Featured Practice Series: Dr. Dennis Gillespie
Dr. Dennis Gillespie was born and raised in Vancouver, WA, where he attended Mountain View High School. He majored in psychology and chemistry at Brigham Young University, and he furthered his education at the Indiana University School for Dentistry and the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine. Ever since he can remember, Dr. Dennis has wanted to be a dentist, just like his father. He loves the idea of working in the healthcare profession, where he is able to help others on a daily basis.
Dr. Dennis has focused most of his education on cosmetic restorative dentistry. He also discovered a passion for dental sleep medicine, by which he can improve the lives of his patients by treating their sleep apnea.
Dr. Dennis likes to unwind by spending time with his wife and three sons, as well as cheering on BYU sports, the Portland Trailblazers, and the Seattle Seahawks.
SomnoMed: Dr. Gillespie, what initially drew you to dental sleep medicine?
Dr. Gillespie: As a dentist, my father dabbled a bit in dental sleep medicine. Additionally, I had sleep issues my entire life. I was using CPAP when my dad mentioned oral devices to me. I was willing to try it because my wife had told me multiple times that she would put a pillow over my face if I didn’t find a better solution! My whole life changed because of using oral device therapy. Because of this treatment option my school performance improved, and more importantly, my wife and I were both sleeping much better. I knew that I wanted to help people sleep better and improve their quality of lives, which is impossible when you don’t get restful sleep at night.
SomnoMed: What one marketing best practice has advanced your practice the most?
Dr. Gillespie: The marketing technique that’s worked the best for me is developing relationships with physicians. When I meet with them, we discuss patients as well as treatments and this connection has been a ”lifeline”, helping me to help more people. From a patient perspective, we attract new opportunities to treat patients through internal marketing. We use screening tools, train staff to ask the right questions and actively look for the signs of sleep apnea. We literally talk to every patient!
SomnoMed: What do you think are the top three reasons patients choose your practice?
Dr. Gillespie: The number one reason patients come to our practice would be physician recommendation, and next would be proximity – but that’s changed recently due to the fact that some physicians are farther away. I’ve even had new patients come to us from 30, 40, 50 miles away recently. Lastly, our online presence and online reviews play a large role. We are a family practice, so there’s no ”corporate model” here. The majority of our success is a result of how our dentists are and how our staff treats the patients.
SomnoMed: When did you first hear about SomnoMed?
Dr. Gillespie: The first device I had wasn’t a SomnoDent, but the second one was. Wearing a SomnoDent, I was able to see good results, longevity and quality, and it made me want to continue working with SomnoMed. Now, I primarily use the SomnoDent Flex device, and I also really like the Herbst Advance – the visual indicator is the primary reason I’m a huge fan. I also like the AIR device for patients who need more flexibility on price. The Morning Repositioner has also been very beneficial for patients to limit possible side effects.
SomnoMed: What are some best practices you can share with other dentists?
Dr. Gillespie: First of all, a dentist new to dental sleep would need to get help with the medical billing side. Medical billing is a completely different animal from dental billing, and you can’t make it without getting compensated for it. Additionally, I took about 25-30 hours of continuing education before I really dove in, and that gave me the confidence I needed to talk to patients and show them the real value. I was able to explain the science behind sleep apnea and demonstrate how important it is to get treated. The clinical aspects are really simple, but helping the patient understand how treatment can help them requires knowledge and time.
Visit Dr. Gillespie online at: http://www.gillespiedentistry.com/
If you would like to add dental sleep to your practice, join SomAdvantage for access to exclusive free training and resources for building your sleep practice successfully.