July 22, 2018
Health & Fitness
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Choosing Your Dentist — Independent Doctor/Owner Or Corporate Dental Practice?

Dr. Yeremi Canizales - Severn River Dental Health Center
Dr. Yeremi Canizales - Severn River Dental Health Center's picture
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August 10, 2017

Did you know that the dental industry has two predominant business models? The first kind is the independent doctor/owner model, the traditional type of practice that many of us — but mostly our parents — grew up visiting. With this model, the doctor/owner is not only the clinician who cares for patients but also the chief executive officer of the practice. The second model is often referred to as the “corporate dental model.” This model can be structured in a variety of ways; however, the concept is the same: business people and venture capitalists invest in companies that buy and manage dental practices across the country.

The subject of “corporate dentistry” versus the traditional, independently owned practice model is a controversial matter in the dental community. Many dentists support corporate dentistry, but oftentimes, these are individuals who have financial investments in these companies. Alternatively, there are also dentists who do not support the corporate model for several reasons.

The corporate model is concerning primarily because its focus is on production goals and, ultimately, on profits. This model is mostly run by businessmen and women whose sole purpose and ethical obligation is to create a profit for their investors. On the other hand, in the traditional practice model, the focus tends to be less on the bottom line and is more patient-centered. Of course, this is not a universal truth but more like a well-informed observation.

As a traditional practice owner, I would be dishonest to say that profits do not matter. Of course they matter. Without revenue, any company would cease to exist! As dentists, we have the fiduciary responsibility and ethical obligation to place our patients’ needs ahead of our own. The question then becomes who matters more, the investor expecting a yield from their investment or the patient expecting honest health care? Both have equal stacks, right?

At Severn River Dental Health Center, our mission is to provide world-class dental care to our patients with a small-town feel. We choose to place our patients’ health and well-being ahead of our own interest. On occasions, this comes at an expense, but that is something we willingly accept. To borrow the words of Tony Blair, “sometimes it is better to lose and do the right thing than to win by doing the wrong thing.” Allow me to clarify. I do not intend to convey the “corporate model” is conducting business unethically, but I do think there may be contradictions at the core of this business model. Ultimately, who do they serve?

It should come as no surprise that in today’s society, big business has the power to consume greater market share. This is true in dentistry as in any other industry. Look at how Amazon has impacted mom-and-pop shops. Consider our own community and see how many stores have gone out of business because of their inability to compete with Goliath. Supporting a traditional dental practice is like supporting your local economy; dollars recycled within our own community are used to improve our schools and roads, and that money is not redirected over state lines or even overseas. Support your local businesses and take care of your local economy so that it takes care of you.

Severn River Dental Health Center is located in the Park Plaza shopping center at 572 Ritchie Highway, Suite F, in Severna Park. Call 410-647-4094 or visit www.severnriverdental.com for more information.

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