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  • Michelle Shimmin

Business Changes in Orthodontics


There are many new business models in the orthodontic industry that are having an impact on everyone’s practice. How to respond to these changes and how to direct your business model in your community will have a long-term effect, either positive or negative to your growth.

One of the main things that you will need to focus on in your practice moving forward to counter the impacts that DSO’s (Dental Support Organization) and DTC’s (Direct to Consumer) will have, is to determine ways you and your staff can clarify and focus on the vision and mission of your practice. If you do not currently have a Vision Statement and Mission Statement, it is important to sit down and create them. These will help you focus on what the core values of your business are. Why you do what you do and how you go about doing what you do. If you do have these in your practice, in the new environment we live in, now is a good time to pull them out, discuss them as a team and make sure that they still reflect you, your goals and what you desire your practice to represent.

These business models are here to stay and statistics show that the percentage of practices joining DSO’s is increasing year over year. Doctors are being enticed by DSO’s providing you a way to practice and care for your patients without the headaches and costs that come with running a practice. While that is the hook that is used by DSO’s, an efficiently run practice with the proper systems and accountability in place can make your job as a provider, a dream job come true.

Another hurdle being presented with DSO’s is that the pricing models are often more attractive. Where you can succeed against this is to educate your patients, and your greater community for that matter, on the many other treatment options that you can provide, your customized approach to treatment, service and care; not as an orthodontic factory only focusing on bottom line revenues.

While the DTC model is a newer model, they are also here to stay, even if the current iterations of the business model changes. Consumers will decide that this is the “easiest” or “cheapest” option for their smile. Your job as an educated provider is to sell, not just the experience of your office and the personal touch you can provide that the DTC products cannot, but to have a calculated process in place for educating patients and your community on the tangible benefits they will receive with their overall dental health, their smile and their experience throughout treatment with you.

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