Preparing For Your New Associate

primary keyword

From years of experience, the following are a few suggestions for you to consider when adding a new associate to your practice.  

Why Hire an Associate?

As the senior dentist or practice owner, you may consider hiring an associate dentist if the practice has too many patients to treat or you are booked out for a substantial amount of time. Perhaps you want to reduce your treatment hours per week, allowing more time to spend growing the practice or possibly taking time away from the practice. An additional practitioner may increase revenue, profits, and value to the practice by treating more patients. A benefit of adding an associate is more coverage for sick days, vacation, and emergency situations. Also, it is often easier for an associate who is working in the practice to become a partner or to transition to the practice owner.

Are You Ready for an Associate?

Once you have decided on your reason for hiring an associate, you will need to determine if the practice can support an additional dentist. You need to have a plan to make it work. These key factors should be considered for optimal success:

  • Your practice gross should exceed $800,000 per year and should be well established with an active patient count of 1,800 or more.
  • You should bring in a minimum of 25 new patients per month. These should be active patients based on a 12-18-month recall.  
  • If the patient count is too low, have you implemented a marketing plan to bring in new patients?
  • The office should have sufficient space and be adequately equipped to accommodate another dentist.

Do You Have a Plan to Introduce the Associate?

Introducing the new associate to your patients is paramount in this major dental practice transition. It’s important to have business cards printed, modify signage, update your website, and prepare marketing literature such as a patient newsletter introducing the associate. With the exception of new business cards, it may be best to wait until the probation period is over to announce your associate’s affiliation to all of the patients or to make any major changes. These precautions are very important in the unlikely event that the associate is not the right candidate, because only a handful of patients will be introduced, not the entire patient base.

How to Involve Staff in Educating Your Associate

It is crucial that your associate learns how to do things “your way.” We recommend that you assign one of the experienced dental assistants to the new associate. You may utilize the staff to teach the new associate your policies and procedures as it will ensure quality control. Also, get your staff on board with hiring an associate. They can make the difference in the success of the new associate and your practice.

Patients for Your Associate

You want the new associate to be busy and productive. You shouldn’t expect a new associate to come into the practice to build their own patient base. Reactivating patients is a key ingredient to properly integrating the new associate into your practice. Perhaps the practice is more focused on a specific type of dentistry or there are procedures that may not be performed. The new associate may add some procedures to the practice. You may also add insurance plans that are not currently being accepted.

Ready to Recruit an Associate?

When you are ready to begin recruiting, Henry Schein Nationwide Dental Opportunities can help you conduct customized searches to find qualified candidates nationwide. All searches are confidential and we have a very high success rate. Our fees are more reasonable than you may think. Contact Henry Schein Nationwide Dental Opportunities today! Call 1-866-409-3001 or email

Once you locate the right associate, prepare for the future by building a good relationship. Taking these steps will help ensure long-term success for both the practice and the associate.

Henry Schein Professional Practice Transitions, Inc. is a national leader in dental practice transitions. A subsidiary of Henry Schein, Inc. they provide expert guidance for selling and buying dental practices, dental practice fees and management, assessing partnership and associate-ship opportunities, and performing dental practice appraisals and valuations.