Is Having An Associate Dentist Burning You Money?

Recently I wrote about Dentists failing to keep track of their numbers.

And one number that dentists fail to know is what is the average two-year value of a New Patient to their practice.

I see and hear and read about dentists who cry out:

“I just need more new patients!!”

But they don’t even know what an average new patient is worth to their practice.

This doesn’t even make sense…

Different types of advertising will bring in different types of patients….

And different types of patients will need different types of treatment.

Additionally, different dentists will see differently within the mouth.

Dentists proficient at orthodontic diagnosis will see things that other less proficient dentists may never see.

A dentist educated in TMJ and OSA will be more astute to diagnosing these conditions and treating them than someone who has never learned about these modalities.

Some dentists will have higher treatment plan case acceptances from their patients than other dentists who are happy to let their patients “think about it”.

All of these variables contribute towards the success or lack thereof of a dental practice.


I was talking to a dentist yesterday about a dental practice where the total collections of the two hygienists and the two associate dentists was still a lower amount than the collections alone of the owner principal dentist.

And what that means is that probably a new patient to the owner dentist is worth more to the practice than a new patient seen by the associate dentists.

Would the owner dentist be better off if the associate dentists diagnosed more thoroughly, and recommended treatment better and were more convincing to the patients about the consequences of NOT having treatment?

I took over a practice where the retiring dentist gifted me his patient files, and when I met the one hundred or so patients who were happy to come to see me at my nearby office, I saw more patches than at a quilting convention and not one tooth crowned, in a demographic of patients born primarily prior to 1950.

Which meant there was a significant amount of comprehensive restorative work to do in these patients to make their teeth feel stronger.

Another Dentist I know had associate dentists with gaps in their appointment books.

And so he funneled more new patients their way.

And not only were these associate dentists not busy, they complained to the owner that the practice fees were too high for them to charge their patients.

Yet the owner dentist had a full book of patients happy to see him at those fees?

So the owner dropped his fees and fed these under-producing associates more than their share of New Patients and the results for those associates did not change…

The problem was not the fees.

The problem was that the associate dentists were not so popular with patients in the practice and it did not matter whether you supplied those associates with a fire hose of new patients, they still weren’t diagnosing and presenting and doing the dentistry.

It’s important for a dental practice owner to know what the New Patient Value is to the practice for each dentist that they have working there.

Because if one dentist has a significantly lower New Patient Value, that means that his patients are not receiving the treatment and the care that is in their best interests.

And their health suffers as a result of this.

Would you rather be treated for everything?

Or only be treated for what the dentist thinks you will want, or guesses that you can afford?

The best advice I ever received as a dentist came from a patient who told me:

“Tell me what I need doc, and I’ll work out how I’ll do it.”

The patient told me not to second-guess him and not to give him options.

He said:

“You’re the one in the white coat.”

It’s up to all dentists to present treatment with authority.

It is your duty to make sure your patient receives all the necessary treatment  you diagnose.

For them not to is negligent.

Telling yourself that you gave them all the options is not the answer.

Patients do not have dental degrees. They need direction.

Not options.

Firm directions.


Have you read my book , How To Build The Dental Practice of Your Dreams [Without Killing Yourself!] In Less Than Sixty Days.

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The Ultimate Patient Experience is a simple to build complete Customer Service system in itself that I developed that allowed me to create an extraordinary dental office in an ordinary Sydney suburb. If you’d like to know more, ask me about my free special report.

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