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Flat Spending and the New Normal

If you think that the lull in patient flow is just temporary, then I have some news for you.

Many dentists are noticing that they’re making less money than they used to and they aren’t as busy as they used to be.  Perhaps you bought (or are considering buying) a practice that hasn’t been as productive in the past few years.  Perhaps you were told something along the lines of “the economy goes up and down, just ride this out and things will get better.

The busyness of your practice has less to do with the economy than you think.

The real culprit is that spending on dentistry is flat and it has been for the past few years.  Marko Vujicic, Chief Economist for the ADA, has shown that dental spending has been decreasing since 2002, well before the Great Recession of 2008.

How does the future look?  The lack of busyness felt by many offices may only get worse when you consider that the overall supply of dentists will continue to grow since they keep opening dental schools and the Baby Boomer dentists are slow to retire.

But I think the future looks great for your practice as long as you take charge of the situation.  We can’t just be passive and wait for a line of patients to form out the door.  We need to proactively manage our businesses and find the opportunities for growth.  That’s the main reason I’ve been writing this series, “52 Dental Business Blogs in 52 Weeks;” to help us get tough about the business of dentistry.

At least for now, flat is the new growth for dentistry.  We can adapt and prosper or just keep doing the same things we’ve always done and hope for the best.


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