A Guide For New Dentists: Charting Your Implant Career Course
A Guide for New Dentists:
Charting Your Implant Career Course
You’re at the Start of Something Truly Life-Changing
Whether you’re preparing to graduate from dental school, a recent college graduate, or completing the licensure process, you’re likely excited – and maybe a little nervous – about launching your career as a dentist.
The profession of dentistry is undergoing dramatic change. Filling your chair with a steady stream of patients is more challenging than ever, as competition is growing fierce. It certainly is more costly to operate a practice today than it was for our parents’ generation: these days, you typically need a minimum of a half million dollars in loans to build up your practice and advertise to patients. All of these changes are occurring as the largest generation in recorded U.S. history is experiencing progressive dental conditions in a looming oral health crisis.
Here’s a hard lesson:
Many of your peers will struggle because they won’t spend time mapping out their career path. Just as you’ve learned how difficult it is to earn your dental degree, so too is owning and operating a practice.
Finding Purpose. Planning a Career.
In dental school, you might not have spent much time covering tooth replacement – the protocol for cases of terminal dentition and missing or damaged teeth. But more practices exclusively dedicated to extractions, dentures and dental implants are now are popping up. Why is that?
The answer is simple economics. More patients across the U.S. today require these services than ever before – and are increasingly unable to pay for them – thanks to generational, socioeconomic and even dietary shifts.
Tooth replacement dentistry is becoming a highly desirable career path. It can be lucrative at practices like Affordable Dentures & Implants affiliates – as a new associate, you can initially earn as much as a $150,000 base salary, and eventually earn significantly more as a practice owner. Perhaps just as important to you is the opportunity to master your surgical skill. At these practices, you’ll get more “at-bats” with cases requiring edentulation.
Tooth Loss in America, By the Numbers
Tooth replacement dentistry is at a major crossroads, as the largest U.S. generation ever ages into new oral conditions.
120 Million: As many as 120 million in the U.S. are missing at least one tooth. At least 36 million Americans do not have any teeth.
2 to 1: Among the U.S. geriatric population, two in three individuals are suffering from edentulism. About 23 million in this category are completely edentulous.
200 Million: More aging Americans will suffer from partial tooth loss over the next 15 years, about a 67% increase over today’s partially edentulous population.
More patients are now turning to group dental practices affiliated with Dental Support Organizations, or DSOs, for their treatment. Practices supported by DSOs have been around for decades, but in recent years have grown in number rapidly. Why is that?
Your curriculum in dental school probably did not extensively cover the non-clinical aspects of running a dental practice – how to manage payroll, determining a marketing strategy, or even hiring and shifting staff. More recent dental school graduates are electing to contract with DSOs to provide this non-clinical support than ever before.
What does that mean for you? Dentists who contract with a DSO say they get back as much as 40 percent of their time in the practice – time they can now spend with more patients, generating more revenue and patient goodwill and self-esteem, or time they can now spend with their families.
DSOs do not share ownership in your practice. When you become an affiliated practice owner, you will own 100 percent of the practice. We help you establish your professional corporation, and even assume the upfront risks normally associated with starting a practice – like the lease agreement, the equipment and materials. In short, we make it as pain-free as possible.
DSO’s vary in service offerings.
AD&I affiliates use their DSO for a variety of services, saving them time to spend with their patients.
DSOs vary in their service offerings to affiliated dentists. Affordable Dentures & Implants affiliates use their DSO for a variety of services, including:
• Human resources
• Marketing and advertising
• Assistance with scheduling patients
• Information technology
• Recruiting staff and lab technicians
• Managing payroll and accounting
• Securing legal services and risk management
• Operational advice
• Business financing and real estate
Here are the questions you should be asking.
Take time to think critically about your first steps into dentistry. Treating your next moves as business decisions now will pay off later in your career. Have you weighed all your options? Don’t forget to consult your mentors and peers for advice.
How will you pay down your student loan debt?
Debt can be stressful for anyone. Do you have a plan for paying off your loans? How will your month-to-month budget look?
Do you want to own your own practice?
How will you get there? How much are you willing to invest – and risk – in making your practice a reality?
How will you pursue your training and development post-dental school?
Are you budgeting for continuing education and live training? These courses often can be expensive over time.
Do you want to go alone, or contract with a DSO?
If the latter, you should start conversations with multiple DSOs. How will your career path look with each? Does it fit within your budget?
What are the perks of contracting with a DSO? Does the DSO offer apprentice opportunities with their veteran practice owners?
Later, will you have 100% practice ownership? Can they help bring down your practice expenses through group purchasing power? What about access to surgical training?
What are your business risks?
Again, treat this like a business person. How will you attract patients? Will your cost structure enable you to charge fees that your prospective patients can afford? How and when will you cross the efficacy threshold to become profitable? Can partnering with a DSO help mitigate your risks?
Will you be fulfilled by your work?
Some dentists are perfectly happy with a “drill and fill” career path – others want to flex their surgical muscles. Is tooth replacement an option for you? Do you want to place implants and stay on the technological forefront of dentistry?
A Clinical Pathway to Implant Success
While you may have spent some time covering implants during dental school, advanced implant training typically is pursued through a series of didactic and hands-on courses. In private practice, identifying and completing such a curriculum can be expensive and time-consuming.
Many dentists now choose to affiliate with Affordable Dentures & Implants in order to further develop their implant skill level. We built an implant pathway curriculum to provide comprehensive access to the learning and development needed for a successful implant launch.
A typical process, shown here, might include online coursework (20 CEU), followed by a live implant training session (32 CEU). We partner with Brighter Way Institute in Phoenix, where dentists train under experienced instructors. All care is donated pro bono to U.S. veterans and residents aboard the CASS Homeless Shelter. Affordable Dentures & Implants affiliates also enjoy coordinated support from a variety of course instructors, as well as material suppliers like BioHorizons, Sterngold and Zest.
Many dentists who complete a curriculum like ours become eligible to pursue and earn credentials with implant organizations like the American Academy of Implant Dentistry and the International Congress of Oral Implantologists.
Session 1: 20 one-hour online modules – history, rationale, treatment
Session 2: Hands-on and lecture course– single implants, ridge preservation and grafting
Session 3: Hands-on and lecture course – implant restoration and guided surgery success
Session 4: Live surgery – 2+ day session
Tooth Replacement Experts Wanted
Affordable Dentures & Implants is the nation’s first and largest network of DSO-supported practices dedicated to tooth replacement – extractions, implants and dentures. Each day, more than 250 affiliates treat thousands of patients across almost all 50 states.
Each year, only about 2 percent of affiliated practice owners choose to leave the Affordable Dentures & Implants network. What’s the secret to 45 years of success? Our affiliates’ patients tell us it’s the availability of same-day services, thanks to on-site dental labs in every location. Others say it’s because they received a level of treatment they didn’t think they could afford –due in part to your ability to pass our cost savings through to patients in the form of lower fees.
By joining the Affordable Dentures & Implants network of affiliated practices, you can achieve more – both professionally and financially. Starting as an associate dentist with one of our affiliated practices, you will have access to state-of-the-art technologies, like 3D cone beam imaging and the support of an on-site lab. In addition, you can participate in continuing education courses and live implant training. You’ll also enjoy our generous benefits, bonuses, and culture focusedon work-life balance.