There are numerous hurdles that families face when trying to choose a dentist. Aside from finding one that’s accepting patients and one that’s conveniently located, there’s the choice between group and solo practices. Understanding why you might choose one over the other requires understanding what drives dentists to choose where to practice. Solo practices have many benefits but concerns patients and dentists alike. Group practices can address many of these concerns, but some benefits may be sacrificed in the tradeoff.
Understanding The Choice Between Solo And Group Dental Care
For patients, dental care is a central part of their overall health care. For dentists, it’s a career choice and a business. Both patient and dentist desire to ensure healthy teeth and a beautiful smile. Dentists also want to be able to serve the needs of their community best. They also want to do so in a way that lets their passion for providing dental care shine. Many believe solo practices are the best way to accomplish this, but it comes with numerous challenges.
Many of these challenges are financial and often lead dentists to opt to sell their practice and move to a group clinic. These struggles are a solid draw for joining a group practice, despite the reduced pay and elements of the practice being decided by someone else. Group practices can provide financial security for the dentist and access to specialists without needing to go to another clinic for patients.
- Solo Practices – A solo practice is owned and operated by an individual dentist in most cases. However, the term can also be stretched to include two or more dentists who share a space while operating independently. These practices tend to provide more personalized care but need more limited access to dental insurance. Due to the realities of working with HMO companies, most solo dental practices focus on patients with PPO plans or who are paying cash. This leads to them often 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 large dental companies with dozens of outlets. This allows them to reduce costs in numerous places, which is often passed on to the patient. This can occur indirectly, such as by accepting HMO insurance providers and having lower out-of-pocket expenses for certain procedures. Further, they often employ multiple specialists making it convenient to get this kind of care.
Speak To Your Dental Provider About Their View
The next time you see your dentist, ask them what made them choose their style of practice. It can be interesting to learn what drives people to their professions and how they strive to provide good patient care. Talk about the benefits they offer and how their style of practice benefits you and your family. Being an active patient includes understanding the structure of your provider’s business and its impact on you. Call today for a consultation on this and other oral health topics.