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Dentistry North Texas


a business and lifestyle magazine for north texas dentists

Smiles in the Spotlight

Dr. Lee Fitzgerald & Dr. Eduardo Tanur

Transform a Smile with the All-on-4 Technique

Money Matters

Managing Your Fiduciary Risk

Practice Transitions A Lesson in Life

A Life-Changing Focus on Mind, Body and Soul Dr. Jodi Danna & Dr. Tina Lalangas




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Dentistry North Texas


A Life-Changing Focus on Mind, Body and Soul Dr. Jodi Danna & Dr. Tina Lalangas






ON THE COVER A Life-Changing Focus on Mind, Body and Soul: Dr. Jodi Danna

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BAYLOR COLLEGE OF DENTISTRY Strength in Numbers Practicing dentists join collective research effort


The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum A great addition to the SMU campus


Dr. Lee Fitzgerald and Dr. Eduardo Tanur Transforming a smile with the All-on-4 technique


A Lesson in Life The office-sharing associate without a contract


Managing Your Fiduciary Risk Answers to key questions concerning retirement plans


Can Unresolved Conflict Be Jeopardizing Your Practice? Solutions to conflict in the dental office


Building a Dental Website That Converts Tips for getting new patients




from the publisher

Dentistry North Texas

Publisher | LuLu Stavinoha Photographer | Ray Bryant, Bryant Studios Contributing Writers | Tina Cauller, Sharon Dolak, Dr. Lee Fitzgerald, Jennifer E. Fuentes, Dr. Richard V. Lyschik, Frank J. Mario, John Orrell, Neil Rudoff, Dr. Eduardo Tanur

I hope all of you are having a great summer! It looks like we are in store for a typical hot Texas one. My wish is for the West Nile to not be the threat it was last year! Try and stay cool and be safe wherever your summer travels take you!

For this issue North Texas Dentistry visited the practice of Dr. Jodi Danna and Dr. Tina Lalangas. The practice recently relocated to a new space at the same location in Plano. The facility, transformed by J. Houser Construction, is cutting edge “cool” with all the latest bells and whistles needed to provide quality dental care. With her energetic and caring personality, Dr. Danna has redefined the workplace by treating both staff and patients like family and guiding patients towards a higher level of wellness.

Dr. Lee Fitzgerald and Dr. Eduardo Tanur team up to present this issue’s Smiles in the Spotlight. The case presentation of the All-on-4 protocol is thorough and the transformation of the patient’s smile is amazing. Last year, Dr. Fitzgerald founded the Forte Implant Center in Plano. The Center presents seminars, live surgeries and hands on training. North Texas Dentistry looks forward to presenting the Forte Implant Center as an upcoming cover story. Stay tuned for more information on this impressive facility.

The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum recently opened on the campus of SMU. I had the privilege of touring the library and truly enjoyed the interactive review of history. North Texas Dentistry is pleased to present a look inside the Bush Library and Museum and I would encourage our readers to plan a visit this summer.

Also inside, you will discover a vast array of editorial topics. Money Matters looks at managing fiduciary risk and Practice Transitions relates the sad story of a “handshake” associate agreement and the consequences of not having a written contract. Don’t miss the salute to the volunteer dentists who have made the “Save a Smile” program a continued success.

Ray Bryant


Tina Cauller


Thanks to all of you who support North Texas Dentistry and make its publication possible! Keep smiling and have a great day!

LuLu Stavinoha, RDH Publisher

Remember to “Like” us on Facebook at:


Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of editorial material published in North Texas Dentistry, articles may contain statements, opinions, and other information subject to interpretation. Accordingly, the publisher, editors and authors and their respective employees are not responsible or liable for inaccurate or misleading data, opinion or other information in material supplied by contributing authors. Copyright 2013. All rights reserved. Reproduction in part or in whole without written permission is prohibited.

Advertise in North Texas Dentistry For more information on advertising in North Texas Dentistry, call LuLu Stavinoha at (214) 629-7110 or email Send written correspondence to: North Texas Dentistry P.O. Box 12623 Dallas, TX 75225

A portion of the May 15 National Dental Practicebased Research Network meeting included brainstorming for potential research topics.

STRENGTH IN NUMBERS Research isn’t just for basic scientists. This national network allows practicing dentists to join in on the collective effort. By Jennifer E. Fuentes

When you put the numbers together, it just makes sense.

If you devise a research study that requires a sampling of 60 patients, and your practice sees an estimated 20 patients a year who fit the research criteria, chances are good that it will take at least three years to collect all the data you need. But what happens when the pool of dentists and dental hygienists gathering the data is broadened to, say, ten individuals instead of one?

That’s the crux of the reorganized and newly branded National Dental Practicebased Research Network — to collect data over a significantly shorter time span with research based at the dental practice, not a laboratory. It was made possible in April 2012 from a seven-year, $66.8 million grant awarded to the University of Alabama at Birmingham from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.

Texas A&M University Baylor College of Dentistry participates in the Southwest

region, one of six that comprise the national network. The lead institution for the Southwest is the Dental School at the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio.

On May 15, TAMBCD faculty had a chance to hear about the network’s research opportunities firsthand from Dr. Thomas Oates, director of the Southwest region. It’s all part of a push to recruit members and explore study ideas. As of early June, the membership count in the region had climbed to approximately 725, just shy of its goal of 1,000 members.

Dental academicians and private-practice dentists and dental hygienists can choose from the network’s three available levels of participation: informational (receive PBRN correspondence), limited (complete surveys) and full (participate in clinical studies).

If all goes well, research studies will commence in late summer 2013. For more information or to enroll, visit

During the May 15 meeting, Oates likened the push for membership to the sense of responsibility often associated with an election to public office: “If we’re not a player, if we’re not a part of this network, our constituency won’t be represented, and the needs of our community won’t be represented,” says Oates, who is also assistant dean for clinical research at the San Antonio dental school.

“It’s an opportunity to give back to the profession and the community,” Oates says. “We want to be able to make sure we provide the best care. That’s a very strong driver for why people want to join.” n

Jennifer Eure Fuentes is a communications specialist at Texas A&M Health Science Center Baylor College of Dentistry. A 2006 graduate of Texas Christian University, she has worked in the communications and editorial field for seven years.




cover feature

A Life-Changing Focus on Mind, Body and Soul

Dr. Jodi Danna and Dr. Tina Lalangas

by Tina Cauller

When Jenna’s 34th birthday rolled around, there was no feeling of celebration in the air. She had been in nonstop pain for more

than four weeks resulting from neglected dental problems and, after being laid off for the second time in two years, there was

no money left to see a dentist. Jenna was thankful that her three young daughters were safe and healthy, but prayed for an

answer to her painful dilemma. Then, she saw a news story on television about a dental practice in Plano that was hosting a day

of free dental care for the members of the local community and she knew her prayers had been answered. The dentist at the heart of that practice, Dr. Jodi Danna, explains: “We decided that the grand opening of our new office would be a perfect time to offer the community a chance to get to know us and for us to give back by offering free treatment on a Saturday to anyone in need. We got the word out about the event on Facebook and on the local news. When we got to the office that morning, there was a line around the building of people waiting for care. We had scheduled visits from 7am until 4pm, but we ended up treating patients


until 8:30 that evening. We saw 62 patients and provided about $18,000 worth of dental care.”

Jenna was just one of the patients Dr. Danna and her staff saw that day. “She was so genuinely grateful and called us her ‘angels’,” remembers Dr. Danna. “At the end of the day, the staff shared other deeply moving and rewarding stories of their encounters. It made the whole day worthwhile.”

J. Houser Construction designed and created a space that is fresh and new and welcoming to patients. The entire staff jumped on board the community service event with enthusiasm, in large part, because Dr. Danna’s passion, energy and caring are so infectious. She is a devoted mother and a natural leader, and she encourages her staff to find joy in something that has meaning and value. She has redefined the workplace by emphasizing the importance of caring for the needs of mind, body and soul, treating both staff and patients like family.

An aptitude for nurturing

Dr. Danna uses her gift for heart-centered leadership and nurturing to enhance patient care, guiding patients toward a higher level of wellness. “Being one of the 30,000 American women in dentistry has its challenges, but as women, we also bring unique strengths and aptitudes to the profession. I believe that caring for others is a natural strength for many women, and being a dentist gives me a unique opportunity to touch other peoples’ lives. My life is full of relationships that I cherish, both in and out of the office.”

As testament to the lasting bonds that are built between people in this practice, Dr. Danna’s patients regularly invite her to their family weddings, graduations and other important events, and return to see her from places as far away as Seattle. A space designed for caring solutions

Dr. Danna’s practice recently moved into a newly re-designed office space on the ground floor of the same building. She notes, “Our spacious new office gives us the extra room we needed and allowed us to design the entire interior space exactly the way we wanted it. The design allows for very efficient workflow and it’s a bonus that every-

thing is fresh and new. Thanks to the new space, we can comfortably offer the most advanced treatments, including TruDenta.”

Effective treatment for force-related conditions

TruDenta is a novel system designed to help diagnose and treat force-related dental conditions. When not properly balanced, the forces created by the interrelated elements of the head and mouth can result in symptoms including chronic head, neck and face pain, clenching, grinding, tinnitus, broken teeth, clicking or popping of the jaw and numerous others. With TruDenta, Dr. Danna is able to thoroughly examine bite and range of motion to help pinpoint the source of the problem.

Effective solutions like TruDenta help to continually re-energize Dr. Danna’s lifelong passion for dentistry. Dr. Danna suffered from chronic headaches that began at the age of 21. After years without finding a successful treatment, Dr. Danna was initially skeptical of the promises made by the promoters of new solutions, including TruDenta. However, once she experienced lifechanging results firsthand, she was sufficiently convinced of its effectiveness to incorporate the system into her own practice. Now, instead of just managing symptoms, she has a tool to address the factors that underlie the symptoms, and is gratified to see her patients reclaim their lives. Effective solutions like TruDenta help to continually re-energize Dr. Danna’s lifelong passion for dentistry.




Dr. Danna & Dr. Lalangas provide a full range of family dental care, including cleanings and restorative care, wisdom tooth extraction, TruDenta treatment, periodontal care, root canals, cosmetic dentistry and dental implants.

well as supporting my professional growth through learning and networking, and participating in community activities. Creating balance in both our professional and personal lives allows us to focus on what’s really important.”

A team with shared standards and values

Dr. Danna’s philosophy was a driving force behind her decision to add to her professional “family” by bringing Dr. Tina Lalangas into the practice in April 2013. “It is a great benefit to our patients to expand our hours to five days a week for greater convenience and emergency coverage. I was fortunate to find an associate who shares my professional goals, desires, values and standards for care, and I am confident that our patients will enjoy getting to know Dr. Lalangas.”

A practice culture centered on family

“I had a great dentist as a kid, and I was intrigued by dentistry from an early age. I fought hard to achieve my career goals and my perseverance has paid off. Dentistry has provided me the freedom and flexibility to attend to all the things that are important to me in my life. I have adopted a flexible style that lets me juggle the delicate complexities of work, marriage, and motherhood. I can actively participate in my children’s lives – attending their school functions, caring for them when they are ill, and going on family vacations, as

Dr. Danna suffered from chronic headaches and has experienced first-hand the benefits of the TruDenta system . 8 NORTH TEXAS DENTISTRY |

Dr. Lalangas is also excited to be part of a practice that embraces her own values and shares her understanding that the systems of mind, body and soul are interconnected. “Each patient’s individual wellness results from of a whole constellation of interrelated factors.

Each patient’s wellness results from a whole constellation of interrelated factors.

Whether that person has chronic headaches, sleep apnea, periodontal issues or other health needs, we see the patient’s health as a whole. No single factor in overall wellbeing is independent of the others.”

Dr. Danna and Dr. Lalangas and their team share a passion and energy to guide patients toward a higher level of wellness.

Dr. Lalangas also appreciates the unique family-oriented culture of the practice, noting, “When you come here, you feel like a valued part of the family, in a place where everyone knows you and everyone cares about you. Each patient deserves to be a priority on a personal level, and patients find that here.”

Together, Dr. Danna and Dr. Lalangas provide a full range of family dental care, including cleanings and restorative care, wisdom tooth extraction, TruDenta treatment, periodontal care, root canals, cosmetic dentistry, and dental implants. Dr. Lalangas particularly enjoys “happy visits” with very young children, a no-treatment visit which allows them to acclimate to the dental experience and launch

“Each patient deserves to be a priority on a personal level, and patients find that here.”

a lifetime of healthy habits. “They learn to expect the dental visit to be a fun experience. They have a chance to get familiar with the tooth polisher and the ‘tooth counter’, play with the light and get to know the team. It’s a fun experience for everybody.”

Dr. Danna and Dr. Lalangas each attend more than 75 hours of continuing education a year to stay informed on the latest treatments, materials and techniques. Staff members also invest time in continuing education, and on returning, are asked to present what they have learned to the rest of the team. “As an example, we recently had a team member make a presentation on what she learned about

The spacious new office allows room to comfortably offer the most advanced treatments.




the effects of diabetes on oral health. This way, one person’s learning experience benefits the whole team,” notes Dr. Danna. “These presentations have proven to be a great team-builder and they reinforce our goal of helping patients to be informed about their options. When each member of the team is on the same page, it helps patients feel confident that they are getting the best possible care.”

Dr. Danna’s Plano practice recently moved into a newly re-designed office on the ground floor of the same building.

With easier access to information than any other time in history, patients of all ages are learning to think about dentistry and their own health differently. In this unique practice, patients are enjoying the life-changing impact of an approach to dental care that considers the interrelatedness of each patient’s mind, body and soul and helps patients begin a journey toward overall wellness – embracing a new path to health that begins at the dental office.

The practice of Dr. Jodi Danna and Dr. Tina Lalangas is located at 5072 West Plano Parkway in Plano. For more information, call (972) 267-6244 or visit

Dr. Jodi Danna graduated from Baylor College of Dentistry in 1995. She completed her (AEGD) Advanced Education in General Dentistry program from Baylor in 1996. In five short years, she was awarded her Fellowship in the Academy of General Dentistry and is diligently working on her Mastership. Recently Dr. Danna has been selected for Fellowship in the (ACD) American College of Dentistry. She has years of continuing education pertaining to cosmetic and general dentistry as well as chronic head and neck pain. Dr. Danna is a graduate of the prestigious Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies and is a certified TruDenta Dentist. Dr. Danna has been in private practice for 17 years.

Dr. Danna is an active member of the American Dental Association, Texas Dental Association, Dallas County Dental Society and Academy of General Dentistry. Dr. Danna currently serves as a TDA delegate for 5th District and has been on the Board of Directors for the Dallas County Dental Society for six years. In addition to serving on the board, Dr. Danna is Chairman of the Membership Committee. This committee is designed to enhance retention and recruitment for the dental society. Her passion is to help dentists realize the value of organized dentistry.

Dr. Danna enjoys volunteering within the dental community and giving her time. She is also very active in the community through the Junior League of Collin County, National Charity League and holds a board position with Plano Youth Leadership. She is a mother of two daughters, Mallory (17), McKenna (14) and has been married to Pate for 24 years. In her spare time she enjoys traveling with her husband and family and cheering her kids on at volleyball games and cheerleading events.

Dr. Tina Lalangas joined Dr. Danna in April of 2013. A Dallas native, she graduated from The Hockaday School and went on to The George Washington University in Washington D.C. where she graduated with a B.S. in Biological Anthropology with a minor in Biology. She then went on to receive her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from Baylor College of Dentistry, where she excelled in patient management and her clinical courses and received the Eleanor J. Bushee Senior Student Award from the American Association of Women Dentists. Dr. Lalangas is devoted to her patients and actively participates in continuing education courses throughout the year to further help her patients improve their lives by achieving a healthy mouth and a healthy body.

Dr. Lalangas enjoys volunteering within the dental community as well as with the local Junior League of Collin County. She is also an active member within the Greek community of Dallas and attends Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church. Dr. Lalangas is affiliated with the American Dental Association, Texas Dental Association, and Dallas County Dental Society and enjoys giving her time to help shape the future of dentistry through these organizations. She and her fiancé Gavin enjoy staying active with yoga, hiking, and running. They are actively planning their wedding together and very much look forward to their wedding in 2014. 10 NORTH TEXAS DENTISTRY |


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National Archives Opens 13th Presidential Library Photos courtesy of the George W. Bush Presidential Center

by John Orrell, George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum Public Affairs Director

DALLAS -- The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) opened the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum to the public on May 1. The opening ceremony included 43 ceremonial first visitors – who were made up of local students throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

“All of us at the Library and Museum are thrilled that after years of planning and shaping this idea, we have finally reached the time and place when we can give America its 13th Presidential Library,” said Alan Lowe, the director of the Library and Museum.

The Library and Museum will serve as a resource for the study of the life and career of George W. Bush, while also promoting a better understanding of the Presidency, American history, and important issues of public policy.

“The Presidency of George W. Bush was witness to some of the most important events in our nation’s history,” said Lowe. “In its interactive, innovative exhibits, the Bush Library and Museum gives visitors an inside look at how the President and Mrs. Bush dealt with critical issues such as the attacks of September 11, 2001, the need for education reform, the financial crisis, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

By preserving and making available a vast archive of Presidential materials, the Library and Museum will be able to promote a better understanding of the workings of the U.S. government and the


crafting of public policy. Through its outreach programs, it will serve as an educational resource for this community, the nation and the world.

“Visitors who are planning on coming to the Library and Museum are advised to go to our website and check out the ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ portion of the page,” Lowe said. “This will let visitors know what they can and cannot bring and let them order tickets ahead of time, thus improving the complete visitor experience.” That information can be found at: The pricing for the museum is as follows:

• Adults - $16, Seniors - $13

• Non-Southern Methodist University (SMU) college students $13

• Youth ages 13 to 17 - $14, Children ages 5 to 12 - $10

• Retired military - $10

• And all children under five, SMU faculty, staff, and students, and active duty military will be admitted for free. • Group discounts are available. For more information on group rates, call (214) 346-1557 or e-mail

There will also be a 20 percent discount for anyone that presents a same day Meadows Museum admission ticket. The Meadows Museum is located on the campus of SMU.

dining experience while at the facility, he said.

Photo by Eric Draper

Starting May 1, The Library and Museum will be open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. The facility will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Years Day.

The ticketing procedures for the Library and Museum will be a timed ticket system, much like the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, also located in Dallas.

“We highly encourage that all visitors coming to the Library and Museum reserve their tickets online prior to arrival,” Lowe said. “While we will have 50 tickets per hour available to any customer that wants to walk up and tour the museum, those tickets are going to sell fast and we want to ensure that everyone gets to enjoy his or her experience.”

“Thanks to President and Mrs. Bush and our partnership with the George W. Bush Foundation and Southern Methodist University, we have been able to create a world-class facility for generations to come,” Lowe said.

Located on the campus of SMU – which is a nationally ranked private university in Dallas enrolling nearly 11,000 undergraduate and graduate students from throughout the world in seven degreegranting schools – the facility is the 13th Presidential Library administered by NARA, and houses the official records and artifacts of the Presidency of George W. Bush.

By using the online ticketing website, visitors will have the ability to pick the date and time they would like to tour the Museum. In addition to the 50 walk-up tickets, 300 tickets per hour will be available to be purchased online.

Due to the low number of available parking spaces, it is recommended that visitors carpool or use mass transit such as the DART – which has the Mockingbird Station located directly across U.S. Highway 75 from the Library and Museum and will have a shuttle running to and from the station to the facility.

On the north side of SMU Boulevard there is a limited amount of visitor parking in the guest lot across from the main entrance. Drivers can also park in any non-reserved parking spaces on the SMU campus and at the Mockingbird Station.

Photo courtesy of the George W. Bush Presidential Center

When visiting the facility it is important to remember that no outside food or drink is allowed and that weapons are not permitted on the Library and Museum property. All visitors will have to pass through metal detectors and all bags will be examined through an x-ray scanner before entering the facility. Large bags should not be brought into the facility.

“These precautions are for both the safety of every visitor and every employee within the Library and Museum,” Lowe said.

To complement the visitors experience at the Library and Museum, the George W. Bush Center has a Gift Shop for visitors to purchase souvenirs and Café 43, which will allow everyone to have a pleasant

HOURS: Monday-Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Sunday 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. ADDRESS: 2943 SMU Blvd., Dallas, Texas 75205 For information on tickets and frequently asked questions, go to Don’t forget to like us on Facebook at and follow us on Twitter at






Case Presentation

A 72-year-old white female came in for an evaluation of complaints about her overall appearance of her teeth. She had many missing teeth, loose teeth, broken fillings, dry mouth, her remaining occlusion was unstable and the teeth showed stains from coffee and tobacco; consequently she wanted to replace her entire dentition. She knew a patient of our office who had the All-on-4® procedure done by Dr. Fitzgerald several years ago and was interested to see if this was possible for her. The patient considered herself medically healthy but revealed a history of 20 years of smoking, hypertension and periodontal disease. The patient is currently a non-smoker.

Treatment Plan

Patient underwent a CBCT scan at the initial consultation which revealed sufficient bone volume for implant procedures. With a case like this, the patient could have pursued several options. Options discussed included removable dentures, implant-retained removable partial dentures, and a fixed detachable implant supported denture using the All-on-4 (A04) protocol. The patient chose the All-on-4 procedure because she was looking for a permanent solution with non-removable teeth to replace the entire dentition. The possibility of immediate function, minimal downtime, and cost effectiveness helped determine her choice of treatment.


The A04 Technique

There are several critical steps and criteria in the A04 technique involving both the surgical and prosthetic phase that must be followed to have an acceptable outcome. The patient must have a favorable medical condition to tolerate the procedure, adequate bone volume in the projected implant sites, favorable biomechanical forces for implants and final prosthesis, and adequate ridge reduction/site preparation for implant placement and prosthetic space. In each arch, there must be a minimum of 15mm of interarch prosthetic space in the anterior segment and 10mm in the posterior. In most mouths, this will leave adequate vertical bone height for implant placement. The limiting factor then is the horizontal bone volume, which will determine whether implants can be placed. Adequate vertical bone reduction must be done to assure there will not be prosthetic or cosmetic failure. The transition to a temporary prosthesis and occlusal management in treatment and post prosthetics are key elements as in any rehabilitation.

The A04 is a proven treatment modality in the right circumstances. It is not a default “one size fits all” treatment. The right elements must be in place for predictable and favorable long-term outcomes.


The patient was sedated intravenously for the duration of the procedure. The remaining teeth were extracted, and an alveoloplasty was done to achieve sufficient interarch space and a flat surgical and prosthetic table. Following the All-on-4 protocol, four Nobel Biocare NobelSpeedy implants were placed in the mandibular arch. Five were placed in the maxilla; the fifth implant was placed according to the patient’s request. The posterior implants were placed at a 52-degree angle to increase stability within the implant, provide a decreased cantilever, lessen the force on the distal implant, and provide better mechanical and biologic stability. Transition consisted of a fixed, detachable acrylic denture attached to the implants via multi-unit abutments. Due to the amount of bone reduction and utilization of information from a chairside interactive CBCT scan, this was a direct technique applied without the aid of a static surgical guide. Instead, the variable position Nobel Biocare A04 surgical guide was used for implant alignment.

Lee Fitzgerald, DDS, FAGD, FICOI, FICD

Dr. Fitzgerald graduated from Baylor College of Dentistry in 1985. He completed his Externship in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at Southwestern Medical School. In 2006, he graduated from the Medical College of Georgia School of Dentistry’s Implant Maxi Course.

Dr. Fitzgerald is a Diplomate of the American Board of Oral Implantology/ Implant Dentistry, Fellow of the International Congress of Oral Implantologists, Associate Fellow of the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, and a Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry. He maintains his practice at the Fitzgerald Dental Implant Center — an all-in-one office that includes general dentistry, CBCT scanning, surgery, and lab services under one roof.

In 2012 he founded the Forte Implant Center in Plano, Texas, and currently serves as its director. The Center presents seminars, live surgeries and hands-on training to promote continuing education for dental professionals nationwide.

Eduardo Tanur, DDS, MS

Dr. Tanur received his MS in Periodontics from Baylor College of Dentistry. He is a Board Certified Periodontist and maintains his private practice limited to periodontics and implant dentistry in Dallas. He is a former faculty member at Baylor College of Dentistry and lectures nationally and internationally on periodontics and implants.


After the surgery, follow-up with the patient began with a next-day checkup. After that we conducted weekly examinations for the following month to adjust the occlusion of the temporary prosthesis. Even occlusal contact in centric relation is ideal. After the first month, follow-up examinations occurred monthly to evaluate healing, occlusion monitoring, and patient compliance with hygiene. After 3-4 months when the healing had completed, the patient returned to have her permanent prosthesis fabricated and installed. She has continued regular cleanings to monitor hygiene and implant stability. She has been very satisfied with her new smile that resulted from the collaboration of Drs. Fitzgerald and Tanur.

For more information, contact Dr. Fitzgerald at:

Fitzgerald Dental Implant Center

(972) 612-7800




A Lesson in Life practice transitions


Once upon a time...

Dr. A owned a successful practice in a nice community. Three years earlier he hired a young dentist as an associate (Dr. B). Dr. B was a former patient who had known Dr. A for many years. He was a nice young man who seemed extremely grateful for the opportunity to join Dr. A’s practice. Dr. A was thinking about retiring in four or five years and thought Dr. B would be the perfect candidate to buy his practice from him when he was finally ready to sell.

Since they had known each other for many years, Dr. A did not feel the need for a written contract. After all they were friends and professionals; a handshake would be sufficient. Besides that, this would give them both time to see how much they liked working with each other. Dr. B was very pleased at the prospect of owning Dr. A’s practice someday.

Dr. A’s practice was grossing $975,000 a year when Dr. B joined the practice. In order to provide Dr. B with enough work, Dr. A began sending many of the patients to Dr. B for treatment. These were Dr. A’s “golden years”, and now he began spending more time away from the office knowing that the patients were being treated in his absence, and when he retired, he felt secure that he would be paid the full value of his practice by Dr. B.

Soon Dr. A’s personal gross production kept dropping while Dr. B’s production kept increasing. Everything seemed to be progressing well. Dr. B was paid on a commission basis and was delighted at being so busy. As time went on, most of the money earned by the practice was all paid out as commissions to Dr. B. Thus Dr. A’s income was dropping while Dr. B’s income was steadily increasing.

Midway into the third year of this working relationship, Dr. A discovered he had a serious medical problem and that it was only a matter of time before he would have to quit practicing dentistry. Dr. A had to spend more time away from the office until finally he decided it was time to sell the practice to Dr. B. He felt fortunate to at least have his “built-in buyer” on the premises.

Dr. A informed his now well-established associate Dr. B that it was time for him to buy the practice. In fairness, Dr. A had the practice appraised based on the collected production that the practice was


by Richard V. Lyschik, DDS, FAGD

earning before Dr. B joined the practice. Dr. A did not feel it was fair to have Dr. B pay more money for the additional production added to the practice by Dr. B. The practice was appraised at $725,000 even though its current gross revenues had grown by an additional $300,000 for a total of $1.75M.

Dr. A sat down with Dr. B and explained that it was time for him (Dr. A) to quit, and since the practice value played a major role in his retirement plan, it was time to work out a purchase agreement. Dr. A told Dr. B that the purchase price was based on the gross collections of the practice for the year prior to the time Dr. B joined the practice. Dr. B was astonished! He told Dr. A that Dr. A’s current production was only $200,000 for this last year, and Dr. A could not understand how the practice could have been appraised that high.

Dr. A told Dr. B that the practice had grossed $975,000 before Dr. B joined the practice, and although Dr. A had lowered his own personal production, it was only to accommodate the income needs of the associate.

Dr. B said that he was not under any restrictive covenant and would just open his own office nearby before he would pay this price for Dr. A’s practice. He told Dr. A that since he currently did most of the production he considered the patients to be his already, and thus would not be willing to “buy what he already owned.”

Dr. A was flabbergasted. Perhaps Dr. B did not understand, so Dr. A patiently re-explained things to Dr. B., who said that in anticipation of this discussion he had already spoken to his attorney and accountant about buying the practice. They told him that he should buy the practice only based on Dr. A’s current gross production of $200,000, not on the previous gross practice income of $975,000 nor on the current income of $1,275,000. Dr. B then offered to pay $160,000 for the entire practice. He told Dr. A that if this were not acceptable, that he would set up his own practice in the immediate area and notify “his” patients accordingly. Dr. A became very angry and threatened to fire Dr. B, but he knew he could not keep the practice going by himself.

Dr. A kept Dr. B working while attempting to locate another purchaser, but no one else was interested in purchasing the practice with Dr. B still practicing on the premises without a restrictive covenant.

Dr. A went once more to talk to Dr. B. By this time, the associate was prepared to offer him only $25,000 for his remaining patient records. Dr. B no longer needed the “outdated” equipment and office space. Dr. A had no choice, he accepted the $25,000 and retired. All this resulted in a loss of $950,000. It was indeed a very expensive lesson for Dr. A. n

Two months later, Dr. B suddenly quit and announced the opening of his new office nearby. Three of Dr. A’s staff members went with Dr. B for fear that Dr. A would not practice much longer. Most of Dr. A’s former patients became aware of his medical condition and followed Dr. B to his new office. Little remained of Dr. A’s practice when this story unfolded. Dr. A was mentally and physically drained. He was facing retirement with a disability and his future financial security was in severe jeopardy, but there was little that could be done now with his practice. He knew his practice had little or no value to another doctor. Any potential purchaser would be concerned that any remaining patients of Dr. A would follow Dr. B once Dr. A retired.

Richard V. Lyschik, DDS, FAGD is one of AFTCO’s leading innovative Senior Analysts who has helped over 2,900 dentists in associating, buying, expanding, or merging and guided older, disabled and/or “burned out” dentists to sell their practices. Dr. Lyschik’s clients have seen the considerable benefits of incentive programs, pension funding plans and increased productivity through his guidance. There is no substitute for experience in this business. Who better could you choose to talk to about your future transition plans than a seasoned fellow dentist, a recognized premier transition expert, and AFTCO Analyst of the Year Award winner? Check out the impressive AFTCO website at, then call for a free appraisal and a no-obligation consultation with Dr. Lyschik at your office or the AFTCO office in Dallas, TX at (214) 893-0410 or 1-800-232-3826.

Dr. A’s only hope was to get Dr. B to buy what was left of his practice. If he had a written contract before allowing Dr. B to join the practice, this would not have happened. The details should have been worked out in advance. Now he could do nothing but try to salvage what value he could from Dr. B.



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Celebrating 10 years of helping children smile! Save a Smile is an innovative, nationally recognized, collaborative program within the Cook Children’s Community Health Outreach department. The goal is to improve the health of underserved children through the prevention and treatment of oral health disease. The Save a Smile program serves an important role in Cook Children’s efforts to ILULÄ[[OLJOPSKYLUPUV\Y community. Our volunteer dentists have donated dental care worth more than $5.7 million to children in Tarrant County since the beginning of the program in 2003. Over the past 10 years, 170 dentists and providers have offered their services. We would like to thank these doctors for donating their time, talent and resources. They are the heart of this program, and we are honored to have them as partners.

Dr. Mark Angerbauer Dr. Sayeed Attar Dr. John Avila Dr. William Baltazar Dr. Daniel Bekish Dr. Amy Bender Dr. Robert Beville III Dr. John Boyd Dr. Jerod Brazeal Dr. Jessica Brigati Dr. Brandon Brown Dr. Jake Brown Dr. Kent Brown Dr. Sonia Cartwright-Smith Dr. Joe Cecere Dr. Sean Cerone Dr. Johnny Cheng Dr. Jose Chow Dr. Austin Church Dr. William Cook III Dr. Philip Cordell Dr. Gerald F. Cox Jr. Dr. Christopher M. Davis Dr. Dakota Davis Dr. Paul Davis Jr. Dr. Russell T. Dix Dr. R. Danford Doss Dr. Lauren Davis-Drennon Dr. Debra Duffy Dr. Chad C. Duplantis Dr. Steven J. Fuqua Dr. Tonya K. Fuqua Dr. Ray C. Gillespie

Dr. Mark Givan Dr. Elizabeth Gold Dr. Michael Goulding Dr. Erin Greer Dr. Gary A. Greer Dr. O.Z. Helmer Jr. Dr. Lan Hoang Dr. Eduardo A.C. Humes Dr. David K. Hunter Dr. Andrew Jamison Dr. Andrea Janik Dr. John M. Kelley Jr. Dr. Ken Kirkham Dr. David Kostohryz Dr. Mark C. Lantzy Dr. Phu H. Le Dr. Ronald Lee Dr. Diana Lois Dr. E. Dale Martin Dr. Mark A. McAdams Dr. Brad McConnell Dr. David Mikulencak Dr. Charles Miller Dr. Sarah J. Morris Dr. Jack W. Morrow Dr. Partha Mukherji Dr. David M. Nelson Dr. Tim Oakes Dr. David Parmer Dr. Robert Peak Dr. Blanca Pena Dr. Mau Pham Dr. Janell Plocheck

Dr. Samuel Preece Dr. G. Stan Preece Dr. David Purczinsky Dr. Diana Raulston Dr. Susan Roberts Dr. John Rubin Dr. William Runyon Jr. Dr. Jeff Saunders Dr. Monica Saunders Dr. Gregory Scheideman Dr. Mack Snead Jr. Dr. Christopher Sorokolit Dr. Robert Sorokolit Dr. Brent Spear Dr. Fred Spradley Dr. Brooks M. Stevens Dr. Deborah Sullivan Dr. David Tillman Dr. Abby Treesh Dr. Jean Tuggey Dr. Casey Turner Dr. Christa Walker Dr. Amy Watts Dr. Edmond Watts Dr. Bruce Weiner Dr. Nathan West Dr. Kathleen White Dr. R. Renan Williams III Dr. Glory Windmiller Dr. Danny Wright Anonymous* *Participating dentist who chose to remain anonymous.

money matters


by Frank J. Mario

ffering a retirement plan can be one of the most challenging, yet rewarding, decisions an employer dentist can make. Retirement plans can help attract and maintain employees while allowing the employer dentist to save for their retirement years with tax deductible contributions. However, administering a plan and managing its assets require certain actions and involve specific responsibilities and risk to the employer dentist. Simply hiring an outside retirement plan company, financial advisor and/or payroll company does not in itself reduce your risk or liability.


Managing Your Fiduciary Risk

or more). Today, plan information reported to the IRS on Form 5500 is a matter of public information on the Internet.

There is one essential that seems to get ignored which is equal opportunity to invest for all employees. This means the employer dentist, who usually has the highest balance, must provide the same investment opportunity to participants depositing a small amount per paycheck. If you’re buying stocks

What are the essential elements of a Plan?

Each plan has required key elements. It always must have a written plan that describes the benefit structure that guides dayto-day operations. Many organizations have “prototype” plan documents that are pre-approved though the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Of course, there’s a caveat to all things regulated by the IRS. Prototype documents must be strictly adhered to as designed and the law requires tests be performed each year to remain in compliance.

Other key elements are a trust fund to hold the plan’s assets; a recordkeeping system to track the flow of monies going to and from the retirement plan; depositing employee contributions and loan payments as soon as reasonably possible but not later than the 7th business day after withdrawn from the employee’s paycheck. (Plans with greater than 100 participants have more stringent rules.) The law also requires notices, disclosures, forms and other documents be provided to employees eligible to participate in the plan; plan activity must be reported each year to the government on Form 5500, sometime requiring the audit of outside consultants depending the scope of investments in the plan or number of participating employees (usually 100

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or other assets requiring a minimum purchase that your employees cannot buy, your plan is not in compliance and has potential liability.

the plan, or to restore any profits made through improper use of the plan’s assets resulting from their actions.

Fiduciary status is based on the functions performed for the plan, not just a person’s title. A plan must have at least one fiduciary (a person or entity) named in the written plan, or through a process described in the plan, as having control over the plan’s operation. Having said that, all plans have at least a trustee and an employer sponsor without either of which, the plan cannot exist. Other fiduciaries can be specifically named such as investment advisors, individuals exercising discretion in the administration of the plan and all members of a plan’s administrative committee.

Your practice likely has insurance for general property & casualty, liability, theft, fire, workers comp, and other specialty coverage such as business interruption and malpractice. You can also purchase fiduciary liability insurance for your plan to help limit your personal financial exposure. This is not to be confused with fidelity coverage as required by the law to cover the loss of plan assets through malfeasance or other illegal activities.



Who is a Fiduciary?

What is the significance of being a fiduciary?

Fiduciaries have important responsibilities and are subject to standards of conduct because they act on behalf of participants in a retirement plan and their beneficiaries. These responsibilities include acting solely in the interest of plan participants and their beneficiaries and with the exclusive purpose of providing benefits to them. Any written policies such as investment policy statements or retirement plan committee decisions must have all employees in mind when adopted. Additionally, fiduciaries must carry out their duties prudently; diversify plan investments; and pay only reasonable plan expenses.

Monitoring a Service Provider

An employer dentist should establish and follow a formal review process at reasonable intervals to monitor service providers it uses to run the retirement plan such as financial advisors or third party administrators. Outside service providers should help the employer construct processes which are prudent from the IRS and Department of Labor (DOL) standards standpoint while providing top quality service. If not, the employer dentist should reconsider his or her options. Another component of oversight are the fees actually charged for services rendered. The IRS and DOL have publically stated that the amount of fees is not necessarily of highest concern; it’s the quality of service and the complete disclosure to the employer and employee participants that ranks highest in their evaluation. In other words, paying 1.00% of the plan’s balance in fees for excellent service and investment performance may be better than .50% for poor plan governance and poor investment performance.

Limiting Liability

With these fiduciary responsibilities, there is also serous potential liability. Fiduciaries who do not follow the basic standards of conduct may be personally liable to restore any losses to 22 NORTH TEXAS DENTISTRY |

Fiduciary Insurance

Procedure is Key

Adopting and adhering to procedures with full documentation is key to managing your fiduciary risks. While the Department of Labor and Internal Revenue Service will look to content and actions in this documentation, they also like to see that employer sponsors are putting effort into following guidelines and operational procedures with expert assistance from third party administration professionals and financial advisors. This is extra important in this day and time. The DOL and IRS have been “turning up the heat” on plan fiduciaries in the last few years. The number of DOL agents has increased significantly in the last two years and revenue derived from fines and penalties as a result of plan audits has skyrocketed.

Frank J. Mario is President at Pension Resources Corporation. Mr. Mario was educated in Los Angeles in Business Law and Accounting in addition to his years of experience on the job. His 30 years of experience in the retirement plan business has given him extensive knowledge of pension plan design, consulting and administration. Mr. Mario continues his education through professional courses offered by such institutions as Penserv, Inc. and American Law Institute - American Bar Association (ALI-ABA). Mr. Mario is now teaching continuing education courses to financial professionals. Mr. Mario is actively involved in pension and tax legislative change. He has served as a regional representative to PACT, Inc. (Pension Action Council Task force) for 18 years and continues to work with the Internal Revenue Service and Department of Labor's ERISA Advisory Council to comment on current agenda’s and develop witnesses for meetings and hearings. Contact Frank at or call (972) 490-1771 ext 111.

Helping dentists buy & sell practices for over 40 years. AFTCO is the oldest and largest dental practice transition consulting firm in the United States. AFTCO assists dentists with associateships, purchasing and selling of practices, and retirement plans. We are there to serve you through all stages of your career.

Practices for Sale Midland Practice boasts long-term staff, efficient and highly profitable hygiene department. Panorex, digital imaging, and computerized operatories. No big city overhead expenses make this practice more profitable than most. Doctor is flexible with financing and he can stay on, or retire immediately.

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practice management

Could Unresolved Conflict be Jeopardizing Your Practice? By Sharon Dolak, RDH and MDR Specialist, Center Director – Dallas Fort Worth for Mediators Without Borders

As a dental hygienist, I’ve witnessed conflict in dental offices. While disagreements can be uncomfortable, working towards positive outcomes is possible and the situation that caused the disturbance can be made better to everyone’s benefit. Conflict occurs when the ideas, interests, or behaviors of two or more individuals clash and is unhealthy when it is avoided or approached on a win/lose basis, where one side is the winner, and another is the loser. Most people want to avoid discomfort by avoiding the situation and hoping that everyone will settle down and the problem will evaporate. When handled properly, conflict can motivate a team towards positive growth and change. Positive conflict can be very useful when the team is focused on finding ways to resolve a problem in the office. There are five styles we use as we navigate conflict with others:

Avoidance. Avoiding conflict is useful if the relationship is short-term, not important to you, or if the issue is minor. However, most conflicts are not resolved through avoidance but will reappear later and with more force. Avoidance can give the impression that you don’t care enough about the person or the issue to engage in the conflict, and can reinforce the impression that dealing directly with the conflict is harmful.

Competition. This works when the relationship is short-term or you’re competing in games and sports. It’s appropriate when quick, decisive action is needed, such as in an emergency. Competition can harm relationships by reducing the negotiation to win/lose. It can also escalate the conflict, or encourage passive-aggressive tactics from the other party. Solutions are seen as win/lose.

Collaboration. This style preserves the relationship and both parties’ needs. Collaboration demonstrates that conflict resolution can be productive and creative, since a high value is placed on integrative solutions. Collaboration favors those with a high level of verbal communication skill that could be used to manipulate or set up a power imbalance.

Considering how closely everyone in a dental office works together, all of these styles are used at any given moment during the day. There is no denying that in the shortterm, a team can be in conflict with one

Compromise. This approach can be less time consuming than collaboration and is often used when other methods have failed. It works best when solutions are short-term and when both parties feel that this is the most reasonable approach. Compromise can When we are in conflict, we say become an “easy way out”, things we do not mean and we resulting in modified gains and mean things we do not say. losses. It is seldom received as win/win. When power imbalanother and still be smiling and greeting ances are unequal, it can be viewed as givpatients, addressing their concerns, and ing up. Interests are met to the fullest fixing teeth. In the long run however, dental extent possible. offices whose team, behind the scenes, is Accommodation. If preserving the relabickering, gossiping, and in conflict, is neitionship is more important than resolving ther sustainable nor productive in either the issue, or if the issue is more important human or financial terms. to one person than to the other, accommoThe team feels the tension while they are dation is very useful. A disadvantage is that working, and this can be apparent to the desire for harmony can supersede the patients. Many people are nervous about needs of the accommodating party. going to the dentist under the best of cirCreative problem solving is reduced.


cumstances. Patients are not immune to feeling subtextual nuances and, if the office environment feels disruptive, patients may choose to go elsewhere. The bottom line is that unresolved conflict causes angst, loss of productivity and causes the practice to lose money.

A few years ago, two doctors, an office manager, three hygienists, two front desk staff and three assistants were embroiled in bickering, back-stabbing, and gossip. Their behavior was in response to the office manager’s operating philosophy: “the beatings will continue until morale improves.” The excessive, punitive control over the team produced absenteeism and turnover. Production suffered, with holes in the schedule and cases dropped off the books due to lack of communication – and the team’s focus was on office turmoil instead of on their duties. In the end, no bonuses, no raises and no fun.

tivity and morale, the very real money drain caused by office drama is not as obvious. So what is an office to do? When we are in conflict, we say things we do not mean and we mean things we do not say. Rarely do we communicate at a deep level to express truly what we are thinking and feeling. Avoidance promotes turnover and escalating conflict, which are expensive emotionally and financially. Realistically it is difficult, if not impossible, for people who are warring to come to peace without some outside influence or help.

In 2008, U.S. employees each spent 2.8 hours per week dealing with conflict. This amounts to approximately $359 billion in paid hours (based on average hourly earnings of $17.95), or the equivalent of 385 million working days. A professional mediator could be the solution. A mediator provides a forum and an atmosphere for communication where parties gain understanding, become understood, and work together to explore options for quick, productive resolution.

Mediation is the catalyst by which people in

Here’s another scenario: there are two employees, who each earn $35,000 a year. During the last two months, they’ve been engaged in a disagreement. On average, they each spent about two hours a week gossiping, enlisting other team members to one side or the other, telling their stories and reliving the event. Doctors and team leaders think this is an insignificant matter and leave it to the team to “work it out”. This is a costly mistake. What most likely started out as a petty issue has spread and the entire office is now caught up in profuse and idle talk. As with all workplaces, dental offices are comprised of people with unique personalities, communication styles, and backgrounds so naturally, conflicts will occur.

The problem isn’t that conflict exists; it’s how you deal with it or, more importantly, what transpires when it is not resolved. The impact of unresolved conflict in the workplace can be devastating: to the parties involved, to partners and the team, to patients, and to the practice as a whole. Left unattended, a simple conflict can cost the practice thousands of dollars in lost time, inefficiency, turnover, and patient frustration. While every dental professional knows that such workplace conflicts affect produc-




dispute can exercise their own choices and discretion and regain a sense of control over their lives. It is a means by which everyone can be an active participant in the decision-making process and have direct involvement in the determination of the solution. In an informal setting, the parties have the opportunity to express their emotions and realize their true interests. This opportunity itself is the first step, to easing emotional turmoil. Instead of having a decision forced upon the parties by someone else (win/lose), mediation provides a forum for the parties to craft their own decisions. The parties involved determine the resolution. Once a mutually acceptable agreement is reached, the parties breathe easier and are able to end the emotional turmoil that would otherwise continue to plague them. Although mediation is informal, there is nothing haphazard about it. It is a structured, staged process that is designed to

facilitate and direct people from point A to point B, from deeply felt negatives to new, agreed outcomes and constructive changes.

The Benefits of Mediation

Results are fast. When parties want to get on with their business and their lives, mediation may be desirable since it produces results rapidly. The majority of mediations are completed in one or two sessions.

Privacy is protected. Mediation is private and voluntary. Sessions are confidential.

Relationships are preserved. Many disputes occur in the context of ongoing work relationships. Mediated settlements that address all parties’ interests often preserve working relationships in ways that would not be possible in a win/lose decision-making procedure. The team can remain intact and go back to doing what

Sharon Dolak, RDH and Mediator graduated from Montgomery County College of Dental Hygiene in Pennsylvania in 1981. She currently lives in Keller, Texas with her three sons and has been practicing clinical dental hygiene in Texas for 13 years. She is certified in MyersBriggs Personality Assessment (MBTI), Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI), Strong Interest Inventory Assessment, and is a life coach. In 2006, she received her certification in mediation from Texas Woman’s University and advanced her skills and certifications to include Mediation, Arbitration and Workplace Mediation, earning her the title of Mediator Dispute Resolution Specialist. In her mediation work, Sharon specializes in reducing states of tension and getting long-term conflict resolved for people who want to be or must be in ongoing personal, professional, or business relationships.

they do best – caring for patients.

A foundation is built for future problem solving. If a subsequent dispute occurs after mediation, parties are more likely to utilize a cooperative forum of problem solving to resolve their differences than pursuing an adversarial approach.

When I mediate a dispute, I model and teach appropriate listening techniques. Most people think of communication as talking; however, effective communication is really about listening. Many of the most important facets of your life are greatly influenced by your skill or lack of skill in listening. The quality of your friendships, the cohesiveness of your relationships, your effectiveness at work, these hinge, on your ability to listen. By actively listening, I identify the underlying interests in the dispute to reach resolution. Most importantly, listening shows how to communicate respectfully to inoculate against future disputes. The result is a healthy office environment where increased morale and productivity can flourish – and where your team can concentrate on their job at hand.

In the mediation session, I identify important issues, clarify misunderstandings, explore solutions, and facilitate the process of negotiating the settlement.

Mediation requires that each person take responsibility for his or her part in the conflict. Disputing team members guide the outcome of the mediation process and its resolution. This leads to empowerment in the healing process.

The emotional tension dramatically decreases quickly most times in the very first stage of mediation. That is its design, and this early response breaks the tension allowing everyone involved to cool off and consider better ways to cure their problems.

Mediation is, by far, the most advantageous way to reach a mutually satisfactory resolution to any conflict and provides wins all the way around: for you, your colleagues, your leadership and your patients. Sharon Dolak RDH, MDR (817) 781-7910 26 NORTH TEXAS DENTISTRY |


practice marketing

Building a Dental Website That Converts 11 tips for

by Neil Rudoff

Your website is not just a digital version of your practice brochure. Sure, it should feature photos of your office, explain which dental services you offer and of course, include your address and phone number just like a brochure; but the best dental websites do so much more. They are not brochures, but rather, patient attraction tools. The best dental websites are built with one thing in mind; converting visitors to patients.

It’s not “accidental” when a person converts from a mere website visitor to a patient in your chair. Believe it or not, where your practice phone number is located and how fast each webpage loads can be just as important as your dental credentials for a patient who is searching for a dentist online.

Building a website that converts is necessary, but doesn’t have to be daunting. Here are 11 dental web design tips that can help:

Show them the way. After all of these years of Internet use, you’d think we’d intuitively just “know” what to do on a website, but it turns out, we don’t. Research shows that website visitors need to be told what you want them to do and in your case, how


and where they book an appointment. So, make sure you have a clear call to action that is incredibly easy to find. It may seem obvious, but it’s important. On your home page, place your phone number in the upper right hand corner of your website in big, bold font. TIP: Don’t forget about calls-to-action on each individual service page too. We recommend that it be incorporated within the webpage text.


More design isn’t always good design. Why is the #1 website for converting visitors to customers? Simple. It’s incredibly intuitive and easy to search, browse and find what you want. The same goes for dental websites. While you may be tempted to use an overly complicated design for your website because it appeals to you and your staff, it may be too much for a first time visitor. If you want to convert more visitors, make it easy and simple for them to find what they are looking for. In this case, simpler is better.


The faster, the better. A 2012 Google study has shown that in some instances, 400 milliseconds is too long for


most people to wait for a webpage to load. While it may seem impossible to build a website that loads that quickly, it confirms that if your website takes too long to load, a potential patient will move on to the next dental website. Make sure your website consistently loads fast.

The power is in the headline. Once a visitor has landed on your website, you have approximately 8 seconds to grab their attention with a headline. Also, eye-tracking studies show that people tend to view web pages in the shape of a “F”, scanning down the left hand side and then across. Keep this in mind when writing the copy for your website and make sure your most compelling content is in the headline and in the “F” area of your webpage.


Be unique. You’d be surprised (or maybe not surprised) to find out that many dentists have identical copy on their websites. While, yes, there are only so many ways to write about the benefits of teeth whitening, dental implants or orthodontics, it’s important that your website have original copy that is unique to you. This is important for two rea-


sons; Google doesn’t give credit to websites with duplicate copy (ie., won’t rank them well in a search) and your potential patients can see through generic and copycat website content. Being just like your competition won’t help you convert people from just perusing your website to actual patients.

Smile and say “Cheese!” As a dentist, you’d think most of your website visitors would be concerned about which dental services you provide or where you are located. Well, you’d think wrong; the number one most visited page on a dentist’s website is the page about you, the dentist. The second most visited page is the “About the Team” webpage. It turns out, website visitors want to see your face and get to know you a little before choosing to call and make an appointment. To convert visitors to patients, you must have a dedicated page to you, the dentist – and that includes a great photo.


Tell them why you’re great! (Then tell them again.) In order to stand out in a sea of choices, businesses need to clearly express their unique value proposition. In other words, for website visitors to pick you over the dentist down the street, you need to tell them very explicitly why they should. It’s no secret that these days, people have nearly an endless amount of choices and in this case, humility just isn’t rewarded. Don’t hold back when telling your website visitors why your practice is the best choice for them and their family’s dental needs.


accesses it. Don’t miss out on patients accessing your website from their phone because they can’t find out how to make an appointment.

Pay attention to what works. The best dental websites keep track of what visitors are actually doing on their website. The easy way to do this is by installing Google Analytics. This feature gives you priceless insight into how your potential patients are arriving at your website and which pages they are viewing the most. As you can imagine, this information becomes invaluable if you ever need to troubleshoot any new patient flow problems.


Use Call Tracking. Evaluation is an integral part of online marketing and website design is no different. You can track the efficiency of your website design by installing a call tracking phone number to learn how many patients are actually converting from visitors to patients.

People like people. A recent study shows that conversion rates went up by 102.5% if a webpage featured a person instead of an object. Quality images on your website are important, so feature images of people when you can, especially on your home page. TIP: Want to increase your website visitor engagement even further? Use photos of your actual patients (with their signed permission) instead of stock photos. n



IMPORTANT: While call tracking is very useful for ROI, it can often confuse Google by associating multiple phone numbers with your practice. This can interfere with your local listing and SEO efforts. If you choose to use call tracking phone numbers, it’s important to engage a trained online marketing expert to help you install them on your website correctly.

Neil Rudoff is the Senior Account Executive at Bullseye Media in McKinney, TX. He received his BA from Tufts University in 1989 and his MBA from UT Austin in 1993, and has been an online marketing and web design consultant since 2003. He can be reached at (214) 491-6166 or BullseyeMedia, LLC is a McKinney, Texas based full-service digital marketing agency that specializes in helping dentist leverage the internet to grow their practices. Visit the website at

Build a responsive website. Your potential patients will be accessing your website via desktop computers, laptops, tablets and smart phones. While your website design may look great on a desktop or laptop, it may not on mobile devices. If you build a responsive website, your patients can still book an appointment and easily read through your services because it uses a flexible grid framework that automatically realigns the content to the device that





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AFTCO ...................................................23 Bryant Studio..........................................12

Bullseye Media .......................................11

Burkhart Dental ......................................19

Children 1st Dental & Surgery Center ......... inside front cover

Destiny Dental Laboratory......................26

J. Houser Construction ...........................11

Legacy Texas Bank ................................27

Med-Tech Construction ............ back cover

Midco Dental .........................................30

Save a Smile ..........................................20

Structures & Interiors .............................25

The Glove Group ...........inside back cover

Tina Cauller ...........................................30

Transworld Systems ..............................29 TruDenta ................................................13

US Oxygen Supply .................................30

UT School of Dentistry at Houston ........21 30 NORTH TEXAS DENTISTRY |


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Ntd volume 3 issue 4 de  
Ntd volume 3 issue 4 de  

Cover story, A Life-Changing Focus on Mind, Body and Soul features the dental practice of Dr. Jodi Danna and Dr. Tina Lalangas. "Smiles in...