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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Who Is Running the Show at This Dental Office?

Michael Barr, DDS
Palm Beach Smiles, is owned and operated by Michael Barr, DDS.  That's me.  I'm the "chief cook and bottle washer," since 1994, at the same location in Boynton Beach, Florida.  As it stands, it is Florida law for dental practices to be owned by a dentist.  Why is this important or relevant?  Read on.

What is "Corporate Dentistry?"

But, that's apparently not always the case these days.  How so?  Maybe you've noticed a number of dental practices with multiple locations and a brand names that rhyme with Masspin, DownCare, or Page Dental.  There are others.  You have likely seen their TV ads.  These are large corporations that have dental clinics all over the state and even nationwide.

I call it "bus station dentistry."

These are massive corporations that manage to get around the state regulations by hiring dentists to pose as owners.  But, they aren't running the show.  Usually, these "owner dentists" are not working as dentists in those offices.

Rather, they hire associate dentists (often new dentists) to see patients.  LOTS of patients.  They have production quotas for the associate dentists.  The dentists are often directed by the office manager (not a dentist) on treatment planning.  There is reportedly a lot of pressure to produce.  I've known dentists in these clinics that are seeing as many as five patients simultaneously. 

What happened to the dentist I saw last time?

Not surprisingly, these offices have a high turnover of dentists and staff.  There is a very good chance you won't see the same people six months later. 

Over the many years I've been in practice, I've seen many patients who have left these corporate dental practices disappointed by the lack of personalized service and questionable treatment plans. 

Jo-Ann - Office Manager
My purpose is not to claim superiority or cast aspersions.  It is simply to point out some differences between "corporate dentistry" and private care dentistry.  Patients should know who owns the practice.  Ask questions.   

  • Who is the owner?  
  • Where is the owner?  
  • Does he or she see patients?  
  • Is he / she here today? 
  • Is there a corporation that owns or "manages" the office?  
  • Where is the headquarters located?

If the office staff cannot answer the question, you may reconsider being a patient there, in my opinion.  If the owner is an absentee figurehead, the same applies.

I admit to being a bit dismayed at what I see going on "out there."  PBS did a special report about the detrimental aspects of corporate dentistry, which you can see here:  "Dollars & Dentists." 

Kim - Registered Dental Hygienist

Where everyone knows your name...

Palm Beach Smiles is a private care practice, in Boynton Beach, owned by me, Dr. Michael Barr.  There are no outside corporate interests telling me what to do.   My only guide, day to day, is my professional training and experience.  What would I do if the patient was my family?  What is best for the patient?  I strongly believe that is the best and ONLY path.  I love what I do.  Dentistry is my passion.  I want to keep it that way.  I could never take orders from "upper management" when it comes to treating my patients.  I love providing the best care possible for my patients.  It is important that my patients understand their condition and treatment options.

I like to think we provide the latest, proven dental care with "old school" service.  That means attention to detail.  It means seeing one patient at a time.  It means getting to know our patients.  It means spending TIME with out patients, making sure they understand what is happening and how best to prevent further issues.  It means "being there" for our patients.  You won't find our reception area full of people waiting to be seen (like a bus station).  There is no "sign in" sheet.  We are expecting you.  Jo-Ann will greet you when you walk in.

Sandy - chairside assistant
I have been at this location in Boynton Beach since 1994.  My office manager, Jo-Ann has been here for 15 years.  Sandy, my assistant, has been working by my side for 18 years.  Kim, our hygienist, is our newest team member with 2 years at Palm Beach Smiles (but has 12 years of experience).  It's just the four of us!  Every time you visit us, it will be the same familiar faces.

If you'd prefer "old school" one-patient-at-a-time service where "everyone knows your name," please visit our website or give us a call.  You can visit our recently updated website at:  You can even book an appointment right on our website!  Or you can give us a call at 561-736-2377.   We'd love to meet you! 

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