Dentists expect a toothsome future amidst an expanding national economy and healthy industry outlook, according to the 2017 Dental Practice Survey by TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank®. The respondents to TD Bank's survey indicated optimism in the near term, with more than two-thirds expecting practice revenue growth over the next two years, which will stimulate many to invest in and upgrade their practices.
TD Bank's survey of 290 dentists and dental practice owners at the Greater New York Dental Meeting and Yankee Dental Congress, examined dentists' expectations, outlook and priorities for 2017.
Dentists named upgrading equipment as their no. 1 priority this year, with 42 percent stating they will buy or lease new equipment or technology. The survey revealed that dental practice owners are concerned about keeping up with the latest equipment and technology (27 percent), so these investments are critical to providing dental practice owners with improved diagnoses, treatment options and patient communication; same-day dentistry options; and expanded practice efficiency.
Additionally, 27 percent of practice owners cited marketing and advertising as a key area for investment, while 26 percent named hiring additional associates as a focus in the year ahead. These priorities tie to dentists' strategies to increase their incomes. In fact, 38 percent of respondents cited increasing marketing efforts to grow their active patient base as the best option to boost their revenue.
"After several years of lower expenditures, dentists once again are opening their checkbooks to make investments in overall practice health," said Dan Croft, Head of Healthcare Practice Solutions at TD Bank. "New equipment and technology, coupled with effective practice marketing, will allow privately owned practices to grow their customer base and better compete against larger corporate and group practices. Interest rates are expected to steadily rise in 2017, so practice owners should take advantage of the current environment to make these strategic investments while rates are relatively low."
Dental Retirement Plans
When thinking about the future of their practices, 29 percent of respondents said that they are considering buying, selling or merging their practice in the next few years. Longer-term plans for retirement reveal that 32 percent of dental practice owners intend to sell their practice to an associate, while 26 percent plan to sell using a practice transition consultant.
"Although the majority of dentists plan on maintaining ownership of their practices in the near term, the modest uptick in the expected supply of practices for sale is consistent with the nearly full recovery of financial losses incurred from plummeting retirement, investment and real estate values during the economic crisis," Croft said.
Practice Management Trends
Despite their overall optimism for the year ahead, dental practice owners expressed that operational challenges in addition to acquiring and adopting new technology still remain. According to the survey, the most worrisome challenges for dentists are:
- Overhead costs (supplies, rent, lab, taxes, etc.) ― 52 percent
- Staffing costs ― 39 percent
- Expanding patient base ― 37 percent
- Growing production – 25 percent
TD Bank, Healthcare Practice Solutions Group
Now in its fifth year, TD Bank's Healthcare Practice Solutions Group provides tailored financing solutions to independent dental, veterinary, optometric and physician practices. TD Bank's Healthcare Practice Solutions group offers a network of healthcare industry experts to address specific financial needs and challenges. Find out more about the TD Bank Healthcare Practice Solutions Group at www.tdbank.com/practicesolutions.
TD Bank polled dental practice owners at the Greater New York Dental Meeting held in New York, New York from Nov. 28-29, 2016, and at the Yankee Dental Conference held in Boston, Massachusetts, Jan. 26-27, 2017. A total of 290 responses were collected from dentists and dental practice owners.
About TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank®
TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank, is one of the 10 largest banks in the U.S., providing more than 8 million customers with a full range of retail, small business and commercial banking products and services at more than 1,200 convenient locations throughout the Northeast, MidAtlantic, Metro D.C., the Carolinas and Florida. In addition, TD Bank and its subsidiaries offer customized private banking and wealth management services through TD Wealth®, and vehicle financing and dealer commercial services through TD Auto Finance. TD Bank is headquartered in Cherry Hill, N.J. To learn more, visit www.tdbank.com . Find TD Bank on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TDBank and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TDBank_US .
TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank, is a member of TD Bank Group and a subsidiary of The Toronto-Dominion Bank of Toronto, Canada, a top 10 financial services company in North America. The Toronto-Dominion Bank trades on the New York and Toronto stock exchanges under the ticker symbol "TD". To learn more, visit www.td.com . For further information: Martha A. Gaston, APR, TD Bank, VP, Corporate Communications Manager, 856-505-1168, Martha.Gaston@td.com