Why I Teach Implant Dentistry To My Competitors
People often ask me why I teach implant dentistry to other dentists who are in my own practice area, New York City. They say, ”You’re an implant dentist, and your practice depends a lot upon referrals from other dentists. Why would you teach them how to do what you do? Won’t that reduce the number of referrals you get?”
A Little Background
I’ve taught at the NYU School of Dentistry for over 30 years. I love teaching. In fact, I believe that I’m a better dentist because of it. Teaching keeps me engaged and excited about my field.
Hundreds of dentists have learned the art and skill of implant dentistry at NYU from me. And, many of them, before they enrolled in the program, were accustomed to sending all their implant cases to me.
The question is, am I shooting myself in the foot by teaching dentists how to place implants when they would typically send their patients to me?
Teaching Implant Dentistry To My Competition Is Good For My Practice
It was my dear friend and mentor Dr. Barry Musikant, who taught me not to be afraid to instruct referring dentists in new techniques, the techniques in which I excel. He said, “As your students master the simpler techniques, they will continue to send you their most difficult cases.”
And he was right.
During the learning process, my students can handle placing one or two implants, particularly in the cases where conditions are ideal – the patient has plenty of bone, healthy gums, no signs of bruxism, and where aesthetics isn’t an issue (back teeth, for example).
But when they are confronted with difficult, complex cases, they send them to me. In that way, I get to focus on the dentistry I want to do.
In fact, for each year of teaching implant dentistry, my practice gets more referrals. This is because my students know I am highly skilled, and their patients will get superior results.
By teaching implant dentistry to my competitors, my practice continues to grow, and above all, the patients coming in the door really need me.
Here’s an example. Recently, a female patient was sent to see me whose upper teeth were in such bad condition that they all had to be pulled. She ended up needing nine implants, a sinus life, and bone grafting! My student (the patient’s dentist) knew such extensive work was beyond her capabilities at the time. And she wanted to be sure it was done properly.
I made sure it was.
I know that someday that referring dentist will be skilled enough to place nine implants. But until that time comes, she will continue to send me her complex cases. And that’s ok because every year a new batch of implant students arrive at NYU eager to learn but aware they can’t handle every case right away.
Although it may seem counterintuitive, training my competitors is very good for my practice!
If you have questions about dental implants, please feel free to give me a call. I’m happy to help.
Dr. Spiro Condos