Dentist and the shoe maker – 3 Min Read
Contrary to popular belief not every dentist is financially successful. More than a few colleagues of mine are struggling to make ends meet. Your humble author still rents a 2-bed apartment and owns no property. My only real-world asset is Dental on Flinders (and a bitcoin! ).
One of the main reasons for this (at the risk of signalling virtue) is that money is not a primary motivator for me getting up in the morning. I firmly believe that financial success will be a biproduct of quality work and a personable demeanour over time.
Dentistry is a profession that has somewhat survived globalism. There is always a market for high quality boutiques or artisan like vendors (shoes, suits, handbags, furniture, food and of course health care). Many people will pay a higher fee for quality service, timely delivery, certain assurances and excellent aftercare. Providers that truly care about their products find their success by focusing on quality and goodwill (long term view) whereas those that compete on price focus on reducing cost (short term view). Focusing on reducing fees will inevitably be defeated by globalism. Thailand will win every time.
I’ll happily be categorised with a boutique Melbourne shoe maker that refuses to mass produce in Bangladesh. The satisfaction and quality control of local production from start to finish is reward on its own. Local production gains loyal followings.
The Dental Labs I use (IDS, TDSA and Omega) are local labs that produce all crowns, veneers, night guards and implant crowns on site. The only non-Australian service I use is Invisalign. Invisalign is USA based, but has factories in Mexico and Costa Ric. There are Australian counterparts developing, but they remain too green to experiment with for the moment. I’ll be keen to give them a go once kinks have been ironed out.
All our consumables are procured through reputable suppliers like Henry Shein-Halas and Dentsply. I’ve seen clinics (I’ve worked at some) purchase many consumables like gloves, masks, dental materials from Ali baba and eBay. I cringe at the quality control and unpredictability. Seems like a weak link in the infection control chain to me.
TLDR: Competing on cost by buying cheap consumables overseas and using cheap overseas labs is a race to the bottom. Focusing on quality and having a long term view is best for both dentist and patient.