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Increasing Dental Practice Profit Through Sales or Cost Cutting?

In 2009 alone, Americans spent $10.5 billion on cosmetic solutions, so it’s no wonder why dental offices have moved to tap into this market.  Nonetheless, there is a blurry line between offering cosmetic solutions and routine check-ups. The Washington Post reports that many patients are not responding well to smile makeover pressure during visits, and for good reason.  With only about 40% of the US population having dental insurance and 15% under/unemployment, many patients are reluctant to spend $5,000 on treatments like Invisilign.  Recall the feeling that you may get when dental reps employ aggressive tactics to sell CEREC machines or other dental equipment that may or may not improve your overall practice.  Pressure can alienate, and while many dentists seek dental equipment from less pushy dental sales reps, the same can happen with your patients.  So what can be done?

Given the subjective nature of cosmetic treatments, it's best just to educate and leave the decision up to the patient.  Make sure every employee in the office is aware of your no-pressure policy, since in a lot of cases the alienation may not come from the dentist.  If the practice is under pressure to increase the bottom-line, the best way to accomplish this is by the following:

1) Market the practice - the most inexpensive and effective way to advertise is online through Search Engine Optimization (focusing on keywords like, "Dentist in insert-your-city-here" )or third-party patient/customer resources (e.g, encourage satisfied patients to write reviews on sites like Yelp).

2) Empower yourself - Instead of being at the mercy of large dental supply companies, learn simple maintenance and repairs that can extend the lives of your dental equipment, like handpieces, chairs and units.  On-site dental support can cost $100-$150 per hour, so cut down on unnecessary service calls.  Remember American Dental Accessories offers complimentary technical support at 800-331-7993.

3) Rethink Dental Supply Purchases - While it's important to have a relationship with a dental supply company that you trust, that doesn't mean you need a rep that frequently comes into your office.  Shop around and try the best dental supply company that works for your practice (you may find that several fit the way that you operate).  For example, American Dental Accessories has recently started selling bulk toothbrushes that rival leading brands at over 40% below other dental supply companies--this alone can save a practice $1,000's a year.  Moreover, stay dynamic with dental equipment and supply purchases--after all, there might be a better option out there for your practice.

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