Dental student debt is a hurdle, not a barrier

The myth about dental student debt standing between a new dentist and buying a practice has got to come to an end.

Apr 8th, 2019
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As I lecture to dentists and dental students around the country, I am routinely infuriated by a rather nasty little myth. It goes something like this: “Graduating dentists these days are in too much debt to buy or start a practice.” This is completely and utterly false.

Yes, dental students today are graduating in greater debt than ever before, and yes, it’s a problem worthy of our attention. But I have never heard of a dentist being denied for a practice startup or acquisition loan because the person had too much student debt. Never.

Dentist-friendly banks such as Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Lendeavor, Live Oak Bank, and others are all lending money to recent graduates at favorable terms. Sure, these institutions have strict criteria and standards for how they lend money. Applicants typically need to have practiced for some period of time, and that can be as few as six months in some cases. The applicant should also have demonstrated healthy financial discipline; a bad credit score and monthly Ferrari payment are going to be frowned upon. But someone’s student loan debt is not a significant detriment to the person’s application. Ask your local dental lender representative and they’ll tell you the same.

Young dentists entering our profession have blank canvases. The world is their oyster. They see before them several different pathways to practice ownership and they get to choose the one best suited for them. So, let’s stop crushing their dreams by telling them that they won’t be able to get financing to buy or start a practice. It’s just not true. Their monthly student loan payments are undoubtedly a factor for their personal budgets, but it’s not a real factor for their professional ones.

Cheers,

Chris

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