Corporate Dentistry: What it means to me
Corporate dentistry is growing. I think we have all thought about the personal impact it may have on our practices and our profession. I worry more sometimes about what it means for our patients.
I have been practicing dentistry for over 33 years. I can say I have seen many changes over the years. Corporate dentistry is another. A few things that I have learned is that you can’t change what you don’t cause, control or cure. I did not cause corporate dentistry, I cannot control corporate dentistry nor can I cure corporate dentistry. But in order to continue to provide care the way I know how to do it, I can’t put my head in the sand and ignore the existence of corporate dentistry either.
It is my desire to continue private care until I retire. To make this happen my team and I talk about how our level of care needs to not just meet, but exceed our patient’s expectations. I know our patients would be hard pressed to find the level of care we provide at a dental chain. I feel that both my partner Dr. Goldman and I do an excellent job of relating to our patients. Our patients know we really care, our comprehensive new patient exams often blow them away- it’s certainly not a 5 minute exam.
We are also, as an office, working on creating a culture that differentiates us from other offices. We try to provide as many services as we can under one roof. Since, as a team, we are strong believers in the oral systemic link our message is consistent that dental health can and does affect one’s overall health. We are constantly looking at more ways to incorporate the science of minimally invasive dentistry into our office.
I would be remiss if I did not discuss what I feel the corporate takeover of dentistry means to the patients. Making dentistry a commodity instead of a service means less education and less personal care. And let’s face it, the deck is stacked against the public’s dental health from the get go. Who out there really cares about patient health? Not the US Government (which blackmailed the World Health Organization in favor of our sugar manufacturers). Not our food industry; which loads grocery shelves with all sorts of sugars, creating a generation of sugar addicts. And you can throw out the insurance companies; they are only interested in their bottom line while providing a “service” to their clients. To top it off, I am disgusted that you can still buy sodas in hospitals. Even our own healthcare system can’t give a rat’s ass about the public health.
Sometime soon there will be a crisis. Unfortunately the doctors will be blamed as the culprits. I fear it will also happen in dentistry. The level of tooth decay has started climbing at an alarming rate again.
And somehow, as always, it will be the dentist’s fault
So how do I ultimately handle all of this? Simple, I didn’t cause the situation, I can’t control the situation and I certainly can’t cure it so all I can do is be the best I can be. If I am honest and practice principles of integrity in whatever I do, then that is the best I can do. Powers greater than me will have to handle the rest.