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A USA Today article from October 19th paints a somewhat bleak picture for private dental practices.

The authors cite ADA projections that 2020 revenues may be 38 percent lower pre-COVID estimates. That probably doesn’t come as a surprise, but the projections for 2021 are that dentists are looking at a potential 20 percent further decline. 

With patient volume at 80 percent of prior levels, maintaining a solo or small group dental practice has become much more challenging. 

It seems likely, according to the authors, that private practice dentists will flee to the security of a dental service organization, allowing them to offset some of the PPE costs and gaining the reduction in administrative costs.

That scenario could be something that you’d like or loathe; regardless, it appears that the pressures on dental practices will continue.

What’s Your Calculus?

If you own your practice, you’re independent and content to call your own shots. After all, if you wanted to focus exclusively on practicing dentistry, you could have taken an associate position, made a good living, and avoided all the hassle of ownership. 

DSOs vary in their requirements for affiliated practices, it’s almost certain that you’ll lose some measure of autonomy. If that’s acceptable, then becoming part of a larger organization is something that should stay on your radar… but not for too long. You’re in a stronger position if your practice is still maintaining its patient base and turning a profit.

If you’re determined to remain your own boss, it’s time to take steps to recoup lost revenue and stabilize your cash flow at a higher level. Those aren’t easy things for practicing dentists to accomplish on their own.

Call In Reinforcements

SmartBox was born during the Great Recession. We’ve made it our mission to help dentists attract more of the patients they want and to succeed on their own terms. 

It might interest you to know that during the spring and early summer months of this year, SmartBox dentists, on average, retained 35 percent of their collections. That’s orders of magnitude greater than the seven percent of collections for dentists nationally.

If you’d like to explore what SmartBox can do for your practice, schedule a 30-minute Practice Growth Call. This isn’t about selling you anything; it’s a mutual exploration of your goals, your competitive environment, your current practice growth efforts, and whether you and SmartBox are a good fit.

If the trends cited in the USA Today article bear out, it’s going to be crunch time. Take the action that will keep your practice strong and growing.


Written by Smartbox

SmartBox employs the best minds in dentistry to help you grow your practice. Our Practice Growth System™ is proven to help dentists in every market area across the country achieve predictable year-over-year growth.

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