I keep thinking about the generally agreed upon fact that roughly 3,000,000 people in the USA receive orthodontic treatment each year. That may sound like a lot but when you look at 3MM in the context of the US population of 325,000,000, 3MM cases don’t amount to much.

3,000,000/ 325,350,377 = .00922083 or .9% of the population

“Yeah, but that’s annually, Burris”, I can year you saying. No doubt – we treat 3MM cases each and every year but the US population is growing at .8% so the percentage of people receiving orthodontic treatment in the US remains virtually constant despite the cases we treat!


We can do better!

I know most orthodontists are worried about the changes in the industry and are concerned about new delivery modalities but I cannot stress enough that these changes represent amazing opportunity more than anything else. IF orthodontists can recognize what is happening ahead of time and IF we can collectively recognize what people want and IF we change our traditional model to better serve the new reality THEN we can help a tremendous number of people get the smile of their dreams while being handsomely rewarded for doing so. There are many, many times more people who aren’t being served by the traditional orthodontic model out there than the few we actaully treat. This is GREAT NEWS and should be exciting for orthodontists!

There is no doubt that competition is on the rise if one chooses to see it as such but I believe that the increasing number of people who will want orthodontic treatment as a result of increasing awareness and perceived affordability will far outstrip the increased competitive pressure arising from new market entries.

For some.

For those progressive orthodontists who see the current and coming change as an opportunity instead of a barrier. For orthodontists who deliver great results in a timely fashion with a smile and a kind word for every current patient and EVERY POTENTIAL PATIENT without a hint of judgement. For orthodontists that understand that just because we have always collectively priced orthodontic treatment based on an average of our most difficult and our easiest cases (causing the price for simple orthodontics to be relatively high and out of reach for most) doesn’t mean we have to keep doing it that way. For orthodontists who understand that not everyone wants or needs a full mouth reorganization…

The choice is yours: Doom and gloom or rainbows and unicorns! There is no external force in this market powerful enough to control your destiny. Only you can do that. It’s all between your ears.