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Why Aren’t More Dentists Jumping On The Membership Bandwagon?

Let’s talk about something that’s been on my mind lately. Have you noticed how everyone seems to be offering membership plans these days? From streaming services to fitness centers, it’s all about subscriptions and memberships. Yet, when we zoom into the dental sphere, it appears we’re not entirely keeping up with the trend. Despite its apparent benefits, a mere 10% of dental practices in the U.S. offer in-house membership plans. It begs the question: Why aren’t more dentists joining the membership revolution?

1. The Fear of the Unknown

Dentistry, at its heart, is a science. We, as practitioners, are trained to diagnose and treat based on evidence. Now, when you introduce a brand-new business model, without a ton of widespread success stories or long-term data available, it can feel like venturing into the wild unknown. And let’s face it, nobody wants their practice to be a test subject, right?

2. The “If It Ain’t Broke” Mentality

Many practices have been running smoothly with traditional payment methods for years. They’ve built a loyal client base, are turning in profits, and don’t feel the pressure to shake things up. The thought process here is simple: Why fix something that isn’t broken?

3. Admin Overhead Nightmares

Introducing a membership plan isn’t just about setting a monthly fee and watching the subscriptions roll in. There’s a backend aspect—tracking memberships, handling renewals, and managing discounts. The idea of adding another layer of administrative tasks can seem daunting to many, especially smaller practices without a significant administrative team.

4. The Misconception of Value

There’s a lingering perception among some dentists that membership plans might devalue their services. Offering discounted treatments can be misconstrued as offering ‘cheap’ services, and not every dentist is on board with that.

5. The Insurance Safety Net

Like it or not, dental insurance, with all its quirks, provides a sense of predictability. Practices are familiar with the terms, the claims process, and the rates. Introducing an in-house membership plan would mean navigating new terrain and possibly contending with patient confusion over choosing between insurance or membership.

6. Financial Predictability (Or Lack Thereof)

In the world of dental insurance, there’s a clear framework—patients avail treatments, claims are submitted, and reimbursements are received. The predictability of this flow, even with its hitches, might seem more appealing than the uncertainty of how many patients would opt into a membership, renew it, and what the overall financial implications might be.

7. Marketing Hurdles

Let’s be real; marketing a new concept requires effort. For practices without a dedicated marketing team, the thought of educating patients about the benefits of a membership plan, running promotional campaigns, and handling inquiries might feel overwhelming.

8. Regulatory Grey Areas

Every state has its nuances when it comes to dental care regulations. Some practitioners express concerns about possible legal implications or grey areas surrounding membership plans. And sifting through legal jargon isn’t everyone’s cup of tea!

9. Fear of Patient Pushback

What if long-term patients don’t see the value in a membership plan? What if they perceive this as a money-grabbing move? The fear of alienating loyal patients by introducing a new system can be a significant deterrent.

10. Simply Being Unaware

Believe it or not, despite our connected world, not every dental practice is aware of the benefits of in-house membership plans or how to implement them. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of not having the right information.


The world of dentistry is ever-evolving. New treatments, techniques, and even business models keep the industry dynamic. While in-house membership plans might seem like the new kid on the block, they’re rooted in a model that many other industries have found success with. Yes, there are challenges and concerns, but like every aspect of our practice, they can be navigated with the right knowledge and support. Maybe it’s time for more of us to dig a bit deeper, shed our reservations, and see what this membership buzz is all about!

So, what do you think? Are you ready to hop on the bandwagon, or do you still have reservations? Either way, the conversation is open, and the dental community can only benefit from sharing insights and experiences. Let’s chat!


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