How Women Are Changing the Dental Practice Paradigm

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Patient Attraction Episode 1129

40 years ago dentistry was pretty much a completely male-dominated profession. Today, male dentists still dominate, but to a much lesser extent. Women are now about half of new dental school enrollees and roughly 30 percent of practicing dentists in the U.S. And while being female in a traditionally male profession doesn’t convey any advantage, women dentists as a group are approaching dental practice in a way that offers both challenge and opportunity for solo dentists. After the break, I’ll tell you how women are impacting the practice of dentistry.

– I’m Colin Receveur, founder and CEO of SmartBox.

– Thanks for watching the Patient Attraction Podcast™.

– I want to start out by saying that I’m not taking sides in a male dentist versus female dentist debate.

– Women dentists will become a strong competitive force in the dental industry fairly soon.

– I’ve always believed that dentists need to know how to compete effectively.

– And in the coming years, more female dentists will also be competing against other women.

– Right now, dentistry is still male-dominated.

– One of the things about a male-dominated industry is that the older segment of that industry is also male.

– Right now, well over half of dentists under age 44 are female.

– With male dentists retiring and females making up half of dentists entering the workforce, the demographics will continue to shift.

– By one estimate, female dentists will be in the majority by 2020.

– You will almost certainly be competing against women dentists if you’re not already.

– So, where will all those women practice?

– Studies suggest that female dentists are less likely overall to open solo practices.

– Instead, they tend to form or join group practices.

– Group practices enjoy some advantages over solo practices.

– There’s just one administrative staff handling the needs of multiple dentists.

– The practice can order supplies in larger quantities, which usually means at a discount.

– Professional malpractice insurance can be obtained for the group at a reduced rate.

– The advertising budget for a group practice can be roughly the same as for a solo practice, but the group can accommodate more patients.

– And they can do it on a more flexible schedule.

– Those are some of the advantages of a group practice.

– However, for a variety of reasons, female dentists are less likely to work as many hours as male dentists.

– The average seems to be about 30 hours per week.

– There’s nothing wrong with working fewer hours, decreased availability of one or more dentists is a weakness you may be able to exploit.

– A certain segment of the population values seeing the same dentist each time.

– Corporate dentistry is famous, or infamous, for shuttling patients between different dentists.

– That’s the extreme case.

– But depending on demand at a given time, existing patients of group practices may have difficulty obtaining an appointment with the same dentist.

– If yours is a solo practice, that’s not a problem.

– If you have an associate, do your best to keep patients with the same doctors, barring emergencies.

– Promoting individualized care and consistency of provider goes a long way to keep patients loyal to your practice.

– But there are other competitive advantages for women that men will have to work to overcome.

– One is simply hand size.

– It’s not a secret that women tend to have smaller hands, and that there’s a perception that women may have a gentler touch.

– For the nervous or anxious patient, smaller hands and more gentle dentistry are reassuring.

– Obviously, it’s generally level playing field among women dentists in those areas.

– But male dentists will have to make sure that prospects know they’re gentle …

– And that longer sessions are available …

– Or that you’re fine with short breaks during procedures …

– Or that dental sedation is available …

– Or that your experience often allows you to complete a procedure in less time.

– What I’ve described so far is a piecemeal approach to competing.

– Matching your competitors point for point in your advertising is often an expensive proposition.

– There’s a much better way to compete that yields more and better new patients.

– That better way is SmartBox’s industry-leading Patient Attraction System™.

– SmartBox positions our dentists as the best and only logical choice for patients who are willing and able to pay more for the right dentist.

– Learn more about what SmartBox can do for your practice.

– Visit and reserve your no-cost, no-obligation Practice Discovery Session™.

– We’ll show you how you can double or even triple your practice – even though the face of dentistry may be changing rapidly.

– Join me for our next podcast.

– Until then, keep moving forward.