Did you know that in the 18th and 19th Centuries, barbers or general physicians often offered dental services among other medical treatments? By the early 20th Century, dentistry became more recognized as a distinct medical field, and independent dental practices became more common. In the mid-20th Century, the establishment of more rigorous dental schools and professional standards led to an increase in qualified dentists. While many dentists continued to operate solo practices, some formed small group practices to share resources and expertise.

The late 20th Century saw the rise of group practices. Some dentists formed larger group practices to take advantage of economies of scale and mitigate limitations posed by indemnity insurance plans. In the 1990s-2000s, Dental Support Organizations (DSOs) began to emerge, offering business management and support to dental practices. In the 21st Century, corporate dentistry has grown, with some DSOs operating hundreds of locations.

How can any practice, independent, DSO or corporate, thrive amid increasing competition in the dental industry? Here are five ways:

1. Leverage Superior Imaging Technology.

Explore imaging solutions to enhance diagnosis and treatment planning and to serve as a unique selling point (USP). Patients today are looking for advanced care. When they see your practice invests in top-quality imaging technology, they equate it with the best care.

2. Personalize the Patient Experience.

While corporate chains often rely on standardization, which is the right fit for some patients, the power of personal touch at an independent practice is a strong draw for others. Either way, it’s in your best interest to tailor the patient experience to individual needs and preferences to bolster loyalty. Follow-ups, personalized greetings and recognizing important dates like birthdays can set the practice apart from the competition.

3. Optimize Operational Efficiency.

Streamline operations using practice management software. Efficiency is key in reducing wait times and improving patient flow. With the right technology, you can automate appointment reminders and billing, freeing up the dental team to provide attentive care.

4. Foster a Strong Online Presence.

Develop a robust online presence, all the while adhering to marketing governance in the field. In the digital age, an attractive, informative website, active social media profiles, and positive online reviews are crucial, though many practices still do not invest time on creating practice awareness or the image they want to display. When potential patients search for dental services, your practice should be among the top results and all marketing should look as inviting and professional as the practice promises.

5. Invest in Continuing Education.

Continuous learning ensures your practice stays ahead of the curve. Beyond required learning, encourage your staff to attend workshops and seminars. This not only broadens their expertise but also demonstrates a commitment to excellence. When your team can confidently discuss the latest industry trends, it reassures patients of your practice’s proficiency. Educational videos to advance imaging technology knowledge in the practice or advanced education continuum centers, such as for a wider breadth of course topics, may be good places to start.

Back in the 20th Century, the idea of competition in dentistry was nearly nonexistent. Today, while all dentists are peers in the advancement of oral care, the business side has become more competitive. State-of-the-art technology, operational efficiencies, online marketing and continuing education help. Yet nothing speaks volumes about your practice like the way you care for your patients. Keep up the great work!

Invest in your practice to better diagnose clinical issues, increase revenue, and bolster production dollars. To learn more about how CBCT technology can support expanding services and billings in your practice, call us today at 855-PREXION or find a product specialist in your area.

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