Dental Insider Blog

Observation and Commentary On the Dental Industry

The Dog Days of Summer…

Posted by dentalinsider on August 27, 2008

The phrase Dog Days or “the dog days of summer”, refers to the hottest, most sultry days of summer. In the northern hemisphere they usually fall between early July and early September. Dog Days can also define a time period or event that is very hot or stagnant, or marked by dull lack of progress.

For as many years as I have been in the dental industry, this summer seems to be slowest that I can recall. I have spoken with manufacturer’s reps, supply and equipment reps from both large and small companies, and dentist’s over the last few weeks. The consensus…this summer is in the toilet and the rest of the year isn’t looking all that good either. Many of the doctors that I have spoken with are seeing patients cancel appointments at the last minute and not reschedule or they just don’t show up at all. Many are taking impromptu vacations or days off because they can’t fill the schedule. Others are pulling people out of hygiene when they need work and are willing to do it now. In these tough times, people will put off dental work, whether it is a necessity or not.

With the doctors not working as much, the trickle down effect is that suppliers are not moving as much inventory, which is hurting the manufacturers. I spoke with a manufacturers rep from an equipment company last week who told me that management is telling them to work any deal necessary to move the equipment. Even with that, equipment wasn’t moving and leads were pretty slim for the coming months. One person said “Let’s see how the CDA (San Francisco) goes, that will tell alot about how the 4th quarter shapes up”

I think we are going to stay in this holding pattern until the financial sector of the stock markets shakes out all of the bad news…and there will be more of it coming, we haven’t seen the auto loans and the credit cards get defaulted on yet. I think we are looking at Q2 2009 before we see things pick up.

What are your thoughts on these “dog days of summer” in the dental industry?

This summer has be fairly quiet in the rumor department, although I think we will see some big things announced come the end of the year.

Hope everyone has a great Labor Day weekend! We’ll be taking a few days off and will return next week.



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7 Responses to “The Dog Days of Summer…”

  1. Dental Guy said

    Well, “my people” say things are going okay. However, the problems are very regional. Sales in Michigan are in the toliet, but places like Texas are doing fine.

    I only work with people in consumables. So, I can’t speak for equipment.

  2. I agree DI, this summer does seem slower than most in the dental software arena as well. However, I’m optimistic that this ‘back-to-school’ time of the year will give the dental industry a little boost out of the dog days of summer.

    We are certainly noticing the trickle-down effect that you mentioned, though.

  3. jenna said

    I’m not a dentist, but I know that, as a patient, even just to get a cleaning seems really expensive. Typically, when I go in (and mind you- I haven’t had any cavities or anything for the past few years now), the copay is still upwards of $25. Now, I know that this may not be a huge deal to some people, but god forbid I do have to have any actual dental work done- what would it be then? One of the gentlemen I work with recently informed me that he just went to the dentist and was told that he had 9 cavities and one possible route canal..all this from someone who claimed to never have a cavity before. I naturally assumed that he had the work done to take care of the problem but was shocked when he told me that he hadn’t done anything about it yet- and the cause? Too expensive…

  4. We are working with many dentists in the NYC Tri-State area and it is a mixed bag – some are busier than ever and some are feeling some pain – everyone expected the last two to four weeks to be slow, but these next couple of weeks should tell the tale.

  5. Dental Guy said

    Oh Jenna! You totally mentioned something that get’s me going…

    First off, dental insurance is crap, and you can’t expect it to cover all of your expenses. Secondly, regular dental cleanings keep your dental costs down overtime. It’s the guy with 9 cavities fault for not visiting the dentist regularly, and the cost is his responsibility. Healthcare is not cheap, but at some point people have to own up to the responsibility of taking care of themselves. If you have dental insurance, chances are the out of of pocket expenses/copay for a cleaning, xrays, and exam cost less than $50. In most cases, that’s about a tank of gas. If you don’t have dental insurance and you visit a moderately priced dentist, there’s no reason anyone should spend over $300 a year on regualr cleanings, checkups, and xrays. (Although the ADA recommends two cleanings a year, I think most people people just settle for once a year) Please note, dental insurance costs much more than $300 a year. So, you would still be saving money!!

  6. Excellent points Dental Guy. It seems to me that insurance should never be necessary for any preventive work. It’s not like you need to use your car insurance for regular oil change and tune-ups; rather, you have your car insurance, like your medical insurance, for more catastrophic events. And, although there are a number of procedures that can be costly for dental, there will never be a $25,000 hospital bill associated with a crown or any other dental work for that matter.

    Another option – take the money you’re going to spend monthly on dental insurance, and put it into a savings account. Like Dental Guy said, by getting routine x-rays and check ups, you can certainly prevent having to spend big bucks on restorative work. However, even if you do require some work, it will still cost less than you would spend on most individual plans.

  7. Confused? said

    Where do you find $50 cleaning, xrays, and exams? In our little town the average is $150-$200 for those small things. Most companies don’t offer dental insurance it’s usually the patient that has to come out of pocket and if they don’t have to spend that money until something hurts than they won’t. It’s the same as say your car do you bring it to your dealership at certain miles like your manual states or do you wait until something starts making noises to bring it in?

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