The New Year is an excellent time to start looking for positions whether you are finishing dental school, a residency or after ending your commission as a military dentist. After you write an impressive CV, line up interviews and begin to field offers, it is important to know what questions you need to be asking. Here is a compilation of questions from job seekers that I have worked with over the years. I hope that you find it helpful.


  • Employee or Independent Contractor?
  • Employee at will?
  • Is the doctor open to restrictive covenant in case of future ownership?
  • Is the doctor going to stay on PT for some time or can he, if needed (After purchase)?


  • Days, hours, on call, etc.
  • How many office hours and days per week is the office open?

Type of Practice

  • How the practice is set up (family, Pedo, or dentures)? Pedo: what age?
  • Age of the practice?
  • When/what do you refer out?
  • Place or Restore Implants? Which system?
  • # of operatories
  • # of Hygienists. Hrs of operation?
  • # assistants
  • Will the associate have their own assistant?
  • How much is the practice overhead?
  • How long has each employee been there?
  • What does the practice do to market itself?
  • How many FT and PT staff?


  • What is the patient pool like?
  • Have the number of active patient records been reviewed?
  • Is the practice growing or declining in number of patients seen, new patients -attracted, and young patients?
  • Average number of cancellations per week?
  • Average number of patients seen by associate per day?
  • How far ahead is the doctor book filled?
  • How far ahead is the associate book filled?
  • How far ahead is the hygienist’s book filled?


  • Job description (separate document) or general description.
  • Is the associate expected to check hygiene of other doctor’s patients? If yes, will the associate be compensated for it?
  • Will the associate be expected to perform hygiene/prophy?
  • Does the doctor do any procedures other than regular general dentistry?
  • What were the most of the cases being done by the associate?
  • Will the associate be placing Implants for the practice?


  • Supplies, equipment, support, etc.
  • What type of PMS (Software) is used?
  • Implant surgical set up? Who finance to get that set up if NOT already have?
  • What is the square footage of the office? Can it be expanded?
  • Average age of equipment?
  • Is the practice left-handed, right-handed, or ambidextrous?

Fees for service

  • Appropriate/assign billing?
  • Discounts/Bartering/payment plans.
  • PPO type of insurance? Insurances: accept all kinds or just selected ones?
  • How much is the discounted price of the PPO compared to the fee schedule?
  • Medicare or Medicaid acceptance?
  • How much of the practice relies upon capitation programs, PPOs, HMOs, Medicare or Medicaid?
  • What percent is FFS, cash and discounted PPO?
  • When was the last fee increase?
  • Are the fees low, high or average for the immediate area?
  • Do you offer patients credit?

Term of contract

  • How long?


  • Salary, Hourly, Draw, Minimum, Commission, Percentage, Bonus, When, How.
  • Taxes withheld?
  • What percent of production or collection will be the compensation?
  • How will the associate be paid? (Weekly/bi-weekly/monthly).
  • How much on average was the associate making?


  • Define
  • What is the % of collection for the practice?
  • What was the average associate production per day?
  • Does the associate production include hygiene exams and x-rays?
  • Can I get a fee schedule of the practice?


  • Medical Insurance: health and dental?
  • Malpractice insurance?
  • Disabilities insurance?
  • Required CE courses? How much and for how many hours a year? Are they paid for/reimbursed,? Is there a stipend?
  • Retirement?
  • Sick days, # allow per yr.
  • Personal days/vacations, # per yr allow.
  • Holidays?
  • What benefits are given to the staff?


  • Define, list, when paid, lab, etc.
  • What Lab do you use? Use different lab for different lab orders?
  • Is the associate responsible for my own lab fees and expenses?
  • Will the practice support the acquisition loan (in case of future ownership), pay the overhead expenses and afford a reasonable income?

Other Questions and Notes

  • What is your practice Philosophy and Goals? For the Practice and with new pt’s tx?
  • % of implant surgeries
  • Have you had associate before? How many? How long they stayed? What was the reason for the associate resignation?
  • Do you have a confirmation system for apts?
  • How do you deal with NO Show?
  • Digital X-ray?
  • Intraoral Digital Camera?
  • How do you advertise?
  • Will most dental insurance dictate pt’s Tx plan??
  • Do you deal a lot with EMERGENCY pt? Separate operatories for that?
  • Average number of emergencies per week?
  • Will I be doing hygiene/prophy when I don’t have pt?
  • Who determine how long I have when spending with new pt/initial exam and record?
  • Do I have an apt separate to do comprehensive exams and record…. Or do I do the TP when pt come in for cleaning?
  • How long does a hygienist spend on their recalls?
  • Is there a particular doctor in the area who is your main competitor?
  • Who sees the patient first (Doctor, hygienist, associate)?
  • Why was the partnership offer turned down by an associate (if applicable)?
  • Will I be able to visit the office during regular working hours?
  • Does the doctor have a report showing how much treatment is treatment planned?

Partnership/Buy in/Sale

  • Discussion/Formula/Price
  • What will be the time frame for associate position before we can talk about partnership/buy in/buy out?
  • Is there an option for future ownership? Are you considering a move out of state?


  • State, specialty

Confidential Information

  • Define

Covenant not to compete

  • Define

Termination of agreement

  • Define


  • Define, temporary, permanent, etc.

Binding Effect

  • Define


  • Define


  • Verbal, written, witness?

Benefit and Assignability

  • Define

Alternate Dispute Resolution

  • Included? Define


  • Define

Professional Conduct

  • Standards or ADA, MDA? Other
  • Emphasis on Dr. name or practice name?

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