Yesterday, the PBS television show called Frontline aired a show titled, “Dollars and Dentists” that was a dental expose about what they are calling the Dental Crisis in America. Below is a link that is a replay of this show. I would encourage you to watch this show. Many of your patients have watched this and the show provides some useful information about access of dental care and very low Medicaid reimbursements in some states.
While the show does provide some useful information, it is my opinion that there are some serious flaws in the reporting here. The reporters suggest that it is a conflict of interest for dental practices to make a profit. I take issue with this assumption since profit allows a dental practice to exist. Without profit, there would be no way to invest in technology, training, continuing education and quality team members to name just a few elements of a dental practice that provides quality care. Even if the dental practice is organized as a ‘non-profit’ business, the practice still needs to produce the funding to serve their patient base.
Another issue I have with this show is the undertone of Dentists as not caring about those people who cannot afford to pay for care. Even the title of the show is somewhat demeaning. I believe this perspective cannot be further from the truth. It is my experience that most Dentists and many team members contribute significant time each year providing charitable care to those who cannot afford to pay for treatment. I have many clients who donate time and money serving patients in third world countries as well as serving charities right in their own backyard. My experience is that the charitable nature of most Dentists is boundless!
While I have issues with some of the content of this show, the great news is that people are talking about dentistry. You may have heard the saying, ‘any publicity is good publicity’. Let me encourage you to watch this show and join the conversation. Enter your comments below. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Keep Smiling!