If you are considering your options, you have many
More Personal Care
If you’re working with a dentist in a private practice, they are more free to spend time with you. They can listen to you and take the time to fully evaluate your situation. That’s because the dentist decides how many patients they can see in a day and still provide the care they want.
In a corporate practice or other large institution, production quotas may be set up by someone other than the dentist. The dentist is forced to see as many patients as the institution thinks they should, which is likely a conveyor belt of patients, limiting the amount of time a dentist can spend with any one person.
Better Trained Personnel
In a large institution, there is incentive to get mediocre, interchangeable personnel. Processes are designed so they don’t rely on the training or expertise of any one individual. If anything, they’re pitched to the minimum talent level of anyone at that position so that if one person is lost, another person can be plugged into that job quickly.
There’s little incentive to provide training beyond the minimum level. If anything, the incentive is the opposite: more highly trained personnel can command higher wages and are better able to get jobs elsewhere, so the goal is to keep people trained at the minimum level so they can be paid less and are less likely to move elsewhere.
In a private practice, a dentist isn’t going to be hiring a lot of office staff and assistants. They want to get the best quality in the ones they do hire. And they want to train those people up, too, so they can offer more and better assistance to both the dentist and the patients.
More Consistent Care
When you go to an institution for your dental care, you’re more likely to see the Dentist du Jour–whoever happens to be in that day. The Dentist du Jour is probably a fine dentist, but they might not know you from Adam. All they know about your situation is what they read in your chart. And they may do things a little differently than your last dentist, maybe a little better, maybe a little worse. They may give you contradictory advice. It’s unpredictable.
And there’s the risk of handoff-related errors. Every time your care gets passed from one dentist to another, there’s a risk that something is going to be neglected or lost. Test results might never be seen, or tests might not be ordered. One dentist may not pay attention to an issue that the other dentist was trying to keep an eye on.
And then there’s your experience with the other staff. In a private practice, people tend to stay at the practice longer, while larger institutions experience more turnover. And whenever someone leaves a practice, they take vital information with them about your oral health and you lose a personal attachment that helped you feel welcome and cared for.
But if you work with a private dental practice, you will be working with just one or maybe a few dentists. You are more likely to work with the same dentist every time. And even if you don’t, the dentists are more likely to work together closely and be more consistent in their ideas and practice.
True, one of the things that draws people to corporate practices is a lower cost. But if you consider what you’re paying for, you’ll see that you get a better value at a private practice.
When you pay for care at a small private practice, what are you paying for? You’re paying for the dentist and their staff to make a good living to support their families. You pay for training for the dentist and the staff. You pay for quality materials that are used in your restorations. You pay for a comfortable and welcoming office environment. All of these are things that directly contribute to your experience and quality of care.
But what do you pay for when you go to an institution? You’re not only paying a modest salary for the dentist and the office staff, which may not be high enough to keep them satisfied and committed to their job, but you’re also paying millions upon millions of dollars for executive compensation, even at nonprofit institutions. And you’re paying for a large bureaucracy that supervises and manages the dentists and assistants.
True, there’s an economy of scale that allows the institution to offer lower prices, but these are akin to cutting corners on patient care: a conveyor-belt approach to patients, less training for dentists and staff, lower-quality materials in restorations, and a joyless, “institutional” setting for your care.
When all is said and done, working with a private dental practice can really improve your experience and your overall results. To learn how it can benefit you, please call (949) 551-5902 for an appointment with an Orange County cosmetic dentist at Rice Dentistry in Irvine.