The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the number of dentist jobs will grow by an impressive 21% between 2010 and 2020. This above-average jobs growth rate is due in part to a rising demand for dental services. Not only are people keeping their teeth for longer, but they’re also becoming more educated on the connection between oral health and overall health. Coupled with this growing demand will be a lower supply as an unprecedented number of dentists reach retirement age. With these and other factors in mind, the American Dental Association anticipates a sharp drop in the ratio of dentists to Americans between 2010 and 2030.
But despite the profession’s rosy forecasts, the climate for practicing dentistry has changed. Education costs have skyrocketed, and today’s dental graduates have more student debt than ever before. This—combined with the recent economic downturn and declining reimbursement rates—is leading many dental grads to reconsider the idea of taking on even more debt to open a practice. As a result, many new dentists are finding work as employees at dental service organizations (DSOs).
DSOs, like Atlanta-based Kool Smiles, represent a newer practice model that is growing in popularity: one that oversees the non-clinical aspects of running a practice and allows dentists to focus on patient care. New dentists love that they can earn a competitive compensation, work predictable hours, have a built in patient base, and gain ample hands-on experience. Most of all, they love being free of the financial risks and administrative headaches that come with operating a business. Dental school graduates are joining DSOs in record numbers, and in the coming years, those numbers will only increase.
How about you? Would you consider working for a dental service organization?