A recent online article1 based on the results of an August 2011 survey of 1,500 dentists asked participants to rank what they consider to be their highest concerns as practitioners and small business owners. They identified “Growth and Influence of Corporate Dentistry Companies that Hire Dentists” as a high priority challenge to their success. The respondents ranked this “frustration” about the current state of the profession the third highest category in the Priority 1 section of the survey, right behind “Third-Party Dictation of Treatment Plans and Setting Fees” and mid-level or expanded-function dental practitioners, and right above “Overpopulation of Dentists and Hygienists.” The author notes that “some of these firms have moved into geographic areas already saturated with dentists.”1 This situation is understandably concerning to private practitioners, who are essentially entrepreneurs trying to establish a territory and stable patient base. It is, however, a well-known fact that dental school does not teach graduates how to successfully find the ideal location for, or run, a private practice.
Aspen Dental has a proven track record of choosing the right places to start dental practices, while taking into consideration what the local market can bear. The real estate team at Aspen Dental is an integral part of its corporate structure. This group conducts in-depth market analysis of geographical areas before opening an office in any location. In addition to calculating the presence of existing dental professionals compared to population statistics, Aspen Dental also reviews population demographics and the types of services not being offered in a certain locale. While you will find Aspen Dental in many major cities, most offices are opened in underserved areas, where a large segment of the community may not have seen a dentist for 10 years or more. In fact, because Aspen Dental is committed to providing patients with access to affordable, comprehensive dental care, and to removing barriers that may have prevented them from seeking treatment, the majority of new offices are developed in areas considered rural, where most private practitioners don’t consider locating. For example, Aspen Dental recently opened a practice in Plattsburg, New York. As of this posting, the office has a 400-patient waiting list and would clearly benefit from additional staff. Furthermore, Aspen Dental has never had to close a single location in more than 10 years of operations. We’re proud of our 100% success rate, which is a direct result of our thorough research into each locality.
Concerning overpopulation of dentists, our statistics indicate the demand for dental care is increasing disproportionately with dental school enrollment and graduation, which is staying flat. The fact is that 46% of the adult population does not have a dentist. Aspen Dental is expanding nationwide in underserved areas with plans to open one new office a week. That kind of expansive growth results in career opportunities as well, and many new dentists transition from Associate Dentist to practice owner within 2 years while focusing on honing their clinical and managerial skills. Additionally, if an area is subsequently deemed to be oversaturated, Aspen Dental handles relocation to an area with higher need.
The Priority 2 section of the above-mentioned survey indicates that new dentists feel a need for more organized help from the profession when starting a new practice. They are, essentially, looking for mentors. It also was suggested that established professionals share a few of their patients with newcomers to the area. While Aspen Dental team dentists have complete autonomy when it comes to planning and managing patient care, all of the marketing and recruiting for both their patient pool and staffs are managed by Aspen Dental. We do all the work involved in setting up a dental practice, including interviewing, hiring, and training support staff, hygienists, and even lab technicians if appropriate. All are fully trained and ready to begin immediately. Additionally, all new associates are mentored by a Managing Clinical Director. Our mission is to support the new dentist, as well as the established dentist looking for a different lifestyle.
Another survey, conducted by the Dental Group Practice Association2 asked almost 1,000 dentists how satisfied they were with the support provided by Dental Service Organizations (DSOs) for which they worked. Of the responders, 45% had been working with their DSO for 1 to 5 years. Almost 80% replied that they were “satisfied” or “extremely satisfied,” and 81% said they would “likely” or “strongly” recommend a DSO to a friend or to a new dentist. Their reasons for joining a DSO/DGP included the benefits of centralized practice support, competitive compensation and benefits, modern facilities and technology, continuing education, networking opportunities, lower-risk practice ownership, career opportunities, and flexible scheduling, including part-time options.
With complete access to these benefits, dentists affiliated with Aspen Dental don’t work in a void. Aspen Dental’s proven practice model, ongoing professional development, and marketing/business support result in your practice experience being highly rewarding. If you are interested in learning more about the advantages of dental group practices and dental service organizations, visit the DGP Association website and stay tuned to aspendentaljobs.com.
1. January 2012 survey (http://www.towniecentral.com/Dentaltown/Article.aspx?aid=3621). Accessed 2-24-12.
2. Student Brochure, http://www.dgpaonline.org/docs/DGPA-Student-Brochure.pdf. Accessed 2-24-12.