Short business cycle downturn: Fewer allied staff turnovers.
Full blown recession: Mild allied staff reductions via attrition.
Depression: Major allied staff reductions via forced layoffs.
My Dad graduated from high school at the tail end of the Great Depression when dental offices were largely one person operations. At that time, he was quoted a fee of one dollar per tooth for amalgam restorations. He had 6 teeth that needed such treatment but only had 5 dollars saved up. The dentist gave him a deal (6 teeth for 5 dollars). My Dad swears that those restorations have proven to be the most lasting of any he has received to this day.
In short, dentists are licensed to do it all in their particular arena of health care services and will be the ones to remain standing in that ring during even the most challenging economic times.
One would think that with the economic slowdown as of late that dentistry would be affected by less of the "optional" procedures (i.e. esthetic rehabilitations, ortho tx, implant procedures). In my office, it's been completely opposite of this, the last 6 months have set new monthly production records for the office(and we haven't touched our fees during this time) Patients are asking more and more for cosmetic procedures, and my partner and I are just shaking our heads and smiling everytime we look at the monthly production (and collection!) numbers.
It almost seems as if this so called recession is of more importance and significance to major media than it is to Joe Q. Public!
This economic slump we're in doesn't seem to be having too much effect on people I know. It's only when I watch the news that I start to worry. Sure my friends from college are no longer making $80,000/yr. to build websites but they are finding steady work in the IT industry....it's just taking them a little longer and the pay is worse (but not bad...40,000/yr is IMO a great starting salary for 1st job out of college). I only know of 1 person who was laid off from a high tech/high pay position.(I know it's different from those in SF or any other major dot com city)
Dr. Jeff, do you think there's any truth to the projection of a high # of retiring dentists in the near future? I've heard this but also I've heard that baby boomers will not retire at the usual age of 55/60.
Also, what can I do as a dental student in the next 4 years to line up a great associateship? (besides the good grades and without a GPR/AEGD). I'm eager to get started on building a practice asap. thanks in advance.
I firmly believe that all the demographics of the practicing dentists, and the larger outfux of dentists than influx is definately true. And believe me, from what I'm hearing from the folks nearing the retirement age is that this stock market crash isn't deferring the pending retirement of alot of dentists.
As for how to find a good practice to line up for after dental school, first off you need to figure out where you'd like to practice and then start looking in that area. Talk to the state and local dental society in that area. Talk to alumni from whatever dental school that you goto. I definately though wouldn't rule out a residency though, it *can* be a far superior way to advance your dental treatment abilities than many 1st years in private practice. Also, keep your practice opportunites open, don't just assume that the 1st practice you enter after dental school will be THE PRACTICE for you. Especially in this day and age where there are and will continue to be moore folks retiring than graduating.