Oral Health Group

The BIG issue: Affordability

Partners In Prevention 1A recent survey of American adults found that 1 in 4 did not purchase needed dental care last year, because they couldn’t afford this service. Dentistry was, amongst all healthcare services, the least affordable (see chart).


Affordability of Healthcare Services, 2014And this was when the American dental waiting rooms have never been emptier, and dental incomes at their lowest levels since 2006.

So what is going on? There are several explanations but let me put forth my perspective:

  • The imagery of dental care shouts “expensive”. The smile make-overs and implants suggest even to the middle class that dentistry is big bucks. It frightens those who might need a filling from going to the dentist because they believe it may mean an implant.
  • Productivity in the dental office is stagnant. The hygienist and dentist see the same number of patients per day today that they did 30 years ago. And hence, to boost their incomes, these professionals must do more expensive procedures. To address affordability problems, the dental team must work more efficiently — see more patients per day with simpler tasks.
  • The conventional dental approach is to deal with the outcome of dental disease, rather than its cause. That inherently makes this service expensive.

This issue is a BIG issue — perhaps the biggest for the future of the dental team. Failure to address affordability means the dental team will serve a shrinking part of the community, and waiting rooms will continue to empty.

For more information, please visit: www.partnersinprevention.com

By: Ross Perry
SOURCED: Parterns In Prevention

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