One Sentence That Changed My Practice: Part 2

November 3, 2017 Elizabeth Kidder DDS

When we ask patients what they really want, we can drastically improve our case acceptance. 

In my last blog, I talked about the path that led me to start asking patients: “Is there anything about the way your teeth look that you would like to change?”

Surprisingly, this one sentence has transformed my practice. The answers often surprise me. Countless patients with chipping, crowded, discolored teeth respond without hesitation, “Nope!” and many others with what I think are quite lovely smiles respond with a laundry list of things they would like changed.  

Transforming Your Dental Practice

Now that I wait for patients to tell me what they want, I no longer waste time on case work-ups that never turn into productive treatment. And because I found a way to zero in on the cases that I like doing the most, I have transformed my practice into one where I get to do more of the procedures that give me a higher level of satisfaction and happen to also be quite profitable.  

My message is this: First, figure out what your dream practice looks like. I think the best way to do this is to pursue high quality continuing dental education, get a great foundation in comprehensive dentistry, and find the areas you like most.  

Second, figure out how to do more of those things. Find ways to give patients permission to ask you for that treatment. If you love treating TMD, allow patients to uncover problems that will get them excited about the treatment you can provide to alleviate their pain. If you love seeing infants with tongue-ties, include questions on your new patient paperwork about breastfeeding. If you love placing implants, make sure your patients know you can provide them with long-term solutions for missing or hopeless teeth.  

Now that’s not to say that all I do all day is esthetic dentistry. I do plenty of posterior composites and single-unit crowns. However, having some challenging esthetic cases in progress, the ones that give me a lot of gratification and really do change lives make dentistry so much more enjoyable.  

Define your dream practice and eventually you may find yourself living it.  

Related Course

Utilizing Clear Aligner Therapy in a Digital Workflow

DATE: September 26 2024 @ 6:00 pm - September 28 2024 @ 2:00 pm

Location: The Pankey Institute

CE HOURS: 0

Dentist Tuition: $ 1695

Single Occupancy with Ensuite Private Bath (per night): $ 290

Enhance Restorative Outcomes This one-and-a-half-day course is designed for Invisalign providers who want to improve restorative outcomes with clear aligner therapy. The course focuses on the digital workflow for comprehensive…

Learn More>

About Author

User Image
Elizabeth Kidder DDS

Dr. Kidder is a 2006 graduate of the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry. Following dental school she completed an AEGD residency program at the VA Hospital in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She has practiced in a variety of settings throughout her career, including hospital dentistry, group practice, corporate dentistry, and private practice dentistry. Liz currently maintain a full-time, restorative dental practice with my husband in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and is a faculty member at The Pankey Institute.

FIND A PANKEY DENTIST OR TECHNICIAN

I AM A
I AM INTERESTED IN

VIEW COURSE CALENDAR

One Sentence That Changed My Practice: Part 1

October 18, 2017 Elizabeth Kidder DDS

Ever since I started my AEGD residency following dental school, I have loved continuing education. I’ve always sought new courses, new educators, new techniques. But for me, the most impactful educational experience was taking The Essentials courses at The Pankey Institute.

Not only did I learn about the complex temporomandibular and masticatory system, perhaps more importantly, I gained the skill and confidence I needed to tackle complex esthetic cases and truly found my sweet spot in dentistry.

Finding My Way in Dentistry

I am a bread and butter general dentist. However, my favorite cases are the ones that have the capacity to change someone’s smile, to make them not only healthier and more beautiful, but most importantly, improve their confidence. Once I gained these skills I wanted to implement them into my practice as soon as possible, but unfortunately I tripped over a few stumbling blocks before I found the right way to do that.

I remember one particular patient I had who really could have benefitted from some esthetic dentistry. I spent hours mounting the case, cropping and organizing photos, even waxing up anterior teeth on a model to show him the dramatic esthetic improvement I could make to his smile. That patient was engaged and listened to everything I had to say.

He came back for his second consult, asked questions, but at the end of the day never pursued treatment. I learned a valuable lesson in that case and numerous others. When I stopped presenting the treatment I thought patients needed and instead let them tell me what they wanted, I started closing cases.

As a part of my comprehensive exam, after the radiographs, the periodontal probings, the hard and soft tissue exam, and often clinical photography, I simply ask the patient, “Is there anything about the way your teeth look that you would like to change?”

To be continued…

Related Course

Mastering Aesthetic Restorative Dentistry

DATE: November 20 2025 @ 8:00 am - November 23 2025 @ 12:00 pm

Location: The Pankey Institute

CE HOURS: 32

Dentist Tuition: $ 6300

Single Occupancy with Ensuite Private Bath (per night): $ 345

THIS COURSE IS SOLD OUT! Aesthetic dentistry is where artistic form meets functional restorative dentistry. Where patients, clinicians, specialists and laboratory technicians communicate with each other in an effective way…

Learn More>

About Author

User Image
Elizabeth Kidder DDS

Dr. Kidder is a 2006 graduate of the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry. Following dental school she completed an AEGD residency program at the VA Hospital in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She has practiced in a variety of settings throughout her career, including hospital dentistry, group practice, corporate dentistry, and private practice dentistry. Liz currently maintain a full-time, restorative dental practice with my husband in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and is a faculty member at The Pankey Institute.

FIND A PANKEY DENTIST OR TECHNICIAN

I AM A
I AM INTERESTED IN

VIEW COURSE CALENDAR