Our guest this week is Dr. Travis Burkett, DDS. We sat down with Dr. Burkett and talked about the importance of giving back and being involved in his community. How his involvement with The Special Olympics opened his outlook on life and in business. Why it’s important to bring consultants or coaches to your practice and how they can help you improve yourself and your dental practice.
In this episode Shaun and Dr. Burkett talk about:
-His involvement with the Special Olympics.
-How he uses a Football Team Building approach to create and maintain a stable practice.
– How he turned his small practice into a 12,000sq ft Dental Practice Powerhouse.
– How his referral program helped him grow his practice over the years.
-Why it’s important to have a coach or consultant come in and help you out.
For more information on Dr. Travis Burkett check out his website at:
Read Dr.Burkett’s article on Dental Economics by clicking here:
Announcer: Ladies and gentlemen, this is The Dental Up Podcast, brought to you by Keating Dental Lab, a full-service award-winning dental laboratory. Each week, you’ll learn tips and techniques from real-world dentists, bringing you in-depth interviews, motivating stories, current events, and sports.
Here’s your host, Shaun Keating.
Shaun Keating: Hey, everyone. Shaun here. Welcome to another episode of The Dental Up Podcast. Our guest this week is a graduate from the University of Oklahoma College of Dentistry. He is licensed for pediatric conscious sedation and is the Clinical Director for Special Smiles, which provides comprehensive oral healthcare, information, and free dental screenings to participating Special Olympic athletes. Currently practicing from Drumright, Oklahoma, please welcome Dr. Travis Burkett, DDS. How’s it going, Dr. Burkett?
Dr. Burkett: I’m good. Thanks for having me.
Shaun Keating: Oh dude, thank you so much. I know you’re a busy man and thanks for coming on The Dental Up Podcast. Man, I just love your story. I was reading it in Dental Economics. You were in that magazine in January of this year and what a great story, man. I just love it, love it. It’s so cool and it just … Kind of a football guy, too. I love that and small little town. I think you guys are under … Drumright is like … I think under 3,000 people. Am I correct on that?
Dr. Burkett: Yeah. We’re right around I think 2800 people now, so it’s a pretty small town. We’re located kind of right smack in the middle between Oklahoma City and Tulsa, if you know anything about Oklahoma, so-
Shaun Keating: That’s so cool, man. That just … It’s such a football hub. One of my best friends, he was from Texas but he actually went to Oklahoma back in the Barry Switzer days. I think he graduated in 1985. He just told me about just the life in Oklahoma and the towns all … The small towns and everything. They close down. It’s like church, I mean, it’s on Friday night. The whole town’s in for the local high school teams and … Is Drumright like that, too, I take? You got the town kind of shuts down for the football team? How’s the football team doing there?
Dr. Burkett: Well, the Drumright team’s not very good, but we have a lot of other smaller towns and we … Most of our patients actually come from our neighboring town, Cushing, and so we do a lot with them. In fact, all the … Since we’re on football, my office, we own three t-shirt cannons that we shoot off during their high school football games and like all the football coaches, all the stuff they wear on the sideline has our logo on it ’cause [crosstalk 00:02:46] we’re their number one sponsor so we’re pretty … We love our football here and you’re right. Around here, Friday night, you can’t really tell a difference between Friday night and a Sunday morning ’cause everyone’s either at church or at the field.
Shaun Keating: Oh, that’s so cool. I tell ya, man, I actually had been brought up … I grew up on the beach here in Huntington Beach, man, but I just … I see the passion in all these other states. I mean, you can see it on TV in certain programs that they have different spotlights on different high schools throughout Texas and Oklahoma and even Georgia and on and on. What a difference. It just really is a neat thing and I just … Yeah, I love football. I run it like … You run your company like a football team, I kind of do the same thing. Kind of very relatable stories as I read about you and stuff.
I always start off talking about sports. I know you went to Arkansas, Razorbacks, man. Sorry, you’re a Razorback fan? I remember them back in the day with Lou Holtz, man, and they were just frickin’ awesome. They didn’t do too great last year. I think [crosstalk 00:03:47], but tell me a little bit about your [crosstalk 00:03:48]-
Dr. Burkett: No, no. We’re definitely in a rebuilding mode, but yeah, I’m a huge, huge Razorback fan. I think my son’s been able to call the Hogs since he could talk and we have season tickets and we try to go over there as much as we can for Saturdays.
Shaun Keating: Oh, man. I know the coach is Chad Morris. You think he’s got a chance of staying around a few more years? Or do you think they’re gonna be looking for a new coach soon? It’s a tough … Th SEC, it’s a tough league.
Dr. Burkett: We have a new athletic director and he’s one that hired Coach Morris and he’s telling all the donors and everyone that Coach Morris has only six years to build the program the right way, so [crosstalk 00:04:25]-
Shaun Keating: Oh, that’s a [crosstalk 00:04:26]-
Dr. Burkett: I think they’re gonna try to go slow and methodical and do it right.
Shaun Keating: I remember those Hogs. That Razorback is one mean looking there hog. It’s like … Yeah. We’re gonna get into that. Tell me, let’s go ahead and Dental Up now. Why did you get into dentistry? At what point did you think, “I want to be a dentist”?
Dr. Burkett: Growing up, I always went to the same dentist, Dr. Melton. Starting in about sixth grade when he first put braces on me, he started telling … Started talking to me about, “Hey, do you think you’d ever want to be a dentist?” I remember telling him, “Well, no”, ’cause at that point all I had ever experienced were ortho appointments and hygiene appointments, so I just thought he counted teeth all day. I didn’t think that was a lot of fun, but he ever told me if I ever had any interest, he’d hire me for the summer. My first summer, I got a job … I detailed semi trucks at a truck driver training center.
Shaun Keating: Yeah, that’s-
Dr. Burkett: Out in the heat. If you’ve ever been to Oklahoma in August, it is about 112 degrees and about 200% humidity, so that was pretty miserable.
Shaun Keating: Oh, dude.
Dr. Burkett: That next summer, I just said, “Hey, I need job with air conditioning. Is your offer still on the table?” He hired me as a sterilization tech and at 16 I never left.
Shaun Keating: No kidding?
Dr. Burkett: He let me … I just … He kind of just let me do whatever I wanted in the office, follow him around, look at everything. I just got a true appreciation of what he did and it just … I got to see him do root canals and extractions and it was just … Got exposed to the profession and I fell in love with it.
Shaun Keating: Tell me a little bit about dental school. When … You went to Arkansas. Tell me a little bit about that and your thoughts on it.
Dr. Burkett: Well, I kind of knew going into undergrad at the University of Arkansas that I wanted to be a dentist ’cause I’d been working at the dental practice I own now since I was 16, so I guess I had that going for me, knowing my first day when I went to college that the ultimate goal was to get to dental school. I spent four years at Arkansas and by the Grace of God I got accepted on my first try at the University of Oklahoma. I moved to Oklahoma City and probably like everyone else, I spent four years there kind of a blur. I don’t remember a whole lot. I don’t think there’s any kind of social life for those four years, but I felt like it prepared me to go out in the real world.
Shaun Keating: That’s so cool.
Dr. Burkett: I mean, that’s part of my four-year dental school story in a nutshell.
Shaun Keating: No kidding? What a great story. Tell me a little bit … When you got out of dental school, did you go in and practice with someone as an associate? Or did you purchase your own place? Tell me a little bit about when you got out of school where you went to work and how that worked out.
Dr. Burkett: Okay, yeah. I graduated dental school in 2007 and I was an associate for Dr. Melton at Drumright for one year, and then that following year he allowed me the opportunity to buy in and so I purchased 50% of the practice. Three years later I bought him out completely. About 2011 I became the sole owner of Drumright.
Shaun Keating: No kidding? Good for you for so young and just … That’s so great how you met someone that … You were able to do that, too, that … How that’s just so neat and … What about in that little town, man? I call those towns, ’cause I got a lot of doctors in small little towns like in all 50 states. I mean, we work with dentists pretty much everywhere, but I call ’em a poke and plum town, where you poke your head out the window and you’re plum out of town. How many other dentists do you have [crosstalk 00:07:44]-
Dr. Burkett: Yeah, about three years ago we lost our only stoplight, and that was pretty big.
Shaun Keating: You’re kidding?
Dr. Burkett: Pretty tragic news for the town when you lose your only stoplight, so-
Shaun Keating: Why did you lose it? People didn’t want to stop? Or they just … You didn’t need it probably?
Dr. Burkett: I think lack of traffic, so the state came and it was on a state highway and the state took it out ’cause there wasn’t enough traffic to warrant it I guess.
Shaun Keating: No kidding. What about [crosstalk 00:08:05]-
Dr. Burkett: Front page news for a while.
Shaun Keating: That is so cool. What about … Any good little place as Muncie … I love those little places like the restaurants that are not commercial restaurants, that are just privately-owned little family restaurants. You got any good little steakhouse or little place to get chicken? You got any good restaurants in town?
Dr. Burkett: We have a Lebanese steakhouse that people from all over the state drive into just to eat there, so I-
Shaun Keating: No kidding?
Dr. Burkett: I mean, I’m not saying I don’t eat there five or six times a week, but I usually end up there almost every day ’cause that’s about the only place to eat here.
Shaun Keating: No kidding? They got a-
Dr. Burkett: It makes your options pretty limited that when you know you’re going out you know you’re either going to the Sonic Drive-In or you’re going to Joseph’s Steakhouse.
Shaun Keating: Well, heck, man, I gotta a chili dog or I got me ribeye. I could live there. No. That’s so cool, dude. What about … Tell me a little bit about the layout of your practice. Tell me how many ops you got and tell me about your staff. You got a frickin’ huge staff, dude. I mean, it’s pretty neat. It’s a pretty neat story, but tell me a little bit about that if you could.
Dr. Burkett: The building we’re in now, it opened in 2005 with six operatories. In 2009 we did our first expansion and we added operatories, so for a total of nine. Right now, we’re currently in another expansion where we’re going to 15 operatories. The new operatories, they’re actually … They started up and running two weeks ago, so now their … The crews are on to their next phase. We are working with a lot of banging and noise going on, so every day is a new adventure right now ’cause we never know what wall’s gonna come down or-
Shaun Keating: Dang, that’s-
Dr. Burkett: Or what’s gonna happen [crosstalk 00:09:40] on the construction side.
Shaun Keating: That’s pretty amazing size. Now, what kind … How big is your structure to begin with? Is the building you’re in?
Dr. Burkett: Right now we are slightly under 12,000 square feet.
Shaun Keating: Tell me the staff. How many associates you got? How many dental assistants? Hygiene? Tell me off the top of your head if you can.
Dr. Burkett: I have … Let’s see. We have four full-time associates and one part-time associate, so we have … There is myself. On the hygiene team we have six hygiene chairs, so we have six full-time hygienists and it seems like an army of part-time hygienists with two hygiene assistants. We have I want to say 12 dental assistants-
Shaun Keating: Man.
Dr. Burkett: We have a sterilization tech. We have a call center with four people and all they do all day is just … They’re on the phone scheduling. We have a business team of probably six more people. We have a marketing director. The most recent hire is I hired a personal assistant, and that’s kind of really changed my life ’cause she takes care of me. She scheduled … Well, she scheduled this call. She’s got access to my emails, my calendar, and she makes sure that everything gets done and I’m where I need to be.
Shaun Keating: Yeah, my producer’s shaking his head. She’s a hotshot. She really is very organized and just on top of this. This is one of our smoothest transitions of getting the podcast and starting it, so hat’s off to you, man. Yeah [crosstalk 00:11:07]-
Dr. Burkett: Yeah, she’s only been here for three weeks.
Shaun Keating: Oh, you’re kidding? I need to hire people like [crosstalk 00:11:12]-
Dr. Burkett: No, no. She has grabbed the bull by the horn and taken charge.
Shaun Keating: Oh, that is so cool, man. Well, dang, that’s frickin’ huge. I mean, you’re up like 30, 35 people, aren’t you? Something like that?
Dr. Burkett: Yeah.
Shaun Keating: That’s a huge dental practice for such a small town. Are you pulling from other cities you think? They’re coming in from you? I mean, probably from Tulsa and Oklahoma City probably?
Dr. Burkett: Oh, absolutely. Our drawing radius and our marketing target is about 75-mile radius.
Shaun Keating: Okay. I think we [crosstalk 00:11:42]-
Dr. Burkett: We cover a lot of small towns. We … Stillwater, home of the Oklahoma State Cowboys, we have … It’s about 30 minutes away from us, about a 40-mile drive, and we have about … Over 5,000 patients from there that drive [crosstalk 00:11:58]-
Shaun Keating: Yeah, I think you’re over [crosstalk 00:11:59]-
Dr. Burkett: Out here [crosstalk 00:12:00]-
Shaun Keating: I think you’re over 30,000 patients in your practice, aren’t you?
Dr. Burkett: Yes. Patients of record, we’re over 30,000 for sure.
Shaun Keating: That’s so frickin’ [crosstalk 00:12:08]-
Dr. Burkett: It’s kind of mind-boggling. I don’t know where they all come from, but they keep coming.
Shaun Keating: Yeah. That’s so neat, man. I really love that. Tell me about your day to day, but more specifically, about your involvement with the Special Olympics.
Dr. Burkett: Eight years ago, we were just working away and we just kept seeing … Just I think word of mouth that these parents of these special needs patients would eventually find us and … We just … I guess our philosophy is basically if you have teeth, we’re gonna help you out and we’re gonna treat everyone like family. We never tell anyone that we can’t work on ’em or anything. It doesn’t matter what’s going on. Just one day this mom from Guymon, which is about a five-hour drive, said, “Hey, have you guys ever been to the Special Olympics Summer Games?” Everyone’s always looking for a dentist.
Just on her one comment, we called ’em up and asked if we could come, and we started helping ’em with screenings and then it just kind of snowballed into … They asked me to be the Clinical Director for the state, and now I’m actually on their Board of Directors. Now each year our office shuts down for two whole days and the whole staff, we kind of move into Stillwater right outside of Boone Pickens Stadium and set up a huge tent.
I think we have seven portable dental chairs set up and we got water baths. We’re making mouth guards for the athletes. Last year we had a photo booth and we hired some actors to come in as Batman and Superman for the athletes. Yeah, it’s a pretty amazing two days where we get to interact with the athletes and we try to find them a dental home. We either tell ’em about us or we have a couple of other pediatric practices around the state that are willing to see ’em. We just try to get ’em into a dental home.
Shaun Keating: No … Good for you. That’s awesome.
Dr. Burkett: It’s been an amazing … It’s one of those things where you get in, you think you’re gonna be helping the athletes, but it turns out you get more out of it than they ever could.
Shaun Keating: Now my heart goes out to you on that. That’s really neat ’cause it’s a big part of your practice how you touch those lives. That’s a neat thing. We have Special Olympics out here and it just brings a tear to your eye watching these guys and how excited they get and how hard they train and … No, good for you, man. That’s awesome.
Dr. Burkett: I mean, every one of my staff members will tell anyone who asks, it’s the best two days of their year.
Shaun Keating: Oh, yeah. I bet. No, that is so nice. Good for you, man. Really good. Tell me a little bit about … What’s like your favorite procedure part of dentistry? What do you like doing? I know you do a lot of bread and butter dentistry there. Lots of single units and stuff like that. What do you like doing? I mean, do you like doing crown preps? Do you like working on some ortho? Do you like doing endo? What do you like doing and what don’t you like doing?
Dr. Burkett: Well, it’s easy to tell you what … I do not like doing dentures.
Shaun Keating: Okay. Either do I, but I still have to do ’em ’cause we’re a full service, but no. I know, man. It’s tough.
Dr. Burkett: That’s probably our least favorite among … If you asked all of my associates, I think their number one thing they don’t like to do are dentures. Personally for me, I mean, I like … Honestly I like doing all dentistry, but I think probably extractions, taking out impacted wisdom teeth are probably my favorite thing to do.
Shaun Keating: Really? That’s just so … I see some of that stuff, and I got a bunch of doctors that do a lot of … They call it shucking. Shucking teeth, but the way you go down the middle third of that tissue and kind of open it up and squeeze it out, there’s an art to that, man. That’s just … Anyone in particular help you with your extraction technique out there? Or do you just kind of lived and learned on that? Tell me a little bit about the extractions, what got you into them.
Dr. Burkett: When I got out of school I realized a lot of people here just wanted extractions, so I just started tackling ’em. What really help is we go on … Every year we go on a mission trip to Central America. Actually on Friday, we’re flying out to Honduras for a week-
Shaun Keating: No kidding.
Dr. Burkett: And you learn a lot of techniques when you don’t have the access to a handpiece or suction on how to get teeth out. You have to get kind of creative. I think that was … That right there, just being in a jungle in Honduras without … With all … All you have is your headlight and you don’t have any kind of suction or you don’t have a handpiece and you still have to figure out how to get the teeth out, that’s probably the thing that helped me the most.
Shaun Keating: I hope you got some Novocaine at least, right?
Dr. Burkett: Yeah, yeah. Oh yeah, we get ’em numb.
Shaun Keating: I got a guy on Dentaltown, Dr. Tommy Murph, and I think he goes to Honduras or somewhere every year and they go and do extractions only … Just like you’re saying and he brings along a crew. I think there’s several hundred extractions they’ll do in a few days and it’s just … Yeah, he’s a real wizard when it comes to it. Even does little courses on extraction techniques and, man, I tell ya, it’s an art to it for sure. Especially … I’ve had those impacted wisdoms myself, and you don’t want to go to the GP on some of those impacted ones. You want to go to that oral surgeon usually is what I always thought. Guys that got it and got a lot of experience under their belts. I mean, that’s awesome. It’s kind of like the MacGyver thing. You need to kind of do a little bit of everything in your practice in certain areas. Yeah, it’s just …
Dr. Burkett: Yeah, especially if you’re in a small town and our specialists are over an hour away. A lot of our patients will just refuse. They do not want to go to a … They just don’t want to drive … A lot of ’em don’t want to deal with the quote unquote “big city traffic”, so they’re just like, “Well, can’t you get it out, doc?” It’s just one of those-
Shaun Keating: Yeah, I know.
Dr. Burkett: Yeah, we can. We’ll … Give us a week. We’ll go find some CE or we’ll go watch it on YouTube or we’ll do something.
Shaun Keating: Yeah, good for you.
Dr. Burkett: Yeah, ’cause we actually do … There’s nothing really we refer out. The only thing we really refer out is if it’s a troublesome patient rather than a troublesome tooth.
Shaun Keating: Yeah, absolutely. Tell me with your marketing strategy, what are you doing? Are you doing mailers? Social media? Work on the public sector? You told me a little bit about it, but tell me how you drive patients to your practice.
Dr. Burkett: Well, we have a pretty big footprint on social media. We’re really big in all the communities around here. We try to have a huge presence just at all their events. We really tackle the schools. I think we do school screenings, scholarships, and teacher of the year for over 15 school districts. Two years ago we bought an activity bus for the Drumright High School. It’s the first time they’ve ever had an activity bus and they let us put our logo on the back third of it. We have TV and TV commercials. The commercials are also played in all the local movie theaters. We’ve produced children’s books before. We have a yearly magazine we make that we send out to everyone. Really big in the giveaways. Last year was the first time we gave away a car. We gave away a brand new Jeep Renegade-
Shaun Keating: No kidding.
Dr. Burkett: Yeah, we’re routinely giving away … Each quarter we give away a big gift like a cruise or a MacBook Pro, and then each month we have a giveaway and all the patients get entered in the giveaway if they refer a patient to us.
Shaun Keating: No kidding. That’s great referral program.
Dr. Burkett: Yeah, and then in front of our office we have a digital sign, and that’s been probably the best investment we ever made.
Shaun Keating: Gosh. Man, I gave away a 50-dollar Visa Keating Card. Man, for my referrals, I gotta bump that up to a car or something maybe, huh? No.
Dr. Burkett: Yeah, I mean, you’d be surprised … I mean, I was kind of hesitant on the Jeep giveaway, but I got talked into it and just the amount of buzz that it created-
Shaun Keating: Oh, I bet.
Dr. Burkett: Was amazing.
Shaun Keating: Oh, that’s so awesome. I’m looking here at a Special Olympic check and that’s like over a hundred thousand dollars. How did that come about? You’re … I think you’re presenting a check to the Special Olympics Chapter.
Dr. Burkett: Oh, yes. Last year we raised $156,000 for Special Olympics.
Shaun Keating: Unbelievable.
Dr. Burkett: We’re really big in giving back to our communities and since we have a huge presence in Special Olympics, that’s our main charity that we help. Like for one quarter, we will donate a percentage of all crowns and bridges that we do to ’em. I think you’ll appreciate this. We have a flag football tournament, and last year the flag football tournament raised like $58,000 just by getting … Just getting teams to sign up and sponsors and stuff, so it’s … We’re constantly looking for ways …
Shaun Keating: Let me help out [crosstalk 00:20:39]-
Dr. Burkett: To give back and [crosstalk 00:20:39]-
Shaun Keating: On that a little bit with … I know we’re gonna start doing some crowns together here in the future, but maybe we could like donate the mouth guards to the flag football team, man, ’cause the Special Olympics, that might be hard because it’s just a two-day thing, but ahead of time we get those kids … Even if you get ’em in alginates and put wet paper and overnight ’em to me, we can just knock ’em out, man. Different team colors, man, whatever, we can help out. I’d love that. Flag football. We used to do [crosstalk 00:21:05]-
Dr. Burkett: It’s fun to have all the … Like the local police force get a team. Our IT company gets a team and it’s … We get to pretend like we’re athletes again.
Shaun Keating: What are some of your thoughts on the new technology in dentistry? Like impression scanners, CAD/CAM, et cetera?
Dr. Burkett: Oh, we love our toys here. We just purchased two new … Two of the new iTero scanners. We traded our old two in for the newer ones.
Shaun Keating: Beautiful.
Dr. Burkett: We have two CEREC machines. We have a cone beam in office. We were I think one of the first five or 10 offices in Oklahoma to have a cone beam. We always … We never want to be the first person to get the new technology. We like to be the second or third person. We want-
Shaun Keating: Exactly.
Dr. Burkett: To be right behind them so in case there’s any major things they need to work out, they can take on that before we get it. Yeah, I mean, I think technology’s great. I think it’s made our job easier. The new iTero scanners, for instance, the way you can educate your patients chairside now and you can actually show ’em what their teeth look like, it’s been kind of a game changer. I think it’s only gonna get better as technology grows.
Shaun Keating: It really is. I’m actually … I’m off to the Chicago Midwinter tomorrow and I got meetings with the Align people and everything else and they’re going through some things right now with their patents being up and stuff like that, but iTero’s a big time player and we do a ton of digital cases every day. iTero’s like our second most. The 3Shape TRIOS is a lot of what we’re getting, but we’re doing a lot of this stuff. Virtual reality with no models, especially on the single units and I even did … I have a three-unit bridge we did and on my lower left quad and we did a monolith and it literally went in with little to no adjustment and it’s just … It’s a game changer because impression material’s great.
I still do a ton of impressions here and … Just the shrinkage and the expansions and everything else where the digital, it’s just so accurate. I mean, I can even get the exact cement gap that I need. I can adjust accordingly, but man, to have a dental practice sending me digital … Through the internet … Digital files, it’s just such a neat thing and I can design the restoration. I can send it over to my wet mill and do an eMax for you or I can do it out of my BruxZir esthetic or my regular Bruxer and it is just such a neat thing with the fit and the accuracy. Now with the esthetics we got, we have our own special zirconia made for us. It’s just … It’s really mimicking like the lithium disilicate of an eMax and/or a feldspathic type stack crown.
It’s just amazing, but it’s good that you’re so young and on the cutting edge of this already. Are you doing any like Invisalign-type cases? Any ortho or regular?
Dr. Burkett: Oh, yeah. We do … We’ve been doing Invisalign since I think 2010.
Shaun Keating: Okay, cool.
Dr. Burkett: Yeah, last year I think we did … I don’t know, 58 cases, and that’s one of the reasons we got the new scanners is we wanted to start showing the patients their … What it would look like if they got it chairside. We’re … Our goal’s that we’re gonna try to scan every patient that comes in the office to try to educate ’em on why they need ortho and what’s actually going on in their mouth that they can’t see.
Shaun Keating: Absolutely. You know how you can do two … We’re doing a lot … I do a lot of temporaries here, just because we do a lot of bigger rehab stuff and smile makeover type things. Ten up top, ten below, but we’ll get the teeth just scanned from the doctor and he’ll send it to us and I’ll do like our temporaries. We call ’em protemps. What we’ll do is kind of like the Snap-On Smile. It’s similar to that, especially when they’re … Let’s say they’re a denturist in the lateral and a couple other areas. We can give ’em a real quick … I mean, it’s not really that bulky. We can keep it down to about four or five-tenths, but we can give almost … It’s kind of to let ’em see … It’s kind of like a snap-on type smile.
If my doctor’s [crosstalk 00:25:13] we call it strap-on, because you can’t say snap-on because it’s a DenMat thing, we don’t want to get sued. So we call it the Strap-On Smile, but it’s just something … It’s a neat thing to kind of let ’em see … You can do it digitally right there. I mean, with their head tilted sideways, you can roll their mandible over and kind of just show ’em. It’s just such a game changer to let ’em see that. You can also fill in the areas, too, but I like to do it, too, with like … To kind of show ’em what it is and to be able to click it on. It’s a pretty neat thing, but you got that stuff in your practice already with everything else, cone beam. Are you thinking about [crosstalk 00:25:52]-
Dr. Burkett: Yeah, if … I mean, if you can show the patient the final product, it’s gonna sell the case itself.
Shaun Keating: Oh, absolutely. It’s just such a [crosstalk 00:26:01]-
Dr. Burkett: Instead of me trying to describe where their laterals are gonna be or that, I can just be like, “Well, here, let’s just … My assistant’s gonna scan you in four minutes and we’re just gonna hit this button and you’re gonna see it.”
Shaun Keating: Exactly. Oh, that’s so cool. Oh, man. Tell me … Some of your … Let me get back to on that cone beam. Are you starting to do … Are you sinking any implants? Or are you restoring any implants? Tell me a little bit about your implant journey there and what you’re doing and what you’re not doing.
Dr. Burkett: Me and two other associates place implants, and actually at this point, they’re doing way more than I am. One of my associates, he’s even doing like sinus lifts and he does everything. We place about I would say 15 to 20 a month.
Shaun Keating: Tell me a little bit about your CE, what you’re doing. You going to any conventions? Do you do any CE? Say it’s online? Tell me a little bit about what you’re doing for your CE?
Dr. Burkett: CE, I do a lot of CE through The Academy of General Dentistry. Just recently I started doing CE online with Dentaltown.
Shaun Keating: Okay, good, good. Yeah, they got everything there, man. They really do.
Dr. Burkett: Yeah, I like the selection. I like I can do it when I want. It’s not really CE, but I do a lot with The Scheduling Institute. They’re in our office a lot, training the whole staff, and then we send staff and I go to various meetings they have throughout the year.
Shaun Keating: Yeah, I think that’s gotta be a big player for you. It’s Jay … Is it Geier? I think it’s Jay Gear, Geier-
Dr. Burkett: Yeah, Jay Geier. Yeah-
Shaun Keating: Jay Geier.
Dr. Burkett: When we signed up with them, that was kind of … Like you said, that was the game changer. That’s what got us … I think once they started in our office, it was no longer me kind of …
Shaun Keating: Seat of your pants-
Dr. Burkett: I wouldn’t say dragging the staff, but I was in front of the staff on where we were going. Now, sometimes I’m trying to play catch-up and keep up with them ’cause now my staff is just taking control and they do everything.
Shaun Keating: That’s huge [crosstalk 00:27:57]-
Dr. Burkett: Now, with the help of Scheduling Institute, the staff has taken ownership and of the practice and it’s-
Shaun Keating: I’ve heard a lot of good things [crosstalk 00:28:03]-
Dr. Burkett: It’s changed my life. I think it’s changed their lives.
Shaun Keating: Well, it’s just really … Scheduling and just having everything structured. Man, when everything is structured and people got their positions and what they’re supposed to be doing, it just … It takes all the variables out. Yeah, I’ve heard a lot of good things about that Scheduling Institute. I think some of our dental practices out there that haven’t got into it, they should look into it. I mean, some people say, “I can’t afford it.” Well, you can’t afford not to ’cause it’ll come back tenfold with you. Maybe in our show notes we can get a little bit about Jay and his company there with The Scheduling Institute. Help out there for some of our practices. They want to get up there, man, they want to get up like by you, by this young gun that’s crushing it like a briquette. That’s freakin’ awesome, man.
Dr. Burkett: Yeah, I mean, I feel like every doctor, every office, you need a consultant. You need a coach. You need someone to come in and kind of tell you how it is.
Shaun Keating: Yes, absolutely.
Dr. Burkett: When you’re in the middle of it, you kind of … You may not see actually what’s going on, but when someone can come in with a 10,000-foot view up and actually see what’s going on ’cause sometimes you get lost-
Shaun Keating: Oh, absolutely.
Dr. Burkett: In the trees and you’re in the forest.
Shaun Keating: I do it here yearly. We got different consultants and through the years I’ve had so many different … My management staff hates it because it’s like, “Okay, let’s see what this guy’s got to say.” More so than not, they give us a few pearls that we can use that help us practice better, and that’s what it’s all about. Just … I always say, work smarter not harder. I got guys that work their butt off, man. They’re working 12, 15-hour days in their labs and they’re just … They’re doing it wrong. Work smarter, not harder, and just get your ducks in order and just get the structure down.
Just like the same thing in football, man. It doesn’t matter how many X and O’s you can draw on that board for hours and hours, it’s not what that’s all about, man. It’s just about the right structure and playing smart. It’s just something … You gotta bring other people in. We do what we do best. You’re a dentist. You do great with the patients, doing the restorations, all of that. When it comes to business, same with me, I was always … I wasn’t the greatest tech, I was okay, but I had to work harder than all those other techs just to be up there.
There’s so many talented techs out there, ceramists out there that they’re still of the bench and they’re still putting in 60-hour weeks and I’m like, “Not me.” We gotta … You gotta bring the right people in and just … You just take care of people. You take care of your employees, and you get the right structure in in any business. I don’t care if you’re a plumber, a painter, a doctor, a fireman, you just gotta do the good deed. You do the right thing, treat people right. Get the right people surrounding you. That’s just in any business, man.
Every great CEO or any great business owner, he’s only as good as the people that he surrounds himself with. You can’t just stay the same way every … Change is good. You gotta … I remember when I was in management … When I worked for a dental lab for 17 years and every time my boss would bring someone in new, I’d hem and haw a little bit, but at the end of the day it always worked out best for us. Sometimes some of these guys don’t bring a lot to the table, but you don’t know until you bring ’em there and you see how if it works for you or we need to implement it or we don’t. You just … It’s kind of with any business, you’re always gonna have these guys coming in. The checks and balances, man, and to make you better. That’s what it’s all about.
You got that down right. I think it’s from Dr. Melton starting you off as a mentor, and then I think Jay over there at The Scheduling Institute really had a lot to do with your explosive growth. I mean, to have 35 employees and to doing millions and millions of dollars a year, I don’t even want to throw it out there, man. That’s just kind of crazy. You’re doing it in a small little town. For people out there saying that, “Oh, it can’t be done”, it can be done and just little baby steps. All you’re doing is a lot of onesie twosies and a lot of bread and butter dentistry and you’re just crushing it, so there’s hope out there for all you GPs and dentists trying to figure it out. It can be done.
Dr. Burkett: Well, thank you. I think one thing that people have an issue with is they have to really check their ego at the door. You need to … This wouldn’t work if I thought I was the only one that could see my patients. There’s no way I could work with another five doctors if I thought I had to do everything.
Shaun Keating: Oh, absolutely.
Dr. Burkett: I think a lot of the doctors I encounter, they feel like they’re the best at everything and no one can what they do.
Shaun Keating: Yeah, I get a lot with that.
Dr. Burkett: My philosophy is, “Well, we all went to school and we all got the state … Gave us all a license, so my occlusal filling’s no better than yours.”
Shaun Keating: Exactly.
Dr. Burkett: I mean, I think that’s something that a lot of dentists have trouble with is getting over that, their ego, that other people can do what they’re doing.
Shaun Keating: Oh, absolutely. What kind of advice can you give some of our younger, newer dentists starting off? Some of the dos and don’ts?
Dr. Burkett: The first thing I tell … We usually hire our associates right out of dental school, and one of the first things I tell them is be a sponge when you’re with the hygienist and the assistants, ’cause they will teach you more real-world dentistry than you ever learned in dental school, ’cause they’ve been doing it. They know how to interact with people. They know what the patients are looking for and how to do it. They know how to do things probably better than you do when you first come out-
Shaun Keating: Absolutely.
Dr. Burkett: So don’t feel like just because you have the initials in front or behind your name that you know more than the people who have been actually doing real dentistry for years. That’s the first thing I tell ’em is use your staff. They’re there to help you and if they take you into the lab and they want to show you something different, be open to learning.
Shaun Keating: Absolutely.
Dr. Burkett: I mean, that’s the one thing that helped me is I’ve just … I was a sponge and whatever I was always asking the assistants when the patient was around, “Hey, should I prep that crown differently? What did you think? How are we gonna do the impression?” Just … The same thing with the hygienists, always asking questions and I really learned how to communicate with the patients by observing the hygienists-
Shaun Keating: Absolutely.
Dr. Burkett: ‘Cause everybody loves their hygienist. No one loves their doctor. I mean, everybody wants to get their teeth cleaned. Nobody wants to get ’em drilled on, so I really … Anytime I could get a little nugget of how they interacted with the patients or whatever, that was what I jumped on because … I mean, the dentistry is the easy part. It’s the just … You have to learn how to deal with people, not only your co-workers, but your patients.
Shaun Keating: Oh, absolutely.
Dr. Burkett: That would be the first thing is just use your co-workers, ’cause they’re there to make you look good and they want you to do well ’cause when you do well, they do well.
Shaun Keating: Absolutely, and patients can see that when you’re genuine and you’re real and not a hoity toity, stuck-up kind of [crosstalk 00:35:05]-
Dr. Burkett: Oh, yeah, absolutely.
Shaun Keating: Come in humble.
Dr. Burkett: None of my staff call me Dr. Burkett. They all call me by my first name ’cause that’s just the kind of atmosphere we have here.
Shaun Keating: No kidding.
Dr. Burkett: The only time they call me Dr. Burkett is when they know they’re in trouble or they broke something.
Shaun Keating: That’s so true. Oh, man. Well, what a great podcast. Such a great thing to see a young guy doing so good and just so humble about it.
Dr. Burkett: Thank you for calling me young. I don’t get that a lot ’cause I’m the oldest doctor here now.
Shaun Keating: Dude, you graduated in 10 years ago, man. I got underwear older than you. No, just kidding. No, man, thank you so much. God bless you and your family and I can’t thank you enough for coming up on The Dental Up Podcast. We look forward to working together in the future for sure, man. I can’t wait to show you some of our stuff [crosstalk 00:35:57]-
Dr. Burkett: Yeah, I’m excited about that.
Shaun Keating: Yeah, I mean, some of the digital stuff and everything else, we just look forward to that for sure. If there’s anything we can do, please let us know, but again, thank you for coming on The Dental Up Podcast and we’ll talk to you real soon.
Dr. Burkett: Right. Thanks for having me. Have a great day.
Shaun Keating: All right, Dr. Burkett. Thanks, man.
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