Is a Traditional Practice or a Group Practice Right for a Dentist?

Here is another guest post from our friend Carl Guthrie at ETS Dental.
Twenty years ago, the vast majority of dentists were solo practitioners who called their own shots and ran their own businesses. Today, group practices represent a significant percentage of the market and now provide an alternative to traditional solo practice. At this point in your career, which setting is right for you?
We have placed hundreds of dentists in both group and traditional settings. While walking a job seeker through the decision process, we consistently hear the same set of “pros and cons” offered for both settings. Here is an overview that we hope will prove helpful to any dentist considering a new position.
There are many types of group practices. For the purposes of this blog I will define traditional practices as those that have a sole practitioner or two partner doctors. Group practices include corporate groups, offices run by practice management companies, and private practices with three or more doctors.

Traditional Practice:


  • More income potential as a practice owner or partner
  • Freedom to run the office as you see fit
  • Freedom to pursue your own clinical interests
  • Equity position is more likely
  • Cons:

  • Complete responsibility for the practice
  • Many hours of administrative work outside of clinical hours
  • Balancing clinical CE with business development training
  • Practice growth is your responsibility

Group Practice:


  • Limited or no administrative responsibilities
  • Limited or no time required outside of office hours
  • Reduced overhead could improve compensation
  • Collegial setting
  • Larger marketing budget
  • Ability to specialize within practice
  • Mentors available – clinical and business
  • CE program in place
  • Ability to negotiate higher fees from insurance companies
  • More funds for equipment and technological upgrades
  • More common to find benefits packages include group health insurance, 401K, and more
  • Cons:

  • Less clinical autonomy
  • Less or no control on business of the practice
  • More colleagues to disagree with
  • Quality of colleagues work reflects on you
  • Less freedom to pursue niche
  • Equity position less likely
  • Higher staff turnover
This is certainly not a complete list of all the varying aspects of these two settings.
Contact Carl Guthrie with any questions you may have.