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My experience as a DSO-supported dentist

April 7, 2016
After 30 years in private practice, the decision to affiliate with Heartland Dental was an easy one.

After 30 years in private practice, the decision to affiliate with Heartland Dental was an easy one. Its reputation for professionalism, overarching concern for supporting clinical excellence, and commitment to continuing education, among many other attributes, are some of the reasons why I have never second-guessed the decision to affiliate. For staff members, there are many opportunities for advancement.

When a dentist has his or her own private dental practice for an extended period of time, the administrative responsibilities consume significant amounts of time and money. Since affiliating with Heartland Dental, my administrative responsibilities have been reduced by about 90%. They take care of payroll, taxes, OSHA and HIPAA compliance, hiring and training staff members, unemployment and workers' comp issues, regulatory and marketing requirements, and on and on. I am back to spending the lion's share of my time treating patients in a beautiful, ultramodern, new office that patients love to visit. Dentists retain 100% clinical and operational autonomy. They still lead their practices.

For new dental school graduates, excellent opportunities are few and far between. Opening an office upon graduation is also not feasible with enormous education debt levels and the difficulty of obtaining financing today. When I borrowed the money to open my first office in 1986, I spoke with the banker for 30 minutes about fishing and then he asked me how much money I wanted. Any amount was fine. I borrowed $90,000 and was able to build out, furnish, and equip my first office, with working capital left over. Those days are far back in the rear-view mirror.

There is a plethora of continuing educational course offerings for the doctor and all staff members. There are many opportunities to expand one's knowledge, clinical skill set, communication skills, and leadership skills. Guidance on scheduling, patient flow, and transitioning new employees is essentially unlimited. Heartland Dental also provides layers of administrative resources and regular meetings to enhance practice success. The doctors from different practices are generous with advice and input to provide information, ask for input on dental materials, assistance with difficult cases and procedures, and so on.

In short, affiliating with a DSO offers stability and a network of dedicated clinical and administrative individuals committed to the success of every practice. Heartland Dental is truly interested and invested in supporting the success and satisfaction of all team members.

Richard H. Nagelberg, DDS, has practiced general dentistry in suburban Philadelphia for more than 30 years. He is a speaker, advisory board member, consultant, and key opinion leader for several dental companies and organizations. He lectures on a variety of topics centered on understanding the impact dental professionals have beyond the oral cavity. Contact Dr. Nagelberg at [email protected].