Tips from experts on the "Greatest Threat to Dentistry"
Beginning in 2012, Dentistry IQ has periodically offered its readers the chance to explore tips from practice management experts that cover all areas of the dental practice, from patient relationships to the staff to financial concerns to front office matters to marketing strategies.
Whatever your role in the dental practice — whether you're a dentist, hygienist, front office worker, or even a consultant — there's sure to be something in this collection of tips that will help you as you continually commit to your job and practice.
The two previous incarnations of the 100 Tips articles have been big hits on the Dentistry IQ website — the original version still ranks as one of the top-read articles on our website. This fall, the Dentistry IQ editors decided to gather another round of tips. Due to a slight decrease in the number of tips we received this time around, and to increase clickability, we've decided to post each category of tips as a separate article. The separate articles will make it easier for readers to read only the tips that benefit them, although we urge you to read as many as you can!
Here are three tips from practice management experts on the topic "Greatest Threat to Dentistry":
Insurance isn’t the greatest threat to dentistry. The dentist and his/her team’s attitude toward insurance is the greatest threat. Too many providers and their teams have allowed insurance coverage to be the default level of care provided to their patients. If insurance covers a procedure, they will inform the patient and get it scheduled. But, if insurance has been used up or is insufficient, far too often providers and teams accept that limit, rather than being ready with the passion and verbal skills required to overcome the “will my insurance company cover that” objection and provide the care really needed.
Bob Spiel, MBA
President, Spiel Consulting
As a practice and team development speaker/trainer, I try to instill HOPE in my audiences. Dentists have many things to worry about: school debt; finding a good team; overhead; balancing work/family/play; and patient retention. A huge concern is that with rising costs come rising fees. Ten years ago, 50% of the US population saw their dentist regularly. Due to the recession, that percentage is 37% since 2005. It is predicted that by 2015, with companies dropping dental insurance, that figure will be less than 20%. That means dentists need to focus on things like patient reactivation, solid marketing, and efficient systems and teams. Plus, customer service must be at an all-time high.
Dentistry in North America is at a crossroads. It is high time that you, as a dental professional, look yourself in the mirror and decide what you are going to do for the rest of your dental career. If you are only going to be a tooth mechanic, then I can guarantee you one thing: you will be replaced by dental therapists, other mid-level providers, and technology. You need to begin expanding your practice by recognizing your patients’ orofacial pain. Learn the skills necessary to treat TMJ, headaches, and orofacial pain while maximizing patients’ dental and facial esthetics. Start providing more services to your patients by improving your clinical skills and expanding access to care.
Dr. Louis Malmacher
President, American Academy of Facial Esthetics