Let me tell you something. Mastering Dentistry is an Italian blog, born with the aim of training younger dentists, or the elderly ones who are willing and humble enough to prove themselves, because they feel our profession is changing.
It Italy, there’s a growing number of national and international chains which, thanks to large amounts of capitals, are opening clinics offering a wide variety of services at low prices. This is an issue that’s worrying many professionals in the dentistry field. To be honest, I don’t know if this situation is perceived as threatening in the rest of the world as well.
Surely, there’s been a worldwide economic crisis. Or at least, that’s what the media wanted us to believe.
Yes, because my associate Stefano and I have not felt the pinch at all.
Maybe we’ve just been lucky; still, we believe it hasn’t been a stroke of luck, but rather a series of marketing strategies, combined with a strive for excellence in the clinical field, which supported all the efforts made in terms of practice management.
Actually, we have no idea how dentistry is practiced in the rest of the world. In some countries it may be a public service.
Or maybe in other countries there has been no financial crisis at all.
For sure, the Italian situation is subject to national laws, rules and regulations that may make some articles unrelatable for a foreign dentist (specifically, the ones concerning a dental practice management).
But we are sure we have a lot to say in the clinical field, so we are ready to start the great adventure of spreading our philosophy in the world, hoping to have the same success we are achieving here in Italy.
As I told you, the introductory post refers to the Italian situation in many ways but, with some adjustments, I think it can give you a general idea of what our Mastering Dentistry project is.
and now let’s go with the two trtuhs which will make you win the fight against low cost clinics
It often happens to me to talk with colleagues, during courses or congresses, and I couldn’t help but notice a common trait which they all share:
THEIR STRONG BELIEF THAT THE PATIENTS’ DECREASE IN THEIR PRACTICE IS DUE TO LOW COST CLINICS (!!!)
Their rigmarole, then, is always the same:
“these offices are compromising our profession’s quality standards …”
“ …they don’t play fairly…”
“…they screw me up…(both because they steal my patients and screw up the patients’teeth)…”
“..and so on…”
And, moreover: “it’s their fault if the number of patients in my office has decreased. Let’s run to our trade union association and start a class struggle”
We can find the same belief spread over Facebook, where group of dentists having various interests all agree on the communal accusation against LOW COST CLINICS, which are dismissing the HOLY DENTAL PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE.
Let me show you something:
This woman has just had this job done by a dentist in my area who, guess what…drum roll……..tumturutumtuntum…….
IS NOT A LOW COST DENTIST!
I know this will shock you, but I am going to reveal the first truth I had promised to tell you:
low cost practice is not dismissing our profession, but LACK OF ONGOING EDUCATION AND STUDY IS.
Other patient, 24 years old.
Look at this: do you see how inaccurate the crown is?
This crown was made about a year ago by one of the most prestigious dentists in my town. Office in the most high-end road. Totally the opposite of a low cost clinic.
The patient turned to us because he noticed the crown had some problems and his dentist had adjusted it (I am quoting) “about fifty times” before bonding it. Let me show you a picture of this, as well:
After few months he pierced it, to treat the tooth again, and then he filled it.
Do you think it was appropriate to leave such a situation in one’s mouth?
That after a year after the patient’s treatment (and payment) may still look like this?
In a 24 years old patient?
Or maybe starting all over again would have been a better call?
Now let’s examine what the two patients I presented you have in common. It is a very interesting aspect to support my thesis.
THEY BOTH DESERTED THEIR PREVIOUS DENTIST FOR GOOD AND THEY CAME TO OUR PRACTICE,
which, guess what?…IS NOT A LOW COST ONE. It actually ranks among the most expensive private dental offices in our province.
No way, that’s surprising! A non-low cost office which does a shitty job (INCREDIBLE!!!) and a patient who deserts his “trusted” dentist (???) to go to a new structure which (THAT’S UNBELIEVABLE) is not a low cost office either…!
Now please listen, I’m about to reveal the second secret, please sit down.
The fact that “old” offices are getting out of patients isn’t about fucking low cost offices. Just as it isn’t about the fucking economic crisis.
I’m going to tell you a story, the title is
“FROM SCRATCH TO THE EMPIRE”
Our dental practice was opened from scratch in a flat, in a small countryside village in 2006. “From scratch” here means that:
– no relatives were dentists in our families
– no pre-existing practice was taken over by us.
OPENING A YEAR AFTER GRADUATION AND JUST WAITING FOR SOMEONE TO WALK THROUGH YOUR DOOR.
Of course, at first we kept a low profile: two chairs and no employees.
By the way….this was us, during our last year at University?
And this is us again, still in our very first little office, at first dealing with clients ourselves and then, after a few months, hiring an assistant…
You may remember the year 2007. I do, very well, because I got married. Before leaving for my honeymoon I bought some safe stocks which had been constantly growing for years, at least since 2002, without ever dropping their growing trend. I bought them on May 4th, their value was 7.6 € per each stock (their historical peak!), then I got married and left for Australia for three weeks. When I came back they were already worth one Euro less, let’s say a 13% drop in less than a month…and from there, what we all know
THE GREAT RECESSION!!!
(aka THE ECONOMIC CRISIS)
Ok, besides my personal loss in the stock market – luckily not a serious one, given the little money I had invested – I’d like to show you how our dental practice did during that period. Look at the revenue trend.
The blue line is our revenue, the red one is the average revenue of the other dental firms in Italy in 2009 (224800 €)
Just compare them and remember the shocking truth:
We are NOT a low cost practice, we are NOT a franchising business.
Still, we are leaders in our field in our province. We were simply an OLD practice and now we are a new one, we rejuvenated as time went by, or, even better:
Now we are 36 years old, we work on 12 dental units, we benefit from the extremely valuable competence of other 5 dentists (obviously working full-time) , 5 hygienist (obviously working full-time as well) and 28 employees.
Maybe we have to go back to our initial question and understand that the question itself is what’s wrong. To have a booming business, which allows us to have economic stability, live peacefully and be able to express our professionalism at our best, facing all the investments in technology that this goal requires, we mustn’t beat low cost business, we must simply get that:
THE WORLD CHANGES, PEOPLE CHANGE AND THE MARKET CHANGES WITH THEM.
Either we beat these changes adjusting to them as soon as possible, or we are doomed to be swept away forever with even more violence.
This blog was born to help you face the radical changes of our time, by providing practical tips –both technical and managerial, which will help you stand out of today’s challenging market (and I know you don’t like this term, but you’ll have to swallow it).