Dental Associate Information

     Being a dental associate can be quite rewarding when you make the right choice, but it can quickly become a nightmare with the wrong one. This dental website is dedicated to helping new dentists make the right choice by providing relevant information about this topic. It is sponsored by the Atlanta Dental Group PC, a well known cosmetic and implant restorative practice in Atlanta, Georgia. We feel that it is to our benefit to show you what we have to offer by comparison to others.

     As a new dental graduate you've only been exposed to the basics of General Dentistry. You now must develop your basic skills, learn new skills and develop your speed. There is no doubt that a mentoring relationship is ideal for a new dentist and that being thrown into a dental office all by yourself is probably not a good idea. It is almost always best to have mentor dentist to catch you when you fall and help get you out of treatment difficulties.

     You absolutely should assess the skills of the senior dentist or dentists in the practice you are evaluating. The skill set of the senior dentist is essentially the limitation of what you can learn at this dental practice. Of course, you can take continuing education courses to improve your abilities, but this represents a financial investment at a time that you already have student loan payments. If the senior dentist only drills, fills and bills, you probably are not going to learn much oral surgery, periodontics, implant dentistry, etc. Is that what you want?

     What are your personal goals as a dentist, as a spouse and/or as a future parent? Graduating from dental school is an important life event that should involve some time defining who you are and what you want in life. Essentially, with dental school behind you, your life is now beginning. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Your dental associate period should be a duration of time where you answer the great questions about yourself and life.

     GPR or dental associate? A General Practice Residency usually pays very little, focuses on a limited amount of procedures that serve the need of a specific hospital and is located in a major city where the rent and cost of living are high. Yes, you can practice in a relatively safe environment but are you only interested in developing your speed or do you want to expand the number of dental procedures that you master?

     Pay based on commission or salary? This is a huge issue and many new dentists get into serious troubles with this issue. If pay is based on production and the senior dentist does the treatment planning and patient assignment, a dental health associate may find himself or herself only doing low income procedures while the senior dentist steals all of the high income procedures. This becomes a serious problem in dental practices that take PPO and capitation plans. These plans reduce the allowable charges so that the new dentist gets a percentage of nothing.

     Dental independent contractor or dental associate employee? There is a really big difference and an associate dentist is usually unaware and uneducated about the differences. This lack of knowledge can lead to a tremendous financial distaster when taxes come due the following year.

     Is this dental practice location in an area that you wish to work? Is the dental equipment in the practice modern and up to date?

     Is there a buy in potential after a specified period of time? This is especially important if the dental associate wants to settle down in the area that this dental practice is located. It also helps the associate dentist feel that his or her efforts will later be rewarded.

     Does the new dental practice have a good work environment? What is the personality of the
senior dentist and staff that you will be working with? Will you integrate well into this group? It is very important to feel comfortable in your working environment.

     Cosmetic dental associate or just a general dental associate?

     Should you use a dental associate broker or should you find a dental associate position yourself?

     Your dental associate contract is the cornerstone of your formal relationship and serves as a basis for both your employer's and you own obligations. You should carefully read it, understand it and bring it to a lawyer if you are confused about any part of this written agreement. Most contracts are two years long. The State of New York requires new dentists to practice at least two years as a dental associate or within a GPR before allowing them to enter private practice in the Empire state.

     If you have any questions or suggestions, please do not hesitate to email Dr. Mark Padolsky at If you are interested in becoming a dental associate with the Atlanta Dental Group PC, let us know!! We are located at 1624 Piedmont Avenue, Atlanta, Georgia 30324.

Dental Associate Terms

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