Every year, new dental practices open. Increasingly, we’re seeing what are known in the trade as large practices, which employ more than 20 people and have multiple locations, open at a much faster rate than the traditional, familiar smaller dental practice. This big-chain style of dentistry is most popular in the West, according to this Dr.Bicuspid article; here in the Northeast, the trend still favors smaller practices, such as we have here in Quincy.
It’s important to understand that the experience of going to a big chain dental practice will be, by definition, very different than that of going to your family dentist. Many of these chains are staffed by relatively inexperienced dentists, who use this entry level position to build their skills before going on to start practices of their own.
Continuity of care is important to many families – you want to know that if you or your child starts seeing a dentist, that dentist will be involved with your care for years to come. While this is the norm at a dental practice like the one we have here in Quincy, that’s not necessarily the case in a big chain practice, where the high-volume, heavy sales pressure environment can cause dentists to leave with surprising regularity. If you value continuity of care, the chances are you’ll be better served by a smaller dental practice.
The final issue to take into consideration is expertise, particularly if you have complex dental health needs, or have other medical issues which make addressing your dental care challenging. While a big chain practice may have several dentists, you will want to do your due diligence to make sure at least one of them has the necessary depth of experience needed to meet your unique needs.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with the idea of big chain dentistry. This world has room for McDonald’s and the fine steak house – but let’s not pretend that those two dining options are identical. The same is true for dental care. You want to know what you’re getting, including what type of quality of care and experience you can expect, before you make your choices!