Dental Practice & Entrepreneurship
– Dr. Aster Shail Vas
The modern-day mantra to be successful as a dentist is to be a –
Dentist-Preneur (Dentist + Entrepreneur)
Dentists offer the finest dental care, but it’s entrepreneurship that motivates them to make a difference in the world.
In the modern-day world, a dentist and an entrepreneur share a similarity of skills. Almost everything worthwhile carries with it some sort of risk. The constant expectations of dealing with dental pain & esthetics is where the thrill and satisfaction of being a dental surgeon lies. But entrepreneurship is a form of innovation directed at business development and is seen as one of the major areas of sustainability for higher education in the future (Provasnek et al.; 2017). Both dentistry and entrepreneurship are very different from each other but can be merged for their betterment. Both the professions show a “symbiosis” for each other.
Quality of dental practice has improved in the last few years. Entrepreneurs are the leaders in making use of market opportunities by planning and management of resources. A study found that the dentists in the age group of 35-45 years have the strongest EI (Entrepreneurial Intention). Additionally, dentists’ entrepreneurial behaviors, risk aversion attitudes and their family background all have significant associations (Jiabi Wang, 2020).
Dentists as Entrepreneurs
There are two aspects in becoming a successful Dentist-Preneur i.e.;
- The Dentist Way
- The Entrepreneur Way
The dentist way is
- proper history, diagnosis and treatment.
- responsibility of proper case selection.
- the people dealing skills along with the tingling spider sense during clinical practice.
- proper post-treatment instructions.
To be able to manage these, one should develop the entrepreneurial bent – the capacity for planning and assessing the prospects of profits and loss.
The entrepreneurial way is understanding that we are in a service oriented business as a doctor with a professional set-up depending on patients. This requires adopting few skills during professional practice. The patient journey analysis is
- asking patient/relative to fill the feedback form
- taking reference of friends/relatives
- follow up with the patients
- informing patients regarding any offers on treatments through e-mails
- invitation for free consultation
- organizing small awareness programs and
- marketing one’s professional set-up (Arshee Hashmi.; 2020).
The key to success with entrepreneurship and innovation is moving from:
Innovation has been identified as the spearhead of growth of dental industry as well as dental practice in the future. Both, innovations as well as dissemination of innovation, is important for future growth of dentistry into a more client friendly and person-centered profession (Sharma Ankur.; 2018).
Indian government is promoting entrepreneurship in India through its “Make in India” campaign; and operates many schemes for the benefit of existing and prospective entrepreneurs. This is being done to promote emerging technological and knowledge-based innovative ventures that seek the nurturing of ideas from professionals beyond the traditional activities of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
Dentist-Preneurs have contributed greatly to the dentistry community. At present, 25,000- 30,000 graduates pass out every year from around 300 dental colleges in India. One must appreciate the intentions of the innovators, based on enduring innovations such as
- high-speed turbine handpiece,
- high-speed suction,
- rubber dam,
- endodontic files and obturation systems,
- digital dental radiography,
- dental cone beam computed tomography,
- digital smile designing,
- maxillo-facial materials,
- elastomeric impressions,
- dental implants, to name a few.
These innovations have improved the quality and experience of dentistry for both patient and clinician; thus, improving the “quality of life” of the patients (Palaskar JN; 2014).
Future Dental Innovation and Entrepreneurial Hub
Provision of health care facilities and the extent of their utilization is one of the indices of human development. The services for the masses need to be designed with the basic objective of alleviation and prevention.
Considering the extensive spread of dental education in India, there are few programs that make India a future dental innovation and entrepreneurship hub. A few dentistry-entrepreneur examples are-
- custom dental mobile services
- pet dental services
- dental unit equipment detailing
- making and selling dental wreaths
- operating a small apparatus repair service.
In fact, the efficacy of Mobile dental Units (MDU’s) in the treatment of oral health problems was found to be high in community outreach programmes. MDUs help in overcoming the accessibility, affordability and sustainability barrier. They are able to reach more people than fixed-site clinics. They can also be used as a means to provide comprehensive oral health care which includes oral health treatment and education being provided to the underserved population at the same place and same time (Vaibhav et al.; 2014).
Like other health professionals, dentists have seen a lot of change over the years from extractions and dentures to digital technology that is taking dentistry to other level – creating practice possibilities hardly imaginable even 10 years ago. Teledentistry is a developing area of dentistry that integrates electronic health records, telecommunications technology, digital imaging and the internet to link dental providers and their patients (Chandra G et al.; 2012). Dentistry has definitely reached a new horizon with a fast and technology savvy pace. Utilizing current teledentistry technologies during the COVID-19 pandemic, oral health care providers can digitally acquire and transmit diagnostic data to a distant dentist for triage, diagnosis and patient referral.
Day by day, the use of this new field is attracting dentists across the globe and bringing the fraternity closer, as well as improving the quality of the services rendered.
Today, schools of dentistry are involved in many different types of entrepreneurial activities. Entrepreneurship in dentistry is raising value and growing services, but it can be much more than that. The future looks promising regarding the filling of gaps between health care facilities provision and its utilization.
- Provasnek AK, Schmid E, Geissler B, Steiner G. Sustainable corporate entrepreneurship: performance and strategies toward innovation. Business Strategy and the Environment. 2017 May 1;26(4):521-35.
- Jiabi Wang et al.; Dentists’ Entrepreneurial Intention and Associated Factors in Public Hospitals in Southeastern China: A Cross-sectional Study. Research Square. 2020 August 17.
- Arshee Hashmi. How to be a successful dentist and a businessman. 2020, June 3. Dentalorg.com.
- Sharma Ankur et al. Need for entrepreneurship education in undergraduate dental curriculum. Dental Lamina – Journal of Dental Sciences 2020 June; 5(1).
- Palaskar JN. Entrepreneurship in dentistry. J Dent Allied Sci 2014;3:69.
- Vaibhav Vashistha et al . Reach the Unreached – A Systematic Review on MobileDental Units. J Clin Diagn Res. 2014 Aug; 8(8): ZE05–ZE08.
- Chandra G, Rao J, Singh K, Gupta K. Teledentistry in India: Time to deliver. J EducEthics Dent 2012;2:61-4.