Thinking of Bringing on an Associate Dentist? Consider These 4 Tips
Erica Kushihashi

Thinking about bringing on a partner is a crossroads where many dentists find themselves. 

How do you know when the time is right? Can your practice sustain another dentist? Do you have the space to accommodate another treatment provider?

While many questions are swimming around in your mind, there are a few things to consider to put your decision into perspective and help you create some goals that may get you to the point where you’re ready for a partner or associate.

 Know Your Numbers

Understanding your numbers and practice goals may seem obvious, but do you know how many new patients you are averaging each month? Better yet, do you know exactly what a new patient is worth to your practice?

Knowing your new patients’ value helps you focus your marketing efforts more effectively and make critical decisions like adding an associate dentist to your practice.

You can quickly learn some averages by categorising your new patients, for example, families versus emergency new patients. Once you have your categories, look at your yearly totals and calculate an average for each group to determine how much money new patients bring into your practice.

A realistic monthly goal for new patients might be anywhere from 20 to 25 per dentist, depending on your sales goals. If you consistently reach these numbers, it may be a good time to bring another dentist on board.

If your numbers are lower than that, you may want to focus on a marketing campaign before considering partnering.

Sales Goals

It’s also essential to take into account realistic sales goals for your dental practice. 

Are you earning around $25,000 to $30,000 per treatment room on a consistent monthly basis? If so, moving forward with adding an associate dentist may make sense.

Another aspect of your sales to consider is your treatment acceptance rate. How many of your patients are actually moving forward with your treatment recommendations? Ensuring that your acceptance rate is consistently around 70 per cent before bringing in an associate is a good idea.

If your sales goals and treatment acceptance rate aren’t quite where you want them to be, you may want to spend some more resources on marketing before bringing on an associate dentist.

Are Your Systems Refined?

Having effective practice management systems in place ensures that things are running smoothly at your practice. It gives your team confidence in handling the flow of work while reducing the chances of making mistakes.

If you don’t have solid systems in place, it may be challenging to set a new dentist up for success. It’s much easier to add team members into practice that runs efficiently.

Do You Have Enough Space in Your Clinic?

One last consideration might be to evaluate the square footage of your clinic. Do you have enough space for a new dentist to treat patients and meet their daily sales goals?

Ask yourself these questions about the physical space in your clinic:

  • How many treatment rooms do you personally use daily?
  • Do you have any additional space for overflow or emergency patients?
  • Would you and an additional dentist be able to work together on the same days, or does your clinic require more space for that?
  • Does your practice volume warrant more treatment rooms?

Make sure you have a plan to add space, if necessary. You can perhaps divide workdays between you and an additional dentist if you move forward with partnering and still maintain your practice sales goals. 

Are You Ready to Expand?

Considering an expansion to your practice and adding an associate dentist is exciting! When you do it properly, it can mean more peace of mind and free time for you in the long term.

Spend the time planning and preparing now, so adding a new dentist to your practice will go smoothly and be a positive experience for everyone on your team.  

Erica Kushihashi
Erica is a Colorado native and she spent 15 years working in the dental field before joining GDW in 2015 to write about dentistry. Just as she did in the dental office, she enjoys sharing her knowledge of dentistry and changing lives through writing. Erica lives in Denver with her husband, two children, and two cats, all of whom keep her very busy when she's not writing.

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