Fear of the Dentist

Blog Title Fear Of the Dentist

What do clowns, spiders, monsters, and the dentist have in common?

They scare the living daylights out of many people; how many people? Over 75% of adults report some form of dental anxiety, and up to 10% suffer from full-blown phobias.

The causes for anxiety differ, but the escape is all the same: not scheduling that much-needed appointment. Avoiding clowns and monsters is fine, as they can’t offer services that could save you from tooth loss, gum disease, and potentially life-threatening heart diseases – but your dentist can, and that’s why it’s important to find a solution to your dental anxieties and make sure you’re keeping your smile as healthy as the rest of you.

Some causes for dental anxiety include:

  • Fear from a past experience
  • Fear of a painful procedure
  • Fear of the medical bill

The solution to all of the above is simple: Talk to your dentist. There are ways around each and every one of these that will allow you to ensure your dental health is taken care of and you are not at risk for unnecessary health complications!

If you had a painful experience in the past: Talk to your dentist! There are many ways to work around the issue – either by an alternate procedure, or perhaps a discussion about sedation dentistry to calm your nerves. If you tell your dentist the problem, they can work to find a solution that works for you.

If you are afraid of a painful procedure: Talk to your dentist! Again, there may be a less-painful procedure as an alternative. Or perhaps it’s not as painful as you originally feared. In many cases sedation dentistry is a fantastic option that either takes the edge off your nerves, or anesthetizes you entirely. What’s better than waking up with a shiny new smile and no fuss for you?

If you’re afraid of the potential bill: Talk to your dentist! You never have to be handed a bill you didn’t expect. First, get an estimate on the necessary procedures. Then talk! There are many options for those strapped for cash, including payment plans or various subsidies. But your dentist cannot help you answer a question that you didn’t ask! Remember as well, your health is an investment. You can pay to prevent or pay to correct, and the latter can be extraordinarily higher than the former; nothing can replace regular appointments and consistent care.

Remember, 75% of adults admit to some form of dental anxiety – your dentist has heard it before and will be happy to work with you to ensure you walk out with a smile that you’re both proud of.

By the way, fear of the dentist? That’s called odontophobia, and it doesn’t have to ruin your smile. Talk to your dentist and save your phobias for spiders and clowns.

ADS South, LLC
120 Istoria Drive
St. Augustine, FL 32095

Phone: (770) 664-1982
Fax: (678) 965-1812

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A Story of Three Dentists

Back in 2002 our firm encountered three dentists within a one year period who experienced the same event – death.

keys on metal key ringDr. A called our office, saying that he was going into the hospital for tests and needed a dentist to cover his practice, which we provided. I visited him at the hospital and his condition was so serious that he and his wife decided to sell his practice. I was given a key to the office and with the help of a dentist who was familiar with the practice’s software, I was able to quickly gather all of the information required to perform an appraisal and prepare a marketing package. The next day I contacted a prospect from our database, showed the practice to him and went over the practice figures and other information he requested. After several hours of inspection and study, he made a full price offer. The following day Dr. A died. During the following week, sale contracts were distributed and reviewed and a lease for the office and financing were obtained. The sale closed ten days later with the widow receiving the full price in cash.

Dr. B was exercising when he suddenly died. Our firm had coincidentally performed an appraisal of his practice six months earlier. Upon his death, his accountant and widow contacted our firm to sell the practice. Our first step was to provide a dentist to provide continued care for patients of the practice. With a current appraisal and marketing material in hand, we contacted a prospect from our database who quickly made an offer of 94% of the appraised price. Dr. B’s widow was paid in full in cash three weeks later.

If you’re looking to sell your dental practice, marketing with a professional gets it done faster!

Dr. C died in his office of a sudden heart attack. The family attorney commissioned us to perform an appraisal of the practice but elected to try sell the practice himself. After four months of no activity the attorney contracted us to sell the practice. The attorney failed to place a dentist in the practice to provide continuing patient care. The doors of the practice were essentially shut for four months, during which time practice value, as well as interest in the practice, had dropped precipitously. We immediately placed a locum tenens dentist in the practice to try to revive patient activity, which was minimal. Finally, five months after the owner’s death, a purchaser was found. The practice sold for one third of its originally appraised value.

Dr. A and Dr. B’s practice sales were as successful as if they had not suddenly died. Dr. C’s outcome was much less successful.

There are several factors in post-death practice sale success. The first is the use of a locum tenens dentist to continue the practice operation. Keeping the practice active is vital in preserving value and marketability. Many patients are lost when a practice is closed or when well-meaning nearby dentists cover the practice.

Another factor for success is enlisting a professional practice broker, even though the family may already have interested prospects. Expertise and experience are critical in marketing, prospecting, qualifying, financing and selling a practice. Having prospects to immediately contact for a sale is invaluable.

However, without complete and current practice data, even the best practice broker will be ineffective. Dentists rarely assemble this information during their lifetime. The task invariably falls on a grieving spouse who does not know what to look for, where to look, or who to call. The lack of complete practice information and a professional approach to marketing the practice may easily result in losses of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The process of gathering practice information and pre-planning the practice sale process is practically impossible for a spouse, especially when the spouse is not involved in the practice. However, the process is relatively quick and easy for a dentist. Wise dentists will make this small investment of time and effort to ensure the best practice value and success for their family, patients and staff.

A free appraisal kit can be downloaded from our website.

Earl M. Douglas, DDS, MBA is the founding president of American Dental Sales. He is president of Professional Practice Consultants, Ltd. and personally serves the Southeast with affiliates nationwide. He can be reached at 770-664-1982 or visit our website.

Earl M. Douglas, DDS, MBA, BVAL.
Published in Dental Economics, September 2003

Value or Price – Choose Wisely | Dental Practice Transitions

Earl M. Douglas, DDS, MBA, BVAL.

 

There has been a great deal of discussion over the years about dental practice price, but very little has been said about practice value. It is especially important that practice buyers understand these terms and be able to differentiate between them, since practice value has significantly more impact upon the futures of buyers than does practice price.

Price is the consideration (cash, note, barter, etc.) paid to a seller to acquire an asset. Sellers receive price. Value is the benefit received by the buyer from the use and ownership of the acquired asset. Buyers receive value.

All too frequently buyers zero in on price as the primary practice purchase issue while ignoring the issue of value. However, buyers stand to benefit much more by receiving high value than by paying a low price, since the primary practice value is actually the net income the buyer takes home from the purchased practice.

I illustrate this point by asking buyers to consider two similar practices. Practice A grosses $400,000 and is priced at $275,000. I ask buyers if this is a good deal. Most buyers admit they do not know.

Then we look at Practice B which grosses $400,000, of which the hygienist produces $100,000 and the buyer produces $300,000. After paying all of the overhead expenses and all of the purchase payments, the buyer will have a net income of $140,000. Without even knowing the price, most buyers believe that Practice B is a good opportunity. Knowing the price and gross alone does not make for a well-informed decision. Knowing the cash flow-derived value, or net income, received in return for the amount of work performed by the buyer, does allow for a well-informed decision.

Consider Practice C which grosses $400,000 and is priced at $300,000. After paying all the practice overhead expenses and all of the purchase payments, the buyer will receive value, or net income, of $150,000. Now examine Practice D, which is very similar to Practice C. It also grosses $400,000, but is priced at $250,000. After paying all the practice overhead expenses and purchase payments, the buyer will receive value, or net income, of only $125,000. This comparison shows that it is actually possible to pay a higher price for a practice and still receive more value, or net income. Differences in fixed expenses, such as rental cost, can cause such differences. Which practice would you choose?

While we do not suggest overpaying for any practice, we do point out the old saying, “you get what you pay for”. Since “what you pay for” is net income in the case of dental practices, higher priced practices will generally yield higher net incomes, even after paying the payments. In the case of purchasing a practice, it is often safer to pay slightly too much than too little.

We strongly suggest that if you are considering buying a practice and are seeking professional advice on price, be sure that you also receive a practice cash flow analysis to learn all of the important facts, especially the answers about practice value, the net income you will earn.

Phone: (770) 664-1982 • Fax: (678) 965-1812 • Email: earl@adssouth.com
Originally Published in Dental Economics, November 1998
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