Dentistry is harder today. Fact or Myth for the Independent Dentist ?

Independent dentist

Is dentistry really harder today for the Independent Dentist ?

Survey this question or hang out in the dental forums listening to the chatter and the answer you’ll get from most in the profession is “fact.” But is it?

You’ll hear that “Times are tough” and that the golden age in dentistry is over.

Times are indeed different but one would be hard pressed to make a case that things were far better in an earlier time.

If there is anything to express anger over currently, it would be that the cost of tuition for any educational degree has become outrageous (burying many in debt they can never escape) which ultimately hurts the growth of ideas and potential since education has always been the great leveler for those not born into great fortunes.

Certainly, one very real issue with dental schools contributing to the tuition madness is that they have been utterly pathetic about how they go about selling their services and getting patients to come for services. That lack of focus ultimately translates into higher tuition rates to keep the system afloat.

Back up in time to the early 1970’s and there were zero employee provided dental benefits. While the profession likes to fool itself into believing life was much better without the insurance game, the middle class patients that populated dental offices for the past 40 years and that fueled demand (and indirectly spurred innovation in delivery, technique and materials due to that demand) would not have visited nearly as often without that employer benefit.  Praise the stars those dollars were in the system!

While the finger pointing is always directed at Delta et al (yes they are the ilk-iest of all ilk), ultimately it is the end value of the employee that fuels those benefits and stagnation of benefits is a by-product of stagnation of work value (at least for western economies).

In the 1980’s our understanding of dental disease was not that great. Look at disease treatment and how long it took to challenge surgical treatments for your evidence.  But….memory fades on such matters and historical understanding doesn’t sell much of anything so where we’ve been and how dark that road really was is seldom discussed.

Take a look at what was considered excellent cosmetics in the early 1990’s and you’ll shake your head about how far we’ve come in that arena. Additionally, drop by most dental schools in those years and be horrified at the “invasiveness” of restorative techniques taught as if G.V. Black was head master.

Don’t forget about materials and the removal of pain from the dental experience. Yes, the boards are stuck in 1920 with their obsessing over anyone saying that dentistry is “painless” but there are plenty independent dentists who truly have conquered pain for their patients and who deserve to proclaim such regardless of many bumpkins who inhabit the board system.

In the current decade, access to business tools that make bigger differences over clinical skills is unprecedented. The internet being the great access key to things that previously would need to be traveled for IF you were lucky enough to have stumbled upon something via word of mouth. The old saying of “the skills that got you out of Egypt aren’t the ones that will get you into the Promised land” has held up with the passing of time.  Promised land skills in marketing and selling are more accessible than ever yet so few choose to access them.

What do most dentists do in an age where things are better in most regards?

They still head off to a lot of clinical training…some of which is a wise choice for creating unique advantages….however most not wisely choosing WHAT to focus on.

They go to events to get fired up and then go home and “slash and burn” and make sudden changes that scare off their patients.

They discount because that’s the ONLY tool in the tool box they understand. (there is a time and a place for discounting BUT not across the board all the time!).

I would say “shame on them” but it’s not their fault. Most don’t know any better.

Here are the facts for the independent dentist:

In good times and bad, winners always win and losers always lose. Some realize that life is NOT fair. A few realize that permanent advantages are the best thing they can seek out and acquire. [Selling systems being one of the prime examples. Most far too lazy to investigate, inquire, much less institute!]

Ultimately, you get to decide what you want and if you are willing to pay the price for it be it in time, STUDY, or expense.

And usually, there’s more to this than simply $$.

There are things like not getting caught up in beliefs that aren’t necessarily true about dentistry, dentists, and especially patients.

Complaining or analyzing far more than DOING.

Moving beyond base traits of envy or jealousy.

Being grateful. Learning to measure where you’ve come from to fuel tomorrow’s effort (an essential key to happiness).

Doing the right thing. Period.

Making sure that caring is not an empty word.

Learning to impress those who write the checks NOT peers.

Figuring out the Marketing and Selling are professional skills and getting tools and education in such matters.

Possibly accepting the fact that you can’t do every procedure or market every niche.

Watching what your beliefs are about what is possible in practice as such will help or hinder…..

Never be taken for a fool!

If you are an independent dentist and want to learn more, check out my #1 top selling book on Amazon.