Patients’ Ability to Pay Remains Dentists’ Chief Concern

Dentistry Today


The most widespread concern among dentists is whether or not patients will be able to pay for procedures and treatment, according to a national survey by Bankers Healthcare Group (BHG). In fact, 88% of the licensed dentists who either own a dental practice or are independent practitioners and were surveyed said patients’ ability to pay was a top concern.

When asked to indicate other concerns within their practice, 86% said practice revenue, while 80% swept three categories: managing practice finances, patient acquisition, and keeping up with advances in technology.

“It’s clear that dentists want to have better control of their finances in all aspects of the business, whether it’s ensuring patients can pay for treatment or having the means to facilitate the growth of their practice and services by attracting new patients and making smart equipment investments,” said Al Crawford, BHG cofounder, chair, and CEO. 

The survey also revealed that dentists are actively addressing their concerns or have plans to by the end of 2019. For example, 48% have already transitioned to electronic medical records, 31% are currently expanding their marketing efforts, 30% have purchased new equipment, and 29% are upgrading office technology.

Within the next year, 24% plan to upgrade technology and purchase new equipment, with 52% looking at x-ray machines, 30% eying operatory chairs, and 24% exploring scanners. General dentists are more likely to be looking into new x-ray machines, while intent to purchase chairs is more common among specialists like orthodontists, pediatric dentists, and oral surgeons. 

Yet the data indicated that practice expansion was not an immediate priority for most dentists, with only 23% planning on investing in marketing. For those who were looking at expansion, plans included adding operatories, adding new specialties, bringing lab work in house, or expanding the number of locations.

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