Fred Bacon, DDS
As one of the majority of "silent" hard-working dentists in the United States and a faithful reader of Dental Economics for the last 25 years, I found two of your articles in the August issue to be very telling of the current dental philosophy espoused by many. The articles were also subtly diagnostic of the ills of the profession.
Dr. Hugh Doherty, who has written numerous articles for Dental Economics, states that four out of 100 dentists in the United States can afford to retire. If this is true - and I have no reason to doubt that it isn`t - it speaks poorly of the profession. I`m a 53-year-old solo practitioner with a $350,000 gross income and 50 percent overhead, and I will have no problem retiring at age 591/2 if I choose to. Obviously I do not have a "big" practice, but I like to think it is a quality one and all I can handle while keeping with my sanity.
Dr. Larry Emmott says in his article that we should spend 5 to 7 percent of our yearly gross on technology. For the vast majority of practices in America, this is ludicrous. Although I am a big supporter of investing in technology to help me become a better dentist, it is just this "extreme" philosophy that has bankrupted many dentists` retirement accounts. As a profession, we seem to think bigger is better, more gadgets are better, and more employees are better. No wonder so many of us don`t have enough money to retire.
Invest wisely in technology, as well as all areas of your practice, but only if it will help you be a better dentist.