Open for Business

The 32 prominent personalities we highlight in this issue are but a sliver of the players who exert their sway on dentistry today. You, for example.

FOR US, SELECTING THE 32 Most Influential People in Dentistry every year isn’t a popularity contest. It’s a rallying cry. Our 32 are making a real impact, shaping dentistry every day and moving it in new directions. You’re a dental influencer, too, though—part of an army of hundreds of thousands nationwide. Are you on board with dentistry’s path forward?

Consider the American Dental Association. Without question, it’s a powerful voice for doctors, long dominating the conversation about dentistry in American politics. With millions of dollars behind it annually and a highly sophisticated and well-honed lobbying structure, it gets things accomplished (see page 48). More proof: An unprecedented five dentists now hold seats in Congress, thanks in part to support from the ADA’s American Dental Political Action Committee. Right now, doctors hold more political currency than ever. How would you spend it?

Of course, the very model for delivering care is undergoing a seismic shift. Doctors who believe that patients overwhelmingly value highly personal, multigenerational relationships with solo practitioners are being challenged by DSOs across America. But there’s an emerging middle ground (page 30). They’re not solo, not DSO, but instead finding just the right balance of strength in numbers and economies of scale to effectively compete with major DSOs. Is this the new blueprint for an efficient, successful practice that retains a highly human touch?

Our rankings aren’t a popularity contest—they’re a rallying cry.

Then there’s our No. 1 Influencer, Align Technology leader Joseph Hogan. Invisalign disrupted ortho by taking its product direct to consumers like big pharma. In the process it became ubiquitous so quickly that Invisalign is to plastic aligners what Kleenex is to tissues. Doctors are a key part of Invisalign’s operating model—but less so with the rise of competitors like our No. 11 Influencer, Smile Direct Club (page 36). Will teledentistry and treatment via UPS become ortho’s new normal?

If you’re constantly being asked about charcoal toothpaste, meanwhile, thank (or blame) bloggers like our No. 24 Influencer, Lauryn Evarts. TheSkinnyConfidential head honcho, whose social-media following is over 1 million strong, asserts that “every other toothpaste should F off.” Despite scant scientific evidence charcoal actually does anything, and some indications it’s potentially harmful, consumer demand has been stoked. Manufacturers are responding by adding charcoal to practically everything, and you can’t swing a smartphone at your local drugstore without crashing into shelves full of them. How are you responding to your patients’ questions?

Reach out with your thoughts and suggestions. If it’s important to you, it’s important to us. Because in the end, you and all of dentistry will always be our biggest influencer.