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Dr. Suzanne Ebert, VP of Operations and Customer Relations

Dr. Suzanne Ebert, VP of Operations and Customer Relations
Dr. Ebert built a successful dental practice from scratch. After selling her practice, she became the Dental Director of a Federally Qualified Health Center where she provided high quality care to underserved populations. She joined the ADAPT team as the ADA Advisor to provide real and tangible benefits to dentists as well as helping to address access to care issues across the country. She is currently ADAPT's VP of Dental Practice & Relationship Management.

Recent Posts

Three Ways to Determine If You're Choosing the Right Practice For You

Maybe you’ve found a practice that looks great on paper: the location, the salary, the number of operatories. 

How do you know it’s the practice where you can become the dentist you’ve always dreamed of being?

I hear of too many cases where dentists jump at the first associateship they’re offered, simply because the salary sounded right — then six, nine, or twelve months later they realize it’s just not a great fit. Maybe they’re working too many hours, or they’re doing nothing but prophys when they thought they would be learning implants.  

So how can you avoid this fate?

When you’re evaluating a practice, slow down and take the time to determine if it’s the right one for you. After all, you worked hard to get through undergrad and dental school. It’s worth a little extra effort now to make sure you’re choosing the right practice for your next step. 

I recently spoke with Rolando Mia of Empowered Dentistry about exactly this topic. Listen to our episode of the Dental Voice podcast or read on for some of the advice I shared. 

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Topics: looking for a job, Real Talk

How to Conduct a Year-End Business Review

The last three years have been unlike anything you could have ever prepared for. From mandatory shut-downs to PPE shortages to the Great Resignation, your practice has weathered it all. Congratulations on making it through!

But now that things may have settled a bit, have you thought about how your practice is really doing?  

The end of the year is a great time to catch your breath and reflect on where your business is and where you want it to go. 

Let’s look at how to go about a comprehensive dental practice business review. 

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Topics: owner dentist, owner, Real Talk

Why the Great Resignation Offers Opportunity For Ambitious Young Dentists

As the Great Resignation reaches dentistry, it may exacerbate existing access-to-care problems — possibly leading to declining oral health, more dental emergencies, and even an increase in heart disease and other serious health problems. 

A July report by the ADA’s Health Policy Institute found that 74% of private practice dentists say that it is currently “extremely challenging” to recruit qualified dental hygienists, and another 19% say it is “very challenging.” Similarly, 84% of dentists say it is extremely or very challenging to recruit dental assistants. We recently looked at ways that practice owners can retain their knowledgeable staff who have built relationships with patients. 

However, dentistry is also seeing another side of the Great Resignation: many older dentists are accelerating their retirement plans.

At ADA Practice Transitions, we’re seeing another trend: young dentists are embracing the opportunity to step into established practices and take proactive steps to retain hardworking staff. In many cases, these dentists can tap into programs, such as the National Health Service Corps, that forgive student loans for dentists providing care in underserved communities

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Topics: Real Talk

Dental School to Practice Ownership in Under 2 Years: ADA Practice Transitions Makes Perfect Match

Today, we’re thrilled to update one of the very first success stories for ADA Practice TransitionsTM

Back in 2019, Dr. Joe Thibodeau was beginning to think about slowing down and selling his practice. But he wanted to ensure the patients in his Lincoln, Maine practice would be cared for long after he left. 

“As busy as this office is, slowing down meant putting a lot of patients off,” Dr. Thibodeau says. “I felt I couldn’t do that.”

After striking out with a practice management company, he turned to ADA Practice Transitions. He created a free profile that articulated his style of dentistry, his timeline, and his goals. 

 

Watch the video: Dr. Sciolino and Dr. Thibodeau

“The big companies, you pay a big chunk of money off the bat just to get the process started,” Dr. Thibodeau says. “That’s difficult to swallow. I don’t think I got my money’s worth – I did not get one hit, and I had to contact the company or else I did not hear from them.”

Meanwhile, Kristen Sciolino was beginning to job hunt during her D4 year at the University of New England. However, she wasn’t just looking for a first job; rather, she wanted to find a place where she could build a career and eventually buy out the owner. When she heard about ADA Practice Transitions through an on-campus event, she created a profile that showcased her goals and desire to live in a small town. 

ADA Practice Transitions matched the pair based on shared goals and a similar approach to dentistry. The two hit it off right away.

“We really meshed from the start, and it felt very easy,” Dr. Sciolino says, noting she could immediately see herself working in the practice. “Personalities vary significantly, as well as ideas on how to practice,” she explains. “ADAPT isn’t just matching you with an area. It’s matching you with a person, a practice, and a mindset, so you’re not going into a situation where you and your potential boss or coworker don’t mesh.”

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Topics: transition tales, videos

Student Loans? Cut Your Debt in Half (or More)

Dental school graduates know the pain of student loans all too well. The American Dental Education Association estimates that 2021 graduates were saddled with an average of $301,583 in loans

However, don’t let your dental school loans deter you from building the career you’ve always dreamed of! 

Whether you’re looking for that first associateship or striving for practice ownership, there are ways to pay off your loans on someone else’s dime. The federal government, states, and even local municipalities have created a host of programs that can ease the burden. Refinancing can help, too — as can a bit of creativity. 

Read on for some possible ways to cut your dental debt. 

Check the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program

The U.S. Department of Education Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program is accepting applications through October 31, 2022 — so if you haven’t checked your own eligibility, take a minute to do so now! Even if you can only get $10-20K in forgiveness, it is worth taking the time to fill out the paperwork.

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Topics: incoming, associateship, Real Talk

Retaining Your Dental Staff Through the Great Resignation

The Great Resignation has reached dentistry — especially as hygienists choose not to return to the profession. In fact, a study co-authored by the American Dental Hygienists’ Association and the American Dental Association found that the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a contraction of about 3.75% of all hygienists, representing a loss of approximately 7,500 hygienists nationwide. 

The result is a scramble for qualified staff. The ADA’s Health Policy Institute reported that as of July, 74% of private practice dentists say that it is now “extremely challenging” to recruit qualified dental hygienists, and another 19% say it is “very challenging.” Similarly, 84% of dentists say it is extremely or very challenging to recruit dental assistants. 

That’s why it’s essential that owner dentists take steps to retain their most valuable resource: long-tenured, knowledgeable staff who have built trust with patients. 

Why hygienists are leaving the workforce

When dental practices closed at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, many staff were sent home. Even as practices began reopening, many of the 98% of practicing dental hygienists who are female found themselves juggling childcare challenges. Dental work has no “remote” option, and dental schedules inherently lack the flexibility to pivot when a child has to stay home unexpectedly due to a COVID exposure. 

As a result, many hygienists began to exit the profession entirely. An August 2021 study found that 74% of hygienists not working had left the profession for voluntary reasons. Of those, 37% say they decided to retire.  

Some of the remaining hygienists are leveraging the shortage to find jobs closer to home or negotiate for greater flexibility, higher pay, or better benefits. As of June 2022, 79.9% of practice owners had raised pay for their dental hygienists within the past year — with 18.1% reporting increasing wages by 10% or more.

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Topics: Real Talk

5 Years Out: Prep Your Practice for an Eventual Sale

If you’re a few years out from retirement, now is the time to start preparing your practice for an eventual sale. Taking the time to thoroughly prepare will streamline the transition for everyone, helping improve patient and staff retention. Careful preparation may even result in a higher valuation, as your practice will appear well cared-for and more organized.

And if the unexpected should happen and you’re forced to sell sooner than planned, you won’t be starting completely cold. 

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Topics: Real Talk

5 Years Out: Planning for Life after Retirement

Too often, people retire and then wonder, “Now what?” For years, work has shaped their days, months, and years. They plan vacations when things will be slow or schedule family events around their practice’s needs. 

When they retire, they have nothing but time — and no meaningful way to fill that time. Sometimes this can lead to depression or frustration.

So how do you avoid this trap?

Here are some ways to start cultivating your retirement lifestyle before you stop working.

(See also: How to Sell Now and Retire Later

Think — and talk — about your interests

Think about the things you enjoy doing, in every realm of your life. Travel, golf, woodworking, painting, spending time with your family. Is there a cause you wholeheartedly support that you wish you could spend more time with? Or maybe you’ve always dreamed of visiting every single national park. 

Talk to your spouse and family. What do they want to do with retirement? Your partner may remind you that you absolutely loved your annual summer trips to the lake, before life got too busy. Maybe it’s time to take another visit. You may even think about living there a few months of the year once you retire!

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Topics: Real Talk

How to Retain Patients When Buying or Joining a Practice

Joining a new practice? Whether as a new owner or associate, you probably have a lot on your mind, including everything from using new materials or technologies to interacting with the assistants.

Add to your list potentially the most important thing of all: keeping existing patients coming in the door and getting them to refer their family and friends.

Patient retention is often considered key to a successful practice transition. New associates are hired because the current practice has more treatment than they can handle. And if you are buying the practice, patient retention is even more important. Did you know that the financing that the bank provided you was based on your ability to maintain (or better yet, grow) the current production numbers?

Set yourself up for success by doing the legwork to find a practice where you and the other doctor share a common approach in how you interact with the patients, staff, and community. In other words, you and the practice should share a philosophy of care.

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Topics: Real Talk

5 Years Out? How to Sell Now and Retire Later

Many dentists reach a point in their careers where they are done with owning a practice. 

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Topics: Real Talk

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