There are numerous obstacles that families face when selecting a dentist. Aside from discovering one that’s accepting patients along with being conveniently located, there is the choice between the group and solo dental practices. Understanding why you might choose one over another requires understanding what drives dentists to pick where to practice. Solo practices have many benefits but come with some concerns for patients and dentists alike. Group practices can address several of these concerns, but some benefits might be sacrificed.
Understanding The Choices Between Solo and Group Dental Practices
For patients, oral care is a crucial part of their overall healthcare. For dentists, it’s both a career choice and a business. Both the patients and the dentists desire to create healthy teeth and an attractive smile. Dentists also want to serve the needs of their community ably. They also desire to do so in a way that aids their passion for providing oral care shine. Many believe solo practices are the best way to accomplish this goal, but it comes with numerous challenges.
Most of these challenges are financial and frequently lead dentists to sell their practice and join a group clinic. These struggles are a common factor for those joining a group practice, despite the reduced income and elements of the practice being decided by someone else. Group practices allow financial security for the dentist and give access to specialists without the need to go to a different clinic for patients.
- Solo Practices – In most cases, solo practices are owned and run by an independent dentist. However, this term can also mean that a few dentists operate independently in the same space. These practices allow for more personalized care, yet they struggle to provide access to dental insurance due to limitations. Due to the realities of working with Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) companies, most solo dental practices focus on patients with Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans or who can pay with cash. This focus leads to them having more affluent clientele.
- Group Practices – Group practices are those that operate under a corporate structure. These organizations are often franchises or corporate locations for larger dental companies with many outlets. These outlets allow them to reduce costs in many fashions, which is often passed onto the patient. These reduced costs can occur indirectly, such as by accepting HMO insurance providers and having lower out-of-pocket expenses for specific procedures. Furthermore, they often employ multiple specialists, allowing for oral care access.
Ask Your Dentist What Made Them Choose A Solo Or Group Practice
Next time you visit your dentist, ask them what brought them to choose their style of practice. It can be interesting to learn what drives people to their professions and how they aim to provide exemplary patient care—converse about the benefits they offer and how their practice benefits you and your family. Being an active patient involves understanding the structure of the dentist’s business and its impact on you. Call today for a consultation on this and other oral health topics.