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5 Musts for a Successful Dental Career

Dentistry offers so many possible career paths. You can practice nearly anywhere, in offices of all sizes and configurations. Do a little bit of everything or master a specialty. Work with toddlers or senior citizens. Choose public health, the military, research, academia, organized dentistry — the possibilities are truly endless.

No matter your path after dental school, I’ve landed on five things that dentists need for a successful, satisfying career.

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Topics: incoming, Real Talk

10 Must-Dos to Prepare Your Practice for Sale

Whether retirement is imminent or still just a dream, if you are a practice owner, it’s time to begin thinking about how you’ll eventually transition your practice. After all, sometimes life happens and you must accelerate your plans — which is much easier if you have thought about your desires in the first place!

Ultimately, your practice is worth what someone will pay for it and, most often, what a bank will underwrite a loan for. You know how great your practice is, but how do you get other dentists to see and understand how fabulous it really is? In many cases, the best place to begin is by looking at your practice through a buyer’s eyes. You want to identify, and then highlight,  what might inspire them to make an offer. 

Keep in mind that all buyers want the same thing: a financially sound practice where they can do the type of dentistry that excites them and keeps them engaged. No matter where you are in your timeline, you can start taking some steps to prepare yourself and your practice to shine for an eventual sale.

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Topics: selling a practice, Real Talk

What Practice Owners Want in Dental Associates

Every day, I talk to practice owners looking for a new dentist to join their practice. These owners are universally focused on finding the person who will take good care of their patients.

But beyond that, their requests vary — a lot. Some want a confident, independent dentist who can take on every aspect of general dentistry without any oversight. Others are enthusiastic about mentoring an early-career dentist to watch them grow. Some want a personable, chatty colleague to discuss cases with, while others want someone who can work solo so the practice can expand hours.

When owners join ADA Practice Transitions (ADAPT) to find a buyer or associate, they fill out a detailed profile about their goals, expectations, and needs. We ask what they’ve learned from prior hires and what they hope to find. 

We recently analyzed that data to see which attributes stand out. While answers were all over the place, several key themes emerged. 

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Topics: Real Talk

Practice Profile: Mentoring Associateship in a Modern, Multi-Location Practice

Posted by Betsy Krekling, ADA Advisor on 4/29/22 8:15 AM

Looking for the next step in your career? Join this multi-location practice as an associate for the ideal mix of mentorship and independence!

Each sleek, modern office has facility and technology advancements that support tremendous growth in new patients and revenue. Annual revenue across the practices is currently $2.5 million and growing. Located in Sebring in central Florida, one office is right next to the hospital, providing convenience for the many healthcare workers who are patients. This prime location also reinforces the office’s connection to the local medical community.

You’ll step in to care for a retiring dentist’s patients. The practice’s two other dentists are happy to mentor you. After all, the practice is built on a culture of educational advancement.

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Topics: practice profiles

Interesting Dentistry, Fast Loan Pay-Off: One Dentist’s Success Story

Dr. Gabe Holdwick has learned he would rather be from a place rather than just live in a place. The difference may seem subtle, but it makes for a more satisfying career and lifestyle.

Dr. Holdwick grew up in Harbor Beach, Michigan, a town of 1,700 people perched on the shores of Lake Huron. His family has lived in town for five generations, over 175 years. 

He knew that dentistry would give him options to take his career anywhere — but he also hoped to return to Harbor Beach to enjoy the lifestyle and practice “geographic arbitrage.”

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Topics: Real Talk, Small Market

Practice Profile: High-Tech, High Growth in the Mile-High Suburbs

Posted by Betsy Krekling, ADA Advisor on 4/22/22 7:15 AM
 
Do you want to build on an already lucrative practice – while still having plenty of time to play in the mountains?
 
This high-tech, suburban Denver practice is successful on just three days a week. You can choose to expand hours (and profits), enjoy all the mountains have to offer – or both! The affluent, well-educated patients are savvy dental consumers, so there’s plenty of opportunity to provide additional specialty services.
 
Serving Douglas County since 1995, this updated practice has a loyal following of patients who readily accept treatment.    
 
This practice is the anchor tenant in a small professional building located in the heart of this suburban downtown, steps from Main Street. The landlord is responsive and takes pride in ownership, while the on-site building manager keeps the building well maintained. The space was recently remodeled with new carpet, flooring, and paint that complement the exposed rock walls, attractive lighting, and oversized trim. 
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Topics: practice profiles

Living and Thriving in Vacationland

Ask Dr. Kala Foster about the advantages of working in a small-town dental practice, and she rattles off a long list: doing dentistry her way, appreciative patients, great work-life balance, a fantastic place to raise a family, and all the benefits of practice ownership. 

Dr. Foster lives in Gaylord, Michigan, the center of what is known as Michigan’s “Vacationland” lake region. With 3,600 residents, Gaylord is the “big town” in the area, drawing vacationers from all over the state while serving as the region’s economic hub. 

After living in metropolitan Detroit, Dr. Foster moved to Gaylord three years ago. Since then, she has built a great life in her new home. 

“We can do ‘vacation stuff’ in the evenings. Boating, snowmobiling, everything’s right here,” she says. “I always have 3-day weekends.” 

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Topics: Real Talk, Small Market

Practice Profile: Associateship, Mentorship, Success!

Posted by Betsy Krekling, ADA Advisor on 4/15/22 7:15 AM

Are you looking for a mentorship-focused associateship with plenty of room to grow? Are you sick of traffic, looking for more affordable living, or just want more space?

If so, check out this Western Massachusetts associateship! This beautiful, growing family practice needs a part-time associate interested in growing with the practice. The practice owner is committed to mentorship, and new graduates are welcomed and encouraged!

The space and the team will support you as you perfect your skills and gain speed and confidence. The team is committed to learning, and the practice owner is active in organized dentistry and study clubs.

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Topics: practice profiles

The Best of Both Worlds: Rural Practice, Urban Lifestyle

In this week's profile of rural dentists building amazing careers, Dr. Sara Stuefen shows us how she enjoys the best of both worlds: a rural practice and an urban lifestyle.

As a member of the ADA’s New Dentist Committee, Dr. Stuefen often spoke to dental students who assume they need to practice in an urban area to live the type of life they want. But she’s quick to point out, “When you graduate, you don’t know what practice style is right for you until you try. There are so many great opportunities in small towns, and you can afford to have the latest technology!”

She also dispels a common misconception: “Rural doesn’t have to mean four hours to the nearest Target. Besides, you can order everything online these days.”

After graduating from the University of Iowa, Dr. Stuefen wanted to work in a small town where she could know her patients and make a difference. “I know I flourish in a smaller environment,” she says. “I like feeling connected to my patients and being able to rely on myself.”

However, her engineer husband needed to be in a more urban area to find a job. (This was a decade before the COVID-19 pandemic forced many businesses to realize how many jobs can actually be done from home.)

So they compromised: Dr. Stuefen bought a practice in Vinton, Iowa (population 4,900) and the couple moved to Cedar Rapids (with 132,000 people), just 40 minutes away.

It’s turned out to be the perfect fit for all their needs.

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Topics: Real Talk, Small Market

Practice Profile: Do a Wide Range of Dentistry in this Busy Family & Cosmetic Practice

Posted by Betsy Krekling, ADA Advisor on 4/8/22 7:30 AM

You’ll never be bored in this busy family practice! If you’re ready to step in and take charge, check out this 4-operatory Albuquerque practice. You’ll work with patients from toddlers to senior citizens in their nineties. And these patients are loyal: many families have been coming to the practice for three generations.

Enjoy doing a full range of treatments? This practice does nearly everything except orthodontia, with a special focus on cosmetic and reconstructive dentistry. That includes being a one-stop shop for dental implants, from planning to surgery and completion.

All operatories are updated with the latest technology, including CBCT, digital radiographs, and Dentrix software.

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Topics: practice profiles

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