The closure of the Federal Government $1 billion a year Chronic Disease Dental Scheme (CDDS) looks set to hit many dentists hard in coming months, with analysts predicting many dental practices face a 20 per cent revenue bite.
The Australian recently reported the fallout of the closure of the scheme to be "horrific" and likely to spur a flow-on reduction in the value of practice goodwill. Meanwhile the Australian Dental Association (ADA) has also slammed the announcement, calling on the Federal Government to introduce a transition process for patients.
CEO of smile.com.au, Dion Kramer, said the closure of the CDDS combined with the number of dental graduates in Australia doubling as of 2014, meant many dentists were facing unprecedented challenges.
"We're not only looking at 20 per cent being taken off dental revenues, but also a potential oversupply of new dentists which means competition to attract new patients will be fierce," Mr Kramer said. "Practice owners would be extremely wise to rethink their marketing strategies if they are to attract new patients and retain existing ones in the face of such dramatic changes to the dental industry."
Mr Kramer said almost 500 dentists had already joined smile.com.au to help them attract new patients and take the worry out of marketing, with hundreds more on a waiting list to become a provider.
"Smile is mutually beneficial arrangement that offers reduced dental fees for members and increased patients for participating dentists. It's a win-win situation for everyone," he said.
"Many of our participating dentists have reported that Smile is helping them attract more patients than any of their other forms of marketing which is a fantastic outcome."
Mr Kramer said media had also reacted very positively to smile.com.au with news stories about the company appearing on Channel Seven and Nine as well as in several newspapers.
"We're proud to offer a solution that assists everyone involved and I'm confident Smile will become a vital marketing tool for dentists and trusted household name for patients."
Brisbane dentist, Dr Tony Franklin, said since joining Smile two years ago, he had experienced a growing influx of new patients.
"Participating in Smile works wonderfully for me as I don't have to worry about marketing as all if that is taken care of, allowing me to concentrate on running my practice," he said.
"The slightly reduced fees we offer under the Smile plan have been more than offset by the increased patients coming into the practice and decrease in the practice marketing expenditure."
To be the dental practice exclusively servicing your area, simply call 1300-657-395 or visit www.smile.com.au