Next time you bite into an ice-cream and simply scream “ Aaaaaah my tooth hurts !” but feel that you’ve got to pop in some pills instead of going to a dentist as a temporary remedy because you can’t afford the fee, just relax…there’s good news for you. It seems this recession has tamed the dentists’ desire of charging exorbitant prices for their services, because many people have put dental care out of their budgets as it appeared optional to them. I don’t agree with them though because when you get a devastating toothache you’ll know that dental care is the most essential thing for your survival. However, those people who were blessed enough to not have a rendezvous with a toothache have decided not to go to dentists and now this is the reason many dentists are offering their services at lower prices.
The American Dentistry Association quotes 48 % doctors as saying that their net income has dropped in the last recession. The Kaiser Family foundation reports that every third person in America was putting off a visit to the dentist as they could not afford the high fee in this recession, You really can’t blame them can you? If it were essential medical care, you simply can’t put it off, but dental care does appear optional especially if its only about cosmetic dentistry, and as I said that is something that 1/3 of the population seems to have blessed without. The cosmetic dentists were the ones who seem to have suffered the most in this. Obviously, what’s the point in wearing teeth that enable you to flash a million dollar smile when you actually don’t have even one dollar in your wallet? More than that fake smile, my groceries, house rent and children’s school expenses are important for me. No wonder the cosmetologists’ revenue dropped by 30 %.
The plight of dentist Marc A. Babbit of Ventura Calif sends a strong wave of sympathy through me. Good days seem to have ended for him now. Four years ago when he was a leading cosmetic dentist he never dreamt that he would see a day without any customers. His chambers were always full of people asking for porcelain veneer fittings and he took that for granted, but things don’t seem to be so now. Now his clinics are quite empty and can you imagine he reads motivational books to keep himself occupied during the day? He’s also taken up some chores that his staff would do like maintaining the clinics for cutting costs. Sending out memoranda to his loyal patients as a token of remembrance of his services is something that he’s doing for the first time in his thirteen year old career.
Babbit is not a rare and individual case. There are other dentists who are sailing in the same boat. Most of them are either cutting out on staff employments or are negotiating lower charges with their customers. A marketing strategy that classy medical professionals would never resort to is giving off freebies which many dentists are doing now to bait customers. It looks like the dental profession has been reduced to a grocery store business now where a lot of free gifts are offered with the goods sold.
It seems with all this, some dentists are putting their customers in trouble. In fact dentists are in the top the list of professionals whom consumers complain about. They even supersede lawyers in this. The complaints last year shot by 9 percent in comparison to previous years. In order to tide over these adversities some dentists, it seems, have resorted to unfair means of earning money. They are no longer providing genuine services. They are extracting money from people by suggesting costly treatments in place of less expensive ones to get their profits !So next time you have a tooth complaint, get yourself checked from some authentic medical sources. Go to doctors whom you are confident about so that they don’t misguide you into taking expensive treatments you could have easily done without. In some countries government treatments are generally believed to be profitable. As government doctors have fixed pay packages and they don’t get any personal incentives from you, they don’t have to misguide you into taking expensive treatments with the sole aim of making money.
While the professional world for practicing dentists looks gloomy, dabblers of the profession are not better off because of high start up costs. Ray Willeford, president of the Academy of Dental CPAs opines that to get into the business itself can cost about $ 850,000. Specialty studies like Peridontia would cost about $300,000. Machinery would cost you about $100,000. All this has led to the dentists being in great debt. Cosmetic Dentists are the worst hit. To make their businesses survive or to start their professions they have taken huge loans but now due to the failing business they are in heavy debt.
These debts are causing a deviation from the normal course. In the coming months be prepared to see some shifts in focus. A specialist might be focusing more on basic works like a root canal treatment etc. to cut costs they are unemploying their hygienists.
The scene for dentists certainly looks bad but with the recession showing symptoms of fading and the spending power of the consumer rising, I think the days for dentists will brighten up. But I think it’ll do the dentists good to lower their fees a bit. Otherwise they’ll have no option but to become optional for their customers.