Corporate dentistry

Patients, Pressure and Profits at Aspen Dental

Lili Reitz, executive director of the Ohio State Dental Board, said last year a quarter of her complaints – or 140 – were against dentists at corporate chains. Yet she has little authority to take action against the companies. Instead, her power comes from having control over the license of individual dentists.

My emphasis above is the entire problem — these corporations chew through young dentists and lean on them to do things that fresh graduates have no idea are poor decisions if your goal is to maintain good relationships with patients for the long term.

“What’s frustrating for us is to go dentist by dentist by dentist. By the time we get there, they’re not there anymore” because corporate chains have high turnover rates.

It is your license that goes on the line when you are pressured to do things by corporate dentistry, and your license that suffers when complaints are brought. These businesses suffer no repercussions; poor feedback doesn’t matter to them since they are high volume, franchised, not structured to work with patients for the long term.

I think corporate dentistry has things to teach small business dentistry: insurance leverage, consistency, and efficiency. But, these good things are meaningless when you see these corporations also lean on huge treatment plans, credit cards, and hard selling: all required to maintain their size and growth.

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