Majority of dentists would consider raising fees if patient volume does not improve, ADA poll finds

Patient volume at dental practices across the country is leveling off, but many dentists are still struggling financially, according to the American Dental Association Health Policy Institute's latest poll.

The poll, conducted the week of Sept. 21, found that dental practice staffing met 95 percent of pre-pandemic levels and patient volume leveled off at 80 percent of pre-pandemic levels. These statistics have remained mostly unchanged during the last two months ADA has conducted the poll.

Still, many dentists are looking for actionable ways to help themselves recoup the revenue they lost during the pandemic's early months. The poll found that 45 percent of dentists have borrowed money from a bank during the pandemic. It also found that 30 percent have raised fees and 20 percent have reduced staff's hours at their practice since reopening amid the pandemic

When asked what actions they would consider taking to secure financial stability if patient volume remains at its current level, more than half said they would consider raising fees. About 33 percent said they would consider reducing staff hours, 25 percent said they would consider getting new suppliers or disenrolling from dental benefits plans and about 8 percent said they would consider becoming a member of a DSO or larger group practice.

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