, you will be noticed for the right reasons, help educate consumers, and make breaking the law less profitable.

For more information, visit optindentists.com, and, visit our consumer website, optindentaladvantage.com, or call 855-321-OPTN (6786)

 

Dental Labs helping Dentists take matters in their own Hands

 

“Private practice dentists are losing patients, daily, to other clinical settings, and insurance continues to burden profitability for us all. I’ve seen too many dentists forced to sell or face bankruptcy. That affects not just dentists, but labs, too. Finally, we have a collective answer to make us stronger and more effective. We’re supporting our dentists 100% in this effort!” OPT-In Laboratory Cooperative member, Mike Hennessy, owner, Hennessy Dental Lab.

Private practitioners are saying, “Enough is enough.” They are tired of patients being taught that dentists and dentistry are all the same, big clinics are cheaper and better, and that insurance companies create quality care. With too much to lose, OPT-In dentists and laboratory members are launching the first ever, Private Practice National Public Relations campaign.

Scheduled in 2015 for late fall-early winter, the public relations firm, Braithwaite Communications, is being contracted to support private practice with brand-building content in national news outlets such as, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Associated Press, CNN, etc. According to Dr. Dean Mersky, founder of OPT-In Dental Advantage,

 “Today, insurance companies and large corporate dental chains are unilaterally, influencing consumer decisions and attitudes. Meanwhile, private practitioners, with no representation, have no voice to help consumers understand the limitations of insurance, and the real differences between practice models. That’s about to change!”

Adopting, “Put up or shut up!” OPT-In dentists and lab members are funding their own National Public Relations Campaign, with additional financial support from dental companies.

Along with promoting private practice dental care, Braithwaite will also address detrimental insurance practices. PPO and lab fees are too often stagnated at 1998 levels, a time when the average car cost half of today’s $34,000 (USA Today). After 4 years, that’s enough to pay tuition for one child’s entire college education. To address this, the public relations campaign will educate patients on what to believe and what not to believe about their dental insurance, and how the wrong decision can negatively impact their health. They will find this information on our consumer website, OPT-In Dental Advantage.

Over the next two years, we must work together, dentists and lab owners, to ensure consumers understand the importance of finding a skilled, trustworthy dentist.

 

It is well known that wherever consumers go, so goes revenues. More lab and dentist members are needed to assure this campaign reaches the maximum number of consumers, and continues to grow successfully. Please take time to learn more about how you can join in this effort and help patients understand the truths about different practice models, the games insurance companies play, and the advantages that can be found in private practice. As a lab owner, you win when your customers win. You can make a difference. Dentists should visit OPT-In Dentists. Dental laboratory owners should visit OPT-In Dental Labs. Dental corporations should visit OPT-In Corporate Partners.  Or, call 855-321-OPTN (6786).

“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” Henry Ford

OPT-In Dental Advantage member, Dr. Shad Lewis, Reading, PA: “We are the only experts in dental care. If we aren’t willing to take responsibility for our profession, who will? If we aren’t willing to protect patients, to whom will they turn? Whose responsibility is it, if not ours? Please join us in getting the message out, and getting the job done.”

Zr chart abrasive

Zirconia Abrasiveness: Is it or Isn’t it?

Full contour zirconia (FCZ) is very strong, very impervious, and, very misunderstood when it comes to abrasiveness and cementation. This article discusses the facts about abrasiveness.

The short answer about FCZ abrasiveness is, it depends. Research published by Hmaidouch, et al, International Journal of Oral Science (2014) 6, 241–246 shows that a rough zirconia surface is highly abrasive, a glazed rough surface is highly abrasive, but a highly polished zirconia surface is less abrasive than other ceramics. In fact, research by Tambra, et al, In vitro wear of human enamel opposing YTZP zirconia has shown highly polished zirconia can be less abrasive to enamel than Type IV gold.

Many dentists believe that veneering zirconia copings with feldspathic porcelain is kinder to opposing tooth structures. However, both the above authors have shown that not to be the case. Feldspathic porcelain is known to chip and etch in the mouth, making it the worst material with respect to opposing [enamel] wear. However, in the real world, the extent to which feldpathic porcelain degrades and abrades is more complicated. For example, in the presence of Coca Cola, three different feldspathic porcelains had three different results, increasing enamel wear from 12-74%, depending on the material type, The effect of clinical polishing protocols on ceramic surface texture and wear rate of opposing enamel: a laboratory study. In his, 2013, doctoral thesis, Zaninovich, explained that surface texture and roughness are more important than hardness when considering abrading enamel, and that in acid environments, both enamel and porcelain can degrade to more abrasive surfaces. However, the structure of the porcelain, occlusion quality, and occlusal habits, all contribute to determining the extent of degradation.

A shiny and smooth FCZ doesn’t mean a non abrasive surface will endure a short lived glaze. However, creating a highly polished surface is both time consuming and expensive. For those reasons, clinicians should check with their dental labs to learn if their FCZ needs further polishing.

The below chart, presented by Hmaidouch, illustrates the importance of knowing the differences when managing FCZ.

  Ground Polished
Group Ceramic Glazed Coarse Medium Fine Coarse Medium Fine
1 Y-TZP only glazed 4.3±1.9 12.6±4.4 5.5±2.1 3.8±1.0 3.4±0.8 2.9±0.6 2.4±0.5
2 Y-TZP/VM9 veneer 7.2±2.7 24.1±4.5 15.0±2.4 13.5±2.6 12.2±2.5 10.2±2.0 8.1±2.0

 

We can see that glazed, alone, is not nearly as smooth as finely polished. We can also see the difference between zirconia veneered with [only one] feldspathic porcelain and FCZ. Less clear is, the effect that different polishing methods and surfaces will have on surface texture.

From a different perspective, Stawarczyk, et al, measured the enamel loss of three types of surface-treated zirconia and a base alloy, using a chewing simulator. They reported, top of page, that the polished zirconia showed a lower wear rate on enamel antagonists, as well as, within the material itself.

The short answer to the question about FCZ abrasiveness is summarized by Miyazaki as: “A smooth surface of zirconia can be obtained with adequate polishing, because the microstructure of zirconia is fine and homogeneous. Highly polished zirconia shows the least wear of antagonist among various dental materials…Therefore, surface finishing and polishing procedure of zirconia full-contoured restorations was critical for obtaining clinical success.” Current status of zirconia restoration.

Private Practice Dentists take matters in their own hands

Private practice dentists, and dental labs, are saying, “Enough is enough.” They are tired of patients being taught that dentists and dentistry are all the same, big clinics are cheaper and better, and that insurance companies create quality care. With too much to lose, OPT-In dentists and laboratory members are launching the first ever, Private Practice National Public Relations campaign.

Scheduled in 2015 for late fall-early winter, the public relations firm, Braithwaite Communications, is being contracted to support private practice with brand-building content in national news outlets such as, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Associated Press, CNN, etc. According to Dr. Dean Mersky, founder of OPT-In Dental Advantage,

“Today, insurance companies and large corporate dental chains are unilaterally, influencing consumer decisions and attitudes. Meanwhile, private practitioners, with no representation, have no voice to help consumers understand the limitations of insurance, and the real differences between practice models. That’s about to change!”

Adopting, “Put up or shut up!” OPT-In dentists and lab members are funding their own National Public Relations Campaign, with additional financial support from dental companies.

Along with promoting private practice dental care, Braithwaite will also address detrimental insurance practices. PPO and lab fees are too often stagnated at 1998 levels, a time when the average car cost half of today’s $34,000 (USA Today). After 4 years, that’s enough to pay tuition for one child’s entire college education. To address this, the public relations campaign will educate patients on what to believe and what not to believe about their dental insurance, and how the wrong decision can negatively impact their health. They will find this information on our consumer website, OPT-In Dental Advantage.

 

Over the next two years, we must work together, dentists and lab owners, to ensure consumers understand the importance of finding a skilled, trustworthy dentist.

It is well known that wherever consumers go, so goes revenues. According to one OPT-In lab member, located in Florida, “Private practice dentists are losing patients, daily, to other clinical settings, and insurance continues to burden profitability for us all. I’ve seen too many dentists forced to sell or face bankruptcy. Finally, we have a collective answer to make us stronger and more effective. We’re supporting our dentists 100% in this effort!” To view the list of OPT-In Laboratory members supporting private practitioners visit OPT-In Lab Listings.

More lab and dentist members are needed to assure this campaign reaches the maximum number of consumers, and continues to grow successfully. Please take time to learn more about how you can join in this effort and help patients understand the truths about different practice models, the games insurance companies play, and the advantages that can be found in private practice. You can make a difference. Dentists should visit OPT-In Dentists. Dental laboratory owners should visit OPT-In Dental Labs. Dental corporations should visit OPT-In Corporate Partners.  Or, call 855-321-OPTN (6786).

“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” Henry Ford                                                                                                                             

OPT-In Dental Advantage member, Dr. Shad Lewis, Reading, PA: “We are the only experts in dental care. If we aren’t willing to take responsibility for our profession, who will? If we aren’t willing to protect patients, to whom will they turn? Whose responsibility is it, if not ours? Please join us in getting the message out, and getting the job done.”

Patient Retention: Attracting the Right Patients to Your Practice

patient retentionNo matter how successful your dental practice might be at the moment, it’s only natural to wonder if you’re doing enough to attract new patients into the fold. And if you’re the sort of independent dental practitioner who is deeply committed not only to quality care, but also to preserving the doctor-patient relationship, it certainly is important to have a marketing plan in place. After all, when potential patients go looking for the sort of ethical and skilled dentist who has their best interests at heart, you want to make sure your practice is easily found.

But consider this: According to studies, attracting a new client to your practice is roughly six times more expensive than the cost of retaining a current patient. On average, in fact, 40 percent of all dental patients “fall through the cracks every month,” according to Web Dental. So while the process of marketing to potential new patients is certainly a habit you should develop, the data tells us that current patient retention is perhaps even more important, at least from a financial point of view.

The following suggestions should give you a few new ideas for hanging onto current patients, while attracting the right kind of new clients to your practice at the same time.

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