Dental Management & Marketing: Fun – or No?

Dental management & marketing - responsibilities and enjoymentDentists are split over dental marketing and management — almost half hate those responsibilities, but just as many say they sometimes enjoy them.

“I hate the management, but like the marketing,” said one dentist.

In this survey, 43% said they sometimes enjoy dental management and dental practice marketing, 16% say it’s not the best and not the worst, and 41% absolutely hate it.

  • “I like patient education and motivation.” (Endodontist)
  • “I like the dental surveys and hearing what other dentists are thinking.” (New York dentist)
  • “I enjoy bringing out the best in the team and coming up with a marketing plan that works!” (California dental professional)
  • “I love the marketing; it is fun and profitable. Dental websites are essential, and I have many.” (Illinois sleep apnea & TMJ dentist)
  • Internal dental marketing, where my patients tell their friends about the appointment they had at our office, is what I prefer most.” (Wisconsin dentist)
  • “I don’t like that we have to advertise, but the general public has been so brainwashed to accept marketing that we are almost forced to do some form of marketing in order to stay competitive.” (Florida dentist)
  • “I wish I could have someone buy my practice and do the management! I have been told often that I am an excellent manager, but it is not my favorite part of practice ownership. I never seem to get a total break.” (Alabama dentist)

Read more: Enjoying Dental Marketing & Management Dentist Responsibilities

Dental Management Survey: Consultants Get Mixed Reviews From Dentists

Dental marketing consultants

In this dental management survey, we wanted to find out if dentists have had good or bad experiences with consultants. Here’s what we found out:

Most dentist have had both good and bad experiences with dental consultants.

Of the dentists participating in our survey, 42% gave the consultants mixed reviews, saying they’ve had a mixure of good and bad experiences.

Another 37% of dentists gave dental consultants a strong thumbs up!

The rest of the responses were evenly split between dentists who responded in the negative, and those who had no opinion or no experience.

Here’s one of the mixed reviews from a Texas dentist: “My production increased while we were working with our consultant. It was a painful experience and time consuming. We also found that we could not maintain the tasks he gave us and that his concept of “selling” did not agree with my concept of treating. So, the increase dropped off after a year or so.”

What’s your experience with dental consultants?

Dental Consultants Often Disappoint (Video)

Dental management consultingIn this video, we discuss a survey of dentists we did on the topic of dental consultants.

Dentists are split on the issue, with 41% of dentists reporting that their practices are currently using consultants for marketing and/or dental practice management. Of the remaining 59%, some have never tried, whereas others have and been disappointed with the results.

Read more: Dentists Use Dental Consultants But End Up Disappointed

Are Dental Consultants Bad for Dental Practices?

by Jim Du Molin

When Dental Consultants Go Wrong

The single biggest complaint from dentists who have had bad experiences with dental consultants is Scientology-influenced consultants, as I discovered in our recent dental consultant survey. Many within the dental community are unaware of the connections between the Church of Scientology and some dental consultancies.

The exact relationship between the Church of Scientology and the World Institute of Scientology Enterprises (WISE) is somewhat unclear. The church insists WISE is a separate, autonomous organization devoted to the secular use of L. Ron Hubbard’s management systems. Critics insist that WISE’s true purpose is religious recruitment; in fact, WISE’s own incorporation papers state the organization “is organized under the Nonprofit Religious Corporation Law primarily for religious purposes.”

Sterling Management Systems is a WISE affiliate. Sterling offers consulting services to dentists and other professionals “based on the works of L. Ron Hubbard.” This management-by-statistics approach focuses on raising productivity in all areas.

There have been a number of lawsuits brought against Sterling and other WISE affiliates, generally alleging that employees of consulting clients were pressured to convert to Scientology. One anti-WISE website tells of a woman who “was employed in a medical office and told how a scientologist wanted access to patient files so he could see which ones were likely candidates for Scientology processing.”

In fact, if you look it up on Wikipedia, you’ll find that dentistry is the number-one field served by WISE consultants.

And believe me, I’ve heard about it from a number of dentists myself. “I got invited to a teaser meeting and returned the next week to experience an aggressive attempt to humiliate me into signing on to an outrageously expensive no-end-in-sight series of coaching meetings,” said an Arizona dentist. “Not only that, it would eventually involve a religious change.”

There are dozens, probably hundreds, of ways consultants can fail you – apart from interfering with your religious beliefs. Here are some red flags:


  • They don’t actually listen to you.
  • They try to apply a one-size-fits-all approach to your practice.
  • They ignore the unique aspects of your local market.
  • They don’t know enough about the logistics of running a dental practice.
  • They avoid your calls or dodge their obligations.
  • They make guarantees they can’t keep.
  • They are abrasive, demeaning or offensive.



So, how can you avoid these bad dental consultants and get straight to the good ones? By doing your due diligence.


  • Check references. You won’t believe the valuable information you can uncover with a quick internet search or a call to the right colleague.
  • Have a trial period. Anyone who demands you hand over a massive amount of money right away might be trying to take your money and run.
  • Give the program a chance to work. Only snake oil charlatans will promise you’ll see overnight results. However, the being said…
  • Don’t be afraid to start over. If you’ve picked the wrong consultant, throwing more money into the relationship won’t make it work better.



Full disclosure: I’m a dental consultant myself, and have been for more years than I’d care to remember. Now, it’s possible I’m just a little biased, but I consider myself one of the good ones. And I know there are plenty of other great dental consultants out there as well. But some of the bad ones can be so monstrously bad that they scare some dentists away from the profession as a whole.

Check out our complete survey results for dental consultant horror stories and information about bad experiences with dental consultants!

Many Dentists Have Been Disappointed by Dental Consultants

Dental Consultants Prove Controversial

In our most recent survey, we asked dentists if they have ever had bad experiences with dental consultants – and most of them said “yes.” The majority (62%) indicate they have had problems with consultants in the past. On the other hand, 38% report being smart and/or lucky enough to avoid the bad ones.

Check out some of the comments from our dentists…

  • “I had an out-of-town consultant before; it was not as helpful as a local one.” (New Jersey dentist)
  • “Before you sign, seriously interview the consultant and have a trial period.” (Connecticut dentist)
  • “I had the experience of working with a consultant who knew nothing of accounts receivables, good ratios, etc. He was a podiatrist who decided to become a business consultant on the side. He should have stayed with feet!” (New Jersey dental office worker)
  • “I paid an excessive amount to consultants who almost destroyed my practice. It has taken two years to repair the damage.” (Kentucky dentist)
  • “I got invited to a teaser meeting and returned the next week to experience an aggressive attempt to humiliate me into signing on to an outrageously expensive series of coaching meetings. Not only that, it would eventually involve a religious change.” (Arizona dentist)
  • “I ended up being sued by my staff. I never ever want to go to a dental consultant again.” (Michigan dentist)
  • “One charged $70,000 up-front. Never delivered, made false promises, and basically took the money and ran.” (Arizona dentist)
  • “Most ‘consultants’ want to be practice brokers and not practice builders.” (New York dentist)
  • “I have never seen any profession that so over-charges…” (Texas dentist)
  • “She had the staff in tears at her initial presentation!” (Massachusetts pediatric dentist)
  • “The most recent consultant I had was very negative to my staff and did not return calls.” (North Carolina orthodontist)
  • “It’s the L. Ron Hubbard/Scientology ones that drive me crazy.” (Connecticut dentist)
  • Post your own comments!
  • Read more dentist comments in the full dental consultant survey results

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