The recession hit most Americans pretty hard – and dentists are no exception.
Reduced consumer spending was financially challenging for lots of dental practices.
Finally, the economy seems to be improving.
But not every dentist is convinced that we’ve recovered yet.
“The recession is over for everything but large cosmetic dentistry cases,” said an Illinois dentist.
“I’ve had patients put off fillings, crowns and routine cleanings, examinations, and radiographs because they had to pay their mortgage, car payment and utility bills instead,” said another Illinois dentist.
We conducted a survey asking dentists if they feel like the recession is over at their dental practices.
Jim Du Molin and Julie Frey discuss what dentists think about the economic outlook:
For 56% of dentists in this survey, conducted in 2012, the recession is still going strong. But it’s getting better – when we asked the same question in 2010, 78% thought the recession was still in full swing.
Dentists are particularly aware of consumer spending patterns.
“I’m seeing an improvement in the number of new patients, but they’re still not buying big cases for the most part,” said a Nevada dentist.
“My practice is doing well, but what about my real estate and the cost of gas? I appreciate the practice situation, but it’s only part of the puzzle,” said a California dentist.
“It won’t be over for at least another 5-10 years. It seems like since the recession the rules of etiquette and professionalism are out the door. Dentists bad-mouth other doctors in the same town much more than they used to before the recession,” said a general dentist.
“We didn’t go through a downturn because we quickly assumed that a ‘New Normal’ was in place and adapted to it. This meant becoming even more patient-centered in terms of economics, i.e., being insurance friendly, doing treatment in phases, offering many financial options, doing build-ups instead of crowns. The office philosophy became ‘keep ‘em in the practice’ in 2009, and it stays that way today,” said a New York dentist.
In a tough economy, that’s a great philosophy to have.
The best way to be successful is to adapt to your circumstances.