Kristen Burris, DDS, describes dentistry as a blessing that has given her the opportunity to provide a much-needed service in the small town of Shattuck, Okla., while being a part of patients’ lives. “We have celebrated with our patients over the years,” she said. “We watch them grow up, marry and have their own kids.”
As her patients’ lives have changed, so has Dr. Burris’. In fact, 10 years ago she didn’t know how she would continue practicing dentistry. “After a certain amount of years, there’s only so much excitement you get from placing a Class ?II amalgam,” she said. “Dentistry was getting boring and it wasn’t that I didn’t want to be in dentistry but I wanted to be excited about it again,” she explained.
It didn’t help that she was feeling overwhelmed by a patient load that she lacked the resources to handle. As the only dentist in the county, Dr. Burris was booked six months out and didn’t have the office space she needed. Not wanting to turn patients away or affect her staff members’ schedules, she rarely took time off. Dr. Burris knew she needed an associate but couldn’t imagine how she could attract a young dentist to a town of 1,200.
When she confided in Cory Mazza, her Patterson representative, he had a solution to the challenges she faced – an upcoming Mercer seminar focused on practice transition. Dr. Burris registered that day for the seminar, which ultimately was a turning point for her. “They talked about the investment you need to make to improve your practice, make it exciting for yourself and to recruit an associate. They described how new technology and being open-minded about updating the practice was the perfect way to do that,” she said.
Working with Mazza and Mercer Advisors, Dr. Burris began implementing changes including computers, intraoral cameras and digital X-rays in all operatories,? an expansion to the building and ?the purchase of a CEREC system. Despite challenges adapting to the new technology, a CEREC Summit provided the guidance she needed. Now she can’t imagine practicing without it. “I have patients who drive two hours or more to get here, and to be able to complete a restoration in one appointment made it the perfect fit for my practice,” she said.
The new technology has allowed Dr. Burris to perform services in an exciting new way and helped her recruit a dental school graduate in 2012. “Having an associate has? not only changed the practice, it’s changed my life,” she said. “For the first time, I can be away from the practice and not be worried. It has opened the door for my husband and I to take time off to visit family and to do things we haven’t ever been able to.”
It’s also allowed Dr. Burris to start making exit plans. She and her associate recently signed papers agreeing that he will take over the practice in four years. “My goal now is to help him be the best dentist he can be,” said Dr. Burris. “I want to prepare him to provide great patient care, to learn how to run the business and do the best dentistry possible.”
The byproduct of providing the best dentistry possible and focusing on excellent patient care was $1.7 million in production last year. “I never would have dreamt that this practice could grow to be what it is today,” said Dr. Burris. “With the help of my Patterson rep and Mercer, I feel like I’ve taken this and built it from nothing to a pretty impressive little practice and I’m really proud ?of that.”
To learn more about how Dr. Burris improved her practice, click here.
This article originally appeared in the June 2014 issue of Dental Products Report. For more great articles about products in action, click here to subscribe to DPR: http://bit.ly/17ocF5z