The practice of corporate dentistry is on the rise, so it’s normal for private dentists to be curious about this business model. Whether you’re thinking about becoming a corporate dentist or want to gauge the impact that this trend has on your practice, learning about this setup will help you make better decisions in the future.
Corporate dental practices exist because there’s a market for them. Hence, there’s no denying that some consumers see value in this type of organization. In this article, we’ll define corporate dentistry, go over its pros and cons, and explain the impact that this business model has on the industry.
What Is Corporate Dentistry?
Corporate dentistry is the practice of running a dental practice like a corporate entity. Corporate dentist offices run on a low-cost, high-volume model and they are usually able to join local dental plans. In simple terms, this allows dental care experts to reduce expenses in different areas while following a strategy that’s been developed and vetted by the company’s executives.
Some individuals see corporate dentists as positive alternatives while others are not attracted to this type of service. The best way to gauge if this is the right choice for you is to study your local audience and understand your goals. Also, if your motivation for becoming a dentist is largely financial, this model may be a great solution.
Dental care providers that like the idea of maintaining more control in order to directly influence the community prefer to remain private because this setup gives them more flexibility.
Pros and Cons of Corporate Dentistry
Private dental practices are still the norm, but corporate dental clinics are now found in most major cities. Now, the reason why corporate dental centers have not overtaken private dental practices is that the former has both pros and cons. You need to keep these in mind if you need to decide between corporate and private dentistry.
Here are a few corporate dentistry pros and cons you should consider before making a final decision:
The most obvious benefit of a corporate dental office is that this strategic partnership provides access to required materials at a lower cost. Corporate entities that own and manage hundreds of practices can place bulk orders. The nature of these relatively big orders allows for substantial discounts, so part of these savings are passed on to dental experts as well as patients.
It’s difficult to cut prices without impacting other areas of private dental practice. Corporate partnerships also allow you to target a brand new market segment and provide high-quality dental care to patients at a lower cost without sacrificing revenue.
Additionally, other benefits of becoming a corporate practice include:
Rotate Team Members Regularly
One of the biggest issues that private dental practices face is employee fatigue. Dental care experts want their team members to provide the best patient care, which requires a certain amount of continuity and physical presence. However, this can also make it difficult for team members to get time off, resulting in eventual burnout.
Corporate executives take employee burnout and other factors into consideration when developing a business plan. Therefore, it’s easier for team members to request vacations, have time to unwind, and take turns rotating in order to keep the practice up and running.
Better Benefit Packages for Employees
It doesn’t matter how good your private practice is, corporate dental offices will likely offer a better benefits package. The reason for this is that corporations have more resources and can also leverage bulk purchases, which are both extremely difficult to achieve by a private professional.
Corporate employee benefits packages can help attract top talent and ensure that team members are motivated every single day. This follows the same logic as bulk purchases: corporate organizations often get great deals when they’re purchasing hundreds of services from different providers at the same time.
Allows for Upskilling at a Lower Price
As in all other health and well-being industries, dental care professionals need to stay updated with the latest changes in order to deliver the best services. Now, private dentists have to cover the full price of these seminars and additional training sessions out of pocket.
Corporate practitioners, on the other hand, have access to educational opportunities that are paid for by the head office. This includes training that boosts productivity for practitioners as well as other team members.
The biggest downfall of corporate dental services is the potential lack of personalized care. In addition to costs and quality, many patients look for practices with a friendly atmosphere.
Corporate dental offices center around efficiency and productivity, so patients don’t tend to see the same practitioner. This means that achieving a high level of patient-doctor trust is more difficult than in general dentistry offices.
Additionally, other potential concerns you should keep in mind include:
A Higher Focus on Numbers and Performance
One of the biggest challenges that you have to face when transitioning to a corporate setup is a heavier focus on numbers and overall performance.
Many dental care providers follow this path because they want to have a positive impact on the community, which requires full control of their businesses. When a dental practice is owned by a corporate entity, the practitioner has to prioritize revenues and overall business performance, potentially limiting the direct impact on the community.
Friction Between Corporate Team Members and Practitioners
Corporate team members play a crucial role in the success of corporate dentists. That said, it’s common to experience some friction between the corporate and clinical teams, especially when it’s time to deliver feedback, highlight areas of improvement, or make new suggestions.
An example of this occurs when corporate team members make unrealistic suggestions, which are often rooted in their lack of clinical understanding. The clinical and corporate teams need to be on the same page to reduce any potential issues at all costs.
Relative Lack of Continuity
Besides the fact that some patients enjoy working with the same doctor, dental care providers also like working with the same team members.
The problem is that, in a corporate structure, all decisions are made by executives and this includes team members. This results in a higher turnaround rate than most private offices and a frustrating situation for the practitioner.
How Will Corporate Dentistry Affect Other Practices?
The proliferation of corporate dental offices will undoubtedly impact the rest of the industry. Private providers that are on the smaller side will likely lack the resources to compete with their corporate rivals. These practitioners will need to make adjustments and get creative in order to make up for it in other ways.
Two great steps that you can take to combat corporate competitors are to enhance the client experience and join dental programs that help secure a more predictable income stream. Dental providers can enhance the patient experience through a variety of channels. To make the most impactful adjustments, your best bet is to touch base with your client base and get direct feedback on how to improve the experience you’re providing.
Dental care plans are membership programs where clients pay a monthly fee and receive access to discounted oral care services. By joining a reputable program, you can ensure a set amount of income every month and still have the flexibility to manage your business as you see fit.
There’s no denying that dental corporations have their space in the market, but they are not for all patients or dentists. We hope that this article gives you a better understanding of corporate practices and how they work so that you can make a better decision about your future.
Is a DSO the same as a corporation?
The short answer is no, a dental service organization or DSO works on behalf of the corporation and is in charge of managing most, if not all operational aspects. But, it is not the corporation that owns the practice.
Is Dental Corp profitable?
With more than 80 dental practices and an annual revenue surpassing the $180 million mark, Dental Corp is a rising star in the dental care industry. Unlike most corporate entities, Dental Corp has built a reputation for allowing practitioners to retain a large percentage of their autonomy while running their organizations.
What type of dental offices are owned by a corporation?
Corporate entities can own all types of dental offices, including general dentists, endodontics, periodontists, orthodontists, and other specialties. Moreover, it’s also common for corporations to establish multi-specialty practices that offer a wide collection of services.