For the 154th time, the Chicago Dental Society has hosted a fabulous dental industry meeting in my sister city of Chicago. I make the trek north every year and pound the exhibitors and speakers at the Chicago Midwinter Dental Convention for good dental information for my clients. In the very least, I want to be the most educated dental CPA around, so I attended the convention and learned a ton. The meeting had 28,924 registered attendees and nearly 7,000 dentists falling into the city for the weekend. It’s the CDS annual meeting and known as the BIG meeting in the Midwest - always count on it to be cold or snowy.
I just got back to the office and wanted to share the highlights I reflected on while driving back down I-65 towards Indianapolis. I was astounded by the number of exhibitors - more than the number of attending dentists, I’m told. I put myself in the shoes of the dentist and feel overwhelmed. I’m reminded of how difficult it is to be a business owner with so many decisions and choices to make in the dental office. The modern dentist wears so many hats: clinician, leader, businessperson, coach, counselor, and on. The dentist must deal issues around staffing, technology, leadership, marketing, patient satisfaction. Three things jumped out at me from this convention.
1. Technology – not the cool equipment, I’ll get to that. I mean the management and movement of data. Information is being traded in the cloud, security is more important than ever, and real time advice is being demanded by the dentist to run their practice. Cloud technology and companies that are aggregating data are changing the game. They allow dentists and their advisors to have information on the dental practice at their fingertips and measured in a way that is useful. Dental software is becoming much more robust and powerful.
2. Banking – seems to be more dental lenders out there than ever. There are really good “dental specific” lenders that understand the dental practice. Interest rates are still low and the conventional loan options for dentists are plentiful. Ask about loans for refinancing old debt or commercial real estate. These “dental specific” banks understand your business and build their loans to help you grow.
3. Hi Tech Equipment – Specifically, CAD CAM and Cone Beam x ray seem to dominate the convention with cool images and flat screens everywhere. The price is coming down on these items and the tech is getting better fast. Some of the three-dimensional printing technology is exciting – to allow the dentist to design and create night guards, aligners, surgical guides in -office.
Look for a future article on the ROI of Cone Beam and CAD/CAM. We get calls every day from dentists that want a third party, independent opinion on the viability of some of this technology. We’ll dive into that topic in the coming weeks.
I’m excited about 2019 and the Chicago Midwinter Dental Meeting was a reminder to me that many dentists are on an island by themselves. Find a partner, with your best interest at heart, to help you navigate all the business decisions that arise in your dental practice. It could make all the difference.