Professional Courtesy: Just Say No to Doom and Gloom by Dr. Thomas Giacobbi

Professional Courtesy: Just Say No to Doom and Gloom

by Thomas Giacobbi, DDS, FAGD, editorial director

There is a terrific thread on Dentaltown that was started in May 2022; it has more than 37,000 views and more than 2,000 comments. Its title is “Recession 2022–2023 or Not?”—a great question, because we’ve all discussed this topic with friends or financial advisors over the past six-plus months.

While many people enjoy debating the reasons why we’re looking at a poor economic outlook, I’m not an economist or someone who’ll touch the third rail of politics in my happy little monthly column. I’d rather spend time and energy thinking about how we can prepare for any challenging times ahead and finish 2023 with smiles on our faces.

Patients are still playing catch-up
The post-COVID-19 surge in dental needs will continue into at least the first half of 2023. Many patients who delayed necessary treatment are running out of time to address these needs.

Our profession is often described as “recession-proof” because in good times and bad, people still get cavities, break teeth or have other dental needs that can’t be postponed. However, a poor economy can lead some patients to delay procedures they see as elective, such as veneers and orthodontics. Plenty of people will still be able to afford such treatment, but we all have patients who could lose their benefits if they’re laid off.

Team training will pay long-run dividends
If your office experiences a lag in activity during 2023, plan to do some training with your team. Now more than ever, retaining team members is critical to your future success. We’re all aware of the difficulty in staffing dental practices throughout the country. Training and team-building activities will improve your efficiencies, give team members confidence that your practice will weather the storm and provide a big boost to your practice when the economic sun is shining again.

Make a difference close to home
When your patients are facing tough times, it can be an opportunity to do some charitable dentistry in your own community. Keep your team on the lookout for cases that may benefit from your kindness— a patient who has lost a job and their dental benefits, for example, or someone who needs a smile refresh so they can interview with confidence. You might think I’m crazy to suggest charitable dentistry if we’re in the depths of a recession, but these could be cases that fi t into your training plan.

I’m also not suggesting you turn your office into a free clinic; you’ll still have bills to pay, and the current economic conditions have already contributed to wage inflation and increases in every other practice overhead expense.

Don’t forget self-improvement, too
Depending on the depth of the expected recession, you may want to look in the mirror and consider some training of your own. This can take many forms, such as focusing your online CE efforts in a new area or taking a trip to one of many educational opportunities around the country to expand your skills.

Spending the time and money now means you’ll be able to pull your practice out of a recession faster. It’s easy for dentists to see the negative or become consumed by their current challenges, but with some effort you can use these challenging times as opportunities for growth.

I would love to hear about your thoughts and plans for rough times ahead. Are you planning for a recession or something else? Please share your comments under this article below, or email me at

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