DSO or Private Practice

update

There are so many opportunities now upon gradation from Dental School. The decision to go DSO, DSO Hybrid or Private Practice is complicated and shouldn’t be taken lightly. I always recommend to my new-grad clients to first consider the following questions:

1. Where do you want to live and work? How saturated is the market in your area? What is the projected growth?

Many markets, especially on the left and right coasts, are completely saturated with dentists and the opportunity of growth is minimal. Unless you have a family member who has an established practice for you to buy into, I would not opt for private practice. High overheads also are not favorable. However, in smaller towns and fly-over America, there is still adequate opportunity. To succeed in private practice means that you need to integrate within the community. Do you have the right personality to do this and are you willing to commit to the chosen geographic location for the long haul?

2. What is your current debt to asset ratio? If you’ve taken out large student loans (200K+) for undergrad or dental school, do not go into private practice.

Don’t do it. You are setting yourself up for failure. Disregard all the hype and pitches from salesmen and banks.

3. Have you taken a recent Myers Briggs and EQ test?

I’ll bet you weren’t anticipating this question! Over the years, I’ve noticed that my classmates who have succeeded in private practice have certain traits that are favorable for success. This doesn’t always correlate with those who achieved good grades and honors in school. You also need the emotional stability to handle a private practice and manage staff. Not everyone is cut from the right cloth to do this.

The great news is that there are many hybrid DSO models that let you get your feet wet and incorporate some components of the private practice philosophy and model. My favorite one is the Community Dental Partners in Texas. If you haven’t checked out their business model, it’s genius. http://communitydentalpartners.com/

Make sure you check out the Glassdoor reviews from previous employee dentists. In my experience I’ve found that the reviews are very accurate.

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