The practice of dentistry today is dramatically and rapidly changing. The reduction in the incidence of caries and the zero population growth of the 1970's and early 1980's have had a significant impact on the makeup and economic growth of General and Pediatric practices.
During this unpredictable economic period, most dentists realized that they must offer their patients a complete and comprehensive program of dental care.
In 1983, the American Dental Association, in a strategic plan called "The Future of Dentistry," recommended:
- Broadening the general practitioner's clinical skills and scope of services offered to the public
- Decreasing the number of specialists and the scope of specialty practice
- Promoting more effective continuing education experiences to change the character of dental practice
- Developing new continuing education methodology and technology
In our opinion, today's dental practitioner must experience personal and professional growth, maintain the integrity of the "fee for service" practice, and expand his or her health care services or all of dentistry will suffer — including the specialist.
Triggered by public awareness, fueled by the federal government, and directed by the governing body of dentistry, these changes, especially in the area of orthodontic treatment delivery systems, must be incorporated into the dental practice of today and tomorrow.
For a myriad of reasons, undergraduate dental education has failed the dentist in the area of orthodontics. At the same time, the demand for orthodontic care is increasing. Extended continuing education programs in orthodontics have been developed to fill this educational void and to meet the growing need.
Recently, over 2000 dentists who had performed secondary studies in orthodontics were asked the question "Why orthodontics?". The answers were arranged into the following six categories:
To Better Serve Our Patients' Needs
- Dentists become more well equipped to inform patients of their range of possible treatment options.
- Even if the services are not performed in-office, referrals can be given in a more timely manner.
The Possibility of One-Stop Dental Service
- Orthodontics is an important part of a full dental practice.
- Patients prefer to undergo treatment in an environment they know and trust.
Improvement of Skill and Service
- Further study increases the skill of dentists.
- Enhances ability to perform all advanced procedures.
Creates Brand Loyalty and Solidifies Clientele Base
- A single patient often brings along an entire family worth of clients.
- Former orthodontic patients often return to the same dentist for further services.
Dental Practice Becomes More Enjoyable
- Orthodontics can revitalize your interest in practicing dentistry.
- Orthodontics is interesting and fun.
- Orthodontics is challenging and engaging.
Improves The Bottom Line
- Diversifying the services offered at your practice makes you more competitive.
- Stabilizes cash flow, making your business more predictable.
- Requires minimal work hours.