Welcome to "The New Normal"

Who can we blame for slowness in our practices? If you think it's the economy, think again.

Who can we blame for slowness in our practices? If you think it's the economy, think again.

Recent research by the American Dental Association's Health Policy Institute shows that the Great Recession of 2008 didn't have the impact we thought it did. The trend of decreasing adult dental visits started before the going got tough for the global economy. Dentistry was already in the middle of a major revolution - one that couldn't be blamed on subprime mortgages.

So who, or what, is to blame? Maybe there shouldn't be any blame. The word "blame" implies that there was wrongdoing and mishandling. Should we blame Henry Ford for ruining horse-drawn carriages? Should we blame Nikola Tesla for ruining candles? Today's laments for ruined business are tomorrow's examples of progress.

Where dentistry is headed is the subject of much debate in the halls of the American Dental Association and on the pages of Dental Economics. But whatever the forces behind these trends may be, one conclusion should be plain ... this is "The New Normal." If your practice is slow, it will probably continue to be slow after the national economy picks up.

If we are to survive and thrive, we had better get busy with change. In this issue, Dr. Louis Malcmacher completes his five-part series on signing up for the new Medicare guidelines. Dr. Larry Dougherty tells us that pedo can be profitable and stress-free. Dr. Gordon Christensen reminds us that proper management of anxious patients can bring us referrals in droves. Dr. Scott Froum and Kyle Summerford run a cost analysis on saving teeth with periodontal surgery vs. extraction and implants.

These articles are the fuel for the dentist looking to adapt to The New Normal: growth strategies, cost/benefit analysis, and marketing tactics. Growth means growing pains, so let's get ready. If we can't adapt, then the blame is on us.

Chris Salierno, DDS
email: CSalierno@PennWell.com

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