There is NO WAY a stupid song can help your practice in December!!

Here it is – the middle of December and you may already be sick of hearing holiday songs blaring from every corner of the Earth – from Sirius XM all the way to Quizno’s. Well here is a holiday song that can mean lots of income added to your bottom line before the end of the year!

Let’s face it – even the most highly productive offices can be a little bit slow this time of year. But instead of just shrugging your shoulders and saying “That’s the way it is” – here are five sure fire ways to either save lots of money or earn more before the end of 2009! Just to make you pay attention, we’ll gear the list to the first line of a popular holiday song – “Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire.”

1)     Chestnuts:  Okay – the first one may be an old “chestnut,” but as you know many of your patients have dental insurance dollars just waiting for them, and it is “use it or lose it” before the end of the year. Some of them are not even aware of this situation. These days it’s easier than ever to get the word out. Simply compose an email to let them know that if they don’t take advantage of this benefit in 2009, they will lose hundreds of dollars that belong to them! In just a few minutes you can tell your entire patient base.

Also, go through the files starting with patients who were seen the most recently (they most likely have this treatment on their minds) and let them know that in order to maximize their benefits they need to start treatment before the end of the year. People who need multiple restorations can do some now and some at the beginning of 2010. You can easily schedule ten units of crowns or other high-end restorations this way!

2)     Roasting:  It seems like we are always “roasting” the government because all they want to do is tax us to death. So when the government wants to give us some money, we should go for it!! If you check with your accountant, they most likely will confirm that you can take advantage of IRS code section # 179, which allows dentists to take a deduction of up to $250,000 on equipment either purchased or leased before the end of 2009. This is free money from Uncle Sam – grab it!!! Not sure what to get? According to dental technology expert Dr. Larry Emmott, here are the top two choices:

My #1 tech investment recommendation is to make sure you have a good complete office network. No other tech investment will give you as fast a retun on investment or allow you to do so many more things with technology. So this is the year to add computers to all the treatment rooms, put a workstation in the lab, upgrade the server, improve your security, and anything else you may have been putting off. This will cost a typical dental office between $20 to $25,000. A big multidoctor office will of couse spend more.

#2 is digital radiography. If you have #1, that is a complete up to date safe and speedy network, then you need to have digital radiography. Adding a sensor system to an exisitng network will cost less than $15,000. Adding a digital panoramic will cost around $30,000.

Speaking of digital x-ray, we absolutely love the new Dexis Platinum Sensor. Check it out at

Just think about it – if you were planning on purchasing new computer equipment or a digital x-ray system (or even a few new sensors for your existing system) you can get a HUGE check from the government for doing it now!

3)     Open:  As the year comes to a close, more and more offices are taking vacation time, longer lunches, closures for holiday parties, and anything else to celebrate the end of the year. And we are all for that! But just make sure when your office is not technically open that it is “virtually” open by forwarding your office phone line to the cell phone of a team member or using a virtual scheduling service. The holiday season is actually a great time to pick up new patients and emergencies – unless they call your office and get an answering machine. Then they are lost and gone forever.

4)     Fire:  Okay – this may not be the nicest topic in the world, but the new year is approaching, and it is a great time to make a fresh start. Is there a team member who just is not “on the bus?” I know we all love them or feel sorry for them or for some mushy reason can’t face up to the fact that they don’t belong in our office. But someone who is not 100% on your team for all the right reasons and bringing their “A Game” into the office every single day is costing you tens of thousands of dollars and really ticking off the rest of your staff (and probably patients as well). This is a toxic situation and it needs to be remedied. Go ahead and do it – you will feel better when 2010 comes around.

5)     White Christmas:  Who doesn’t want whiter teeth for the holidays? Everyone does! But it is also a tough time when shopping for everyone else is on the minds of most patients. So take a tip from the marketing geniuses who invented Black Friday – have a sale! Give your whitening fee a significant discount and tell all of your patients that you are having a holiday sale. You will be amazed how many patients will just say “yes” at the end of their hygiene appointment when offered a great deal on whitening. Then just move ‘em on over to the next treatment room and get started! It’s December – you weren’t doing anything anyway!!

So please – don’t just write December off as a month where nothing gets done! All five of these things can add up to huge earnings and savings as the year comes to a close!

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