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Historically, dental practices in the United States have enjoyed a remarkably low failure rate: 2.1% of practices fail in the first five years. That’s less than 1/10th of the failure rate for other types of small businesses.

History, though, is a poor guide to what the country is experiencing in this new COVID-19 age. 

The numbers aren’t in yet, but it’s clear that quite a few dental practices have decided to close. Those decisions were undoubtedly driven by financial factors, by a desire to not have to cope with the most uncertain business environment since the Great Depression, or by early retirements.

For those doctors who are determined to remain in practice, there is a straightforward and flexible pathway to dental practice success even in uncertain times. The 4 P’s “success pathway” addresses the current restrictions on dental practices and positions dentists to thrive. 

The “Traditional” Success Model Is Dead

Dental practices have typically increased their profits by seeing more and more patients. That “volume” model is obsolete as long as practices are limited by law in the number of patients they can have in the practice at one time.

The second limiting factor is the use of extensive PPE. That requires team members to change PPE after every patient, costing practices more time. The additional decontamination of operatories between patients further limits the number of patients that can be seen in one day.

The only way to make more money and keep more profits with the traditional success model is to extend hours and even days of service. But with many practices reporting that not all of their team members have returned, increasing availability is a non-starter. 

The 4 P’s: Practice, People, Patients, Profits

Under the current circumstances, more is not better. Better is better, and making their practice and their team members better is something that dentists have direct control over.

In practical terms, making your Practice better may or may not mean physical changes or added comfort/convenience measures. It does mean refining the practice’s processes and non-clinical procedures to the highest degree to ensure an outstanding patient experience every time. That experience begins with the first impression a new patient has when they see your website or other external marketing. 

Dental practices who want to succeed today need to abandon the volume model in favor of attracting more new patients with the ability and willingness to go fee for service. Even now, with the unemployment rate over 10 percent, between 20 and 40 percent of prospects have the means to pay for the dentistry they want from the dentist they choose.

When it comes to your people, particularly your front office, no matter how skilled they might be at their jobs, they can always improve. More calls answered means the opportunity to appoint more higher-value patients. In an era of restricted practice, higher-value patients are the key to increasing your profits without having to extend service hours or days.

Yeah, We’ve Got That

SmartBox has helped dental practices across the country attract the patients they want for more than a decade. Our exclusive, comprehensive Practice Growth System™ can provide the ideal combination of more and/or better patients for almost any practice. 

We’ve created our exclusive Success Academy, an online, on-demand, video-driven curriculum that empowers dentists to turn their B- and C-players into A-players and to create their team-driven practice. And for dentists who need to staff up with the right team members, we proudly offer our A-Player Hiring System.

If you’re looking for more profits from your practice without having to work harder and longer, have a look around our website and you’ll learn how SmartBox empowers dentists to succeed on their own terms.


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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