Welcome to the Marketing Chairside Podcast by Pro Impressions Marketing, where the team covers a variety of dental marketing ideas to help you attract more new patients in the quantity and quality you need to grow your practice.
Thanks for joining us today on the show. I have one of the most intelligent men that I know on as a guest, Dr. Prabu Raman. Thanks for joining us today.
Dr. Prabu Raman:
Thank you, Jonathan.
I wanted you to be on the show because I know that you have decades of experience and you’ve been in a lot of CE programs, attended a lot and taught a lot. And one of the things I wanted to ask you is how you feel most dentists go about implementing the things that they learn at CE and what you’d recommend to get better results in that.
Dr. Prabu Raman:
Very good question. If you don’t really implement anything that you learn, it’s a waste of your time and money. Probably the first one would be to go in with an attitude, “I’m going to learn something, I’m going to learn something that’ll be useful for me back in the practice, and I’m going to look for what that is.” So there’s too often we may go, “Oh, I know that. I know that.” It is too easy to say that one. I have had team members that way, “Oh, we already do this.”
That’s not the point. You walk in with the goal, “What am I going to glean from this that would be useful back at the practice?” And as you’re listening to the lecturer, whatever that might be, you go in with a attitude, that’s it, “Is it congruent with what we do?” There’s sometimes you hear things that are just not congruent with what we do. I can think of examples like a sales type kind of a presentation. That’s not what I believe in, that’s not how we do things. So right off the bat, “Okay, this is not congruent with what we do.” Really high-pressure sales kind of thing, those things, closing. No, that’s not us.
So right off the bat decide, “Is it congruent with what we do? And then, what can be put into our protocol, what can be …” I’m sure we are all doing something. We’re not going to just overnight throw it all out and start something new. But rather, what can be done adding to the existing way of doing things, that framework if you would, and what would fit in, and then make a note of it right there. And I mentioned team as much as feasible, take your team with you. Because as much as you learn, they hear the same things perhaps differently. They’re in a different part in their experience and knowledgeable or whatever that might be, they may pick up things that maybe I would miss and vice versa.
Especially when we went to big meetings, we are going to stay in a hotel or so on, we always do a little download at the end of the day, for sure. Just a few minutes before you go on to dinner, drinks or whatnot. What did we learn? What could be used? Make a note of it. And of course, when you come back to the office after the meeting, have one more of those meetings. I know it seems like a lot of meetings, it’s like the time spent in sharpening the saw. It’s very useful because the saw does a better job. So keep that in mind. So make sure you spend the time to make some definite plans on however you’re going to integrate it, how you’re going to use it.
Once that is done, then we need to make sure that it’s done. There are different ways to make sure that it’s done. Before I went to TMD, I had a regular general practice. It’s a high-end practice, but nevertheless, general practice. So we have over eight team members. I have two now. It’s different kind of practice, but we still do this, which is we still have a morning huddle. I know a lot of offices do. We still do a brief meeting about what is coming up the next day. That is typically either at lunch or right after the end of the day, about what is coming up. Why is that important? It is useful to know what is coming up so we can make some changes, tweaks, whatnot that might be, getting things ready, be assured the stuff is ready for you. That may be also where a new bit of knowledge could come in. “Hey, we learned that. We could use that for this guy,” or this case. So you plan ahead of time.
And then the third one that we do is at the end of the day, every day, we do a little wrap up. Doesn’t have to be long. What did we do right? What could we do better if we were to do it over again. It’s not so much we’ve messed up, screwed up, not that. It is more like, “If I were to do it over again, would I do it anything differently? If so, what is that?” And this is also where the new knowledge might come in handy. “You know what we just learned? If you could have done that, this would’ve gone better. Next time you’ll do it.” It’s not a mistake. It’s only a mistake you keep doing it over and over again, it is learning experience. We just learned something, now we’re going to implement it. So we’re going to next time and do it differently better. And then we’ll check again, did it work? Did it work better? That make sense?
Yeah. And I love learning. I love being at these events. I was at a talk you gave at the Moyaligner Conference last year. You’re the past president of the International College of Craniomandibular Orthopedics, a diplomat of the American Academy of Craniofacial Pain. So I know you have been in a lot of rooms like that.
Dr. Prabu Raman:
When I go to them, wherever I can, I like to sit close to the front row when I’m attending. In fact, I almost lost my now wife because I was in the front row asking questions all the time. And that’s the thing that I heard you say, is go in it to it with a willingness to learn and implement things. And I think that’s so critical. I mean, I see there’s kind of two types of doctors and I think it’s just human beings, where some people are comfortable asking questions. And not being rude, but yeah, if there’s a disconnect, ask about it. Try to probe through it and figure out, “Where can I change, or is this just not for me?”
And then the thing about team, I’ve heard that recommended multiple times, that you’ve got to go back and practice dentistry. You don’t want to go back and have to reteach everything you tried to learn. So I think that’s great input as well. I’m curious how long you have been doing that specialized practice just focusing on TMD, or just in general treating TMD patients?
Dr. Prabu Raman:
Good question, but let me just go quickly to that sitting in front row. As you’re speaking of it, I thought of Norman Thomas. You probably know Norman Thomas.
I know who he is, yeah.
Dr. Prabu Raman:
Yeah. To me, hands down brightest man there is. More degrees after his name than anybody that I know. And yet he was always in the front row. There have been many, many lecturers that I have given, he’d be right in the front row, listening to me, asking questions. The first time I was kind of intimidated, Norman in the front? But you very quickly realize, he’s not there to judge you, he wants, “Hey, is there something I can pick up from you?” So that is very important that you mentioned about being at the first row. You went there to learn.
And as far as asking questions, there’s nothing to be embarrassed about asking questions. In fact, when I teach a course, I always ask people, “Don’t wait until they end.” Sometimes you may have seen lecturers that say, “Hold your questions until the end.” Basically what they’re saying is, “I have 200 slides, I’m going to get through them. That’s my job. Then we’ll get to the questions.” I don’t look at it that way. My role is there to make sure you have value when you go home. If that is my goal, I don’t care if I get through all my slides. More importantly, if somebody has a question, chances are good there are eight other people thinking of it, they’re just too timid to ask. I’m never timid to ask, I just, “I don’t know.” That doesn’t mean I’m dumb, I just don’t know that’s what you’re talking about. I may know other things. So I just ask questions, same way about answering questions too.
Back to your question before I’ve entered that sideline. TMD per se, where I’m used to doing this full-time, it’s closer to about 20-some years. And also 20-some because it’s not one fine day that I decided I’m just doing this all one time. But I can tell you the day that I decided. I had been treating TMD perhaps early ’90s. I’ve been a practitioner since ’83, there was reason why I got into this TMD business. So about ’93 or so I start taking courses. Dr. Witzig was one of the first ones. So I could say I was starting to treat TMD in ’93, something like that, about 30 years.
Then of course over time, then I went to courses with Dr. Jay Gerber. I know that’s where I got into neuromuscular dentistry as a more into a detail. Of course, at one some point I decided that I’ll make this full-time. That happened right after I went to LVI because I was already a neuromuscular dentist, treating TMD. Even done full mouth reconstruction, neuromuscular reconstruction, before that. But when I went to LVI to learn the aesthetics part of it where I could merge those in, aesthetics function, I already was doing orthodontics, all of a sudden made sense to me. This, I can make it work. I had to figure out how, but this, I can make it work because I just did not want to go run from room to room. I have six rooms in my office now, and at one time I used to run from one room to another.
So I decided I can’t just do this. I don’t want to do this full-time, running room to room. I want to focus on something out love. What is that? And that was TMD. And that of course, the other aspects of it doing orthodontics, aesthetics, it all of a sudden made a sense to me, this can make it work. So that would’ve been about 2000. Again, that is when I made a big announcement to my eight people team member at the time, “This is what you’re going to do.” So the movement you decide, I suppose that decision is the easy part, your TMD practice.
Implementing takes some time, so of course now that’s all we do. But it was a process about 20 years ago.
Wow. And I’m sure that the CE was a part of that. And we’re passionate about helping TMD dentists market their services. It’s just a lot of fun to market something that changes lives in such a dramatic way. Sometimes there is the aesthetic part, but then just the quality of life of not being in pain all the time, or in the case of sleep, being more aware and able to enjoy life more of the time.
And so that was the other reason I wanted to have you on the show today is I know that you’re coming out with your own course, taught in the Kansas City area, entitled G.P.S. Let’s pull that up here so I get it right. But one of the things I think is great about it is you’re providing a framework for TMD treatment and you’re using the analogy of G.P.S. Can you tell us a little bit about that? G.P.S. For treating complex TMD cases.
Dr. Prabu Raman:
Thank you, Jonathan. Yes. This will be in my office in Kansas City. The G.P.S came about as this: it is important before you start treatment, what are your goals? What are you really trying to solve for this patient? I have mentioned aesthetics is one aspect of it, but my main focus is, yes, I was at one time aesthetic dentist, meaning just make pretty teeth. That’s it. But I always was, even before that, aware of the importance of jaw alignment and so on. But now, in the recent past, like last 20 years or so, my exclusive focus is solving often quality of life impacting symptoms. Oftentimes they may have seen bunch of physicians and so on for solutions, they may have different diagnoses. I’m kind of looking at, forget the diagnosis for a moment. Diagnosis to me are basically labels.
Let me give you an example. If you have whole body pain, you’re always tired, fatigued and so on, they’ll do some cursory examination and then may even do some tests, and be diagnosed as fibromyalgia. To me, they’re a paradigm of looking at this set of symptoms, call it this. That’s fine. Let us sit back and see what really bothers the person. The G would be the goal. What are the patient’s goals? What would be their wish for improved quality of life? What affects their quality of life? That is important to know right off the bat because you’re there to solve some problems. At least I look at me, at myself, as a problem-solver, so I have to see what are the goals.
And then make sure as I’m going through the diagnosis, diagnostic process, can I see a reason for their problem? Yes, I see why this symptoms could be from this. And then there has to be a process to go through. Once you know the goals, how do we go about diagnose the underlying causes, especially root cause often is, for jaw and neck alignment. And then, how do we go through and make the change and make sure that actually solves the problems? And then how do we make this stable for a long-term? When it’s all said and done, how do you know it worked? All through this treatment there need to be a way of measuring success. It’s not for me to say, “Oh, I measured this and this. You’re done.” Because you hear that from patients all the time. They’ve been told by the doctor, physicians oftentimes, everything’s just fine. “Nothing wrong with you.” Translation is, “I can’t find out anything else why you’re having this problem.” But that’s not often what is said. “Nothing wrong with you.”
I look at it this way. The success is actually determined by the patient. The goal is determined by the patient too. I don’t get to tell them. I may suggest sometimes things they don’t think is even possible. “It might be possible to do this.” I can only suggest that as a possibility. But the goals are determined by the patient. This is where I want to get done. Process at mind, in between part, they don’t get to tell me what to do. That’s my job. The success is determined by the patient. Yes, it is 100% successful, 80%, whatever that might be.” My problems for which I came here for, you have solved this for me.” Completely eliminated or mostly eliminated, whatever that is.
So that’s where the G.P.S. comes from. The success is determined throughout the process, not just in the very end. Are we making progress, are we making … Just like a GPS system, when a airliner takes off from Kansas City to Hawaii for example, they don’t go on a straight line. They keep making course corrections. That’s true of any of these. Once you start, you need to keep making sure, “Are we going in the right direction? Do we need to make a course correction?” So the same analogy still works, make corrections so that we are reaching success. That’s where the framework is important in my opinion.
And you make it sound so simple, but I think it’s kind of like chess. You can learn how the pieces move, but until you kind of learn some strategy you’re never going to master it.
And speaking of mastering things, this is not entry-level course that you’re teaching, it’s one of the few CE courses that I’ve seen that has some prerequisites to it. You have to have taken either myotonic series one and two or Vivos’s TMD 1 and 2 courses in order to attend. Why is that?
Dr. Prabu Raman:
Or the third one was the experienced neuromuscular dentist.
Dr. Prabu Raman:
It’s the third part. The reason for that is I still teach Vivos courses, and Myotronics, they’re doing a good job with Jeff and Mike, but my purpose of this course is not to duplicate what is already done, but rather to take them to the next level. For those doctors that already are looking at solving some issues, if you would, one of the big things that I have noticed over the years, I have treated of course many patients that have seen lots of other dentists, but especially people that are well-known neuromuscular dentists that I know, or experienced, and sometimes they are referred by them. Say, “Hey, I’ve done everything I can. This is still not something I can solve, [inaudible 00:15:24] you can.”
What I often find out is the neck part is missing. In fact, back in 2006, where I came up with a technique to relax a neck problem, it’s called a Prabu Point [inaudible 00:15:36]. I even called it a craniocervical mandibular dysfunction. Head, neck, jaw, not lining up right, versus TMD. More of a jaw and neck, I’m sorry, jaw and head. That is the part that’s often missing, that’s a missing piece if you would.
And I have heard that many times, or that’s the part that is missing. That’s what I have also found, so that is what I want to fill in the missing piece if you would. So while I’m at it, I’m also going to make sure there’s a framework given, but more importantly, you want some clinical skills, hands-on skills. They can actually go home Monday morning, so to speak, or they can actually do this protocol that I have developed. It’s being called a Raman CCMD Protocol.
Basically, I’ll go through all of the details, but it includes partly getting the neck right. And this is an example what I mentioned earlier about going somewhere and be conscious of, what am I going to benefit from this? I took courses with Dr. Mariano Rocabado, well-known physical therapist, back in 2007 I believe. It’s a six-day course, three different trips. Three days each, lots of hands-on. The whole time I’m looking like, “What can I implement?” I don’t want to turn into a physical therapist, but I also want to implement something back home.
So that is part of what I wanted to implement back at the office. It’s not just, “Oh, I learned it. I know enough about it, but I don’t do anything.” To me that is not quite getting the most benefit out of it. So part of it will be what I learned from Dr. Rocabado. Part of it will include what I came up with way back when for the neck relaxation, that starting with the basic of a classic neuromuscular dentistry. So it is built one on top of the other, even has part of the breathing technique that comes from yoga. All of that would be included.
So that is a protocol, but not a long time-consuming one. We’re talking about 70 minutes where we can go from somebody that is tight, neck is tight, jaw is tight, all those things, to something as loose as they can. Then we can do that for … That could be a starting point for any kind of treatment. Myoaligner treatment, could be a Vivos treatment, could be fixed orthotic, removal orthotic, whatever, that has a basic. Then also, as they’re going through treatment, as we refine them, we also use those things. So we’ll be teaching the full protocol to them.
And it’s a hands-on course. The relaxation piece, that’s that’s going to be something they learn. And I’m curious about key takeaways there then, if you could list it off as that dentist coming in, expecting what kind of problems that you’re going to solve for them. And while you’re listing that, I want to bring up that registration QR code again. Take a picture of that if you’re watching this so that you can get to that registration page. If you’re listening to this audio only, I’ll put a link to the registration in the box.
Dr. Raman is one of our clients, but we’re actually sponsoring this course because I just believe so firmly that dentists watching this need to check this out. If TMD is at all a part of their practice, this is just going to be a real game-changer, pushing through those difficult cases. So Prabu, what are those key takeaways that they should look for?
Dr. Prabu Raman:
Probably the number one would be having this idea of having a framework. My idea this, once I have this framework as a concept, there are probably things that’ll come up down the road. The why part is more important than the how part. Why do we do something is an important part of learning a technique or whatnot. The how is important, you’ll learn that too. It also will set it up so if there is some new understanding, new discovery, whatnot, it can fit into the framework. So that is an important part in my belief.
The other takeaways would be know how to do the craniocervical physical therapy in the chair at your office so that we can get the neck also loosened up. Why is that important? Way too often treatment takes a long time. You get the classic neuromuscular dentistry is basically the jaw. We got the jaw and face loosened up. You got a good starting point. Over time you keep adjusting and adjusting as the neck may get better. But what if you can start off at the jaw, neck, all of them together at the same time. So you have a starting point that’s much further along than classically you may have ever gotten if you’ve got them at all.
And the other thing is, it allows you to treat what they will be considered complex cases. What is a complex case? People would have multiple symptoms, maybe have multiple diagnoses. I have treated people that had diagnosises of trigeminal neuralgia, fibromyalgia, cervical dystonia. These are all medical diagnoses. Migraine of course is one of the common one. And any kind of neck problems, those are medical diagnoses, but they may have an underlying root cause that often the root cause is jaw-neck alignment.
So the takeaway would be it allow you to treat cases that are not commonly treated out there. It gives you the ability to give more people help, increase the value of what you do too for that matter, and gives you that … Probably the biggest one in my opinion is where you feel good about what you’re doing. Because we’re not all doing this. It could be a number of ways earning a good living, but we chose to do this because we want to do something good for our patients.
It’s fairly common for people to say something like, “God put me on the track to see you.” It’s humbling to hear that, but ultimately you want to make a difference in people’s life. It’s not just a slogan. You really feel good about what you do, that keeps you going. This is my 40th year of practice. I’m still very much enthused. We just redid it with you, Jonathan. Redid the logo, redid the name, redid the whole website, the whole bit. I’m looking forward going forward, not slowing down anytime soon. So that’s what I hope to transfer.
That’s fantastic. I mean, the doctors need this. The patients need this. So at the very least, check out the registration. And if you can make it’s in July, I think it’s the 14th-
Dr. Prabu Raman:
Through Pro Impressions, don’t they get a promo code?
Yes, yes. We’ll put that promo code in the description because that will actually get you a little discount on it. But I just think that everyone needs us. Your patients need this. So Prabu, will you hit us with the details? When is this shindig and where should we meet you up?
Dr. Prabu Raman:
Yes, sir. It’s going to be at my office. It’s Raman Center for TMJ & Sleep. It is in Kansas City. It’s 8612 North Oak in Kansas City. It’s about 15 minutes from the airport. Kansas City Airport, airport code is MCI. The dates are Friday and Saturday, July 14th and 15th. All the refreshments and so on, lunches are included. And we’ll also have dinner together Friday night, July 14th. And I look forward to seeing all of you or many of you, and we’ll have a good time and learn a lot too.
And by the way, this does include 14 hours of ADA CERP approved CE credits too.
Dr. Prabu Raman:
Yep, that’s very truth.
The bonuses just keep coming. So do yourself a favor and check that out. Prabu, thank you so much for your time today.
Dr. Prabu Raman:
Thank you so much, Jonathan. It was nice visiting with you. Take care.
Yes, take care. Thanks, everybody. Please like, subscribe and if you have any questions for Prabu, definitely put them in the comments below and I’ll make sure that they get to him, and you can always reach out directly to him as well via that link in the description. Thanks again and I will see you next time. I’ll actually hopefully see you in Kansas City, and it’ll be a great time. Take care.
I’m going to pretend I’m a dentist today and got my molds here. Yep, I am doing things that are dental because I have to do something while the show closes out. That’s just the rule, and yep. Are we good, Aaron? It’s that awkward time.