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CDA @ Work Mind Your Business New Graduate Career Advice Provincial Dental Associations View From The Chairside

Will dental practice ownership still be attractive in future?

Key message: I invite dentists, at different parts of the career life cycle, who are willing to share advice about the different practice options (associateship / ownership / involvement in a large network) facing young dentists today, to contact me please. All information will be treated in confidence. Please contact me at oasisdiscussions@cda-adc.ca or 1-800-267-6354 ext. 5000.


Dear colleagues,

What practice options will face the young graduates coming into our profession in the foreseeable future? That was the subject of some very persuasive presentations at the conference of the Federation of Canadian Dentistry Student Associations in Toronto in January. To my ears there were two major perspectives articulated at that conference.

One perspective was that owning and managing your own practice is still the way to go, like it always has been for most dentists in Canada. The students heard that dentists are among the highest earning new graduates in Canada, with a very good chance of earning a six-figure salary in the first year in practice.

The doom and gloom about too many dentists, too few patients and difficulties facing young dentists can be ignored if young dentists acquire the right skills (notably business and communication skills) make good plans, set career goals, and practice in the right location. A number of speakers told the students that owning an independent practice will continue to make good economic sense and provide the greatest opportunity for career satisfaction.

The other major perspective articulated was that owning and managing a dental practice may be unsustainable in the future, so the young dentist may be better off being part of a large network, as either an associate or a partner. The argument was made that the price of dental practices will rise significantly in the years ahead and that it will become much more expensive to borrow the money to purchase and upgrade practices so that they have the equipment necessary to satisfy the demands of more discerning patients.

Conference attendees were told by the proponents of large networks that young graduates lack necessary business skills and that the complexity of running a practice continues to increase. In addition, the changing demographics of the profession will dictate that many more dentists will likely be happy to remain as associates for a much greater portion of their careers. Given all these factors, attendees were told that large networks hold out the promise of a different way of practicing and providing support for a dentist’s growth ambitions.

The options (associateship/ownership/involvement in a large network) facing young graduates is top of mind for me at present, because my team has been asked to support CDSPI and the provincial and territorial dental associations to create a career transitions resource for dentists, with a focus on the early part of the career. In this context, I wish to hear from dentists, at different parts of the career life cycle, who are willing to share valuable advice, based on their experiences, about the different practice options facing young dentists today.

The dental student leaders I have been communicating with have told me that they would really like to get unbiased information from experienced dentists that will guide them with the crucial career decisions they face. I am confident we can work together to help them. I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.




1 Comment

  1. Im a 30 year dental consultant and belong to The Golden Girls of Dentistry. Ive worked both sides of the border. These young dentists are drinking the kool-aide of Corporate Dentistry. They can have successful businesses, earn a great living and give back to their communities….just a bit outside of the cities by owning their own business. They simply need some help on the business side which there are lots of options to select from. There are even free grants they can access. At the end of their careers theyll have something to sell for retirement. Their children grew up in a community that cares and housing was affordable. They made a great living. Corporate is always an option…why not try on your own first…you can drink the kool-aide anytime. Hope this helps.


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