Average Dentist Spends 75 Hours Annually on Continuing Education

Dental Continuing Education Is an Important Part of Dentistry

In our most recent survey, we asked dentists how many hours of formal continuing education they log in an average year. The mean response was 75 hours per year, more than enough to meet state requirements. Interestingly, general dentists reported more CE hours than did specialists.

“More continuing should be required,” wrote a Georgia dentist who logs 200 hours/year. A Michigan orthodontist (logging 120 hours/year) agreed: “The orthodontic world is exploding with information and the state CE requirement is 20 hours a year. Hopelessly inadequate!”

“I’m a CE junkie,” said a Tennessee dentist boasting 150 hours a year. “I also chase extraneous awards and distinctions from various organizations.”

Check out the full results of our dental continuing education survey for more data and comments from dentists.

Cosmetic Dentistry Is Dentists’ Favorite Treatment Option

Dental Implants & Sedation Dentistry Are Also Popular

Dental Survey ResultsIn our most recent survey, we asked dentists about their favorite treatment options. Cosmetic dentistry was the clear winner, pulling in over one-third of the total vote (and one-half of he general dentist vote). Dental implants were the runner-up.

There were distinct differences between general dentists and specialists. While nearly half of general dentists favored cosmetic dentistry, only 16% of specialists did. Among specialists, dental implants were the favorite treatment option.

There were also notable differences between urban and rural dentists. Rural dentists were significantly more likely to vote for cosmetic dentistry as their favorite option. While Invisalign was preferred by one-quarter of urban dentists, no rural dentists reported feeling the same way.

Here are some other treatment options dentists like:

  • “Lasers.” (Maryland dentist)
  • “Periodontal plastic surgery.” (Arizona periodontist)
  • “Amalgam.” (North Carolina dentist)
  • “Conventional orthodontics.” (Michigan dentist)
  • “Third molars.” (New York dentist)
  • “Crowns and bridges.” (Canada dentist)
  • “Reconstructive dentistry.” (Kentucky dentist)
  • “Endodontics.” (Canada dentist)
  • “TMD.” (Michigan dentist)
  • “Smile makeovers.” (Cosmetic dentist)

Post your comments or read the complete dental treatment options survey results…

Dentists Turn to Central Call Centers To Market New Dental Patients

Dentists Turn to Central Call CentersWhen it comes to assisting new dental patients, some dentists have turned to dental call centers to improve their exposure in the patient community.

It used to be that when a dentist opened a new dental office, his or her ability to market new patients over the phone was limited to a receptionist and an answering machine after hours. Needless to say this was not a very effective way to market new dental patients.

The Wealthy Dentist conducted a survey to ask dentists what they think about utilizing a highly trained central call center to answer new patient phone calls or to talk with patients when the office is closed.

47% of the dentists surveyed were excited about the idea of a central call center. Another 21% were interested in the idea for when their office is closed. 7% liked the idea for new patients only, while 25% didn’t like the idea at all.

As usual, our dentists had a variety of responses to the idea of a central call center. Several dental practices are already using them. Below is what they had to say.

Love the idea –

“An excellent idea! I hope someone offers this service. It would be ideal if the service could connect with the office’s PMS, (practice management system), so appointments could actually be scheduled.” (Florida dentist)

“Already using Ultimate Phone Consierge. Excellent results 140+ phone calls per month 15-31 patients scheduled.” (Pennsylvania dentist)

Depends on the service –

“I have 4 practices and am ready to do it myself, but if it can be done better… I am all over that!” (Ohio dentist)

“I would have to be convinced for the new patient calls.” (Texas dentist)

Depends on the training –

“If they are highly trained I would support it, but I doubt seriously you are going to find ‘highly trained” in dental field working in a call center . . . something is wrong if they are.” (General dentist)

“Who trains? Where will they be located? Is it National?” (Minnesota dentist)

“They would need to be able to make appointments. “ (New Jersey dentist)

Depends on the cost –

“It must be comparable in fees with regular services except better for new patients.” (California dentist)

“Possibly interested. Obviously would depend upon the cost involved.” (Illinois dentist)

Depends on size of the dental practice –

“I think it is great for large offices, but for small single doctor practices probably not cost efficient.” (Rural Tennessee dentist)

“We are in a very small town; people expect to speak to someone they know. I do hate missing calls when we are closed.” (Rural Texas dentist)

Absolutely not –

“No way. Anything less than a direct contact with me or my staff would be inappropriate and delay treatment. I provide a phone line for emergencies and a sub when needed.” (Indiana dentist)

“I think it is worse to call somewhere and just be told that they are only an answering service and can’t help you vs. leaving a message if the office is closed. If new patients are calling our office during business hours, we better be answering the phones ourselves! ” (Michigan front-office employee)

“In this day and age with instant access via e-mail, cell phone or pager, why would anyone want to do this? The call center would probably have to get in touch with the doctor via e-mail, cell phone or pager so why even have it?” (Illinois dentist)

“I would rather pay to have my staff trained and then let patients be able to put a face with a name and a voice when they come to my office. An answering service is valuable for when the office is closed and no one is here to take calls.” (Kansas dentist)

Dentist Feels the ADA Has Become the Enemy of the General Dentist (video)

ADA has Become the Enemy of the General DentistThe American Dental Association is dentistry’s largest professional organization, but not all dentists feel that the ADA represents their interests.

One Missouri dentist declared, “The ADA has actually become the enemy of the general dentist!”

The Wealthy Dentist conducted a survey asking dentists if the ADA is dominated by specialists who are trying to promote their own agenda over the welfare of the general dentist.

Almost two thirds of the respondents felt specialists are using the ADA so that they can make money at the expense of  general dentists.

Watch the video below to hear more of what both dentists and specialists have to say about the ADA –

General dentists were eight times more likely to criticize the ADA over specialists.

How do you feel about the ADA?

Dental Care: California Medi-Cal Cut Dental Coverage for 3 Million

California Medi-Cal Cut Dental CoverageThe Los Angeles Times is reporting that ever since California cut coverage for 3 million Medi-Cal recipients two years ago, dentists say patients now wait until infections become so severe they must visit emergency rooms or their teeth must be pulled.

In the Los Angeles Times article, Nagaraj Murthy, a dentist in Compton for the past 32 years, states that ever since California cut back dental coverage, he has lost about half of his adult patients because they don’t have money to pay for dental treatments. He doesn’t charge these patients for preliminary comprehensive exams but said he can’t afford to provide free dental treatment.

The highly anticipated healthcare reforms are not expected to help.

California’s Medi-Cal program no longer pays for X-rays, root canals, dentures, fillings or cleanings. As a result, some dental patients are having their teeth pulled instead of repairing or replacing them.

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research states that 12% of U.S. adults 20 to 64 have not been to the dentist within the past 5 years.

For more on this story see: Reduced State Dental Benefits Create Dire Situation for Patients.

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