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Private Practice vs Corporate Dentistry

Dentistry is going in a corporate direction, with private practices on the decline. This can mean changes to the way patients receive their dental care, but many are unaware that this transition is even happening. Private dental practices that are bought out by corporations don’t always change their name or inform their patients that the practice has been sold and things are changing.

In fact, the patients may not know at all unless they ask, but over time they may feel a change. Private practices and corporate dentists don’t always operate in the same way, and patients should be aware of the potential differences between the two.

 

What is a corporate dental practice?

According to the American College of Prosthodontists, The Academy of General Dentistry has defined corporate dentistry as:

“A variety of practice modalities in which management services, at a minimum, are provided in a manner that is organizationally distinct from the scope of activities performed by a dentist within only his or her practice.”

 

Are most dentists private practice?

Most dentists are still private practice, but the percentage of privately owned practices has been on the decline since at least 2005. According to the American Dental Association:

  • 84% of dentists owned practices in 2005. This number fell to 80% by 2015. (source)
  • In 2019, the percentage of dentists who owned practices fell to 76%. (source)

 

Is it better to go to a private dentist?

Although one is not inherently better than the other, private dentists typically have more control than those who work at a corporate practice.

With a corporate dental practice, people who are not dentists are often dictating policy and setting goals. This means that policy may be driven by profits rather than the patient’s best interests.

One of the benefits of private boutique dental practices is that concerns are being addressed right there. The dentists don’t have to look to someone else to make decisions or take care of a patient.

Additionally, there are typically fewer hurdles to do business at a private practice. At our practice, for example, we had a patient from a corporate dental practice that couldn’t get her X-rays for 48 hours, even though most practices use the same software and should be able to easily send the X-rays within five minutes. These delays in transferring information are not in the best interest of the patient.

As a private practice, DGY Dentistry Ann Arbor is able to move forward unencumbered by corporate policy. We do what we need to do for the best interest of the individual.

 

Private practice dentist near me

To find a private practice dentist near you, you can get started by using the American Dental Association’s Find-a-Dentist tool, checking with your local dental society, or asking friends and family for referrals. Keep in mind that although some dental providers will clearly be part of a corporate network (Aspen Dental, etc.), others will keep their original names after being acquired. You will need to ask directly if they are privately owned.

When vetting dentists you will also want to look at reviews and the language on their website to learn about their values and philosophy for treatment.

At DGY Dentistry, for example, we offer no-pressure consultations and take the time to educate the patient so they know all of their options. We work collaboratively within the practice and outside the practice with other specialists to determine the best method of treatment, and the patient is included in the entire process.

Private practice dentist in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Our Ann Arbor dental office is conveniently located on E. Eisenhower Parkway, with easy access to I-94 and US 23. If you’re looking for a private practice dental office in Southeast Michigan, contact us today.