Shake Hands

Creating dental partnerships that work

June 21, 2019
Since dental partnerships are different than many other business partnerships, it's important to know how to make it work well. It's up to the partners to create an environment of success.
Roger P. Levin, DDS, CEO and Founder, Levin Group

Dental partnerships are constructed very differently from the classic business organizational chart. Most businesses have a CEO who has final say over everything and works with a tier of executives under him or her.

However, in a dental partnership there are, in a sense, multiple CEOs who all have a say in what happens within the practice. As a result, these partnerships can either be phenomenally supportive environments or they can feel like a bureaucracy. It’s up to you to create the conditions that will allow your dental partnership to thrive. 

Partnership pitfalls 

When more than one person has ownership and input, there is a high propensity for decision-making to be slow, unfocused, and frustrating. This is especially true in busy dental offices. It’s best to avoid these common pitfalls: 

Not taking time to meet—This can lead to decisions being made at the last minute, or worse, not at all. Hold regular partnership meetings. Whether they involve two partners or 20, meetings are an essential aspect of any successful partnership. 

Letting individual goals influence decisions—Consider the common scenario of a senior dentist and a younger dentist trying to decide about investing in the practice. The senior partner may prefer to avoid investments in order to continue saving money toward retirement, while the younger partner may view making investments as right for his or her career in the long-term. Often in this scenario, no decision is made. Partners must always put the practice’s interests before their own. When your partnership finds itself at a crossroads, it’s prudent to consider the advice of an outside expert. This can help you make decisions based on what’s best for the practice. 

Avoiding honesty—Partners often feel that if they share their honest feelings, it will permanently hurt the relationship. However, partners have a responsibility to share openly with each other. Give each other permission to talk about anything in the spirit of self-improvement. A partnership where partners are not open and honest is one that will eventually cause the practice to operate below its potential. 

A dental partnership should always be about the best interests of the practice. Meet regularly, avoid self-interest, and make honesty a priority, and your partnership will propel your practice toward increased success. 

Dr. Roger P. Levin is the CEO of Levin Group, a leading dental management consulting firm. Founded in 1985, Levin Group has worked with over 30,000 dental practices. Dr. Levin is one of the most sought-after speakers in dentistry and is an authority on dental practice success and sustainable growth. Through extensive research and cutting-edge innovation, Dr. Levin is a recognized expert on propelling practices into the top 10%. He has authored 65 books and over 4,000 articles on dental practice management and marketing. To contact Dr. Levin, visit or email [email protected]