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Everything Dental Blog – February

Women in Business • Women in Government 

Women On the Internet • Women in Dentistry

Women in Charge!

  • Over 100 combined state senators and congress people are now women
  • Over 35 Chief Executive Officers, out of the fortune 1000, are now occupied by women
  • Women made up 53% of the electorate in last presidential election
  • 50.8% of America’s population is female
  • Women make up over 50% of the students in America’s universities
  • 3 Women sit on the United States Supreme Court
  • The average American woman is expected to earn more than the average American male by 2028
  • 51% of U.S. Private wealth is controlled by women
  • Women account for over 50% of all stock ownership in the U.S.
  • Women account for 85% of all consumer purchases including everything from autos to health care
  • 55% of active (daily) social media moms said they made their purchase because of a recommendation from a personal review blog
  • 64% of moms ask other mothers for advice before they purchase a new product
  • As early as 2000, women were found to have surpassed men in Internet usage
  • 23.78% of women in the US use the Internet for product information before making a purchase
  • The average American women will live to be approximately 80 years of age
  • Women and men alike, want to look and feel good about themselves

These statistics are a compilation of information I have picked up during commuter time (talk radio), countless hours watching the nightly news and political talk shows and from the magazine articles I read while I’m waiting for the Dr. on my consulting calls.

Whether we discuss the rights of women in Afghanistan or America, it is clear that all societies have much to do. While the above statistics show enormous progress in the U.S.A., the truth is that women rights, gender abuse, lack of equality and fairness in the workplace are real global issues. In America, we believe in equality but women still make less money than men for the same work in most professions!

Equality and Organization

The dental profession began recruiting women for dental school in 1971. For several decades women have been running the business operations and have assisted in the clinical operations of most dental facilities. Dentistry is one of the few professions where equal pay has been in place as dentists (associates) are generally compensated for production against collections. Expanded roles/responsibility in this digital era will lead to higher pay for the certified dental auxiliary over time.

I believe women account for over 75% of the people working in dental facilities across America. In the future, women will dominate the profession even more as women dentists will be in the majority. There are more women matriculating and applying for dental degrees than men today and there is no evidence that men will pursue careers in dental administration, dental assisting and hygiene in the future.

In the next ten years, as the baby boomer dentists continue to age and retire, dentistry will become even more dominated by women and various ethnicities. Combine the shortage of dentists nationally and the fact that women have historically worked less hours than men, and we will have a serious access to care problem in the future. This is compounding the looming problem discussed in last month’s issue of Everything Dental Blog – “Designated Health Professional Shortage Areas For dental Care”

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This all comes about as dentistry is on the verge of a true renaissance of relevance. The movement of Total Health (progressive dentistry) and the validation of the oral/systemic link have the potential to jettison the importance of good oral health care in the hierarchy of wellness.

The need for leadership has never been greater. The dentist’s monopoly of oral healthcare is in jeopardy because the medical service organizations recognize the oral systemic link. All those areas shown above (The underserved) will eventually be served by some healthcare provider in the future. The only way to prevent further deterioration of the dentist’s autonomy, fee determination, treatment planning and stature is strong leadership and numbers. If left alone, the insurance companies, and managed care organizations will push dentistry down a road comparable to our brethren in the medical sector.

The growth of DSO’s (Dental Service Organizations) will continue to escalate as they are delivering relief to young dentists in debt and women dentists who seek flexible hours. These groups are already competing with the traditional dental practices for the oral healthcare dollars in the communities they serve!

As we acknowledge these challenges, we are dealing with a populous whose been hurt by several years (back to back) of an economy that has been more than challenging. These patients are shopping their healthcare providers, more today than ever before, out of necessity. They are better educated and are becoming advocates of their own healthcare. They use Google and other search engines to find out about their care givers and search the social media sites for patient reviews. These patients also have different expectations about their treatment and how it is delivered. Same day dentistry and walk in hygiene appointments are here and will be the norm in the future as patients become much more aware of these opportunities. This is a very different dental world than a decade ago.

I remember attending seminars in the 90’s and the early 2000’s and every business seemed to be gearing up for the Baby Boomers. They were going to inherit the earth and buy everything. For our part we were going to have a dental nirvana of sorts but it never really developed as we anticipated. Instead, we saw our savings and inheritances reduced significantly with the financial meltdown of 2008. Today we are dealing with a new reality where operational proficiency and the need for efficiency are front and center. Dentists are focused on improving their financial stability while profits decline because of greater insurance participation.

We Need leadership & Numbers

The movement from need based dentistry to a need/want based dentistry marketplace occurred because of an esthetic revolution in dental materials compounded by the medias emphasis on beauty/esthetics. During the past two decades, dental electives and esthetic services have expanded exponentially but dental organizations have done little to grow the virtues of these services to patient groups. These organizations have helped thousands of dentists and remain vital in many communities but they have failed at marketing dentistry’s relevance, both to patients and the new dentists entering the field. I have been told that the national membership numbers are down and have been trending that way for years. Other organizations have been in and out of vogue for the last two decades as well. Groups like Pankey, Dawson, L.V.I. and the Townies have help to shape today’s dental landscape but much more needs to be done.

Now is the time for our industry to embrace organized leadership. We need a strong lobby to protect us from further insurance and government intervention and regulation. We must protect treatment and fee autonomy. Now is the time when dentists should be expanding their services to include; implant placement, orthodontic services, cosmetic services, facial fillers, assisted cancer screening, smoking cessation programs, snoring and sleep medicine and saliva testing. We must protect and advance dentistry’s role in healthcare.

We need organized leadership to offer transitional assistance to senior dentists considering an exit strategy. Many of those older facilities do not accommodate four handed dentistry and lack the necessary treatment rooms needed to run a progressive and profitable practice. Many of these practices fail to transition (sell) because they lack some basic pre requisites and amenities which hurts the cash flow test for a potential buyer. We need strong leadership to help young dental professionals deal with their career plans and overwhelming school debt. We need organized leadership that lobbies Washington on the Oral Systemic link. We need organized leadership that will address access to care challenges, a national dentist shortage and unknown Glocal (global and local) issues!

In Closing

Every month I receive feedback from my readers. I am always pleased by the partnership I have with my clients but I am equally disturbed by the lack of execution I see in the workplace. There must be more effort on the operational aspects of the practice. Employee training must be your priority. Doctors need to seek out education on practice management, business and marketing, not another veneer course. Become an expert on your practice management software and dedicate 2013 as the year you focused on the business side of your practice. Develop a plan to grow your practice and share it with your team. Empower your personnel to come up with ideas and improvements that better serve the public and your business.

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One comment

  1. Hi Good day!

    I love your blogs and its helps a lot!

    Thanks and God Bless!
    by : Philippine Implants Dentistry