There are two primary types of dental practices: Corporate Dentistry and Private Dentistry.
The corporate vs. private dentistry debate has gained significant momentum over the past few decades, and for good reasons. Today, most dentists take some time to decide which one of the two is the best alternative — but this doesn’t mean that this process is straightforward.
In this article, we’ll define both private and corporate practices. We’ll also share a list of private practice and corporate dentistry pros and cons to ensure that you have all the necessary information to make the best decision.
Corporate Dentistry – Pros & Cons
Let’s start by defining corporate dentistry.
Corporations exist in a huge variety of industries, including dentistry. Corporate dentistry is a dental care practice owned by a dental service organization or DSO. The DSO is not an individually owned organization but a corporate entity that handles all administrative matters.
Dentists and other practitioners maintain clinical control of the office, which means that these experts still control large aspects of the day-to-day interactions.
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of corporate dental offices.
Corporate Dentistry Pros
One of the biggest reasons practitioners choose to become corporate dentistry employees is professional stability.
Corporate dental practices usually offer competitive pay, paid vacations, in-house insurance plans, and attractive retirement plans. This, combined with the ability to fast track the accomplishment of specific career goals, is why many new practitioners decide to go corporate straight out of dental school.
Additional benefits of working for a corporate dental office include:
Corporate practices usually have a roster of dozens, if not hundreds of practitioners. This gives you more flexibility as an employee since it’s easier to find a reliable professional to cover your absences. This ability alone is enough for some dentists to work for corporate practices, especially for practitioners with small children.
Continued Education and Skill Development
Corporate dental clinics want to stay competitive, and the only way to stay updated with the latest treatments is through continuing education. It’s customary for corporate dentistry practices to cover the cost of additional education and upskilling, which can open up great opportunities for dentists later on.
Access to a Network of Dental Care Experts
Having access to a wide network of professionals is priceless, especially for young practitioners. Working for a corporate dental practice is a great way to meet fellow dentists and build a network of practitioners that can provide treatment recommendations for difficult-to-treat cases.
Practitioners that want to own their personal practice in the future can also benefit from having a wide network of experts in the dental field because this can help them provide more services and personalized care later on.
A Fully Stacked Practice
Keeping a tidy and well-equipped practice takes a significant amount of time and effort. Fortunately, corporate dental centers have teams responsible for maintaining the facilities and ensuring that the materials are in stock. This may seem trivial, but it can be the difference between delivering a poor experience and exceeding patient expectations.
Corporate Dentistry Cons
Working for a corporate practice brings a variety of great benefits. However, there are certain setbacks that you need to consider to make an informed decision.
For starters, if you’re an employee at a corporate practice, you won’t have control over the business decisions. This may lead to a change in policy or similar adjustment that you disagree with and cause friction with the management team.
Not only this, but some of the setbacks that come with working for corporate offices include:
Large Focus on the Bottom Line
Corporations run strictly as a business, which is the reason they can achieve large-scale growth. But, this also means that there is a larger focus on the bottom line and profitability when compared to private dental practices.
This impacts dental practitioners because they may be required to sell treatments with the sole goal of making more money.
Potential for Unrealistic Recommendations or Expectations
Corporate dentist practices usually feature a combination of dental experts and administrative team members.
While this close proximity can sometimes create a sustainable relationship, there are also instances where practitioners receive unrealistic recommendations from non-clinical team members. This can become a major source of distress and apply unnecessary pressure on practitioners.
High Turnover Rate
Whether it’s attributed to the fact that many practitioners choose to open their own practice or another factor, there is no denying that employee turnover is much higher incorporate dental offices.
This is a disadvantage because patients like the idea of building a connection with their dentist. Therefore, having a high turnover rate makes it harder to develop the patient-doctor trust that’s present in all successful private practices.
Private Practice – Pros & Cons
The idea of creating a private dental practice is instantly appealing to almost all practitioners, but owning a business is very different from working at one.
Dental care experts that start their own practice have to choose the services they will provide, find financing, and develop a plan to attract customers. But, this setup can also provide a sense of achievement that’s simply impossible to achieve when working under another dentist or for a corporation.
Here are the pros and cons of private practices.
Private Practice Pros
First, let’s go over the advantages of privately-owned dental practices.
The first and most obvious benefit of practice ownership is the ability to make more money. This is usually a long-term goal because setting up a business requires a loan. For this reason, it may take some time for you to see an exponential increase in terms of earnings.
That said, there is no doubt that dental professionals can generate more profits by setting up private practices rather than working for a corporation.
Not only this but other benefits of owning private practice includes:
Becoming Part of a Tightly-Knit Team
Patients tend to experience a more personalized experience in private practices, but they are not the only ones to benefit from the friendlier atmosphere.
Professionals that work at private dentistry offices tend to develop closer bonds, forming a tightly-knit group that often develops into a friendship. In addition to obvious advantages like a more positive work environment, your employees will be more engaged and aware of each other during daily interactions.
Easier to Establish
Corporate practices need large volumes of customers due to the higher overhead. Private dental offices, on the other hand, don’t require as many patients in order to become profitable.
Independent professionals also have an easier time integrating into their immediate communities, making it easier to establish a private practice.
Control During Decision-Making Processes
From the services being offered to the price of each treatment, private practice owners have full control over business decisions. Now, this power may be split among multiple practitioners if there is more than one partner. Nevertheless, this setup allows dentists to influence decisions, contrary to corporate practices that receive instructions from decision-makers.
A Fully Tailored Office
Private dental practices can be tailored to their owners’ preferences. From the equipment being purchased to the layout and appearance of the entire practice, private dentists can choose every detail about their businesses and how they operate.
Private Practice Cons
It’s true that private practitioners enjoy great benefits, but owning and managing a business is still extremely challenging.
For instance, private practice owners don’t usually have a large team at their disposal. This means that practice owners have limited flexibility because they can’t take time off unless they plan ahead. Additionally, missing work may represent financial losses, and these need to be factored into every decision.
Moreover, some of the biggest setbacks of starting your own practice include:
In addition to restocking the basics and ensuring that all dental materials are available, private practitioners need to handle a huge number of administrative responsibilities. This includes hiring new team members, monitoring the business finances, and attracting new patient leads. The good news is that you can rely on dental care program providers like Membersy to establish a recurring base of local customers.
Higher Risk Than Working for a Corporation
Like every business, private dental practices need to make a profit to stay open. While there’s certainly a huge market for dental care providers in the US, there are many other factors that influence the success of this type of business.
This represents a much bigger risk than working for a corporation, as it can incur significant financial debt and emotional distress.
Select the Practice that Best Suits Your Needs
There is no right or wrong answer when choosing between starting a private practice and working for a corporate dentistry office. Both of these bring distinct benefits and disadvantages. You need to decide based on the career goals you want to achieve and where you are in that process to find the best alternative.
If you want to learn about the best ways to promote a dental practice, joining a dental program is a great way to increase your recurring base. To find out more about the different types of practices that can join dental programs, get in touch with Membersy, and our team will be glad to help.