There are many costs associated with being part of the dental industry. One significant cost can be obtaining the equipment and location for private practice. Despite the immense overhead associated with this, many dentists are encouraged to open their practice. Others opt to become associated with group practices or franchise chains. Patients and dentists will find different benefits and drawbacks to each choice. While the dental community hotly debates the benefits to the practitioner, many patients wonder what impact this choice might have on their care. We’re going to help provide some clarification on this topic in the following article.
The Two Faces of Dental Practice
When dentists consider choices about their practice, they generally center on business strategies aimed at maintaining their careers. The practices represent their face to the community, defining who they are and their reputation in that community. Newly graduated dentists experience significant pressure regarding their place in the industry. Dentists with a decade or more of experience under their belt often experience difficulties that drive them to sell their solo practices.
These difficulties can be financial, or they might involve the stress and pressure of running their practices. At this point, many of these professionals will join a group practice, allowing them to lower costs and improve their financial security. Other dentists may have been part of a group practice their whole careers. Whether to be part of a group practice or to go it alone in a solo practice depends mainly on circumstance.
- Solo Practices: This term refers to those practices owned and run by a single dentist. Most dentists often opt to go this route despite the high overhead involved with getting started. However, they tend to work on specific criteria, accepting PPO plans more often than HMO plans. Their clientele tends to be more affluent, resulting in a higher number of restorations and prosthetics work being done at their clinic. Despite this, solo practices also tend to bear more responsibility for their decisions in providing care. These improvements include how finances are managed and what type of treatments are offered. These benefits allow them to personalize their care to the patient.
- Group Practices: A group practice focuses on providing access to multiple dentists and serving a more extensive base clientele. These practices often accept patients with HMO plans. These patients tend to be lower-income than those seen by solo practices. They tend to provide fillings, amalgams, and direct restorations over more costly forms of restoration. One significant benefit group practices have over solo practices is more efficient finances. The ability to serve a more extensive patient base and thus buy their products in bulk can notably lower costs. These lower costs benefit the patient and allow these practices to be more financially stable.
How Dental Insurance Influences Your Care
These types of practices are not without their struggles. The most important influence they have on your dental care is cost. Many solo practices will not accept your insurance if you’re lower-income or have an HMO plan. The first step to deciding between group and solo practices is finding out what clinics your insurance provider supports.