3 Reasons Why Your Dental Referrals Are Dropping Like a Bomb

Are your referrals dropping like most specialists are?

Were you at the Boston AAP meeting? It was a great venue with fantastic food and even better weather….but (there’s always a but!) I have a confession to make. It seems that I came away learning MORE from a handful of hard working private practitioners than any of the courses I attended.

Let me explain….

During each break, the majority of the attendees would get together in the hallway and discuss strategy of what course to attend next. I kept my ears open during these casual times and some similar topics kept poking their ugly heads up.

One group practice, Dr. Barry Weiss and Dr. Brian Evans were speaking with another Connecticut periodontist about how much their dental referral “landscape” has changed within the last couple of years. I overheard heard them say that one of their “top” referrals of many, many years asked them to dinner a few months ago and dropped the “bomb” on them so to speak. He informed them that he has “secretly” been attending a hands-on implant course of over a year duration and as of their conversation, would now be keeping all implant and implant related surgeries (extractions, grafting, etc) in-house.

Sound familiar?

Another conversation I eavesdropped on was one of the good Dr. Evans again (sorry Dr. Brian!) telling another colleague about how much he’s enjoying working with and mentoring the GPR residents at Yale Dental. He went on to say that these dentists are being exposed to many different types of surgical procedures and are much more well prepared to perform these types of treatments than ever before.

Folks, I hope you can start to begin seeing the handwriting on the wall.

During the meeting, I came up with:

3 Reasons Why Your Dental Referrals Are Dropping Like a Bomb

  1. Dental students and residents are graduating with much more surgical knowledge than ever before thus will be a huge asset to the practices they join or the ones that they start up from scratch.
  2. More and more general dentists are taking courses to place implants and perform surgical procedures to make their practices a “one-stop shop” for their patients
  3. General dentists are hiring “traveling” specialists to come into their practices & treat their patients. This is a huge win for this type of group of specialists because all they have to do is “show up”, treat patients and leave with no staff or overhead. Actually these groups are becoming more and more popular especially out West.

So, as you can see, you can learn A LOT from attending meetings, eavesdropping and listening to other’s problems.

Misery loves company.

Are you too going to join in OR are you going to do something different and begin positioning your practice as the Go-To  practice?

Why? Because it’s not a matter of what if my dental referrals dry up it’s when. And when that happens, will you be prepared to weather the impending storm?

Do me a favor, in the comment box below, let me know what you are currently doing NOW to combat any of these 3 key areas.




6 Comments on “3 Reasons Why Your Dental Referrals Are Dropping Like a Bomb”

  1. Thank you, Jeff, Roger Parkes here just down the road from you. We have been able to stay busy and even exceed our past production with our internet patients. We have a website that drives people to us. Over half of the people out there don’t even go to the dentist and when they decide they have to do something they go online. They will drive past 10 other periodontists and oral surgeons to get to you. It seems like the farther away the better. Doing procedures like multiple extractions and multiple implants for an over denture or all on four is what will separate you right now. Do 5 or 6 big cases a month and it really makes up for some lost referrals. Where we live, many times the dentists in the small towns around allow themselves to be comfortable and don’t like doing a lot of complicated stuff. So we concentrate on out of town referrals. Also LANAP laser and grafting with Pinhole technique will separate you from a general dentist who is trying to do it all. What else? Keep up the good work, Jeff!

    1. Hey Roger,

      I agree totally with revamping the way we, as periodontists and other specialists, have to market our practices.
      I’ll also take it ONE step further and say that the #1 thing we should focus on is….Marketing INFORMATION & NOT ourselves or our practices.
      Consumers want information. Those businesses that can provide the MOST will win.

  2. Staying on the top of our game, being a fantastic accessible resource ANYTIME and dominating the the CE landscape has allowed to continue growing. Some of our best referrals place their own implants

    1. Hi Thanos,

      Is your CE targeted MORE to dentists or hygienists or both?
      Most periodontists tend to forget about how important it is to provide CE to hygienists as they many times have the ability to refer without having to get approval from their dentist.
      Great info!

  3. Hi Jeff,
    I’m Dave Lipson from Palo Alto. Many of my referrals are now coming from the internet. People here want specialists to place their implants and grafts. A lot of them are pretty high end people who don’t really care what things cost as long as they are done right. Thus, that’s what I focus on, just taking my time and doing it right. I’ve decided to run a low risk, highly predictable practice which means I’ve done away with lasers and pinhole techniques which are costly, unpredictable and generally just not good, solid treatment. I’ve even given up on alloderm despite the fact that I was trained by a guru on the subject at Baylor, simply because the results with it are unpredictable. Nope, I’ve gone back to connective tissue grafts and they work great. So far as implants are concerned I use Straumann, Astra Tech and Nobel. I stick with the pricey stuff but fortunately people here can afford it so the business model works

    1. Hi Dave,
      It’s great that you have “figured” out what works and more importantly, what does NOT work. I’m constantly preaching to the choir that every practice and location is different…but one thing remains the same. We should all focus on attracting leads from multiple sources (including dentists) and keep our funnel constantly full of leads.

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