A Reason for REAL Dentists to Smile

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Patient Attraction Episode 1115

At it’s core, dentistry is a trust-based business. Smile Direct Club is trying to change that model, asking patients to put their trust in a company rather than a dentist. However, all is not well in Smile Direct Club land. The company may be facing extensive investigation by a number of state dental associations and attorneys general. But is Smile Direct Club the tip of the spear when it comes to taking practicing dentists out of direct patient care? After the break, I’ll tell why the future of dentistry may be less certain than ever and how to prepare your practice to thrive.

– Thanks for watching the Patient Attraction Podcast™.

– I’m Colin Receveur.

– Invisalign revolutionized the treatment of mild to moderate orthodontic problems.

– The company opened up orthodontic treatment to any dentist who’s willing to complete their provider course.

– All of a sudden, general dentists could offer clear aligner treatment for their patients.

– And orthodontists felt the hit and are still feeling it.

– Smile Direct Club is taking the clear aligner business a step further.

– It offers significantly discounted clear aligners directly to the consumer.

– The customer receives a kit that allows them to take their own dental impressions and ship them back to the company.

– The aligners are produced using those impressions and sent back to the customer.

– The customer can also go to one of nearly 30 “SmileShops” where teeth are digitally scanned rather than taking impressions.

– Smile Direct Club has been in business for only about 3 years, but it’s already grown to over 1,000 employees and reportedly tens of thousands of customers.

– It’s fair to say that the business model seems to be working.

– And even Invisalign has taken note.

– Invisalign is now Smile Direct’s exclusive supplier and owns a chunk of the company.

– But it’s not all smooth sailing for Smile Direct.

– The company has been plagued by delivery issues and customer complaints.

– According to one source, there are also allegations that the company is having problems with customer service and product performance.

– But most worrying is that the American Association of Orthodontists has filed complaints against the company in 36 states.

– Those complaints allege that Smile Direct’s model is illegal and creates medical risks for patients.

– At least 3 states have opened investigations, and Alaska’s dental board voted to send a cease-and-desist letter to the company.

– For its part, Smile Direct claims to be a middleman in terms of delivering a product to consumers.

– It also claims to facilitate contact between customers and licensed orthodontists who actually design the clear aligners.

– It seems likely that the matter will be in the courts for a long time since Smile Direct’s model strikes at the very heart of dentistry: the relationship between the patient and a licensed dentist.

– It’s anyone’s guess how this will play out, but it would be foolish not to think of the direct-to-consumer model as a taste of things to come.

– As technology continues to develop, more and more patients will take advantage of the convenience and lower cost.

– For instance, telemedicine is catching on in a number of states that have a medical practitioner shortage.

– That doesn’t take the professional out of the equation, but it removes the in-person examination.

– Warby Parker is now offering eyeglasses through a customer’s computer with no in-office exam needed.

– That model may also be challenged down the road, but it’s clear that business is looking to profit by eliminating the on-site professional.

– How will your dental practice respond to the challenge?

– This is one time where you can get ahead of the curve and seize an advantage over your competition.

– The direct-to-consumer “movement” offers lower price and increased convenience.

– It’s tough to beat the convenience factor of dentistry from home.

– But there’s a significant segment of your market who will still want the personal connection and the confidence that they will receive the correct treatment.

– Those better patients, as a rule, have the ability and willingness to pay more for a dentist they like and trust.

– Those are the patients you should be marketing to.

– Those are the patients that SmartBox dentists get.

– We help more than 550 dentists on 3 continents get more patients, more profits, and more freedom.

– And we can do the same for you.

– Discover what our industry-leading Patient Attraction System™ can do for your practice.

– Visit smartboxdental.com and reserve your free Practice Discovery Session™.

– We’ll show you a Patient Attraction System™ that can double or even triple your practice.

– And you won’t have to concern yourself with Smile Direct Club or its imitators.

– Join me for our next podcast.

– Until then, keep moving forward.