Saturday, February 20, 2010

Excerpts From "The American Way of Dentistry" by June Thomas

June Thomas from has been writing a multi-part article titled "The American Way of Dentistry".

Here is an excerpt:

Part II: The Disappearing Dentist (9/28/09)

  • As the US population is increasing, less people are becoming dentist.
    • Dental schools are closing because of the extremely high cost of training dentist.
    • More and more dentists are becoming specialist
    • More dentist are working less (which helps control overhead)
  • Because of supply and demand, the cost of dentistry is going up.
I'm not so sure about this and would like to know where she got her facts.

Here is another excerpt:

Part IV: How Dentists Think (9/30/09)

  • 80%-85% of American dentists practice as owner-operators, as compared with only about 20 percent of physicians.
  • Unlike medicine, dentist must bear the full cost of the patient care such as:
    • Equipment, supplies, utilities, x-ray machines, several kinds of insurance, rent, equipment loans, and the biggest expense…salaries of a large staff (appointment maker, billing person, dental assistants, hygienist, office manager,…).
  • Most dental offices are only open 4 days a week.
    • This helps control staffing costs.
  • Many people are afraid of the dentist.
    • Approximately 45 million people in the US are nervous or terrified of the dentist.
    • 23 million people avoid dental care because of fear.
    • Improvements in dental technology has taken a lot of the pain out of dentistry.
  • Dentists are a trusted profession.
    • 2003 poll showed that 61% of people rated honesty and ethical standards of dentists as “high” or “very high”.
      • Only nurses, physicians, vets, and pharmacist ranked higher.
  • Dental health in America has improved, but Americans’ satisfaction with their teeth has declined.
    • This has helped bring on the increase in cosmetic procedures such as teeth whitening and veneers.
Look at item 5 above, don't suspect all those numbers are quickly on the rise?

Note item 6 above. They need to take that poll again!! With all the children who have grown up in the age of dental mills I bet that rate has dropped. If it hasn't dropped it certainly will in the near future.

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