Today we're going to introduce a game changer in the dental practice management software world...
This is an innovative, all-in-one, cloud-based practice management software, and it offers an array of powerful features that are custom built for dentists by dentists ready to revolutionize the way you work.
If you are a start-up and decide to sign up with Oryx, they will NOT charge you a single dime, until you reached 200 active patients!
They are partnering up with all startup practice owners and making sure you succeed, fast!
Practice Website: https://mylocaldentists.com.au/
Join this podcast's Facebook Group: The Dental Marketer Society
My Key Takeaways:
Michael: Alright, it's time to talk with our featured guest, Dr. Thomas Choi. Thomas, how's it
Thomas: going? Not too bad, Michael. Thanks. How are you
Michael: doing? Pretty good. Where in Australia are you located?
Thomas: We're in Sydney sunny Sydney. On the other side of the world too, you guys, but just to sunny as LA
Okay, man, that's nice. That's nice. Awesome. Thank you for, I dunno what time it is over there, but thank you for being up early.
Thomas: Oh 9:00 AM So just about I rescheduled some of my patients, pushed them back a little bit, and uh, normal workday for me.
Michael: Nice. Awesome man. Awesome. So real quick, could you briefly introduce your dental practice and the demographic you primarily
Yeah, absolutely. So, um, the group of practices that I, operate and own is called my local dentists. We operate five dental clinics here in Sydney. We are generally Just general clinics. So we your community practice, we are located in small community areas, and so we serve your newborns, your one year old, your two year old, your kids as they go through school.
And then we also make dentures for grandparents. Mm-hmm. So yeah, your basic general practice for, for your general dentist.
Michael: Nice. Okay. So then what has been your experience with different marketing companies and which strategies have proved to be the most effective for
Thomas: you? I own five. And so we've dealt with all a whole range of different marketing options.
So that goes, I'm sure your listeners have gone through all these things as well. That goes from your s e o, from your Google AdWords, from your full service branding and marketing companies. For me, I've found there's no silver bullet, so quite early on. In my little startup phase someone gave me some pretty good advice.
They said, you cannot be the hero to everybody. So when I speak to younger dentists starting up clinics, I find they get really upset if even one person turns away or one person wasn't happy. They want to, they seem to want to sort of capture the whole entire. Little area there. They want everybody that, that, that doesn't work.
The dentist you are looking for for is not the dentist I'm looking for. He's probably not the dentist di Leonardo DiCaprio is looking for. We're all looking for different type of dentists. So I do find in marketing finding that sort of fits your lane and your. What you are trying to do is probably the most helpful thing to do.
But I mean, I'm happy to go around, into detail, into each of those different types of marketing, if you'd like. Yeah, no. Including the,
Michael: if we get into it, when you first started your practice, your startup, your first one, number one, right? Like what were you leaning heavily on? Where you were like, this is what I'm, I'm, I'm gonna keep doing
Thomas: right now.
So my, my first one is actually in the same suburb that I grew up in. So I had like strong community ties. My, my local primary school was literally, I, I serve like half of that primary school now. and I went to that primary school, so that's where I started. And I think in terms of marketing I was leaning really heavily on that community engagement.
And so, My first place isn't perhaps in such a high traffic area, and so it was a lot more of me making connections with the community and that personal relationship, but also because it's not in such a high. Foot traffic area. We did spend perhaps a high percentage of our income on marketing when we first started.
If you go to some of my other clinics, they're in small community shopping centers, but they're quite busy. So these shopping centers aren't like, I think in America, they, you have your malls, which is like your big shopping centers, and then you've got your little small community ones where you'd probably go three times a week to do your local grocery shopping, go to your pharmacy, and whatever.
It's so, A lot of my other ones are in those type of shopping centers. And you'll find with those ones, marketing isn't as important. The shopping center does the marketing for you. People walk past. And so in terms of percentage you spend is, is slightly different. And so your marketing strategy does need to change depending on your clinic, where you're located and what you're leaning on.
Like you said. So before, when I first started, I was leaning on. Me, myself, my story of, Hey, I grew up here and, and now I'm back in the area I'm giving back to the community. That's what I lay it, relied on. And as I'm going bigger I'm relying more on this. This is our brand and this is what we do.
Michael: Gotcha. And so all your five practices are, how
Thomas: far apart are they? Yeah, so they're all in Sydney. driving the furthest one. So if you go from my furthest one to the other furthest one you could probably go 30, 40 minutes from one to the other. Mm-hmm.
So they're all within about a 30 minute drive of each other within Sydney. Gotcha. Has that
Michael: always been the goal, Thomas, or was it more like, I just wanna get this first startup done and that's it, I wanna have my own thing here and then it, it grew Or how did it happen?
Thomas: I, it was not, it was unintentional.
Completely unintentional. So I start, I had this dream of being like this little dentist in a solo practice, which most dentist are. Um, And I was like, oh, in my little area where I grew up, this is nice. And I started that one and I get it started getting really busy. My second shop, it was, I actually um, was walking my dog and I was walking my dog to my local shopping center to pick up dinner for my, for my family.
And I walked my dog there and also just an empty shop. And I went, Hey, this is kind, this kind of work. And then that one worked out and that went really well. And then The third one came along and, and, and someone approached me for that one. And then since then people have just been approaching me actually.
So I actually had another shopping center approach me about two weeks ago and I had to turn them down just 'cause we're not in that cycle yet. But I think you find as you do well people open up opportunities for you as long as you're genuine, as long as you try hard and do your best opportunities to come.
Michael: Okay man. So then goals to have, like are you looking down the future where it's like there's gonna be 10 eventually?
Thomas: At the moment I've taken a kind of break on growing my dental businesses as a dentist. So, that's all on cruise control at the moment. We, we are doing a few sort of infrastructure upgrades in my practices and making sure we do have the most UpToDate equipment.
I do think that is really important patients, depending on what lane of patients you choose. So even for a small community clinics, no one wants to go to a dental clinic. That's not. Nice. That's not clean, that doesn't look modern and up to date you don't want to go see Spittoons that look like they're from the fifties.
But that's that. So I'm actually my, at the moment I'm actually involved in a startup around ai. And so that's where I'm spending a lot of my time around dental AI at the moment. So we'll see how we go in terms of my dental practices, but the AI space is where it's dentistry and the whole world is, is really interesting.
Michael: Yeah. Nice. Yeah. We'll, we'll dive into that right now. But you mentioned something right now, you said lane of patience. Mm-hmm. when you started out, you said, I'm gonna get this specific demographic, or were you kind of like, I just want
Thomas: anybody right now? No, so I think that that choosing your lane and how I said at the start, you can't get every patient that's come from 10 years of experience and speaking to dentists and, and new dentists and, and coaching them and things.
So, When I started out, I was like everyone else. I was upset if a single patient was unhappy with anything. I was like, ah, no. I want everybody, everyone should be loving me. Why? Why don't they like what I'm offering? But you will find, your patient that wants to go to a high-end clinic that wants pure, beautiful, top-notch work.
They don't want your cheaper general clinic. Even if it's the same work, some people want to pay extra to seem like they're paying extra even for an extra hot towel or something while they're doing their treatment. Some people like that and some people, they don't want that whole snazzy thing. They, they go in and they, these are waste of my money.
I don't want that and I don't want my normal community clinic. That's just sort of day to day, and I think if you try to capture both, you lose both. I think the way to do is choose your lane. I am your general clinic. I am the preventative guy. I'm the cosmetic guy. I'm a high-end clinic. I'm an implant clinic.
Whatever it is, choose your lane and focus on those people. And as long as you do that, you'll build your brand on. I am that guy, for example, Mercedes. You think Mercedes, you think, Hey, I'm gonna get a good quality car. It's gonna be luxurious, it's gonna be really nice. You don't see Mercedes now coming up with a $10,000 car, try and get this cheaper market, right?
Yeah. And all the other Mercedes buyers will be like, Hey, I don't want Mercedes anymore. You guys are cheap. So I think choosing your lane and sticking to your lane and making sure all your branding and marketing sort of adhere to what you've chosen and, and it's all concise and and in line.
I think that's the way to go. Definitely.
Michael: Nice. Okay. And how much budget do you typically allocate for your marketing activities?
Thomas: So I think once again, this does depend on the clinic, right? Mm-hmm. So, I do find when I speak to a lot of different marketing agencies and just companies in general, being customizable for, for the person is really important.
And so My clinic, as I was saying, that's not in such a high traffic traffic area as a percentage of revenue. I might spend a little bit more compared to something that's in the shopping center where I don't need to do any additional marketing. 'cause I have hundreds of people literally walking outside the front of my practice every day.
But then that's obviously the counterbalance. But I pay more rent in the shopping center and in low traffic areas, I pay less rent. it does differ. I found when I opened up my very first clinic, especially to know, like no one knows, knows about me, and there's no one walking past. You do spend a lot, you can spend up to like 20% of revenue at this time.
Whereas in a shopping center, you might get a massive influx of patients and only spend. 5% of of revenue on, on marketing. 'cause you're not having to do all this additional stuff. You're literally just using your practice shop front as your big marketing tool. So yeah, somewhere between there. And also obviously depends on your phase of your business.
So at the moment, like I said, I'm on a little bit of a cruise control, so I am just spending enough to keep my associates happy and booked. But if you were going to grow, you'd probably spend more, you know, 10, 20% if you're going to grow. And if you're just trying to stay stable, I aim for five to 10% usually.
Michael: Gotcha. Okay. And then how many new patients are you currently getting? Like a month? Across all
Thomas: five clinics?
Michael: Yeah. Or if you just wanna mention like your first, first one.
Thomas: Oh, my first one. I'm, I'm actually not accepting any new patients myself at, at that clinic. I'm, I'm too busy. But my associates are, and so depending on each sort of thing, you'd, you'd still be getting 30, any between 30 to 40 patients.
A, a month.
Michael: Gotcha. Okay. I think the, sometimes the, the struggle is we, when we're starting out, right, we have that. Certain amount of capital that we have to allocate to marketing. And then we're like, I don't want to spend on something that's not gonna work or spend too much.
For example, a marketing agency can approach you and say, Hey, let's, let's make this happen. Let's do this.
Thomas: And half of the mistakes, half of the mistakes don't listen to all of them.
Michael: Exactly. So can you share with us, like, have you ever faced a situation where the promised results were not achieved with the expected
Absolutely. So when I think of marketing, let's stick with digital marketing first. Mm-hmm. 'cause I think that's where most people spend their time on marketing. So when I think of digital marketing, there's sort of three lanes that I've gone down in the past. I've gone down straight ss, e o work now straight ss, e o work.
I think everyone needs to do. Having said that, with chat, G P T, I don't know what Google and Google rankings are gonna be in five to 10 years, but at the moment, s e o is where it's at. So, s e o is really important, I think. SS e o, it costs a lot to do it right? Because what you're doing is you're paying someone to update your website weekly, twice a week with, with new content and making it relevant to those certain areas.
But the advantage of that is your underlying digital asset of your website becomes more and more valuable. And so I'll give you an example. If you do ss e o work properly, let's say you choose a suburb Let's say Venice Beach. I don't know LA at all, but I know that's an area of, yeah, so let's say we choose Venice Beach and you go, I wanna do s e o on and as a dental clinic in Venice Beach.
Now if you do it properly, it shouldn't just be Dentist Venice Beach and you come higher up on Google searches. It should be anyone in this area types in wisdom tooth pain. You should then have an article on your website with Wisdom Tooth Pain that they can read, and they're like, oh, your website is now my source of dental information.
And that creates trust. And so if someone goes dental, crown, root canal, whatever it is, and they're in that area, your ideally, your website should pick up first. And that's ss e o. That takes a lot of time and a lot of money and, and you might not see results for five to six months, but the underlying asset is, is invaluable.
Whereas if you go down like the Google AdWord side, you are paying thousands every month. There is no buildup of an underlying asset, but you are getting a click every time you pay. So I think with my strategy, when I first started, there was a lot of AdWords to pump up my initial book with underlying SS e o and then as your s e o builds, you can do less and less AdWords, I find.
Okay. I do find though, with full service branding and marketing agencies, we dentists. We can't brand and market and keep track unless you are a particular dentist. Like I maybe one of my whole graduating class of a hundred, maybe two, that would sit there and actually go through all this stuff. Most dentists just wanna be a dentist.
Mm-hmm. And so I think if you're a dentist and you start trying to do C r m work, s e o, work yourself, it detracts from your own work. So I do think unless you're really good at it, you should pay someone to do it. And then track it. So if you're using full branded agencies, they should have a C R M network laid out for you which tells you which calls are coming in, where they're coming in from.
Was it from a lead from the branding agency? Was it just a natural lead? And AdWords, you can see the clicks and the conversion rates. You should. Definitely track all those things. And ss e o you can obviously track just with your ranking and, and different words you're searching, but my suggestion to normal dentists mm-hmm.
As a general rule is get an agency to monitor and track it for you, and you just look at the end results and see if you're happy with them.
Michael: Ah, okay. Have there been any ones where you're like, oh my gosh, there's no results. Like, I'm not, I'm not seeing anything. And how do you handle that?
Thomas: Yeah, so I had, I'll give you an example about pre pandemic, just before pandemic.
I had an agency, I used them for a year and their whole gig was, we will provide you high-end work. So they make landing pages per high-end work that you wanna do. And their, their business model was mainly AdWords. So let's say implants and orthodontics. You, your listeners will know mm-hmm that you get a lot of money from implants and orthodontics and so perhaps is willing to spend a little bit more.
So the idea went anyone in Sydney bed search implants, this landing page should be paid for. So you come up the top, you click on that so that you know this lead is coming through that landing page. 'cause this landing page has a separate, input stream. And that landing page is dedicated just for the conversion of your implants or orthodontics.
Right? Depending on what that person searched for. And so, if it comes through there, you're getting an implant and that came from that marketing agency. 'cause it that lead came through this particular landing page. by the end of the year.
I ended up spending just as much on. AdWords, and that agency as I got in revenue, and so I was doing work. Pretty much for free. 'cause any work I was getting, I was giving back to that agency, and this is why tracking is really important and having mechanisms in place to know where that lead came from.
It wasn't a lead from my s e o work that I paid for previously. It was from this particular company and being able to track that. So if I used different branding agencies, I'll have different phone numbers they call through on, so I can track where it's coming from. I'll have different landing pages and websites as well as my receptionist will know.
On our C R M systems. Okay, this person came from this lead. And so being able to track it and then getting an R O I is pretty important because you'll find dentists spends thousands on stuff, don't track it, and they don't even realize they're getting nothing out of it. Yeah,
Michael: that's true, man. That's true.
So tracking it, tracking it is like huge,
Thomas: huge, huge. And most dentists don't, this is what I'm saying to you. Most dentists are dentists. They're not business people or necessarily want to sit there and track numbers. And so if you're not gonna do that, Get an external or a software to do it, but if you are gonna do it, then set up properly, un track it.
Michael: nice. And then how equipped is your team in converting calls into actual patients? So.
Thomas: Right now pretty poor to be honest. We, we in Australia since COVID had some crazy staff shortage. last year, even earlier this year, there were days where we had to close clinics. Not even, 'cause we didn't have a dentist because I didn't have receptionist and like assistant staff, which is crazy to not open a business 'cause you don't have a receptionist, right?
Mm-hmm. But that, that's where we were, a little bit better now. But I think once again, as long as it aligns with your practice. So if you, in terms of training them, I think a C R m, sort of portal or, or system is really good for tracking. Because if you don't, you don't end up with a nice aggregated information you can read.
So I've had clinics, I've known clinics where. You know when you sign your new patient form, it says, how did you hear about us? Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. I was really strong on making sure my receptionist made that person fill that thing out and then actually record it, because then that feeds back on our backend on, Hey, okay, we're getting patients through Google AdWords.
We're not getting anything. There's this thing called Yellow Pages in Australia. We're not getting anything from Yellow Pages, let's stop spending money on Yellow Pages, that type of thing. So training is important. You'll find especially if you use branding agencies, they'll train your staff for you on their c r m on and, and how to convert patients.
But that comes down to also having good staff and long-term staff. Mm-hmm. My, in my first clinic where, where I'm turning away patients for myself, They, my receptionist knows the patients almost better than I do. And so there is that long-term sort of consistency for patients is also important and also important for training.
Otherwise, you'll find new staff come in, you have to train them on the C r M system on how to convert patients on all that thing or those type of things. And you'll find you spend more time on training and more money on training than actually getting conversions of sales. So, Consistent staff, well trained staff.
And your receptionist is probably the most important person in your practice.
Michael: Yeah. How, how often is like turnover would you say, in the front office for you?
Thomas: So I have two sort of categories of, of support staff. So I'm not talking dentists, they're my support staff. I have my support staff that are my people that are gonna be there for years and they're my employees.
And then I have a list of sort of casuals, which are like fill in jobs, like only a few shifts a week. And they tend to be more uni students. So the uni students and the sort of casual in and out type of workers, they change over regularly. my long-term staff, they, they stick around long-term years.
That I don't think I've had anyone leave for any reason other than like their, like something's happened in their life, they're leaving mm-hmm. The city or moving, moving states or whatever it is because, staff is the most important. Asset of, of, of a company. So even big mining companies, you look at their, their, their bills sheet, their HR staff is their biggest expense.
Yeah. And given that even in us, even in a dental practice, staff is our biggest expense, but they're also the most important expense. And also we'll, Change how your companies run from day dot and, and it makes a massive difference. You'll have two receptionists. One receptionist will show you literally 50% more than the other one will, will book in 50% more patients than the other one just 'cause they care.
they'll be nice on the phone. They won't try to shoot people off the phone. They'll, they'll try to find solutions for their patients and mm-hmm. I say to my, I say to my, everybody, I have one hiring policy. Be a nice person. That's it. If you're a nice person, I can train you to do other things.
If you're not a nice person, it doesn't work out. Everyone can read it.
Michael: Yeah. Okay. Yeah. That's nice. Yeah. The humility that the person has to have when it comes to those two support staff and then the UNI students do, do you ever think like maybe the UNI students could become part of the support staff or
Thomas: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Yeah. But for, as a general rule, those casual staff, so the my casual support staff that all. Have one or two shifts a week or have like feeling when someone's sick or something like that. They generally come on with that role because this isn't their primary thing in life. Mm-hmm. They might be a uni student, they might be a mom just wanting part-time work and, but this is not their focus, But at any point yeah, if they're suitable and they want to, there's always opportunities for them to then move on to more of a permanent position in my little organization.
Michael: Nice man. Okay, so you talked to us about that. Everything right now is on cruise control because you're working on something with ai.
What's that all
Thomas: about? Okay, so, I'm the Chief Operating officer of a company called IS ai. And what we do is we've partnered with the Commonwealth Industry Science Research Organization, so C S I R O. Mm-hmm. It's Australia's government. Sort of science agency or research agency. And we've collaborated to come up with the world's first and most granular segmentation on cone BM c t as well as sort of pathology detection on, on all the dental x-rays.
So your bite wings, your peri apical, your op Gs, and your lat surfaces. So, going into marketing, 'cause I know this is a marketing podcast. The, the reason I think this is really helpful for marketing is, as I was saying, people wanna go to clinics because they want to know you are up to date. What you are providing is good healthcare.
Mm-hmm. And AI will only improve healthcare going forward. That's the whole reason it's going to be implemented. If it wasn't going to improve healthcare, it's just something, a cool fancy toy, no one will use it. So what we do in our company, so other than for the diagnostics, Our flagship is the segmentation of a cone beam ct.
So a cone beam CT is a three d X-ray people use for the major dental work. Mm. And we are able to segment that into 130 different anatomical structures. And then using that, you can use that to plan your treatment. So I'm assuming most of your listeners are dentists? Mm-hmm. And so as a dentist, you'll know when you perhaps do an implant or a molar root canal, you'll take a cone beam ct and you'll know that to.
You take that c x-ray to plan treatments and if you're taking that x-ray to plan treatments, if you're able to segment that x-ray, you are able to first remove any noise you don't wanna see. You are able to get automatic measurements, and you're able to get a clear three D model of what you're working on rather than working off two D slices, which is what we're doing.
And so inevitably, AI and segmentation of cone beams and detection of pathology across all x-rays. Is going to save the dentist time, it's going to improve treatments and lead to better health outcomes, which is what we're aiming to do, and that's what everything is about. The last part about it, and I'm really big on patient education, I think a better educated patient is more on board with treatment and that can only lead to good things.
Mm-hmm. It can lead to less stress for the dentist and better treatment health outcomes. And if you have ever seen a cone bean ct, and if you are not a dentist, you'll look at that and go, no idea what I'm looking at. it's gonna go right over my head. I'm just gonna nod as the dentist tries to explain things to me, what we do is we make three D models of that cone bean ct and so you're able to transfer that information to the patient much clearer in a way that makes much more sense to the patient.
Not only are you going to get more conversions for your treatment, but you are also going to get more trust from the patient. But ultimately, and this is my biggest thing, you will get better patient health outcomes. You'll make less mistakes, and your treatments will be better, and that's what it's all about.
Michael: Okay, so then how or why did this come out? The AI. You developing this? I guess like, the AI's been there, right? So you're just like, we gotta do something about this scenario because what was happening when this was
Thomas: coming out? Okay. So I'll tell you the little inception story of this company.
Yeah. It's kind of a pretty cool story. So this company started with two brothers, BA and Zen. Zen. I actually went to dental school with Zen, which is why, how I got involved in this company. Then is a dentist and Qua, who is our c e o, went to his brother Sen as the dentist Sen took his bite wings and he noticed an impacted lower right third molar that was causing caries on the lower right second molar.
And the carriers was really extensive and near the pulp Sen said to his brother, Hey mate, you need to take that wisdom tooth out, do a filling, potentially a root canal. Qua turned around and went, mate, you're my brother. I don't believe you. I don't feel any pain. Nothing is wrong. Went away. Then even showed him the x-ray and Qua was like, I don't, I don't know what you're talking about, man.
Everything was good. I think about two months later he had some crazy toothache. Had to go in and had to get both those teeth, emergency extraction on both of those teeth. That was the inception story, and this is why this links back to that whole patient education thing. I think in this world now going forward, people are taking more and more control of their own information.
I can almost guarantee all of your listeners, I mean most of 'em are dentists, but when they go to a doctor or a dentist, they don't actually get the x-rays themselves. In Australia, I. The X-rays are actually the property of the person that took them. It doesn't actually even belong to the patient, right?
Mm-hmm. Because it's our responsibility to keep it for X amount of years and store it and whatnot. We can't lose it 'cause it's patient health records. This is how this company started because we saw a problem there or the, the, the founder saw a problem there if I can't even believe my own brother.
And that communication between. The dentist and the patient is that poor on a two d x-ray. On a three d X-ray. People are just nodding their heads. The other thing we've found going through this and all the non dentists in my organization are, are a bit scared of dentists now mm-hmm. Is we've found a lot of dentists are just are skipping things and, and to save time on a cone beam ct, they're ignoring the rest of the cone beam ct.
If you take it for an implant down your bottom right, you're not looking at the top left for pathologies, which is to me, shocking. it's uncomfortable. Mm-hmm. So, that with the ai, you'll, you will be able to pick up on everything. And so even though it started as a patient communication inception idea, the use cases of it apply to both the patient, the dentist, the clinic, everyone, everyone will benefit from it.
Michael: And so this is available now or not yet?
Thomas: our business model is not necessarily to go straight to the end user. to the, to the dentists themselves. We're in discussions with a lot of OEMs and a lot of companies everyone we've spoken to once they've seen our product believes this is going to be the new standard of cone beam ct.
Mm-hmm. And, and two d x-rays, but cone beam cts in particular, because you can't have this level of segmentation and then go back to the two D version, it's, it's like, my Jared, who I work with always says to me, he goes, it's like looking at an old U B D map that you're flipping through. And then getting Google Maps and it telling you exactly what to do.
Um mm-hmm. You, you can't go back. And so for that, we believe it will be mass adopted and yeah, we're speaking to a lot of companies then to implement it into existing softwares. Gotcha.
Michael: So you, the idea is not like to the user, like, Hey guys, it's available for this much, everybody get it? It's, it's more like, how can people get their hands on it then?
Thomas: Utilize one of the companies that we'll be partnering with pretty much. Okay. We'll be partnering with companies around the world and all your dental users will have heard of it. I heard of these companies and so if you want to use the product, you'll have to use the company that we partner with.
Michael: Gotcha. Okay. Okay. Interesting man. Yeah, because we've heard of AI and like diagnosing, right. Pearl Overjet, other companies like that. So they're, they're doing. Pretty cool stuff on that end, but this is a little bit different, right?
Thomas: So we do what they do as well. So they do diagnosis of two d x-rays of pathologies, right?
And so that is a, a bite wing, a pa, an O P G. Hey, there is this problem here. pretty straightforward. But if you look at three D x-rays, people don't take cone beam cts to find pathology. Sometimes they do, they, they'll take an ogen go, oh, that's a little bit funny. Let's take another x-ray to mm-hmm.
To confirm what that is. But as the, the majority of C B C T cases are taken to perform a treatment, to do an implant, to do a root canal, to do a surgical extraction of a third molar. And so the initial inception of the, the segmentations on a cone b. Is to make the use case of that cone beam easier already.
So if you are taking it for an implant, We provide you information on that treatment that will make that treatment easier. So we will provide you segmentations for all the surrounding key critical structures, the i n the sinus. We'll provide you measurements, so the crystal bone to the ion. How much bone do you have to play with your lingual and buccal measurements that that's automatic with the click of a button that you can see on a three D model.
That is different from we're gonna scan the whole extra and just point out things that might be slightly wrong, which we do anyway. And like I said, the two D is one thing. I'm much more passionate about the three D. if there's a bite wing and I miss it, and I'm not saying that AI doesn't diagnose better if my AI definitely diagnoses better than me, right?
Mm-hmm. I do miss things, but if I'm missing on that two d x-ray, it is me making a mistake. It is me not seeing something I should have seen. But on the three D, this is why I'm much more passionate about three D. People don't even look for it on a three d on a cone beam ct, which is shocking. So that's not even a mistake.
People aren't even doing it. Mm-hmm. take it to do the implant and they'll review just the implant site and the stuff they need for the implant and ignore the rest of the image. A lot of people, not everyone, mm-hmm. The good dentist look at over all, but, but a lot of people do. And so that's why the pathology detection on three D and scanning through, that's where my passion lies more.
But diagnosis on all x-rays is all helpful for ai.
Michael: Yeah. Okay. Are you utilizing it right now in your practice? I
Thomas: utilizing it right now, no, no, no, no, because it's not into, so I utilize it to demonstrate things, but it's not at, at a commercial level at the moment, so, no.
Michael: Oh, okay. Okay. Interesting. So this is, this is coming out pretty
Thomas: soon then, huh?
Yeah, yeah, yeah. whether it's us or anybody else, this will be the standard tech in the next three to five years. It's inevitable. Like I said I assume it's not only going to be us, but it, Once you've seen it, you can't go back. It is physically impossible. It's just chalk and cheese.
It's it's color TV versus black and white tv. Yeah, sound is black and white. TV versus color tv. We sound, that's literally what it is.
Michael: No, man. We're excited for that, Thomas. We're excited for that. So from the process of, I guess you doing your startup. Right to now at the point where you're at with this startup, right.
Where it's not a, like a building, right. It's not a practice, it's a ai. Mm-hmm. What are some of the biggest struggles you've encountered throughout this time?
Thomas: Time? For me personally, it's time. Mm-hmm. So I know no one really caress about my life, but time is actually the biggest thing for me. You've been talking business struggles.
It's once again time for me. Not even just time, it's the mental ability to focus on running dental practices and this AI startup, which is why my dental practices have pretty much taken a backseat. I do not know how Elon Musk does it. I do not know how you have the mental capacity to really run multiple companies and be on top of it all.
It's really hard. But other than that, obviously the challenges are really different between the two. And I think the common challenge though, as I was saying before, is people. Mm-hmm. I think everything comes down to people. If you have good staff in your dental practice, you don't have to worry. So I've run this enough that I can be on cruise control in my dental practices, and I can trust the staff that I have will run it really well as it's going and approach me if there's an issue that they haven't dealt with and they dunno what to do.
And so I'm pretty comfortable with that. And so even with eyes of ai, I, we have such an amazing team that it makes it really easy to work. And so my one tip to anybody doing any sort of entrepreneurial or any business work people is what makes it, you have someone good next to you, the amount of stress you receive will be half of someone that's just not good next to you.
Yeah. So yeah, staffing. Staffing and time is, is definitely the biggest thing. And surround yourself with people that. Have the same vision as you. Drive in the same direction as you and really lift each other up and support each other. I always liken it to a rowing boat. Right. It is the job of the person on the rowing boat that's beating that drum to make sure that everybody's rowing in the same direction and rowing to the beat of that drum, right?
That is like any organization, the boat will go better if everyone rose in the same direction and rose at the same time. What you don't want to do is get staff around you that don't understand the big picture and don't strive towards that common goal, whether it is. Providing patients is really good healthcare, and that will build up your dental practices or doing the world's best AI that's gonna take over the world.
With ai, you need the team to understand what they're doing, what their roles are, and support each other in that team. So people is the most important. Yeah.
Michael: Do you ever find yourself Thomas like, man, I need, I need somebody to handle this takeover and do this, and you give them the The problem or the Yeah, the problem, the work.
But then you kind of think about it and you're like, maybe a system could have taken care of that instead of this person. Yeah,
Thomas: both. You need both. with staff even though they're good staff, you need a system or a framework for them to work in. Mm-hmm. You can't, no matter how good people are, if you just let five people to do their thing.
They're not gonna come at the same point. So you've gotta give everyone a system or a framework. And with technology like AI coming through, yeah, people are, people's job descriptions are gonna change. What they had to do is going to change. It's unfortunately inevitable. You know, Back in the day, I'm sure law firms had a hundred people researching things, feature their cases, and now it's a Google search and it's only a hundred people hour job.
any new technology you should be skeptical of but would be willing to embrace that goes with ai, that goes with any systems that you have digital, X-rays, p m s systems, whatever it might be. Systems generally make things more efficient and less mistakes are made. Mm-hmm. that's one of the biggest things about ai, right?
That as I was saying earlier on a two d X-ray, if I don't pick up on something that's a mistake, It's not, I didn't know it's a mistake. And so systems and AI and things like that, they don't make mistakes as much. systems are good. But even if you don't have a system in place, even if you've got people, you should have a framework for those people to work around.
Michael: I get you, man. I mean, remember when Chat G P T came out, I was like, what is this stuff? I didn't even care. Now. Can't get
Thomas: off. It's the best. Yeah. AI's amazing. I'm kind of scared to see where it's gonna be in five years. I'm legitimately worried and scared.
Michael: It's gonna be, it's gonna be good. It's gonna be exciting.
I dunno. We'll see. We'll see. But it is interesting. So one of the last questions I wanted ask you Thomas, is we have a lot of young practice owners, listeners, dentists, right. In our also young, in the sense of like year one to year five, maybe they're in their practice ownership process. What
Thomas: advice can you give us?
I think first starting out, be honest with yourself. I think knowing where your shortfalls are. So, like I was saying, don't pretend to be a marketer if you're not, don't pretend to be someone that is gonna sit there with spreadsheets if you're not. I recently have come to love spreadsheets.
Mm-hmm. But in my previous life before this startup, I didn't particularly like spreadsheets and so to. If, you know you need spreadsheets to track things, but you are not a spreadsheet person, and I would say most dentists are not spreadsheet people, then you should be able to recognize that shortfall and pay a professional to do it.
I find people don't recognize other people's skillsets enough and aren't willing to pay for that skillset enough. That'd be the first thing. The second thing I would say is choose Elaine. I say this to everybody. You are not everyone's hero. You'll be one type of person, hero. And so choose what type of person that is.
If you're starting a practice and drive your business for that target market and nothing else. Ignore everyone else. alcohol companies. They know who their target market is. They don't target kids 'cause they know they're not gonna buy it. They don't get upset when kids don't wanna buy the alcohol.
So they target their audience, do the same thing. And the third thing is be genuine and nice. it goes for both patients and your staff. I find so many entrepreneurs are so up themselves that they think they can manipulate people into positioning themselves and doing what they want.
Now, that might work with a one-off interaction 'cause they, the person doesn't know you. But if you are gonna work with someone for five years, if you're gonna have a returning patient for five years, that. Ulterior motive of, I am here because of money. I'm here because of what it, it, it doesn't last.
Everyone sees right through it. If you want good staff to stick with you, treat them well, put yourself in their shoes. Every once in a while think, Hey, I'm only earning this amount of money. My dentist, my boss is earning this amount of money. He makes me do all this stuff. He doesn't even say thank you.
Doesn't gimme a bonus, doesn't gimme anything. If you were that person, you'd be like, Hey, what? This is not fair. Like this is not a, mm-hmm. Even distribution of what's happening here. Be nice to your staff. Be genuine. Be nice to your patients and that, that's probably the biggest one. Be nice and fair to everyone around you.
People will come back and people will continue wanting to work with you if you are overly fair and overly nice to people. I think that's the best part.
Michael: Awesome. We appreciate that, Thomas. And if anyone has any questions or concerns or they just want to talk to you more, where can
Thomas: they find you? Eyes of AI is probably the easiest website, international website.
You can either contact the support page of Eyes of AI and ask for me specifically otherwise I'm on LinkedIn, or they can reach out to you and you. I'm more than happy for you to give out my personal email to anyone. I'm happy to speak to everyone. I'm a friendly person.
Michael: Always be nice. Yeah.
Awesome guys. So that's gonna be in the show notes below, so definitely reach out to Thomas and Thomas. Thank you for being with us. It's been a pleasure and we'll hear from you soon.