OP image Alison175Is specialization the key to success or is it diversification? That is the question that many an orthodontist asks along the way to building or maintaining a successful orthodontic practice.

Over the years, Orthodontic Products has featured the practices of orthodontists who have answered that question for themselves. Some have chosen to specialize in lingual orthodontics, while others have made Invisalign the focus of their practice. These practices have carved out a niche in a competitive marketplace, finding a way to stand out among the crowd. And they have found success in the process.

But there are also those practices that have chosen to diversify to find success and stability. They have added services that expand beyond the typical offerings of an orthodontic practice.

Recently, we talked about how practices can incorporate obstructive sleep apnea treatment to broaden their services and reach a new population segment. In this month’s issue, we feature the practice of Ann Guerra, DDS, who has used her dual training as a pediatric dentist and an orthodontist to create a unique practice that expands beyond the offerings of the typical orthodontic office. While dual-trained orthodontists aren’t a rarity, ones who practice in both specialties simultaneously are.

Guerra chose to train as a pediatric dentist and orthodontist because she wanted to work with children and see them through their entire development. But in the process, she set herself up for that sometimes elusive success and stability. She has built a practice that connects her to dental patients as young as 2 and allows her to naturally transition to the role of orthodontist when they are older and in need of treatment. While her dual offerings may limit the number of referrals from general dentists afraid of patient hopping, Guerra’s practice hasn’t suffered. In fact, her practice’s diversification has kept her busy and her practice stable. While many orthodontic-only offices have struggled to fill appointments, Guerra has been able to keep those slots full by taking on more pediatric dental patients to fill the gap.

There are pros and cons to be weighed when it comes to answering the question of whether it is better to specialize or diversify. But, ultimately, it is about creating a practice that both stands out and brings success. OP

—Alison Werner, Chief Editor

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