I write articles every week, but make sure you open this and read it. You don’t want to be the only dentist that fails to hear this message. Mike Abernathy
I was fortunate enough to be invited to speak in several cities in Australia this year. With the invitation was a request to bring ideas from the US that would address the challenges facing dentists in Australia. With that challenge and invitation, I began research on dentistry down under. Surprisingly, what is happening in Australia is happening here. With this in mind I want you to look at the similarities and the trends that will define Dentistry as we know it here in the US.
Like the US, Australia has an ADA (Australia Dental Association vs American Dental Association) and like here in the US a majority of dentists in Australia feel that as a dental organization, the ADA is out of touch with the challenges, needs, and the business of dentistry today. Australia, like the US, is faced with thousands of dentists from other countries streaming into their marketplace as well as the government and ADA allowing or even encouraging the creation of more and more dental schools turning out more and more dentists in an already over-crowded job market. Australia is also recovering economically from the global recessions that the US, in part, started a decade ago.
During my travels and speaking I was fortunate to meet and listen to a great dentist and dental activist in Australia: Dr. David Penn. In addition to being an accomplished dentist, a former owner of one of the largest dental labs in the world (which he sold for $100,000,000 dollars a few years back), he is an author and speaker who is constantly reminding the dentists of Australia about the realities of the New Dental Economy they are facing. His prediction is that within 2-3 years Australia will be faced with an excess of 1,500-2,000 dentists. He bases this on the rapid, almost exponential, growth of dental schools and graduates in an already saturated field. To further complicate matters, the fact that as dentistry has changed from a needs based business model with lots of decayed, missing, and filled teeth four decades ago, to a wants based business model with hardly any decayed, missing, and filled teeth today, the trends for dentistry have changed drastically with fewer and fewer actual needs driving the market. His suggestion is to learn to do the things that require almost a graduate level understanding of aesthetics and function along with the utilization of orthodontics to keep their practices solvent. Failing that, they had better have a plan B for educating themselves in another area of finance or business.
In Australia, hygienists are hard to come by and there are few hygiene schools in the country to supply more. In fact, it is becoming common for new graduates from dental schools to work part time as a hygienist to make a living. At least in Australia their student debt will only be $80,000-$100,000 due to subsidized education. The problem is that the demand for dental services is going down while the supply of dentists is climbing quickly. It is predicted that in the next decade the average cost of a home in Sidney will be $1,000,000 – and this is no mansion. Currently the average worker has a 2 hour daily commute to and from work, a cost of living, goods, and services 2 to 3 times what it is in the US (dessert in a decent restaurant is $14), and banks are loaning from 39% to 60% of an average workers income for housing. Sounds a little like the sub-prime debacle of 10 years ago in the US.
Now, back to our situation here at home: This year three more dental schools have opened. The last one mentioned in the ADA Journal was the Touro College of Dental Medicine at New York Medical College which will be a 132 chair school turning out another 110 students a year. We are now churning out almost 6,000 dentists a year in a market where the average income of dentists has decreased by $4,000 every year since 2008. Decayed, missing, and filled teeth like in Australia are almost non-existent in the last two generations, and the “baby boomers” are either totally fixed, financially broke, or dead. We are seeing the demise of specialties and the rise of national corporate dentistry. I can’t help but think that we are one pill (it’s been rumored for years that they can do away with decay and perio with a pill) away from dentistry collapsing. This could be Dental Armageddon.
So what are you going to do? What are you willing to invest? How long are you going to “settle” for average? What is happening in other countries and states like Florida and California may be trends that will sweep across the US. You have to be proactive and ready to change the way you practice and re-engage with a business strategy that will guarantee your future growth and profitability.
On October 14 and 15, I will be presenting a program that will lay out the ground work for sustainable 15-20% increases in your business every year you choose to practice. We will identify the threats and show you how to counter the trends to work in your favor. It will be a small group that will make it possible for you to ask questions and take your situation and have real answers to your blockages. You will leave with concrete protocols and systems that will allow you to change the future of your practice starting on the following Monday morning. I know this is short notice, but if you can take into account the information we have sent you in the past, the phone calls and questions we have answered for you, and step out in faith to make the commitment to attend this one-time event, you will not be disappointed.
For additional information or to register, just click this link:
If you have questions, just call Max (214-762-3117) or me (number below).
THIS IS HOW YOU SUMMIT!!!!
Michael Abernathy, DDS