Let's get that enthusiasm back for owning your own dental practice!

Sept. 22, 2016
Dentists need to become enthusiastic about owning their own practices. It's not a given they have to enter corporate dentistry to pay off their loans. Now is an ideal time to consider buying your own dental practice.

Ryan Brengman, JD

During a recent conversation with a new graduate, I inquired about her professional goals and aspirations as she makes her way into the world of practicing dentistry. Her reply was, "I guess I'll go work for one of the big companies." This response was void of any of the spark or enthusiasm I've seen in years prior from recent graduates. They often responded, "I'm going to eventually own my own practice!" While thinking about the conversation with the recent graduate, it struck me that maybe the message of "big box" corporate dentistry is taking hold. This is at the expense of the spirit of entrepreneurialism that has made dentistry such a fulfilling career, both professionally and personally, for so many years.

For those dentists who might be inclined to answer my question the same as the recent graduate, you owe it to yourself to consider just a few of the many reasons why now is the ideal time to purchase a dental practice.

Earning potential

The majority of associates earn 30% to 35% of their production as compensation. If you're employed by a corporate dental office, you might earn as little as 25% of your production. Consider that it is not uncommon for dentists who own their own offices to earn 50%, 60%, even 70% of their individual production. It begs the question that associate dentists should be asking, "Can I afford not to buy my own dental practice?" Purchasing a practice might be the only way for you to give yourself a raise of two to three times your current compensation, all while producing dentistry at your current level.


Access to financing remains readily available at historically low rates. Lenders are lined up to lend money to dentists who want to purchase a practice, despite dentists' student loan debts, mortgages, and other financial obligations. Why? Dental practice acquisition loans have one of the lowest default rates of all industries. Said another way, dental practices are great investments!

But why would you increase your debt load? Just because a bank will lend you more money is not a good reason. While it seems counterintuitive, the answer is that the easiest and quickest way to get out of debt is to incur more debt. But make sure it's the right kind of debt, the kind that allows you to immediately increase your earning capacity. Owning your own dental practice does just that. Banks are actively trying to lend you money at cheap rates to enable you to go out and make even more money.

More modern practices

With the influx of baby boomers reaching retirement age, there are more practices on the market than at any other time in recent history. These practices come in a variety of locations and sizes. Also, a large number of doctors who are selling their practices have invested the time and money to stay technologically current. Finding a computerized practice with digital radiography and paperless charting used to be rare. While not every dental practice on the market has been completely upgraded, finding one with some, if not all of the modernizations is a greater possibility today.

With the variety of quality, modern practices on the market, access to financing, and the ability to dramatically increase their incomes almost immediately, young doctors are doing themselves a disservice if they don't realize the opportunities available to them. Practicing dentistry does not require you to work for someone else or for a corporation.

With practice ownership, you have the opportunity to practice dentistry on your own terms and enjoy countless professional, personal, and financial rewards, all while being your own boss. Why wouldn't you choose to buy your own dental practice?

Ryan Brengman, JD, is an associate of Shea Practice Transitions PA. His geographical area includes Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, northern Iowa, and western Wisconsin. An attorney, Brengman has nearly 14 years of experience in the brokering of practice sales, as well as the representation of buyers for purposes of practice acquisitions. Contact him at (888) 419-5590, ext. 877, or [email protected]

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