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Despite Shift Towards Group Dental Practice Model, Solo Practice Model Still Best for Patients

Adrian LaTrace, CEO of Boyd Industries, discusses the best way for dental practitioners to obtain the practice of their dreams while maintaining high quality patient care.

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.

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…

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