Is being a dentist still the opportunity it used to be?
The answer you get to this question probably depends on who you ask.
Like everything else, whoever you ask will have an opinion—but is their opinion based on facts or emotion? First, let’s take a look at some facts.
- While the dates may vary depending on who you’re using as a reference—a general consensus would be that the Baby Boomer Generation was born between the years of 1946-1964.
- In 1982, with what would have been the middle of the Baby-Boomer generation graduating Dental School; national Dental School graduates peaked out at 5,756 nationally. As a side note…I graduated in 1981.
- Over the next decade or so, seven dental schools closed and the number of graduates dropped to under 4,000 per year from 1990-1996.
- There were 5,491 graduates in 2014. (Still not recovered to the 1982 numbers)
- The average graduate today has $247,277 in student loans.
- The first wave of Baby Boomers reached traditional retirement age (65) in 2011.
- As of 2014… 42% of the profession was 55 or older. (And you can add another 27% who were between 45 and 55).
- 1980 population census was about 226 million population in the US. The estimate for today is 324 million.
So we are smack dab in the middle of the Baby Boomers reaching retirement age. They will more than likely be practicing beyond age 65, but we don’t have as many graduates today as we had in 1982 to take over for them. Many retiring dentists I’m speaking with today are complaining about how hard it is to sell their practice. Many are giving their practices away.
The extraordinary amount of debt today’s graduates have to endure makes it hard—or at least uncomfortable—going into more debt to purchase a practice. And the necessity to service this massive student debt makes a guaranteed salary working for a large group or corporate practice attractive for these new graduates.
Analyzing the scene, we see there are fewer graduates to buy out the retiring Baby Boomers. And of these fewer graduates, many are either worried about or have difficulty with buying a practice as a result of their student debt.
So, we have a 44% increase in population in the last thirty-five years with fewer dentists than we had back then. So why are there ANY complaints about “competition”?
As a matter of fact, if you look at this from the proper perspective, this is an incredible OPPORTUNITY! And we’ve been saying this for years! The dentist to patient ratio is heavily in our favor. And while it might make a newer graduate nervous to jump in with both feet, the potential is there for those who are willing to take the risk. And that’s not to mention the potential for doctors already in practice, whether it’s absorbing another practice into your own or opening another location!
So, in my opinion dentistry is not a good opportunity – it’s an INCREDIBLE OPPORTUNITY!
The only caveat I would add is this: the degree of opportunity is in direct ratio to your knowledge of how to run a business! So the answer is up to you. You need to know how to compete in the market place and how to ensure you can steer your business for success. And dental school teaches us next to nothing about this—it’s not their job. That is up to us.
Upon graduating from college with your degree in Biology, what if you went up to your parents and announced “I’ve decided to open a pizza parlor in New York City.” There are at least 1,250 pizza parlors in NY. They would think that you were crazy. You make a great pizza in the kitchen at home but you have no idea how to run a business. Do you compete on price, quality of ingredients, location, home delivery? The odds are against you surviving in that business against the seasoned business veterans in that industry.
Dentistry is a safer bet. The rate of defaults on dental loans to new graduates is less than 1%. That tells you that with no business experience a new dental graduate can at least pay the bills and not go bankrupt. This backs up the numbers I shared above that the dentist to patient ratio is in our favor. But barely paying the bills doesn’t make it a “good opportunity.”
So how could you really get the edge on the dental competition? What could you do that very few could do? Implants? CAD CAM restorations? Sedation? Sleep Apnea? What the heck, just train to do all of those and increase your debt buying all the equipment needed to deliver it?
Then one day it hits you. They never teach us how to run a business in dental school. Some have a particular knack for business but it’s not taught; and dentists don’t particularly flock to business training because it’s not what we got into dentistry for. We are all competing with each other on clinical delivery and price.
Why not get the unfair advantage over your competition and learn how to run your practice like a successful business? Wouldn’t that be the smart thing to do since we aren’t taught how to do that in dental school?
What if you knew how to hire and create a productive, efficient team that could do twice the work in half the time?
What if you knew how to market and bring in patients that wanted to keep their teeth and are willing to pay for it?
What if you knew how to get 80% of those patients to want the dentistry they need and not just what the insurance covers?
What if you could get paid a fair fee and not be forced to participate in a discounted fee plan? (There’s a place in NY that sells a caviar and lobster pizza for $1,000. Don’t say it can’t be done.)
At MGE we teach dentists a technology as precise as Crown and Bridge. It works if you follow the rules of application of the technology. At MGE we call it the Power Program. It is a comprehensive training program that will teach you and an Office Manager everything you need to know to have an unfair advantage over your competition. You can learn how run an efficient profitable practice and work less! I can tell you from my own experience it becomes more productive with less stress in less time. It’s a very predictable system and will give a very unfair advantage because very few in your area will know how to do it—because it’s not as much fun or as sexy as buying a 3D x-ray unit.
It takes time and money but it’s cheaper than a new CAD CAM and could bring you ten times the profits. And I would suggest that before spending all that money on fancy dental technology you learn how to run the practice properly, so you can get the most out of everything that dentistry has to offer.
Let me end off with a story of one of the smartest new graduates I’ve ever met. It was the fall of 2011. He approached me in the back of the seminar room at MGE and introduced himself. He had just graduated in July and had come to MGE for his first seminar. He couldn’t stop talking about how awesome the information was and how this should be taught in dental schools. He dedicated himself to learning this technology immediately after graduating dental school. He applied it exactly how he learned it and it worked as simply as Crown and Bridge. Today, five years later, he owns two offices, has two associates, doesn’t work more than four days a week and collects about $300,000 per month. Not a bad start to a forty-year plus career.
Just do the Power Program. You will have no competition and a very bright future. Dentistry is one of the best opportunities in North America as long as you know how to run your business.