Is the Economy Something to Smile About?

dentistry industryA recent study shows that 53% of dentists are optimistic about the U.S. economy in 2016. In the last decade, the state has been hit by economic crises. Natural calamities have also dampened the performance of many industries, leaving businesses with little to be optimistic about.

More than 30 deadly hurricanes have stormed the United States since 2003. In 2005 alone, eight hurricanes hit the state of Florida. During this time, almost every industry has hit an all-time low. While medical practices were still doing fairly well, the same could not be said for independent dental practitioners. Clients decreased and profit was low. The insurance industry was hit so hard, and as a result, dental reimbursement rates also fell.

In comparison with independent dentists, 70 percent of all general businesses are optimistic about the U.S. economy. Why the difference? A survey shows that independent dentists’ apprehension about the economy is not in the economic condition alone. It included a list of what independent dentists fear about their practice. The list shows that they are more concerned about how corporate dentists may take over the industry. Whether or not the economic conditions are good, corporate dentists can and will make money. “As a private practice dental office, the frightening aspect is corporate dentistry taking over [the profession] and making profits their first priority over patients,” one of the respondents said.

Other concerns included low reimbursement rates and higher tax rates on earnings. Government regulations also top the list. Employees and clients leaving are also cause for great concerns. The stock market crash and recession fall somewhere in the middle of the list, reflecting the so-so perspective of dentists on the economy.

Fifty-three percent is indicative of a fairly optimistic response towards the economy this year. Some respondents did say that they are looking forward to more changes and challenges in store for their practice this 2016. “Change is always inevitable and I appreciate the everyday challenges,” a respondent said of his practice. Whether or not the economy is something to smile about for dentists this year, the business of making healthy smiles goes on as usual.