Dentist Salary of 1.5 million really true?

Discussion in 'Dental' started by checkamundo, Dec 1, 2005.

  1. checkamundo

    checkamundo Don't know what i'm doing
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    I was reading the thread about how some dentists were making $1.5 million or close to number.
    http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=238102

    I was wondering how this works out since the base salary of dentists in the United States is:

    25th%ile Median 75th%ile
    $99,257 $117,251 $146,981

    I totally understand how the dentists manage to make salaries that are in the upper 6 figures and up, but then how are these numbers possible?
     
  2. superchris147

    superchris147 Senior Member
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    they mean grossing 1.5 mil./year . . . . most dentists have an overhead somewhere around 70%, so do the math or just read the thread :thumbup:
     
  3. dinesh

    dinesh Senior Member
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    The overhead is the killer.
    Dentists can 'bring in' alot of money, but their take home salary is significantly less.
    Insurance, assitants, consumables, practice up keep...it adds up.
    Not to mention in some cases a pretty high rent.
     
  4. Dental Mom

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    I know about an old dentist with 2 practices that makes over 5 million a yr. His secret is that he has not only few full time dentists working like dogs, but he also takes Medicaid...he has an awesome office manager trained in the NAVY who is incredible managing money, schedules and hiring people.

    :luck:
     
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  5. DcS

    DcS damn the red baron
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    I think I read recently the avg overhead for a general was low 60s%. 70 is a little high IMO.
     
  6. OffAngleHatchet

    OffAngleHatchet Likes off-angle hatchets
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    historically, anywhere from 60-70%.

    Of course, if you do something like hire an orthodontist to come in a couple weeks to expand your practice, that'll bring your overhead % down quite a bit.

    I once saw a practice for sale that advertised that they held overhead down to 52%. Sounded fishy to me, but if they were able to pull it off, WOW.
     
  7. kerrydds06

    kerrydds06 Senior Member
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    52% can be accomplished, remember we write off a lot of stuff that shouldn't be written off, so it all goes into the "overhead". Staff expenses is the major cost in running a practice. Many people overpay, but you want your staff happy, even though they always find something to bitch about.

    The bottom line, deductions (allowed and questionable) brings your take home/ profit (NET) down so IRS takes less and more goes to retirement/ savings. So use those business/CE trips for family vacation, put your logo on the car and lease it through the practice, pay for as much stuff with the company credit cards, even take the TP home from the office! It ALL adds up, and save those reciepts for the IRS when they come knocking.
     
  8. Dental Mom

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    I'm sure some dentists here in South Florida have an overhead of 20% :mad: They pay the dental hygenist $20/hr, $8/hr to the dental assistant, and probably $6.50/hr to the lady in the front! Materials & supplies are very cheap here becuase there's a lot of competition.....

    Then, most don't pay rent becuase they already paid for the place yrs ago when things were very cheap....I'm sure they are good deducting stuff, but there isn't much to deduct, huh? They might pay more for taxes...but they do bring home a lot more than a dentist in New York.

    I'm telling you, dentists here live like they own BP, Shell, and Chevron :laugh:
     
  9. stdgage

    stdgage Junior Member
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    The office I work for has an overhead of only 40%. The dentist and I are both business majors, and I am currently not a DDS yet, just working as an intern. But if you manage everything to a "T" and do so efficently its possible. He has friends in the 30's. The only thing that I can think of that is to our benefit is that we are grandfathered in on the rent and we never have one open or missed apt, EVER. Not even for hygiene. We only have 1 hygiene though so that is easy to manage. We gross 1.5 mill.
     
  10. superchris147

    superchris147 Senior Member
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    yeah i was just kind of throwing that number out there, didn't mean to spark an overhead debate :wow:
     
  11. daelroy

    daelroy Senior Member
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    5 million is a little hard to believe. Even the guy with ad on the back of the yellow pages that only does cosmetic work and has commercials all the time is probably "only" earning 2-3 million per year (grossing much more obviously).
     
  12. DrJeff

    DrJeff Senior Member
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    As scary as it sounds that 60-70% overhead is actually very close to the normal average overhead of a dental practice in the U.S. (My office goes a couple percent either side of 60% each year depending on what types of capital improvement we make each year).

    Sure you can cut the overhead in many ways (limited investment in new technology, "sqeezing" the wages of your employees, using "cheaper" labs for your lab work, deferring capital improvements to your office, etc, etc, etc.

    I've tried many of those, and for me atleast it doesn't work. For exaaple, I find that the investment that me and my partner make/have made in new technology (i.e. hard and soft tissue lasers, digital radiography, electric handpieces, new chairs for patients/staff, etc, etc, etc) while expensive and adds to the overhead, ultimately make my life and my practice easier and MUCH more enjoyable. If you want to look at cutting lab costs, the truth is you can find a lab out that that will make you a PFM for $50-60 a tooth, and then you can find labs that will charge upwards of $200 a tooth. Put them side by side and you'll notice the difference, and so will your patients (both estethics/anatomy/ and ease of seating the crown factor in too). If your employees feel like your "cheaping" their wages/salaries, they won't be happy, and ultimately you won't be happy. Office image also makes a difference too(especially with the very profitable big cases). Now while my office in no ways resembles a "dental spa" - I don't have marble columns or plasma TV's all over the place, no aroma therapy or a masseusse on staff, it is very contemporary in its styling(okay as our designer puts it our "theme" is contemporary colonial) and doesn't look like "the 70's are still alive" in the waiting room or operatories.

    As for the guy mentioned that says he's makng 5 million and takes medicaid, look into medicaid fees and then do the math about how many patients/proceedures he'd have to do to generate that. Plus, the medicaid administrative folks do look at quantity of proceedures that an office bills to help avoid "false" billing. I.E. if for every tooth your submitting a claim for, if your doing a pulp cap, or some other "non standard" proceedure all the time. You'll likely see an auditor(regular insurance companies do this too). Plus think about it this way. If that guys making 5 mill with 20% overhead, he's grossing roughly 6 mill, or $500,000 a month which is producing almost $21,000 a day(I figured actually working 24 days a month). Now at medicaid fees (things like $200 for an arch of dentures, $150 for a molar endo, $150 for a crown, $40 for a 1 surface restoration, $35 for a prophy) thats ALOT of people you'll be seeing a day!
     
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  13. checkamundo

    checkamundo Don't know what i'm doing
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    If the overhead for someone who's making $1.5 million is 75%, they'd still be making $375,000. Does that mean there are some dentists who only gross $400,000 or so to get the median and 75th%ile this low? Are these dentists in bad areas where there aren't enough patients, can't manage money, or just working 2 days a week or something?
     
  14. DrJeff

    DrJeff Senior Member
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    Probably a little bit of all 3 in 1 way or another, but more than likely it's related to their own decsision to work a limited # of hours per week.
     
  15. Yah-E

    Yah-E Toof Sniper
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    Jeff:

    Why spend all this time explaining to these kids that worry about how much dentists make? We should all just tell them that dentist don't make crap, in that way, they won't go into dentistry and leave us with more patients, therefore, more $$ to rack in.

    Dear students who are interested in dentistry and worry about how much $$ dentists make annually:

    Dentists make no money, OK? As matter of fact, if dentist break 6 figures mark, then that's considered "AMAZING"! Please reconsider and go into medicine, better yet, I've heard Chiropractics earn the most out of all of the Health Professionals. Check that out.

    Yours truly,

    Yah-E
    A Poor dentist to be and proud of it!
     
  16. DrJeff

    DrJeff Senior Member
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    :D :D :D :D :D
     
  17. Dental Mom

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    If 2 dentists can make 1.5 why wouldn't you belive that this old man with 2 practices makes $5? he has 8 full time dentists for both practices, you do the math. Each person in this office gets great benefits, huge end of the yr bonus. The man pays well and shares with everyone in the office....I think that's why everyone is so happy to work for him.

    Happy staff = happy clients!

    He still sees clients from 35 yrs ago when he opened the first office! :D

    What an amazing man! :thumbup:
     
  18. ItsGavinC

    Dentist Moderator Emeritus 15+ Year Member

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    Jeff, you need to come to Arizona and check our our Medicaid reimbursement fees. Not great by any means, but light-years ahead of those numbers you posted (were those just off the cuff?).

    Our actual numbers here are more like $500 for molar endo, $500 for a PFM crown, $80 for 1-surface restoration, $700 for an arch of dentures, etc.
     
  19. dentalman

    dentalman Senior Member
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    The above is being a good business owner and not actually doing dentistry. And dental mom, when you say "make" you mean that eight dentists "gross" that much. Each dentist is producing quite a lot. The owner is obviously not going to take home 30% of that because he has to pay his dentists.

    Don't get carried away with all of this hullabaloo if you think dentistry is going to make millions of dollars. The averages are listed on the ADA website, and also posted in the FAQs.

    http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=128382

    And those are the averages. Sure, the top 1% of the top 1% may make a gazillion dollars. But there is a bell curve out there, and there are always people on both sides of the bell curve. When you start out, you will be below.

    My main point - be wary of strangers posting outrageous numbers!
     
  20. asd

    asd Senior Member
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    its all about location...
    the dentist that i shadowed in NYC grosses over 4 million dollars a year and takes home a net 1.2 million for him and his partner. A dentist in NYC is going to make a lot more then a dentist in maine. The US average salary for a general denist is low because it is avg. all of the general dentists in the country.

    oh...and his overhead is around 35%
     
  21. 12YearOldKid

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    Good post, dental man. There are going to be a lot of disappointed people out there if they go into dentistry thinking a 7 figure income is easily achievable.
     
  22. DrJeff

    DrJeff Senior Member
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    Overhead of 35% on 4 mill is still about 1.3 MILLION in overhead :eek:

    As for the statement to paraphrase that you need to be in abig city to make the big bucks, on average the opposite is true. Rural = less competition = more business for you :thumbup: Plus as somebody that has practiced in both an urban and a rural setting, in my experiences the folks in the rural setting are also much better about paying their bills that in the urban setting :eek: :D
     
  23. Dental Mom

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    Hey everyone, let me make this clear:

    I'm not becoming a dentist to make money. I love the profession and everything that a dentist does every single day. I can't work just for money. It's not my drive and it will never be. One of my relatives worked as the manager for those 2 big offices and he learned a lot there. He's starting his own practice now.

    My main purpose in life is my children and my family. I could care less for money. I'm planning to work for the gov. for a while and travel to Hispanic countries to give seminars to Dentists there.

    I'm Hispanic and have seen a lot of misery and poverty growing up. I grew up very good financially, but my parents thought me well. I don't like the materialistic world. There's nothing wrong with being wealthy, is just how much importance you give to it. I like to spend time with the native indians, and the poor, and help them any way I can. My religion has given me the opportunity to do this.

    I don't need money to be happy. My kids make me happy :) If dentists were making as little as teachers do, a lot of people would not be perusing this career. I know I would--assuming dental school is not this expensive!
    We don't need calamities like Katrina to open our eyes and be thankful and happy for what we have, give to the poor, and remember God again.

    So I hope this is very clear, dental mom is becoming a dentist to serve humanity. Nothing else. My heart, my vocation and my love for dentistry is the same as a future dentist in India, Pakistan or Venezuela. Not as a materialistic one easily found here in US since there are some after the big bucks only.
     
  24. DcS

    DcS damn the red baron
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    That's absolutely untrue. Dentists in NYC by average probably make less than in rural areas. It's hard for people to comprehend but just because cost of living is higher in NYC doesn't mean dentists will make more. They have to deal with much more competition, etc. Rural dentists in NC i know for a fact make more than the avg dds in NYC.
     
  25. asd

    asd Senior Member
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    ok I was just going by what the dentist told me...
     
  26. 50dent

    50dent Member
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    there's a guy in my town who owns 16 offices according to the yellow pages hiring out associates - i think it's alot of cosmetic work too... i know this is a stupid question but long time down the road, do yall see dentistry becoming more like this? the whole franchise deal
     
  27. 12YearOldKid

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    Man, I hope not. ...unless I am one of the big franchise owners. :laugh:
     
  28. gryffindor

    Dentist 10+ Year Member

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    As a new dentist in NYC, I'm not making much at all compared to my rural & suburban counterparts. I pay almost $1200 MORE in rent for my apt. in NYC than for the apartment I had in Buffalo. I have no benefits, any benefits I want, I must pay for out of pocket - health insurance, disability, malpractice, retirement, joining the ADA, etc. The only place where I save some money is that I dont have a car. I'm always on the lookout to try and find a better job. I sometimes work as a hygienist because some hygiene jobs around here pay upto $45/hour. Dental jobs are supposed to pay $50/hour, but my current crappy jobs don't and those jobs involve a lot more stress than what a hygienist does for the $45/hour. It is possible to make it big in this city, but it's not going to happen from day 1.

    But I also live in what I think is the greatest city in the USA so to me, it's worth it - for now. I do know that when I start my own practice, I don't want to work in the city. The lack of space in even the nicest dental offices (I worked in a TWO big-time perio offices they didn't even have a break room for the staff!) is something I don't want when I practice.
     
  29. Happy2th

    Happy2th Member
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    $50/hr in NYC? That's it? Damn, that's depressing. I've only been to NYC twice in my life and I LOVED it. I think I could live there, but it doesn't sound like it's a realistic idea.
     
  30. daelroy

    daelroy Senior Member
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    Wal-Mart already has some medical clinics in it. They are staffed by nurse practioners and PA's and have a physician on call should the situation warrant it. They are charge a flat fee of 30 dollars to be seen so you don't need insurance. They are not widespread at the moment and are located in only a few Wal-Marts. I never thought I would see that happen but if it can happen to physicians, it's only a matter of time before some dentist sells out and decides to open his practice in a Wal-Mart with a shingle offerring free clearnings for first time patients. It happened to chiropractors, optometrists and pharmacists. You see dentists practicing in some malls. It's only a matter of time before one of these guys opens up in your neighborhood Wal-Mart and Sams Club!
     
  31. dentwannabe

    dentwannabe Senior Member
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    this is an extremely depressing post. is it really that bad? I mean, why not just live in NYC and work in suburbs or something (north jersey, boroughs, etc)?
     
  32. Dr. Parm

    Dr. Parm Senior Member
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    Or maybe the other way around. Work in NYC, and live in Hoboken or Jersey city, where you can save a buttload on rent. but $50/hour? Damn, this is seriously depressing. Note to self: Never EVER think about working in NYC after Dental school.
     
  33. gryffindor

    Dentist 10+ Year Member

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    I don't mean to depress you guys. The going rate around here is $400/day for a dentist, $600/day for a specialist like pedo or ortho - if you take a day to mean 8 hours. I've had jobs where they advertise $400/day only to learn it was an 8 hour+ day. There are jobs where you can get paid on production and make more. One of my jobs is like that and it is very unpredictable how much I will make; I am looking to drop it as soon as I can find something better. And I do work in the borroughs and anywhere the subway & buses will take me. I could live in Jersey City/Hoboken and save some money, but then it's not the same as being in Manhattan, IMO. My situation is a little different in that I know I'm only here for a short time (6 months left) until I start residency in a different state. So I figured I'm going to suck it up and enjoy Manhattan while I'm still young, worry about raking in the dough a little later. And I don't regret it.

    I still like that I am a dentist and no slaving away in a corporate office job. I have a lot of flexibility being a part time dentist in several places. My mom is always asking me "when do you have off?" My response is "everyday is a holiday" - seriously, because if I want off, I just have to say so. I don't get paid if I take a day off, that's all. I don't have a boss who has to approve my days and I don't have restrictions like "10 calendar days every year" like my corporate friends do. If the office says no (which none of them ever have), it's really not hard to quit and find something else.

    There are better jobs here, it takes a while to find them. I was given advice when I started that you will go through several jobs until you find one or two that are worth staying with, and don't be afraid to quit a job because you find something better. Wow, that advice turned out to be true...
     
  34. EyeAmCommi

    EyeAmCommi Los Angeles Smog
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    Gross.
     
  35. Geezer99

    Geezer99 Member
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    This number is not all that low really. I have worked in Oregon and Colorado...and done lots of job searching. Of course if you have lots of experience and could hold your own in a cosmetic practice doing full mouth rehab, then you are probably worth more. However, right out of school, I wouldn't expect anybody to get offered a guarantee of much more than 400-500 per day anywhere! Of course I'm talking about legitimate jobs where you are not the beloved 1st born of the owner.
     
  36. albany11

    albany11 Member
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    :laugh: good point griffin04 ..enjoy while you can. Congrats. You are one of the lucky ones as you got into ortho. You will have no problems once you graduate..most ortho can work 2.5 days and make what most high grossing GP make in a 4 -5 days week.

    As a side note...I am curious to know, what is your typical or average
    production per day. Would it not be better for you to ask for commission.
    How many patients do you see on average per day. What procedures do you
    do? Also what is the fee for crowns?


    Also there must be a difference in salaries depending where you work in NYC.
    I assume Griffin04 works in Manhattan which is typically difficult for associates to be paid alot. Most people who own or start a practice in Manhattan, however, do really well. You can do much much better in Long Island, Queens, Brooklyn, and even the Bronx. :thumbup:
     
  37. albany11

    albany11 Member
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  38. Woodsy

    Woodsy S-D-N Blue Blood
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    i can confirm, you can gross 1.5 million. My uncle does easily if not more and he is not a specialist, just a very smart business man. He even said, when he was in dental school he was like in the bottom of the class (His English wasn't that great for a lot of the writing courses), he just makes sure he learns what he needs to NOT GET SUED.
     
  39. Yellow Snow

    Yellow Snow Senior Member
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    If the dentist I shadow can be believed, then 70% overhead starting out is pretty average but over one's career you can whittle that number down to around 40% as you begin to own the equipment, etc instead of financing. He opened up the books to me and although I didn't calculate it myself it seemed that what he was saying was true. He also doesn't spend anything on advertising as he has a developed regular patient population. I don't think he has a patient under 30 though. Tons of dentures. Very rural practice.
     
  40. ItsGavinC

    Dentist Moderator Emeritus 15+ Year Member

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    Ugh, dentures. There is a guy on DentalTown that charges $5k for an upper and lower set of dentures. Dunno what makes his so special though.
     
  41. Happy2th

    Happy2th Member
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    You're only partially right. If you're talking about the "Drop Dead Gorgeous Denture" guy (Charles Barotz), he charges $5K for ONE denture (upper or lower). For both upper AND lower he charges $10,500.
     
  42. Mustt Mustt

    Mustt Mustt Senior Member
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    Wow, that's some serious money. He must have lots of old and rich patients.
     
  43. TucsonDDS

    TucsonDDS Senior Member
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    You would be better off buying them separately and saving 500 bucks. His patients must not be the brightest :D
     
  44. ItsGavinC

    Dentist Moderator Emeritus 15+ Year Member

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    I'm on dial-up while on vacation, so I don't have the time (read: patience) to visit DT and check on it, but I think you're right in terms of who I'm referring to. Good catch.
     
  45. ItsGavinC

    Dentist Moderator Emeritus 15+ Year Member

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    Further, they may not be the brightest if they are paying those fees anyway. In my estimation, often a denture is a denture is a denture. Half the time the lower simpy floats in the mouth, and sometimes the patient's anatomy is such that anything resembling a palatal seal cannot be had, so the upper floats as well. Is that worth $10,500? The pt. might as well spend that on implants to retain the damn things.
     
  46. checkamundo

    checkamundo Don't know what i'm doing
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  47. checkamundo

    checkamundo Don't know what i'm doing
    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
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  48. andyO4you

    andyO4you Junior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
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    well, I own 3 cell phones stores... will continue studying, but at the moment I have no hurry to do so.
    I make more than 150k a year, and planning to bump it up to 500k with a few more stores.
    btw, just reading this because my cousin wants to be a dentist. I wanted to be a physician too but it takes to much time. I prefer working for a month taking vacation and working another month and ging to the next place.

    Just a question: To open a dental office I dont need to be a dentist, do I? of course I am not going to work as one... just hire a couple..
    thanks.
    whoa, I just notice I joined this site 6 years ago.. :)
     
  49. Cold Front

    Cold Front Supreme Member
    Dentist 10+ Year Member

    Joined:
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    Dentist
    Last time I checked, if you are sole owner, you have to be a dentist. If you find a dentist to co-own the office with you, then it would be ok. But how many dentists out there are willing to cut their potential down by partnering with a non-dentist? most partnerships are doctors only.
     
  50. johndent

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
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    Status:
    Pre-Dental
    Do you guys think the overhead has changed much in the last 6 years? Is the average still gonna be around 70%?
     

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