5 dental leaders explain biggest competitors in the industry

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Between declining reimbursement rates and competition to keep patients, dentists and dental service organizations are faced with mounting competition.

Below five dental leaders discuss their biggest competition.

Editor's note: Responses were lightly edited for clarity and length.

Question: Who/what is your biggest competitor?

Darin Acopan, executive vice president of the Dentist Entrepreneur Organization: The biggest competitors to owners, whether they are one location or multiple, is themselves. Dentists typically don't work on themselves as leaders first, and leadership is not taught in dental school. I recommend dentists work on themselves and then work on getting the right people on their team. Finally, dentists should work on the business. Dentists can go straight to the business seeking a secret playbook. And quickly employees leave a practice. I always tell dentists: people leave bosses not businesses.

Matt Hall, president and COO of healthcare technology platform Wellfit: Since the dental reimbursement process hasn’t changed in nearly five decades, our biggest competition is really the status quo. That’s why we’re partnering with forward-thinking dentists, DSOs, employers and carriers to pioneer and revolutionize the current state of dental benefits, dental reimbursement and the payment process in dentistry.

Daniel Burke, senior vice president of platform strategy and general counsel at Pacific Dental Services: Currently, there is no DSO that has achieved sufficient market share to truly inhibit the growth of another. Where competition expresses itself on a local level, it’s usually in competition for talent and perhaps a real estate location. But the real challenge to our growth continues to be internal. We’re focused on our ability to grow without diluting our promise of operational excellence for each individual owner dentist.

Michael Davis, DDS, is the founder of Smiles of Santa Fe (N.M.): The strength of the local and general economy is my stiffest competitor. If the financials are tight for the public, my practice suffers. And yes, I offer third party financing. A large segment of the public has minimal to no savings. Many are not credit worthy. In good fiscal times, dentistry can boom. In down times, dentistry suffers. Naturally, it doesn’t help that the dental education industrial complex continues to pump out excessive numbers of doctors to survive in a glutted labor market.

Virginia Jones, PhD, COO of Fayetteville, N.C.-based Village Family Dental: Our biggest competitor right now would be the large DSO that is starting to locate within our geographical area. These large DSOs come with a lot of buying power, and advertise extremely high compensation packages, well over market, attracting our talent away. They also bring high dollars of marketing into the space to attract new patients. To combat this, we continue to differentiate ourselves as a family practice, focusing on children and our unique services.

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