Large Case Acceptance Dwindling

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Case acceptance of large dental treatment plansIn this survey, we found that there’s lots of variation among dentists in case acceptance on treatment plans over $20,000. However, everyone seems to agree that large treatment plans are fewer and farther between.

"We get about 15-20 cases of at least $20k currently per doctor each year," said a dentist whose practice is apparently doing much better than most. But even at the top, things are more difficult… "Those numbers are half of what they were just two years ago."

What types of major cases do you see?

People don’t have the money

  • "Have to believe the economy is affecting us here. People aren’t as willing to commit larger treatment plans as they used to be. We do a lot more phasing of treatment over time." (Illinois dentist)
  • "How many Americans can afford treatment plans over $20,000? Most of my patients could not afford that much if their life depended on it (i.e. a heart transplant for example)." (General dentist)
  • “We are a nation headed for trouble and third-worldism. There will not be money for care like this." (Minnesota dentist)

Good case presentation improves case acceptance

  • “Dr. Paul Homoly’s book Isn’t It Wonderful When Patients Say ‘Yes’ is an excellent book about the nuances of case presentation and acceptance. Patient education by the dentists and staff goes a long way toward patient’s complete understanding of their oral situation and optimum case acceptance.” (Ohio prosthodontist)

The need is there, but not the money

  • “I am seeing more people with more need, but case acceptance is significantly down.” (Florida dentist)
  • “Difficult to get more than what dental insurance will cover, regardless of the patient's need." (California dentist)

Break it down into phases

  • “I used to get one or two of these cases every month; now they are rare. People can’t get much in the way ofdental financing these days, so they have no choice but to do lower cost treatment or a part of their treatment plan.” (Tennessee dentist)
  • “In a small rural town, there are not many people who can even consider doing this much at one time. I would rather do it in phases that they can afford." (Texas dentist)

Not enough new dental patients

  • “The economy has not changed the acceptance rate significantly, but it has drastically reduced the flow of new patients. The patients who make appointments usually go ahead with their work” (Illinois dentist)

Big numbers

  • "We get about 15-20 cases of at least $20k currently per doctor each year. Those numbers are half of what they were just two years ago." (Illinois dentist)

Small numbers

  • “$20,000 is too big for my country. This may be half my total yearly income.” (Non-US general dentist)


Note: Survey sample included 23 respondents. Posted 9/21/2010

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