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Forum Category: Practice Administration

Moderated by:
Paul Redpath

Corporate Dentistry and Recent Graduates

There has been a trend for recent dental school graduates to join corporate (DSO, Dental Support Organization) dental practices after completing a GPR. The vast majority of general dentists complete a GPR or AEGD upon completion of dental school and search for work in the surrounding town they completed the program in. The landscape for work as a recent graduate is mostly associate positions. These positions are most times for one or two days a week and so recent graduates will work for 2 or 3 offices at a time. Salary is variable with this type of model, and benefits are non-existent. More graduates are seeing the benefits to working for a DSO, where a graduate will work 5 days a week, with benefits and a minimum pay that they can use to budget for the year. One of the main barriers to this model for recent graduates is that corporate dental practices have a bad reputation. This may be true for some corporate practices as it is also true of some solo practices, but this should not deter recent graduates from at least looking into this type of dental practice. It is a different way to practice and may not be for everyone, but for recent graduates it provides the salary, job stability and training needed to get started in the dental field.
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Corporate Dentistry and Recent Graduates

09:41 AM | Feb 28,2017
Corporate dentistry is becoming an increasingly popular option for new graduates. Unless a dental student has a family member that owns a practice and can provide mentorship, corporate dentistry can be an enticing option to help develop speed and skills. Granted all DSO's are not one in the same and it is important to do your research on any company you decide to work for. It is also crucial to have an attorney look over any contracts prior to signing anything. It is also important to make sure the DSO company is set up legally and compliant with state laws you plan on practicing in. Corporate dentistry can be beneficial but you also need to protect yourself and make sure you do your research.

Corporate Dentistry and Recent Graduates

01:16 PM | Nov 22,2016
Ever since I started dental school all I’ve heard about corporate dentistry is that you are “selling your soul”. I have seen several presentations from different corporate dentistry companies and I have heard numerous opinions by dentists and fellow students. I understand that most of the time the conditions are not ideal in a corporate dentistry setting because patient/doctor time suffers and the quality of care is affected as well; but like it is stated in this post sometimes it is the only option that some graduates have. Not every graduate has an associateship or a practice to buy or take over when they are done with school. Some of the graduates need to find a way to get experience and start making a living. Corporate dentistry is the only option that meets the needs of these newly graduates. In my opinion, when choosing what to do after school it is best to consider every option without allowing other views influence our decision-making process.

Corporate Dentistry and Recent Graduates

01:06 AM | Feb 05,2016
Corporate dentistry provides access to care for individuals who may otherwise not have the means to get the dental care they need. However, with this comes complications such as the need to see more patients in less amount of time in order to create a sustainable large group practice. These clinics are nice in that they have multiple dentist who are able to collaborate about cases, and additionally gives opportunities to recent grads who may not be ready to be a small business owner or part owner. I agree in that these corporations get a bad wrap due to corners that are sometimes cut in order to make some things possible for many. Additionally, the pose a challenge for providers who believe that they are providing sub-standard care by overwhelming the provider with limited time to spend on each case. I believe that they have their purpose in the community, and although I may not choose to work at a corporate office, it may be a realistic choice for many.

Corporate Dentistry and Recent Graduates

09:19 AM | Dec 29,2015
I have considered several corporate dentistry offices as potential employment opportunities post-graduation. Before hearing older dentists opinions on corporate dentistry, I never would have thought there was a problem with corporate dentistry. I thought: "what could possible be wrong with large numbers of people being treated by large numbers of dentists all in the same place?" In fact, I thought as a new dentist it would be the best way for me to transition out of school, as I would have several second opinions at my disposal in the same building. After hearing some common criticisms of corporate dentistry, I realized that quality often suffers in these buildings because of the demand for fast production. I asked several dentists at my school on their opinions as to whether or not I should pursue a career in corporate dentistry. They told me that as long as I keep my values and quality as my number one priority, corporate dentistry is fine. They re-iterated that I need to keep my care patient centered and do not get lax on my aim for perfection. Everything that walks out the door must be clinically acceptable, no exceptions. I agree with this. Corporate dentistry is a good option for new grads, provided that they stick to the ideal dentistry they learned in dental school.

Corporate Dentistry and Recent Graduates

09:04 PM | Aug 04,2015
I agree with this completely. As the Lunch & Learn Coordinator for ASDA at our school, I've had the opportunity to interact with the recruiters from corporate dental offices on a one on one basis. As I've found is true for all of them, they have a genuine interest in seeing new dentists succeed and giving them the opportunities to grow. When exiting school, we as dental students can have very little knowledge of how to run a practice and don't know where to begin when it comes to acquiring one or getting an associates position. Corporate dental offices can help new dentists grow, both clinically and in business sense, and this can boost profits in the long run if you decide to start your own practice later. Alternatively, there are companies that are more like consulting businesses that work with you to start your own practice from the ground up. This can be a great resources for a confused, new dentist right out of school.

Corporate Dentistry and Recent Graduates

05:52 PM | May 14,2015
Well written. Prior to dental school, I worked at a corporate dental office as a front receptionist. I will not name the company, but I would highly advise new graduates to do their due diligence and be sure they know exactly what they are getting into with the corporate world. From speaking with the dentists at this practice, they were blindsided by some of the "fine line" things in their contract, and other things that came up during their course of time. I realize that the corporate dentistry practice is a wonderful opportunity for some people, But it definitely isn't the place for everyone. I really like the comment by Tamsyn regarding the non-compete clause in a contract. With a corporate practice, this non-compete could include a large radius because there are a number of offices. On the contrary, if the non-compete clause is too broad, it could be not held up in court, but that is a risk to take. Overall, I would like everyone to consider both private practice and corporate dentistry and decide for themselves what is best.

Corporate Dentistry and Recent Graduates

03:00 PM | Apr 29,2015
I agree with all of the points previously made, especially about seeking assistance with reviewing the employment contract. Specifically with corporate offices with multiple locations, the non-compete clause becomes extremely important. Essentially all employment opportunities whether in corporate or private practice associateships will include a variable distance non-compete clause. This must be considered carefully if you are planning on starting your own business in the future in the same area. Working for a large corporation that has you working in multiple locations can preclude you from working in an entire city for a significant amount of time. Unless you are planning on relocating after your stint in corporate dentistry, this is not going to work. Read the contract and plan ahead!

Corporate Dentistry and Recent Graduates

06:54 PM | Apr 28,2015
I agree with all the previous points and concerns! While the salary appeals to new graduates, I have also found that location has played a part in some new dentists choosing corporate group practices. I've noticed that as graduates desire to stay in the metroplex area, rather than moving out into more rural locations of the state, corporate companies are the first to open their doors. Not all my colleagues have experienced the ethical dilemmas often associated with the corporate label, but these dentists brought to light other conflicts that made working conditions unideal. If your corporate company owns multiple offices, you may be traveling between sites (during your lunch break... in bumper-to-bumper traffic). The doctors on site rotate daily, making it difficult to build relationships with senior dentists and find a mentor that many new graduates need. Some companies are structured in that only the senior dentists can create treatment plans for patients, giving the treating clinician little say in the patients' treatments, yet expected to deliver all the planned procedures. However, there are also benefits in that as a new graduate, you are removed from the pressure of running a business, something most have very little experience with. Also, by not having to buy into a start up, less financial burden rests upon the shoulders of new graduates. If this is something you are interested in, I recommend pursuing those goals, but taking a careful look at your contract and have your professors/lawyer friends read through it as well. Make sure you observe and shadow in the company group practices long enough to have a comfortable sense if this is for you. Explore all your options and don't sign the first job offer that comes your way.

Corporate Dentistry and Recent Graduates

10:00 AM | Apr 09,2015
The trouble with corporate practices is the pressure to produce. Newer dentists haven't worked up to the speeds that some corporate practices expect. I have heard some horror stories from friends who say that they did not like having basically no say in the office and being pressured to over diagnose disease to meet production goals. I have heard from others that they loved the freedom of responsibility from practice management. I think it depends on what you like as a dentist and how your personality fits in the office atmosphere. I think corporate dentistry can be a great opportunity for some new grads, but I am not sure if it is one that I will be looking into.

Corporate Dentistry and Recent Graduates

01:59 AM | Mar 17,2015
I agree! I think there advantages and disadvantages to each. I think as a recent graduate it is beneficial to try corporate dentistry for a year or two prior to opening their own practice. A corporate dentistry practice is a great way to gain experience as well as learn some business management skills before taking on a private practice. At the same time graduates need to be smart about their contracts and make sure they have an attorney review it. Also they should be willing to negogiate a salary and not settle for whatever is offered and explore several options. I don't think corporate dentistry should be anyone's life long career goal but I think it is a great starting place. Also instead of corporate dentistry there is always the option of pursuing a GPR or AEGD, which are also great opportunites to gain experience!. Ultimatley, graduates should explore several options and choose what fits their individual needs.