There is a steady decline of practice ownership, especially amongst male dentists. Approximately 80% of dentists currently own practices. Rising student debt, the emergence of corporate dentistry, shifting work-life balance preferences were just a few examples of why there is a decline in ownership. One of the big questions brought up is whether the trend is a big deal. It was pointed out that practice ownership is highly coveted and one of the reasons that dentists got into dentistry in the first place. All else being equal, owner dentists earn more than non-owner dentists. The question is, is practice ownership no longer as coveted as it used to be by younger, early career doctors?
The decline in practice ownership will continue for years to come. A comparison to the decline in ownership by physicians, which is now below 50%, was used as a comparison. Hospitals and groups have taken over the ownership of physician practices. The study states that physicians’ net hourly income is significantly higher than for dentists; Although, I would say that the annual income is higher for dentists, all things being equal. The author also claims that physicians are happier as a result of not being an owner of a practice. With reimbursements continuing to decline, dentists will be asked to do more with less. An emerging emphasis on quality and value will spur changes in dentistry.
If you have not read the article, I recommend you take a look. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you a copy. You can also go to jada.ada.org and search for “Practice Ownership Is Declining.”