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Episode 196 – The Future is Bright

“There are lots of dentists out there who would love to be mentors. Find someone who is doing things the way you want to do them, and learn from them.” ~Dr. Bruce B. Baird

Drawing inspiration from the recent passing of legendary country musician Toby Keith, Productive Dentist Podcast host Dr. Bruce B. Baird reflects on the advice in the lyrics of Keith’s song, “Don’t Let the Old Man In.” Dr. Baird draws parallels between this song and the ever-changing dental profession as he emphasizes the importance of resilience and adaptability.

In this episode, Dr. Baird discusses the future of dentistry and he highlights emerging technologies like AI and 3D printing. Also, despite the dental profession’s inevitable shift toward consolidation, the core principles of patient care and practice leadership will always remain at the forefront of practice success.

As you listen to this episode, ask yourself the following:

  • What can you do to cultivate a resilient mindset and adapt to changes within the profession while maintaining your passion for patient care. 
  • What opportunities do technological advancements in dentistry present for your practice and how can you use them to enhance patient care and practice efficiency?
  • What steps can you take to actively seek mentorship and engage in ongoing professional development to further your skills in dentistry?


Regan 0:00
Hi, Doctor. Regan Robertson, CCO of Productive Dentist Academy here and I have a question for you. Are you finding it hard to get your team aligned to your vision, but you know, you deserve growth just like everybody else? That’s why we’ve created the PDA productivity workshop. For nearly 20 years, PDA workshops have helped dentists just like you align their teams, get control of scheduling, and create productive practices that they love walking into every day. Just imagine how you will feel when you know your schedule is productive, your systems are humming, and your team is aligned to your vision. It’s simple, but it’s not necessarily easy. We can help, visit that’s to secure your seats now.

Dr. Bruce Baird 0:46
If you’re just now getting out of dental school, you’re just now starting with, starting to think about what you want to do. Let me tell you, you’re in a phenomenal profession. There are lots of dentists out there that would love to be mentors to you find out, find someone who is doing things the way you want to do it. Hello, everyone, this is Dr. Bruce B. Baird and you’re listening to the Productive Dentist podcast. in this podcast, I will give you everything that I’ve learned over the last 40 years in dentistry working with 1000s of dentists. I’ll tell you it’s not that my way is the only way, it’s just one that has worked extremely well for me and I’d love to share that with you so you too can enjoy the choices and lifestyle the productivity allows, more time for things you love, increased pay, better team relationships, and lowered stress. Let’s get into it with this week’s episode of the Productive Dentist Podcast.

Dr. Bruce Baird 1:49
This is Dr. Bruce Baird with the Productive Dentist podcast. First off, I’d like to say thank you to all of you around, around the world that voted the Productive Dentist Podcast as the number one dental podcast in all of dentistry that just came out from Dental Whoo this last week And so I just wanted to say thank you. You know, my podcasts are a little different. I don’t, most of it’s just me talking. So it’s kind of, I just want to give you my ideas and my thoughts over 44 years in dentistry, and the trials and tribulations that I’ve been through, and the school of hard knocks and the things that have been very successful and obviously, it’s resonating with, with my listeners. So I’m so thankful for you guys and please tell your friends about us and I would love to help them get to where they wanted to go. So I wanted to say something else. I did a podcast a while back called “Don’t Let The Old Man In” and it, it’s kind of appropriate to now that Toby Keith recently passed away. I got a multitude of text messages and emails from the listeners of Productive Dentist Podcasts saying, “You know, it’s a tough time right now,” and you know, Toby Keith wrote that song to Clint Eastwood, when they were playing golf or to hammer out in Carmel. That’s, and he was asking, he was asking Clint, “How do you do it? You know, how you’re, 92 or 91 years old, and you’re still doing movies and producing and directing and everything else,” and, and, and Clint said, “I just don’t let the old man in,” and Toby went home and wrote that song, and came back and it ended up being in the movie, “The Mule” with Clint Eastwood, and that was the final song and, you know, toast each sundown, you know, and take good care of your family, friends and your wife and, and it’s just, I don’t know, it’s just, it was such a great song and Toby is going to be missed dearly. He was always coming up with great, great tunes and, and that was usually just based on experience. You know, it’s the one song it could have been a cat, you should have been a cowboy.

Dr. Bruce Baird 4:20
Apparently, he was with a bunch of his buddies, and they were pheasant hunting up in, I think, Kansas and they went out to some bar and they were all drinking and one of the guys said, you know, “I’m gonna go ask this girl to dance,” and he walked across and she turned him down and when he was walking back, one of the other guys says, “Well, hey, man, you should have been a cowboy.” In other words, she probably would have danced with you and Toby went out on a patio that night where they were staying and wrote the entire song, “Should Have Been a Cowboy”. So I think we should be writing songs about “You Should Have Been a Dentist” because I do believe that dentistry is still an amazing occupation, I have absolutely loved it for the 44 years I’ve been been out of dental school, some of you have been in retirement or I would call that putting the handpiece down, I’m not retired because I still have many projects going on in the financial arena and in dentistry, with a Lampa Dental Group and with other things, but and also for years in the military. So I’ve kind of got that broad spectrum, thought process, you know, across all that.

Dr. Bruce Baird 5:31
So I really, you know, wanted to talk today about, you know, kind of the future of dentistry and where we’re, we’re where I see us heading. It’s an exciting time to be a dentist. There’s no question. printing technology is coming to the forefront. Now milling technology has been around now for 30 years 25 and so we’ve been milling crowns and now they’re starting to say, “Well, let’s, let’s start printing, let’s start doing those types of things,” and, and our PPO is going to continue to grow. I mean, you know, that many, many patients, you know, think that their PPO is just like their medical insurance. So what what is the future look like? And what I see is, obviously, there’s going to be the consolidation of dentistry and probably 70% of dental practices will be owned by either partially owned or fully owned by a third party entity, potentially a private equity group, or a dental service organization out there and we see that and that’s going to happen, it’s happening all the other, all the other dermatology, medicine, ophthalmology, you go down the list, and we’re not immune to that, is it good? Is it bad? You know, it’s it’s neither good nor bad. It gives you opportunities to, to maybe take some money off the table, take some chips off the table. Maybe it gives you some opportunity to take a little bit of the administrative headaches away but it’s not going to change you being a leader in your practice, it’s not going to change you doing what’s right in your practice, and taking great care of patients. That’s not going to change and first of all, corporate America and corporate dentistry and private equity, they don’t want that to change. They, they want to buy you because you’ve been successful, and any successful industry goes through consolidation but what if you don’t want to have anything to do with that? Well, that’s fine, you can very easily decide I want to be a solo practitioner, I want to have a group practice, I want to have a high-value fee for service practice and I think the high-value fee for service practice, if I was getting out of dental school right now, that’s one of the things that I’d be, I’d be looking at. I’d want to establish and grow a high-value fee-for-service practice. One where patients come first, use, use great marketing, you look forward to seeing your patients every day, you don’t have to see five jillion patients every day to make a living, but you can actually have time to take care of people and I do think that that’s going to be a blossoming part of what we see through consolidation. How do you compete against the consolidation of dentistry? You just take great care of your patients. Years ago, I had a dentist who was a friend of mine left, left the practice and I was shocked, especially since they were running off charts and some of you’ve heard this story before and he was moving down the street and we had been buddies for, I don’t know, 10, 12 years and he took eight employees with him and, you know, one of my one of my mentors back then a guy named Travis Lanham. Travis was at the time in his late 70s. and I told him, I said, “Man, what should I do? Should I go sue, sue him or Do this, do that?” and he said, “Just continue to take great care of your patients,” and I took that to heart and I just took great care of my patients and within six months, not only were  we, were we producing more than we were when he was there and he was a good producer, but we also had eight less employees and we were still producing more. That’s what happens when you have a team that is totally dedicated to taking great care of people.

Dr. Bruce Baird 9:42
So that’s going to continue to grow and demonstrate the printing technology is going to continue to grow in dentistry. You know what I print a crown now I read them in journals every day. “Oh yeah, use this crown you know, you can print them. They can be permanent because they have some ceramic within the, in the resin,” and so you can call it a ceramic crown. You know, I might, I might take a little time I’ve gotten hosts before, over the years with certain types of crowns that I was told that, “Oh, these are going to be the best thing since sliced bread,” and they started demanding and falling apart in a short period of time and the research wasn’t behind it. So as printing technology continues, and they’re printing everything now but it’s the materials that are going to make the difference. It’s not the printers, printers, they’re going to get better, they’re going to get easier to use and AI is going to take over in a lot of that there’ll be designed by artificial intelligence, you push a button, it’ll print and at some point in time, I believe those crowns are going to be fantastic they’re going to fit, they’re going to look great and what’s it going to do? it’s going to reduce costs, it’s going to increase profitability in your office and your practice and those are the things that you can look forward to in dentistry and we were just now starting to talk about artificial intelligence but, you know, with, with, with AI now detecting decay and detecting perio and, and really enhancing statistics and data that you get through your business. These are all things that I think coaching, coaching is going to become more and more automated, based on data and I’ve always thought that and even in the early days in the mid-80s. To me, I kept spreadsheets on everything, I kept data, why because metrics is king. I wanted to know what my associates produced per hour, I wanted to know at you know, per chair, what was I producing? I wanted to know all those things. Why? So I could make the proper decisions?

Dr. Bruce Baird 11:56
Well, you may not have to do so much of that in the future. You know, with companies like dental intelligence, they’re using, you know, they’ve got tons of data. Glidewell Labs has millions and millions of scanned teeth, and designs and now you’re gonna have artificial intelligence going through all of that, and just taking the best of the best based on previous history. So longevity of restorations, why they fail all, of these things, artificial intelligence is going to be looking at what was used, what was the life expectancy of that crown, or whatever it is. So the future of dentistry to me is extremely bright. I wish I was, I wish I was 18. Again, it was an old George Burns song because I just I just want to see what’s going to happen in the next 20 years, and the next 25 years. So if you’re just now getting out of dental school, you’re just now starting to starting to think about what you want to do. Let me tell you, you’re in a phenomenal profession. There are lots of dentists out there that would love to be mentors to you find out, find someone who is doing things the way you want to do it and that goes for dentistry been in practice for 30 years, when you see somebody that’s doing things the way that you’d like to do it, get to know him, you know, and what you’ll find is dentists are very sharing, they’ll, they’ll help you. You know, and we are kind of on our own island but there’s so many dentists and with social media and with all these ways to communicate now, you know, find, find somebody who you’d like to be like, and go pick their brain and learn from them. That the old school of hard knocks, Yep, I’ve been there done it, and so of all of you but there are ways to speed that up a little bit. There are ways to not make the same mistakes over and over again and that’s another area that I think artificial intelligence is going to help us so through printing through artificial intelligence through, through photogrammetry, through all kinds of new technology. Dentistry is just going to keep getting better and better.

Dr. Bruce Baird 14:16
So thanks again, for voting for the Productive Dentist Podcast as the number one podcast in dentistry I really am thankful for you know, for the opportunity to be able to share my experiences and if you have questions, Real easy. Just send me a question. We’ll do an entire I’ve been doing this for, I don’t know, five years. We’ll do a podcast on your question. I won’t throw your name up there but I’ll do a podcast on exactly what your question was and why, why would I do this and why would I do that and, and that might help others. So again, thanks. Thanks again. I look forward to our next podcast. Thank you for joining me for this episode of the Productive Dentist podcast. If you found this episode helpful, make sure you subscribe, pass it along to a friend Give us a like on iTunes and Spotify or drop me an email at don’t forget to check out other podcasts from the Productive Dentist Academy of Join me again next week for another episode of the Productive Dentist Podcast

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