86 percent of dentists have a solo practice. However, while that number may seem high, things are shifting and many dentists are being drawn into group practices. This is particularly true of new dentists who are fresh out of school with high amounts of student debt and no established patient list. If you are in the market for a new dentist, due to either a move, change in insurance policy, or unhappiness with your current one, you may find yourself wondering if you should be looking for a dentist who has a solo practice or works with a group. Learning the pros and cons can help you make this decision based on what is best for you.
Cons of Using a Dentist in a Group Practice
The Waiting Room May Be Busier
One of the disadvantages to using a dentist who works as part of a group practice is that the waiting room may be busier. A dentist that has a solo practice is only able to see one patient at a time. As such, it's unlikely the waiting room will be packed with people waiting to see this one dentist. They will be greeted by the receptionist and allowed to wait in a quiet environment. However, if there are multiple dentists, there may be multiple people waiting. This may not be a big deal to some people, but if you have an anxiety disorder or a special needs child, too many people or too much stimulation can make the situation overwhelming. Having a low stress, quiet environment can be helpful to you.
You May Not Always Get to See the Same Dentist
The other downside to working with a dentist who is part of a group practice is that you may not always get to see the same dentist. The dentists may work with others in the group to get patients seen. If the dentist who you have an appointment with is running behind due to emergency dental procedures, you may see someone else in the practice. If you prefer sticking to one dentist, you may want to find a dentist who has a solo practice.
Benefits of Using a Dentist in a Group Practice
Your Dentist Can Bounce Ideas Off Others in the Practice
Every person has individual strengths and weaknesses. And this applies to dentists as well. One dentist may be strong in gum health, while another may not have the same amount of experience in this realm. When it comes to group practices, there are other dentists in the practice that your dentist can bounce ideas off of. Or, if your dentist is uncomfortable or inexperienced with a procedure, another dentist in the staff can step in and perform it. This helps you, the patient, receive the best level of care possible.
Someone Is Always Around to Man the Office
Perhaps the biggest advantages to using a dentist who is part of a group practice is that there is always someone around to man the office. If you select a doctor who has a solo practice, there may not be anyone around for after-hours emergencies or should the dentist go on vacation or have a family emergency. This can leave you in a bind when you may need your dentist the most. In a group practice, dentists are able to work together and ensure there is adequate coverage for the office based on the dentist's vacation plans and personal lives. If your preferred dentist is on vacation and your tooth cracks, someone else in the office will step in and help you. This means you can go to the office where your information is on file and not have to find a new office to fit you in.
There are many factors you need to consider as you search for a new dentist. Whether they take your insurance and where they are located are two important factors to consider. Additionally, you need to consider whether they work alone or with a group of other dentists. Learning the pros and cons of a dentist in a group practice will help you decide which type of dentist makes the most sense based on your needs and wants in this type of professional. Your local dentist offices can help answer any questions you may have about their particular practice as you make this decision.Share