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Win an ADA Practical Guide to benefit your future practice


This contest is now closed. Thank you to all who entered! Winners will be contacted via e-mail. If you didn’t win and want to buy one of the ADA guides listed below, you can get 25% off just by being an ASDA member. Log in and use code 14806 at checkout to get your special discount on all ADA products (excluding the CDT app and e-books) through the end of 2014. Stay tuned for another ADA guide giveaway in April.

The ADA Practical Guide to Associateships:
Success Strategies for Dentist-owners and
Prospective Associates

With an average debt of more than $200,000, new graduates are more likely to associate than start a practice from scratch. This book defines an associate as “a dentist who does not have any ownership or equity in the practice in which he or she is working.” With this definition in mind, it’s important to realize that much of the risk of bringing in an associate falls on the dentist-owner. Before an associateship begins, the dentist-owner and prospective associate must be on the same page about everything from compensation and benefits to staff and buy-in opportunities. This book, written for both the owner-dentist and the incoming associate, details what both parties should consider before entering such an agreement. The book provides samples of employment contracts and CVs. There is also a helpful list of questions to think through before entering the real word of dentistry: What’s your practice philosophy? Who are your preferred patients? What motivates you? This book gives you the tools to negotiate a successful and mutually beneficial associateship agreement.

Dental LettersThe ADA Practical Guide to Dental Letters: Write, Blog and Email Your Way to Success

This book is essential in every practice. It has more than 200 sample letters, blog posts, Facebook posts, and Tweets for every occasion. We have letters that explain replacement options for missing teeth, balance due after office received insurance payment, and mid-treatment letters for complicated cases. We even have official letters to explain to your patients periodontitis, xerostomia, and the importance of regular dental visits. A sample Tweet announces new office technology, and a sample blog post celebrates a dentist going on maternity leave. This book gives you a basic, formal letter for every occasion, and then readapts it for different media platforms. It also comes with a CD-ROM of letters in Microsoft Word format for easy personalization.

Valuing a PracticeThe ADA Practical Guide to Valuing a Practice: A Manual for Dentists

There are many reasons to value a practice. The obvious are buying and selling. Other reasons include taking on an associate, division of marital assets in a divorce, financial planning, or simply finding a job somewhere that can financially handle another doctor. This book walks you step by step through the process. You will learn the different valuation methods, some math, and also related legal and tax issues. “Knowing the difference between fair market value, fair value, investment value, and intrinsic value and other concepts of value is the first step in gaining an understanding of dental practice valuation.” The only way to truly understand these numbers is to understand the valuation process as a whole. Even if you have a financial planner, appraiser, or practice broker on your side, this book is essential for navigating this intricate process. This book includes definitions of key terms, case studies, and examples of sales documents and contract provisions.

The American Dental Association is the premier business resource for dentists, offering dozens of guides on subjects we don’t often learn in dental school. These practical guides are available at

How to win:

Leave a comment below telling us what you wish you knew about the business side of dentistry and which guide you’d like to win. Two lucky Mouthing Off readers will be chosen at random to win a set of the ADA Guides listed above. Get a bonus entry by subscribing to MO (blue box on the top right)! Contest closes at noon (CST) on Feb. 21.

~Carolyn Norton, Florida ’14, contributing editor & Megan Guthman, Alabama ’14, contributing editor


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Carolyn & Megan

Megan Guthman (left) is a fourth year at the University of Alabama, Birmingham and Carolyn Norton (right) is a fourth year at the University of Florida. Both Megan and Carolyn serve as contributing editors on ASDA's Editorial Board.

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  1. Kris Mendoza says:

    While I have so much to learn about the business side of dentistry, one thing that I would like to learn more about right now is building the perfect dental practice from an architectural and design standpoint. Although it won’t be a while until I will have to deal with this, I think it can be one of the more creative sides of a dental practice and can help separate yourself from other practices. The dental letters guide is the ADA Guide that I want the most. As dental students, it is always good to find better ways to communicate the importance of oral hygiene to our patients and I think this may be a valuable tool to supplement our current tools.

  2. Hello, I would like to learn about starting your own practice. I’d love to win the Valuing a Practice Guide. Thank you!

    1. Hi Amry. ASDA loves to talk about this topic. Recently, we published an article on starting your own practice (in Spring Mouth 2013). Here’s the link: Good luck!

  3. I’d like to learn more about how to tackle modernizing older dental offices with newer technology. Getting finances for new machines such as CAD/CAM or digital radiographs is tough for young dentists who don’t have established credit or savings. I think this will be a major factor in the coming years as these technologies will become the standard of care.

  4. Chris Lee says:

    I am really interested in learning about how to acquire and manage multiple (3 or so range) dental or specialty practices. What kind of role would I play as a licensed qualified practitioner?

    I think the “Practical Guide to Valuing a Practice” is most relevant to these questions, and it would be great to have.


  5. Reesha says:

    I would love to learn more about starting a practice from scratch, from finding the best location, to designing the space. I am graduating from residency soon and would love to win the the guide on valuing a practice!

  6. I would like to learn more about managing staff members: everything from hiring and firing to implementing systems so that there are clear objectives for staff members. I would also like to learn about different ways to maximize the staff that you have. For example, how to cross-train staff members and how to maximize the doctor’s time by teaching them how to perform auxiliary duties.


    1. That’s great, JT. It’s impressive that you’re already thinking about cross-training a staff. A good start would be to check out ASDA’s practice management webpage ( There is a whole section on managing people and some suggested reading.

  7. Mike N. says:

    By far, the first and most prominent factor in choosing a practice to consider an associateship, would revolve around appearance…I feel the ADA Guide to Valuing a Practice is a great tool.

  8. I would like to know more about pricing of procedures and how to implement these prices based on insurance reimbursement and the demographics of your patients.

  9. Kyle Larsen says:

    Two of my goals, as far as a career in dentistry goes, is to be able to practice in an underserved area (including accepting Medicaid and Medicare patients) and to teach at a dental school (which would probably include either having an associate or being a part of a group practice of some kind). Both of these goals definitely require some solid financial planning and I wish I knew what steps to take in order to make these goals possible.
    I would say that the ADA Guide to Valuing a Practice would be the most helpful to me.

  10. Mark Nasr says:

    The Practical Guide to Associateships is an impressive resource for helping students make the most beneficial decisions following graduation.

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