Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Hiring an Associate Dentist – Experience vs. Potential

When we start working with a practice, we collect a lot of information about the owner, practice, and the position. Some details are quantitative, but many crucial points are open for interpretation. Most practice owners tell us they need an experienced dentist for their position. In most cases, that is the best option. In fact, over 90% of the doctors we place have over one year of experience in practice or residency. But what are the tradeoffs to experience? When should an office consider hiring a doctor a year or two out of school rather than five to seven years out?


  • Production: Dental School is just the beginning. It takes several years, lots of CE and thousands of chair side hours for most dentists to hit their stride. An experienced dentist should be better able to handle a full schedule.
  • Known quantity: A seasoned dentist brings credentials, a work history, and track record of past successes that will allow a new employer to project reasonably accurate results
  • Less Babysitting: With experience comes independence and the ability to handle

  • Malleable: While an experienced dentist will come to your practice with his or her own idea on how an office should operate or with a well-defined clinical philosophy, a less-experienced dentist will be open-minded and receptive to guidance.
  • Less up front needs: This is true of patient load as well as guaranteed income. While many recent graduates have huge student loan debts to consider, they typically have less expense in the rest of their lives. They also come to your practice without the burden of trying to reach previous income levels. They typically are better able to handle a growing practice than a dentist who needs to maintain a higher standard of living
  • Superstars are still available: Most practices would love to hire a dentist who is motivated, great with patients, can keep procedures in house and who will be a boom to the practice for years to come. Dentists like that are rarely available long. These are the dentists who are partners or practice owners within a few years of practice.

Posted by Morgan Pace.

Morgan Pace is the Southeastern U.S. Account Executive and Senior Recruiter for ETS Dental. He can be reached at or 540-491-9102. ETS Dental is a Dental Recruiting firm specializing in finding and placing General Dentists, Dental Specialists, and Dental Staff throughout the United States.