Dentists to sell all but 1% of their stock in bid to stay afloat
DENTISTS IN NEWCASTLE ARE REVIVING THEIR OWN MARKETS.
But they may be struggling to attract new patients, and some dentists are turning to a controversial business model that is becoming increasingly popular: buying out the rest of their customers.
The move by dentists in Newcastle, England, to acquire all but their own stock in a bid to survive the global recession and the looming threat of a possible government shutdown has been welcomed by some.
Dentists have been buying out their own clients since 2009, and in the last two years the industry has seen a sharp rise in new patients seeking dental care, said David Sayers, president of the Association of Dental Surgeons of England, or ADSA.
The ADSA said in a statement that the move by some of the nation’s dentists to buy out the majority of their clients in a single day on Thursday is a good step in the right direction.
But the dentists said they are concerned about the possibility that the new market might undermine their ability to compete with established companies such as the American Dental Association.
“Dentists have a lot of money and a lot to lose if they don’t make a strong case for themselves,” said David Williams, president and chief executive of Dentists Guild of New Zealand, which represents about 5,000 dentists.
“They are competing against other companies in the same business that have the same expertise, the same resources, the whole thing.
They have to make a case for their value proposition.”
In a statement to The Associated Press, a Dental Federation of New South Wales said the ADSA statement is “premature” and called on other dental associations to follow suit.
“It’s clear that the ADSSA is making it harder for the dentist to compete,” the statement said.
“We would encourage the ADSF to follow their lead.”
Dental groups said in statements to the AP that the increase in new dental patients is a sign that there is a lack of demand for the industry.
“New Zealand has one of the lowest rates of new dental procedures in the world and we are in a period of transition as the country transitions from a dental-based economy to a more modern, globalised one,” the ADSD said in its statement.
“As the demand for dentistry is growing, we need to provide dental services in a way that reflects the needs of all New Zealanders.
The recent dental business buy-out is yet another example of this shift in priorities.
It will not only result in fewer dentists, but a loss of dentists that can’t compete.”
Newcastle’s move comes as the New Zealand government announced it would be halting all government spending until July 1.
The announcement came as the health system and public finances are under threat from the looming shutdown of the country’s two major hospitals.
New Zealand has about 15,000 doctors and 1,200 dental practitioners.
The state also has an ageing population and a rising birth rate.
The dentists’ group said in an emailed statement that it expects more dentists and dentists from other industries to follow.
The group said it is working to raise the price of dental care and is seeking to ensure that other dentists can compete in a global marketplace.
Dental surgeons are among the biggest employers in New Zealand and have also become a big business in some other countries, such as Australia and South Korea.
But with the growing popularity of the market, the dentistry industry has struggled to keep up with demand and the price it charges is often too high.
In the United States, for instance, dentists charge $2,600 to perform a single tooth extraction and $10,000 for a single root canal.
Dental students who work in the U.S. are required to pay about $40,000 a year for school.
The American Dampened Consumers Association says the dentures industry has grown more than 40 percent in recent years and has made more than $5 billion in revenue last year.
Dentistry is not the only business in need of a big boost, but it is one that many dentists say is under pressure because of the global financial crisis.
A new study released Thursday by the Australian National University suggests that dental surgery, which has been on the decline for decades, could face a “double whammy” of increased demand from the global downturn and declining revenues.
The study found that the global dentists market has contracted by 2.6 percent over the past decade.
Dentist shortages have been exacerbated by the rise in the cost of dental implants and a lack in dental care in the United Kingdom.
Dentologists in New South England say that dentists have become increasingly reluctant to take on new clients as a result of rising costs and a slowdown in demand.
“If the dental profession is going to be a part of the solution in the global economy and the world economy, then it has to be an area that is