Market Focus - Dentists: Marketable Smiles
Smile! Dentists make a promising market for anyone targeting entrepreneurs or medical professionals. There are more than 228,000 dentists in the U.S., according to the American Dental Association (ADA), and their incomes tend to start at more than $100,000 and reach more than $200,000 later on, particularly for specialists. Drilling for Data
There are two kinds of dentists: general practitioners and specialists, such as cosmetic surgeons, orthodontists, oral surgeons and pediatric dentists. According to Greg Branstetter, president of Hippo Direct, a list brokerage that specializes in lists of dentists and other medical professionals, about 75 percent of dentists are general practitioners and approximately 25 percent are specialists. Specialists tend to be concentrated in
However, the line between generalist and specialist is starting to blur. “A lot of these specialties now have worked their way into the general dentistry practice,” says Branstetter. “A general practitioner dentist may be able to offer some of those services at a lower cost to patients rather than sending them off to another doctor who specializes.”
Dentists are highly educated; in fact, of the ADA membership list of more than 120,000 dentists, says Branstetter, all but 34 have a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Dental Medicine degree. According to the ADA’s Distribution of Dentists in the United States by Region and State, 2005, 69.8 percent of dentists are male and 30.2 percent are female. ADA membership is 81 percent white, 11 percent Asian, 4 percent Hispanic and 3 percent black. “A case probably can be made that minority dental markets are being underserved from that perspective,”
The dental profession encompasses a wide range of ages. Approximately 4,000 new dentists graduate from dental school each year, while about 55 percent of dental practice owners are more than 55. Some marketers segment the dentist market by age, especially if they’re promoting technology. “Many marketers have found that the younger the dentist[s], the more likely they are to adopt new technologies,” says Branstetter. In addition, dental practices often have similar life cycles: A dentist will earn his degree and work for someone else while he pays off his loans and learns the ropes, buy his own practice, and finally, get ready to sell the practice. “When dentists get over 55 or so, they tend not to spend much on their practice, because they’re really setting themselves up to go out,” explains Branstetter.