Bringing Innovation to Dentistry

Learning from other industries creates new opportunities for dentists

The most common path to success is to reinvent the wheel. Yes, I realize that seems unlikely, but I assure you it’s the truth. Look at the most popular products available right now. Most of them are basically new approaches to an already existing system.

Remember when a phone was just a phone? Now it’s a calendar, camera, alarm clock, computer, modem, flashlight, video game system, personal stereo and more. What’s an iPad other than a simpler, more lightweight laptop with a touchscreen keyboard? What is Facebook besides an elaborate, personal bulletin board system?

Success is built on taking something that already exists and making it better, or applying it in a way that’s never been seen before. That’s the essence of bringing innovation to dentistry.

Identifying Opportunities for Change

There’s a shift going on in the business world.

  • Marketing models have changed
  • Consumers expect greater value for their dollar
  • Sales have become more consultative and less pressured
  • Businesses are reevaluating the way that they operate, and experimenting with unique shifts in their corporate culture
  • Companies are attracting consumers through non-traditional means since traditional avenues like advertising have become less effective
  • Consumers are interacting with businesses more directly and can more greatly impact how the companies are viewed by others

This shift has spelled trouble for some, but other companies have adapted to the changes and thrived.


For instance, Google went from being just another search engine to one of the most trusted names online. Their company name isn’t just their identity; it’s become a verb that’s synonymous with Web searching. We don’t just search online for something, we Google it.

Federal Express

FedEx began in 1971 with a very simple mission: to deliver packages quicker than the United States Postal Service. Two years later they began shipping overnight and the rest was history. Now they employ over 280,000 people worldwide and take in over $30 billion a year. They’ve shown innovation all throughout their history. They were the first shipping company to track parcels, and later became the first company to allow customers to track their packages online.

Crossing Over Into Dentistry

What are the takeaways from these examples?

So how do we take the same strategies employed by companies like Google and FedEx, and apply them to dentistry? After all, a dental practice is nothing like a search engine or a shipping company, right?

No, it isn’t, but your customers are the same. People are the one constant in any business you’re in. Your success or failure depends on attracting people to your business and convincing them to spend money on you, and in that regard, their behavior when it comes to your practice is no different than their behavior when sending a package, buying groceries or booking a trip to Paris.

People respond to value and they respond to innovation. As dentists, we must change the way we do business in order to keep up with the changing business trends and to reach as many patients as we can to provide the top-notch dental care on which we pride ourselves.