Questions? Call Us (800) 252.0955


If you missed my last article, please go to: and search the link to all our articles. We are dissecting what it takes to survive as an independent dental practice now and in the future. In an effort to identify those practices at the greatest risk, I am giving you the top 12 things that are certain to hold you back and decimate your chances at success. I call these poor strategies or actions “thinking like a dentist”. Last week we covered the first 6 and this week we will finish up with the other 6.

You may be “thinking like a dentist” if:

  1. You believe that your Schein, Patterson, BENCO, etc., dental supply companies are giving you competitive pricing, then you are definitely thinking like a dentist. You are paying 30%-60% more than real market prices for anything you buy from them. We are in an age where we need literature, but we really don’t need libraries or paper printed books. In dentistry, we need supplies and equipment but we no longer need a middle man to run up the prices we must pay when we could just as easily purchase goods and services from the actual manufacturer.
  2. You make decisions without knowing your numbers. Most dentists can’t even tell me what insurance groups they are in-network with. Forget about daily numbers or new patients or number of direct referrals. Not 1 in 50 know any of their numbers and not 1 in 100 actually study them and act on what they find. This is a huge mistake.
  3. You have always believed you deserved all those nice things now. We call that the shinny-object syndrome, entitlement, high burn rate, or spousal bankruptcy. Call it what you will but if you think like a dentist you will be one of its statistics: Only 5% of dentists can retire financially independent at any age. Today, the average dentist’s retirement age is 70 years plus and climbing. You have to become intentional about your savings, spending, and planning.
  4. You believe that because you have a DDS/DMD you can do everything else.    Because you are a doctor, you can be also be a super real estate baron, an oil well investor, and stock picker. Yeh, right. How’s that working for you so far?
  5. You believe that debt is OK and normal. Once again, I see doctors spend 50% of their income on debt service at work and at home. Compared to successfully ending 3 marriages, debt on debt is a good wealth building strategy.
  6. You have the burn rate of a Hip-Hop music mogul. This attitude of entitlement, debt is OK, and I can have all those nice things now is summed up here. In life you can have anything you want; you just can’t have everything you want. It’s time to grow up, own up, put up, shut up and take responsibility for your practice and your financial future.
    In PART 3 next week I will spell out exactly what the successful practice of today will need to do in order to thrive in the future. This is how you Summit.
    Michael Abernathy, DDS
    [email protected]
    972.523.4660 cell
    PS. “We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.” Albert Einstein