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How a Dental Consultant Can Transform Your Dental Practice - Tonya Burns

Posted by Andrea Baysinger on

If COVID has taught us anything, it’s given us clarity. The first thing you should question for 2021 is “What do you want?” Dentists are realizing that “I might” or “I should” needs to turn into a solid plan. Do you want to recover losses? Do you want to grow? Do you want to slow down? Sometimes the best way to implement goals is to have someone come alongside you to help you through the process. That’s where Tonya Burns comes in. Tonya is a consultant working exclusively with pediatric dental practices. Her mission is to empower dental practices to reach success—whatever that looks like for them. Listen to this episode of Talking with the Toothcop to learn more!

Outline of This Episode

  • [2:20] Tonya Burns: Pediatric Dental Consultant
  • [3:41] Tonya is MORE than a consultant
  • [6:33] How to implement goals in your practice
  • [12:32] What years of consulting have taught us
  • [29:41] Implementing automation in dentistry
  • [37:49] Tracking metrics with clients
  • [39:20] Systems are great—so is accountability
  • [41:58] Learn how to embrace change
  • [43:07] How to connect with Tonya Burns

Tonya is MORE than a consultant

Tonya feels the word “Consultant” often comes with bad connotations. She wants to change the stigma. She comes into dental practices to help devise plans based on that office's wants and needs. She crafts her approach to each practice and what they’re capable of. She reinvents the wheel all the time. She enjoys being involved in every part of the process, from goal formation to implementation. She’s there to hold them accountable and give them direction. Sometimes she helps them fine-tune their own systems and redesign them.

Her goal is for a practice to achieve their goals without leaving any patients behind. No one should fall through the cracks. A lot of patients falling through the cracks in pediatrics. Why? Because there’s so much volume. You need to identify holes in your practice and fix them before it’s too late. That’s where a wonderful consultant like Tonya can step in and be a game-changer for your people and your business. 

Implement SMART goals in your practice

Tonya emphasizes that right now is a great time to be in pediatric dentistry. It isn’t feeling the effects like other specialties and general dentistry has. Parents will always do for their kids what they won’t do for themselves. Dental practices are also doing a great job at making their patients feel safe.  


Tonya also points out that now is a great time to set SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, results-oriented, and timebound). Do you want to recover losses? Do you want to grow? Do you want to slow down? What do you need to do to get the practice in the right position? You should set realistic goals that you can measure and attain. Let your team set some goals as well. What would they like to see happen? Have you realized you need more education to be more efficient? 

Consultants CAN empower chang

Tonya was hired to work with a practice that had a toxic environment. The dentist said, “I just want them to be happy.” The dentist had bought out another office, merged the practices, and told them “This is how it is.” They had broken processes. No one had any respect for each other. There were power struggles. They would even cuss each other out through their headsets

They worked through the problems and at the end of the relationship, she had all the “mean girls” texting her and thanking her. They didn’t realize how bad they were. The practice turned around and did well. People want to trust who they’re working with. It’s all about finding a connection and making sure you’re a good match. But you also have to walk away from people if you know you can’t help them. 

Implementing automation in dentistry

Tonya is now helping implement automation in dental offices as part of her consultation service. They take repeatable processes, put a bot into use, and then teach the team how to use it properly. This is a way to work leaner and help your overhead. Robots can do insurance verification, track claims, do payroll, and even send claims and statements. They’ve now taught the robots to read EOBs and they should be able to post payments soon. You can program the bot to do anything that you want. 

But they still need a human running them. Implementing automation removes human error with small things and removes things that offices hate doing. It can clean up the process and streamline it. It all happened because Tonya met a pediatric dentist whose husband owned an automation business. She started helping to program them to work with a team in an office. Now they’re going live with clients. 

How long does it take to implement? If you want the robots customized to your practice—which is what Tonya advises—then the process takes about two weeks from testing and implementing to using. 

Wonderful things are coming for the pediatric community. Listen to the whole episode for the full conversation about pediatric consulting, implementing new technology, and the future of dentistry.  

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