Why do so many dental associateships fail to work out?

Discussion in 'Dental Residents and Practicing Dentists' started by Mauricio45, Feb 11, 2018.

  1. Mauricio45

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  3. Rainee

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    I’ve always said dentistry is a good ownership gig but not a 8-5 employee gig.

    If you are a specialist that’s different but as a GP.... you have to own... very rare to find a decent associateship.
     
  4. Mauricio45

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    Right? My first associateship out of school was a disaster and lasted only 7 months. You always have to be careful about you say or do because it always feels like you are walking on eggshells as an associate because staff will report on you to the owner. Staff always favors the owner (which makes sense since owner is paying them), and my schedule was hardly productive. Owner would take work I diagnosed (especially fixed prosth- crowns, bridges) and front desk would schedule those patients with him. I felt taken advantage of as a new grad, but I've learned my lessons from that job. I've made mistakes and I wasn't perfect.

    I've heard of horror stories from classmates of mine from their associateships and also on DentalTown.

    Thankfully, I got out of that situation and landed 2 decent part-time associateships at 2 different offices. I think it's WAY better to do multiple part-time jobs rather than 1 full-time associateship because staff usually has an easier time to fill 2-3 days as opposed to 5 days. Plus, I think most dental offices can only offer the associate part-time work.

    I can't wait to own.
     
  5. Strag

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    This has happened to a few of my friends in private practice. Just like your situation, they essentially "triage" and whenever the owner's schedule gets light or cancellations occur, the manager who happens to be the wife to the owner would pull treatment from my friend's column. I temped a couple times at a private practice and they have no where near the patient load per day compared to a corporate practice. It's sad but I do agree with the same sentiments. If you're doing general, you have to either own or do corporate in a single office to be moderately successful, and to do that you have to be good at many disciplines. I don't see being an associate in either situations as a stable job in the near future.
     
  6. Rainee

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    So basically...dental loans...plus practice loans...+ 20 years later....retirement. Now so you sorta see why dentistry isn't as picturesque anymore? Add a luxury car and a decent sized house and you add 30 years until retirement... Just wait until your back gives out, or year by year your income is dried up by corporate, saturation, lowering insurances...

    Oh well...I'm in it to win it now. Gotta have a game plan to get out...otherwise you will just flounder and do nothing.
     
  7. 2TH MVR

    2TH MVR Orthodontist
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    Rainee ...you're funny and I mean that is a good way. I enjoy reading your posts. :)

    Nothing comes easy. Associateships with no future is no different than working for the Corps. Heck .... the benefits may be better at the Corps. Also ... at the Corps ...you are not treated as a 2nd class citizen by the owner doc's staff and/or patients.

    Most associateships fail because there is no future in it. In a perfect world (maybe I'm dreaming) but I would locate a senior dentist looking for the right person to turn his/her practice over to when he/she retires. You need a dental and business mentor willing to show you the ropes. An older practice may not generate sufficient revenue for both you and the senior doc. You may need to augment with Corp PT.

    You can be successful, and it usually starts with reasonable educational debt and then picking the right community that isn't fully saturated.
     
  8. Firm

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    Because most dentists want the same thing as dental owners. Once you realize this, you don't want to be an associate especially after putting in the same amount of work. Dentists are also greedy and try to take advantage of associates because the associate really isn't bringing anything to the table.
     
  9. beannaithe

    beannaithe Bionerd

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    Most owners want to work less and take more time off...until they start losing income. Then, they start getting greedy and picking the associate's schedule for the good stuff. They have a hard time having an associate because they want to have their cake and eat it too. Most good associates will stay in a good associateship for very long time. I've been at mine (2 docs, 1 owner) for 5 years and I've seen 2 other associates buy a practice out of the other associate spot. Most of the time good associateships don't come up because they tend to be decent, long-term gigs. It's the crappy, short term, not enough patients, underpaid, overworked rotating doors that always come up on Craigslist because no one ever stays long enough for them to take down the ad.
     
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  10. DocJL

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    Interesting topic.

    Having been in the associate position before, and now as a practice owner (who has never seriously entertained the idea of an associate), I will take a stab at it.

    After 4 years as a military dentist including a GPR, I had my skills and speed, and my first civilian job was at a corporate office. I was paid well, but the amount of work was very taxing. 4 chairs, 4 full columns, all day long. Quality suffered, as did my back and neck. After 18 months I took a job as an associate at a private practice.

    My experience was good, and that is mainly because I got a job at an office that was long established, very busy, and the owner was at a point that he rarely worked (he had some health issues). I was full time at his office, and essentially got to run it as my own. At this point I was 5.5 years out of school, so it was a good fit, someone right out of school would not have been able to keep up, as I was producing about $100k per month, independent of hygiene production.

    It was a good associateship, and lasted 3 years.
    I was happy with my income (I was paid based on adjusted/true production) and the owner was happy that I was a quality, productive dentist that put money in his pocket and he had minimal headaches.

    Essentially, it is about the quality and quantity of dental work being done by the associate for the practice, and the compensation for the associate.

    In order for it to work, BOTH the associate and the owner need to benefit.

    I know other dentists that were early in their careers who had LESS than satisfactory associateships.


    It always boiled down to the money; both in terms of production, and in terms of payment/compensation.

    The problem can come from either party: Either a greedy owner who tries to squeeze every dollar out of an overworked associate, OR, just as often, an inexperienced dentist, lacking in clinical speed and advanced skills, who EXPECTS to be making close to $200k a year within the first year or two out of school, without having developed the patient management and clinical skills to justify such a large salary.

    Now that my peer group is mostly practice owners, I hear the owners side more often. I have even had friends show me example of borderline/poor quality endo and fixed pros work done by associates, who demand large salaries, and get offended when their work has to be redone by someone (usually the owner) with more skill.


    Really there are no easy answers here.
     
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