Dentaltown July 2020 - 12

howard speaks
column

Why Are You Resisting Change?
Do you support hygienists opening their own hygiene
clinics? A Townie asked this question in a poll on the
Practice Management & Administrative forum on
Dentaltown in early June, and more than 500 people
posted their opinions in the first 10 days.
To me, that question is just another way to ask,
"Do you support direct access?" So far, the majority of
Townies say no. I don't understand these colleagues!
A hundred years ago, dentistry was just about pulling
teeth; everybody ended up with sepsis and people were
exclaiming how "healthy" they were only after they'd
had all their teeth pulled. Back then, dentists thought
hygienists were a threat to their profession.
That opinion only started to change when people
started asking, "Do I want to see my children in dentures,
if that could be prevented?" In 1977, Dr. Bob Barkley was
still trying to convert dentists to champion preventive
dentistry and dental education. He was on his way to
another speaking engagement when he was killed in a
small-plane accident.

Controlling the narrative
Today, most dentists apparently are OK with dental
hygienists practicing their work only as long as they're
toiling under that dentist's thumb.
Meanwhile, the typical dentist doesn't even make
money on cleanings, because insurance reimbursements
don't pay enough to cover a $40-an-hour employee
plus overhead-especially if there's downtime between
hygiene patients. Imagine being able to use that chair
for higher-dollar procedures like emergency dentistry or
root canals, and not paying your hygienists $40 an hour
because they're doing the cleanings at their own place!
Many dentists don't like that idea,
because for them it's all about more
money, more power, more control of
their dentistry.

It's a selfish mindset
I've been traveling for speaking
engagements for 30 years now, and
in states like Colorado and Maine,

dentists who come up to me after a meeting love the
fact that hygienists can set up their own spaces. The
hygienists are often in towns with fewer than a thousand
people, which keeps dental care accessible and affordable
to rural residents, and have set up a chair in a parlor
or something to perform cleanings. Most don't take or
bill for X-rays; they're focused on cleanings and if they
see anything that concerns them, they write a referral
slip to the general dentist, just as general dentists do to
specialists like endodontists and orthodontists.
I'm embarrassed that more than 60% of Townies
don't want to give them that right! It reminds me of
back when dentists tried to control whitening-which
went to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015, when dentists
in North Carolina tried to regulate who could perform
whitening services. "We didn't invent it, and it used to
be sold over the counter, but we want to be the only
people who can legally do this." (They got overruled.)
It also reminds me that only a few months ago,
dentists were raring to shut down businesses like Smile
Direct Club because their dentists weren't always on
site; they were practicing teledentistry. All these state
dental associations were coming out with loaded barrels,
but when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, suddenly those
same dentists loved teledentistry-because it had become
convenient for them.
Our footing needs to go back to what's best for the
patient, not what's best for your paycheck. ■

Cast your vote:
Should hygienists
be able to open
their own clinics?
This thread is more than just a
poll-there's also a lively debate
about this topic on Dentaltown's
message boards! To cast your
vote and share your opinion, go
to dentaltown.com/magazine
and click the link in this column.

by Howard Farran, DDS, MBA, publisher, Dentaltown magazine

12

JULY 2020 // dentaltown.com

DT0720_Howard-Speaks_AG.indd 12

6/22/20 12:20 PM


http://www.dentaltown.com/magazine http://www.dentaltown.com

Dentaltown July 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Dentaltown July 2020

Dentaltown July 2020 - Intro
Dentaltown July 2020 - Cover1
Dentaltown July 2020 - Cover2
Dentaltown July 2020 - 1
Dentaltown July 2020 - 2
Dentaltown July 2020 - 3
Dentaltown July 2020 - 4
Dentaltown July 2020 - 5
Dentaltown July 2020 - 6
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Dentaltown July 2020 - Cover3
Dentaltown July 2020 - Cover4
https://www.nxtbook.com/farran/dentaltown/2020NewGrad
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https://www.nxtbook.com/farran/dentaltown/2019NewGrad
https://www.nxtbook.com/farran/dentaltown/2019September
https://www.nxtbook.com/farran/dentaltown/2019August
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https://www.nxtbook.com/farran/dentaltown/2019January
https://www.nxtbook.com/farran/dentaltownuk/2018Winter
https://www.nxtbook.com/farran/dentaltown/2018December
https://www.nxtbook.com/farran/dentaltown/2018November
https://www.nxtbook.com/farran/dentaltownuk/2018November
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https://www.nxtbook.com/farran/dentaltownuk/2018October
https://www.nxtbook.com/farran/dentaltown/2018NewGrad
https://www.nxtbook.com/farran/dentaltown/2018September
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https://www.nxtbook.com/farran/dentaltownuk/2018June
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https://www.nxtbook.com/farran/dentaltownuk/2018March
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https://www.nxtbook.com/farran/dentaltownuk/2018February
https://www.nxtbook.com/farran/dentaltown/2018January
https://www.nxtbook.com/farran/dentaltown/2017December
https://www.nxtbook.com/farran/dentaltownuk/2017Winter
https://www.nxtbook.com/farran/dentaltown/2017November
https://www.nxtbook.com/farran/dentaltown/2017October
https://www.nxtbook.com/farran/dentaltownuk/2017october
https://www.nxtbook.com/farran/dentaltown/NewGrad2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/farran/dentaltown/2017September
https://www.nxtbook.com/farran/dentaltownuk/2017September
https://www.nxtbook.com/farran/dentaltownuk/2017August
https://www.nxtbook.com/farran/dentaltown/2017August
https://www.nxtbook.com/farran/dentaltown/2017July
https://www.nxtbook.com/farran/dentaltownuk/2017July
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https://www.nxtbook.com/farran/dentaltown/February2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/farran/dentaltown/2017January
https://www.nxtbook.com/farran/dentaltown/2016December
https://www.nxtbook.com/farran/dentaltown/2016November
https://www.nxtbook.com/farran/dentaltown/2016October
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https://www.nxtbook.com/farran/dentaltown/2016july
https://www.nxtbook.com/farran/dentaltown/2016june
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https://www.nxtbook.com/farran/dentaltown/2016march
https://www.nxtbook.com/farran/dentaltown/2016february
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https://www.nxtbook.com/farran/dentaltown/2015december
https://www.nxtbook.com/farran/dentaltown/2015november
https://www.nxtbook.com/farran/dentaltown/2015october
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https://www.nxtbook.com/farran/dentaltown/2015september
https://www.nxtbook.com/farran/dentaltown/2015august
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https://www.nxtbook.com/farran/dentaltown/2015june
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https://www.nxtbook.com/farran/dentaltown/2015march
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https://www.nxtbook.com/farran/dentaltown/2015january
https://www.nxtbook.com/farran/dentaltown/2014december
https://www.nxtbook.com/farran/dentaltown/2014decemberb
https://www.nxtbook.com/farran/dentaltown/2014november
https://www.nxtbook.com/farran/dentaltown/2014october
https://www.nxtbook.com/farran/dentaltown/2014newgrad
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https://www.nxtbook.com/farran/dentaltown/2012december
https://www.nxtbook.com/farran/dentaltown/2012November
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