Home Practice ManagementOperations TPD’s “Buyer’s Club” Levels the Playing Field in the Private Practice vs. Corporate Dentistry Debate

TPD’s “Buyer’s Club” Levels the Playing Field in the Private Practice vs. Corporate Dentistry Debate

by Steve Parker

In recent years, much has been said about the rise of Dental Service Organizations (DSOs) and “corporate dentistry” contributing to the struggle of the private practicing dentist to compete in the changing landscape. With shrinking insurance reimbursements, massive student loan debt and the never-ending administrative challenges of running your own business, the decrease in the number of private practices vs. the growth of corporate dentistry shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.

The ADA Health Policy Institute reported last year that 7.4% of all practicing dentists are affiliated with dental service organizations. However, for new dentists aged 21-34, that number climbs to 16.4%.¹

It’s not all doom and gloom however – dentists in private practice still account for over 90% of all dental practices in the U.S. While new dentists affiliated with DSOs are increasing, it appears the accelerated growth of DSOs might be slowing down. If you choose to remain in private practice, or you’re a new dentist looking to start your own practice, there are some areas of your practice where you can realize the same kinds of benefits DSOs enjoy.

One of those areas is dental supplies. While labor is the single largest overhead category in most, if not all dental practices, supplies generally account for about 6% of overall practice revenue². This puts the average spend in the neighborhood of $42,000 per year for an average size practice. There are potentially tens of thousands of dollars in increased profit to be gained by simply paying less for the supplies you use every day.

It’s no secret that group practices and DSOs negotiate special pricing from large distributors on supplies and equipment³. It should be clear to everyone that most private practices pay more than DSOs pay for supplies, but it’s unclear if you are also paying more than the other private practices in your area. Why are different dentists charged different prices from the same distributors? While volume is certainly going to play a big part of your pricing structure, if you purchase supplies through a distributor with a commissioned sales rep, there is an obvious conflict. As with any commissioned sales person, it’s in their best interest to charge you as much as they can, while it’s clearly in the best interest of every dental practice to pay as little as possible for supplies.

The TPD Buyer’s Club was developed specifically with private practicing dentists in mind. By aggregating the collective buying power of The Profitable Dentist audience, we’re able to negotiate low pricing on the same supplies practices use every day, often on par with the kinds of discounts corporate chains enjoy. With increased efficiencies, the TPD Buyer’s Club requires no commissioned outside sales reps or inventory, which can save members thousands of dollars.

  • Products are drop-shipped directly from authorized suppliers or manufacturers, with 100% free shipping on everything, without exception.
  • All the major brands are available; 3M, Dentsply, Kerr, GC America along with over 350 others, including over 60 direct-manufacturer brands not available through distributors.
  • With transparent pricing, every TPD Buyer’s Club customer pays the same low price, regardless of practice size or order volume.

Are you paying more than you need to for your supplies? It’s not that easy to determine. Comparing prices on supplies is a time-consuming project. Since most distributors assign their own unique item number to each product, making an apples-to-apples comparison on a larger number of items is difficult. It requires looking up each item, one by one, verifying the manufacturer’s sku number, the product size, unit of measurement, color, shape or any number of variants to ensure a proper comparison is being made. In addition, house brand or private label items might have unique qualities requiring further research to ensure you are making a fair quality comparison. It can be difficult for most practices to justify the time it takes to find out if you are paying more than you need to for supplies. Dentists often ignore it altogether, or they will only spot check an item or two, which does not provide a complete picture.

The TPD Buyer’s Club support staff will do the legwork for you, for free! Simply fax or e-mail a few months’ worth of recent supply invoices. They’ll look up each item and put together a side by side comparison of the same products, showing how much you will save when ordering through TPDBuyersClub.com.

You can e-mail your invoices to support@tpdbuyersclub. com, or fax your invoices to 877-387-9438. Your report will be completed within 48 hours.

For more information on the TPD Buyer’s Club, contact customer support at 877-410-5921.

  1. Garvin J. HPI: 7.4 percent of U.S. dentists are affiliated with dental service organizations. ADA News. https://www.ada.org/en/publications/ada-news/2017-archive/march/hpi-7-4-percent-of-us-dentists-are-affiliated-with-dental-service-organizations. Published March 2017.
  2. Levin R. Controlling your dental practice’s overhead. Dentistry IQ, Principles of Practice management e-newsletter. https://www.dentistryiq.com/articles/2018/05/controlling-your-dental-practice-s-overhead.html. Published May 2018.
  3. Heartland Dental selects Patterson Dental as distribution partner [news release]. St. Paul, MN, and Effingham, IL: Patterson Companies and Heartland Dental; October 11, 2016. http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20161011005520/en/Heartland-Dental-Selects-Patterson-Dental-Distribution-Partner.

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