The number of solo private dental practices has declined due to several factors, including millennial dentists who don’t want additional debt and stagnant patient spending on dental products and services. However, research indicates that patients still prefer personal relationships, while dentists continue to strive for practice ownership and independence.
(Clearwater, FL) June 19, 2017—In the 1980s, over 95% of dentists were solo practitioners.(1) But as the field of dentistry continues to evolve, traditional business models are being rejected, at least for a time, because of certain factors like staggering amounts of student loan debt among new dentists. But even as many move toward work in group dental practices, many patients still prefer traditional business models that encourage the building of relationships with their dentists. Many dentists also aim for independent practice ownership as a means of providing care to patients, according to dental equipment market leader Boyd Industries.
Since 2008, national spending on dentistry has remained low, and incomes for dentists have not recovered since their decline in 2007.(1,2,3) Less than 10% of new dentists, who often have student loan debt exceeding $250,000, are interested in purchasing existing dental practices soon after graduation.(3) Instead, as many as 50% of recent dental school graduates choose to delay the purchase of their own private practices, working instead in corporate clinics as a means of paying down loans before following their preferred career paths in solo practice(4).
However, research shows patients still prefer time-tested, personalized relationships with their dentists. In the United States, patients show strong preferences toward dentists who are friendly, trustworthy, possess good communications skills, and are supportive(5). These types of high-quality relationships are typically cultivated in private practice, where dentists have more opportunity to get to know their patients through repeated contact over time.
Adrian LaTrace, CEO of Boyd Industries, says, “Patients want a dentist they know and trust to provide the best care possible instead of a corporate-model, one-size-fits-all treatment approach. Even though many younger dentists initially start out in a group practice, it’s not the way they would prefer to work. Millennial dentists understand the importance of authentic relationships, and they want to be able to provide the best care possible to a patient pool they carefully develop over time.”
Additionally, 42% of working dentists are age 55 or older(4). These older dentists will soon start to sell their private practices to younger dentists who want to build the practice of their dreams. Like older generations, younger dentists want the freedom, clinical autonomy, and growth potential that comes with private practice ownership, instead of becoming an employee in a corporate dental practice.
LaTrace said, “Even as Millennial dentists work in corporate practices to pay down their student loans, they’re still keeping their eye on their end goal – private practice ownership. For these dentists, it’s about doing what they need to do initially to ensure a successful future as practice owners who have the flexibility to care for patients as they see fit.”
About Boyd Industries:
Boyd Industries is a market leader in the design and manufacture of award-winning dental operatory equipment. Its high-quality and reliable equipment has been the choice of specialists for over 60 years. Boyd’s products include a full line of dental exam, treatment and surgical chairs, dental delivery systems, LED exam and surgical lighting, custom sterilization and storage cabinetry, doctor or assistant seating, and video game consoles. The company is an ISO 13485:2016 certified manufacturer.
Boyd equipment is specifically designed to provide maximum practice productivity while incorporating ergonomic characteristics for the doctor, staff and patient. As an original equipment manufacturer, Boyd uses a vertically integrated manufacturing approach to ensure it meets high quality standards. This approach allows Boyd to control each step of component fabrication and product assembly. To learn more about Boyd products, please visit http://www.boydindustries.com/home.
About Adrian LaTrace:
Adrian E. LaTrace leads Boyd Industries with over 25 years of leadership in companies ranging from start-ups to large public corporations in the healthcare, renewable energy and aerospace industries. His experience in developing high-performance organizations is helping Boyd to provide leadership for the dental equipment needs of the future.
1. Nuss, E. Uncovering the truth about managed practices: Beat them or join them? Dental Economics. http://www.dentaleconomics.com/articles/print/volume-105/issue-2/practice/uncovering-the-truth-about-managed-practices-beat-them-or-join-them.html
2. What’s next for the solo practice? Dental Practice Management. http://practicemanagement.dentalproductsreport.com/article/whats-next-solo-practice?page=0,0
3. Why managed group practice will dominate the future. Dental Products Report. http://www.dentalproductsreport.com/dental/article/why-managed-group-practice-will-dominate-future
4. Millennial dentists and changes in dentistry going on today. Dental Economics. http://www.dentaleconomics.com/articles/print/volume-105/issue-12/practice/millennial-dentists-and-changes-in-dentistry-going-on-today.html
5. Sbaraini A, et al. Experiences of dental care: what do patients value? BMC Health Services Research. 2012;12:177. https://bmchealthservres.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1472-6963-12-177