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Corporate Dentistry and It’s Impact on Quality Care

Corporate Dentistry and It’s Impact on Quality Care
Christopher Baer

Owning and operating a small business has long been a part of dentistry.  We are not given much training in dental school on how to run a business, how to optimize our websites or how to grow a dental practice into a multimillion dollar entity.  We graduate and are clinically able to handle a majority of dental treatment, but often the business side is where we all feel deficient in our education.


I believe that many dentists struggle running a business and seek help of office staff or outside companies to help them run the business.  There are also now a growing number of large corporations that have made dentistry into a business— they basically hire the dentist to be the workhorse and they handle the rest.  In my area, they are almost as popular as a well known coffee shop.


Corporate dentistry as a whole, has (in my opinion) taken a lot of the quality out of dental care.  The corporations are focused more on profit rather than providing the best level of care for patients.  I do recognize that there is a part of the population that needs access to low cost dental care— but this low cost dental care should not be low quality.  Low quality dental care is actually more expensive to the patient.  When a business model for health care is focused solely on a profit margin rather than successful patient treatment outcomes, our profession as a whole looks bad.  Every month I have at least one patient coming to me as a result of being dissatisfied with care received from a corporate dental office.  Patients often feel like they are receiving poor treatment, or have pain, so will return to the corporate run office, but are told that things like “root canals or crowns are necessary to alleviate the pain they are experiencing.”

Sometimes high pressure sales tactics that are used— even being described to me like a car dealership.  Patients are pressured to sign up for treatment that they may or may not need and are trusting that the staff of the dental office is recommending treatment based on the patient’s need and not the business’ agenda of the office or corporation.


It is scenarios like this that make patient’s not trust dental professionals which can in turn make it more difficult to get patients to proceed with dental treatment.

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