FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
High-Tech Equipment Disappoints Dentists:
The Wealthy Dentist Survey Results
Four out of five dentists have been disappointed by pricey purchases, according to a survey conducted by The Wealthy Dentist. The clear majority of dental practices have, at one time or another, been let
down by dental equipment. Dentists are particularly frustrated with marketers who misrepresent their high-tech offerings and suppliers who refuse
to accept returns.
(Tiburon, California) May 10, 2007 – The average dentist reports being displeased with dental
equipment. In a recent dental marketing survey conducted by TheWealthyDentist.com, dentists were asked if their dental practices had ever been disappointed by expensive equipment purchases. Eighty-three percent of dentists in the poll felt that many tools do not live up to advertised promises. The remaining 17% said that every piece of equipment has a learning curve, and equipment purchases had met expectations.
General dentists and specialists were in agreement in this survey: many pieces of expensive equipment aren’t worth their high price tags. Specialists were slightly more likely than general dentists to have been disappointed by equipment purchases. This may suggest that high-tech equipment is more important to specialist practices (orthodontic, prosthodontic, etc.) than general dental offices.
A few dentist respondents had positive things to say about high-tech dental equipment. “Digital x-rays and electric handpieces have made a huge impact in my practice,” mentioned one Colorado dentist.
Proper training is critical to making full use of any new equipment. A Florida dentist opined that when a product disappoints, “it’s usually not the equipment, but the company who sold it failing to provide training or support.” Another Florida doctor agreed: “I believe the learning aspect is very important and should be addressed before purchase. It sometimes keeps us from utilizing the full potential of equipment.”
The customer service of equipment suppliers leaves some dentists frustrated. “Some of my equipment does not function properly, and the dental supplier drags its feet on resolving the issues,” complained a Michigan dentist. A New York dentist remembered better days: “In the past, dealers would let you try before you buy, but no more. It would be nice if the practice could return items.”
A number of doctors don’t believe that patients really care about fancy equipment. “Patients think dentists are all competent and up to date,” said a Missouri dentist. “They care about their experience: pain, empathy, relationship, confidence.” A Nebraska colleague expressed frustration with the entire process, saying, “There’s too much hype! Then reality sets in and you feel taken. Plus, you can’t charge any more for the ‘wow!’ factor for patients. They aren’t buying it.”
Many dentists felt mislead by the efforts of equipment marketers. “Are you kidding?” asked a Georgia dentist. “Damn near every piece of equipment has been over-hyped. The drawbacks are omitted before the sale. If suppliers were real estate brokers, physicians or dentists, they would have all lost their licenses years ago. It’s more like buying a used car than a piece of professional equipment.”
When dental practices are disappointed with purchases, some are able to return the tool for a full refund. Others are not so lucky, as described a Washington dentist: “My film processor would constantly eat films, keeping about 5 out of an 18 set series. The equipment seller and regional rep wouldn’t let us return the item. Fortunately I had charged it, and the credit card company was able to help me. In another case, it took over 30 days to get my digital X-ray system working, and then they would not let us return it because of their 30-day return policy.”
Many respondents had complaints about specific products, but no particular product dominated the doctors’ complaints. An Arizona pediatric dentist called some dental software “a nightmare.” A Pennsylvania dental hygienist said, “Our light was more work than it was worth.”
The dentist’s chair, an integral part of the patient’s experience, was also frequently a source of frustration for dental practices. “I am now waiting for the third rewiring on the touchpad controls on the same chair over the last five years,” complained an Illinois dentist. “My new operatories are a sham,” said a Virginia dentist. “The new chairs do not run well.”
Some dentists did report problems with imaging. “My intra-oral cameras have been problematic. The pictures are not as clear as they seemed in the demos,” said one Canadian dentist. “I’m not sure my digital images are as good as film,” said a California periodontist. “My camera is very heavy and cumbersome, and it cost $3200.”
“Dentists rely heavily on their equipment, so it’s no surprise they’re frustrated when it fails,” said dental management consultant Jim Du Molin, founder of The Wealthy Dentist. “But it’s really a shame to see such an antagonistic relationship between dental practices and dental equipment suppliers. It’s also clear to me that getting the right training is just as important as selecting the right piece of equipment.”
For additional information on this and other Wealthy Dentist surveys, as well as more dentist comments, visit www.thewealthydentist.com/survey.
The Wealthy Dentist is a dental marketing and dental practice management resource featuring dental consultant Jim Du Molin. The site’s weekly surveys and dental newsletters are viewed by thousands of dentists across the United States and Canada. The Wealthy Dentist is a sister company of the Internet Dental Alliance, Inc. (www.internetdentalalliance.com). IDA is the largest provider of dental websites for dentists, email patient newsletters and dental directories in North America.
Jim Du Molin