I am the last person that you would expect to hear breaking orthodontic news from. In fact, if I am the first person to hear about something, it probably isn’t that important or if it is I’m not smart enough to realize why. So when I do get a tip, kinda like the guy on CNBC who tells you what stocks to pick, I’m pretty sure that it would have been really helpful at least a year ago! All kidding aside, as I sat in the audience at the MKS 2016 meeting this past weekend and was given the tip regarding the proliferation of the dental service organizations (DSO) venturing into orthodontics and its potential impact, I couldn’t help but think that if I was getting an “early” warning, the ship may have already set sail.
I want to share with you some of the orthodontic “tips” that I have gotten in the past two decades, present some new “tips”, er um I mean guesses (read with caution), mix ‘em up with some Kool-AidTM, serve you a tall drink and ask what it means for us now and in the future.
- Old Tip: Orthodontic residency programs will open outside of dental schools or hospitals and be linked to dental service organizations (Version 1)
- Old Tip: Too many orthodontists will graduate each year
- Old Tip: Orthodontic graduates will be laden with debt and will have to work for primary care dentists and pediatric dentists on a per diem basis (Version 1)
- Old Tip: Primary care dentists doing InvisalignTM will eat away at our patient base (Version 1)
- Old Tip: The American Board of Orthodontics will allow orthodontists to purchase initial certification, will permanently grow the numbers of diplomates, give this credential more clout and will help orthodontists get more patients
- Old Tip: Consumers will not be able to tell the difference between dentists and orthodontists and the American Association of Orthodontists should advertise that orthodontists have extra degrees (Version 1)
- Old Tip: Do it yourself orthodontics (e.g.-Smile Direct ClubTM) will eat away at our patient base (Version 2)
- Old Tip: Orthodontic graduates laden with debt will have to work for dental service organizations (Version 2)
- Old Tip: For profit CODA accredited orthodontic residency programs will open outside of dental schools or hospitals and these new schools will be owned and/or financially linked to dental service organizations (Version 2)
- Old Tip: The American Dental Association will approve Resolution 65, stating that general dentists can announce specialization and specialists can practice outside their specialty
- New Tip: For profit CODA non-accredited orthodontic residency programs will open outside of dental schools or hospitals and these new schools will be owned and/or financially linked to dental service organizations (Version 3)
- New Tip: Consumers will pay anyone who can modify their dentofacial appearance (Smile) in an efficient, effective and cost-competitive way
- New Tip: Brand-centered practices and doctor-centered practices will equally feel the changes in consumer demographics and economics in the future
- New Tip: Orthodontists will realize that AAO membership and ABO dues are better spent on local market brand/practice promotion and reinvestment in their own enterprise
- New Tip: Orthodontists will continue to whine, do the same things and wonder why they weren’t given better tips…earlier
So, if you were able to read all these tips and I hope that you’re still interested, what are we to make of them? I racked my brain and have tried to find a common thread between those tips old and new. Here’s what I came up with. No one tip realized or not can account for where we are today and where we go in the future. They are all interrelated and self-perpetuated. Pictures are always better than words when it comes to presenting a theory, so here’s mine:
He who holds the educational opportunities and the jobs, controls the future. You tell me who it will be!