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A Dentist Is A Dentist Is A Dentist

How many practicing dentists are there in the United States currently? Do you know the most up-to-date population of America? Or for that matter, your state, your city? How many patients are truly available and willing to come into your practice and STAY in your practice?

During one of our recent meetings, Jenni Poulos and I started doing some math with our coach Xana Winans. We were intrigued by what we had discovered and had to share it with our ACT Dental followers!

Population and Dentists

You simply can not practice any dentistry without a patient in your chair. Unless you kept a typodont from your school days… it’s not happening. Do you realize, there are currently 333,230,770 people residing in the United States? Seems like a lot of people, right? Well, hang in there with me, let’s do some math.

According to ADA 2020 research, there are 201,117 dentists using their dental degree in some fashion in the U.S. Don’t worry, we had the same thought you have right now and took specialties into account. As of last year, about one in five professionally active dentists (21.2%) reported that their practice, research, or administration area is an ADA-recognized specialty. Taking that into account, about 158,481 dentists in our country are general practitioners.

Inconsistency and Scarcity

Not everyone goes to the dental office regularly as they should. We recognized this as well. According to this survey, 42 percent of Americans don’t see a dentist as often as they would like. This data leaves us with only a mere 193,273,847 Americans regularly scheduling and attending dental appointments.

With 193,273,847 consistent dental appointment goers and 158,481 general dentists, you are left with just 1,219 patients apiece. To make my point I also researched the city I live in. Riverton, Utah is a town about a 25-minute drive south of the Salt Lake Airport. Here, we have a population of 43,250. After a quick google search, I found over 55 dentists within 5 miles of my neighborhood. For any dentist in this area, if only bringing in residents from my city, they’re looking at 786 total patients per doctor. However, when we add in the fact that 42% of Americans don’t go as often as they should, we can remove 330 of those patients from the equation. Now you are left with only 456!!!

What Now?

So what makes you any different from the practicing dentist next door? Are you just another DDS or DMD among the masses? Remember why you got into dentistry in the first place? Why? Why do you go to work every day? Why? After asking yourself “Why?” multiple times, and determining what motivates you to do the work you do, you will have a clearer picture of how to stand out in the crowd. It’s a lot easier when you have spent the time and effort discovering your why.

“Marketing and differentiation go hand in hand. If you market your practice without identifying your “why”, then you will just sound like every other dentist out there!” -Dr. Barrett Straub in “Keys to Differentiating Your Practice From The Competition” our newly released webinar. You won’t want to miss it! Dr. Straub and Kirk Behrendt discuss the 4 keys to effective differentiation. Ensure you don’t get lost in the shuffle and check out the webinar. It’s free and available to download and watch at your convenience.

We encourage you to make your improvements a team effort with this Tier Exercise. It will aid in your differentiation strategy, start your path to effectively standing out and ultimately generate raving fans! The ACT Dental team loves serving the practices we work with. Don’t hesitate to call us! We would love to chat about how we can help you set yourself apart from the rest.

About the Author: Heather Crockett is a Lead Practice Coach at ACT Dental. She is also a dental hygienist, motivational speaker, and writer. With over twenty years of serving in different roles in dentistry, she combines her experience to provide our community with best practices for a better life.


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