Study shows dentists most concerned about patients' ability to pay

Practice revenue, acquiring new patients and keeping up with technology advancements were cited as other concerns.

A national survey from Bankers Healthcare Group, a leading provider of financial solutions for healthcare professionals, reveals that the most widespread concern among dentists is patients being able to pay for procedures and treatment. Of 413 licensed dentists who either own a dental practice or are independent practitioners and were surveyed in 2018 by BHG, 88 percent cited patients’ ability to pay as a top concern.

When asked to indicate other concerns within their practice, 86 percent of dentists said practice revenue, while 80 percent swept three categories: managing practice finances, patient acquisition and keeping up with technology advancements.

“It’s clear that dentists want to have better control of their finances in all aspects of the business - whether it’s ensuring patients can pay for treatment or having the means to facilitate the growth of their practice and services by attracting new patients and making smart equipment investments,” says Al Crawford, co-founder, chairman and CEO of BHG.

Read more: Why isn't your practice growing?

BHG’s survey also reveals that dentists are actively addressing their concerns or they have plans to by the end of 2019. For example, nearly half (48 percent) said they already transitioned to electronic medical records; 31 percent are currently expanding their marketing efforts; 30 percent have purchased new equipment; and 29 percent are upgrading office technology.

Within the next year, nearly a quarter (24 percent) of respondents said they plan to upgrade technology and purchase new equipment, while 23 percent plan to invest in marketing. When asked what pieces of equipment they plan to purchase, more than half (52 percent) said X-ray machines, while 30 percent said operatory chairs and 24 percent scanners. It’s interesting to note that general dentists are most likely to be looking to purchase a new X-ray machine, while intent to purchase chairs is more common among specialists like orthodontists, pediatric dentists and oral surgeons.

The data indicated that practice expansion wasn’t an immediate priority for the majority of dentists, but for those who it was, plans include: expand the number of operatories, add new specialties, bring lab work in-house, or expand the number of locations.

BHG’s National Survey of Dentists examines financial concerns, business outlook and social media use across dental specialties in the United States. To learn more about how BHG works with dentists, visit