When working with a dental practice who is looking to add an associate, most practice owners tell us they need an experienced dentist for their position, and in most cases that is the best option. In fact, over 90% of the doctors we place have over one year of experience in practice or residency.

But what are the tradeoffs to experience? When should an office consider hiring a doctor a year or two out of school rather than five to seven years out?

In order to decide what level of experience would be the best fit for your office, let’s take a look at the unique advantages each side offers.

Here are some potential advantages of hiring a more experienced associate dentist:

  1. Production: Dental School is just the beginning. It takes several years, lots of CE and thousands of chair side hours for most dentists to hit their stride. An experienced dentist should be better able to handle a full schedule.
  2. Known quantity: A seasoned dentist brings credentials, a work history, and track record of past successes that will allow a new employer to project reasonably accurate results
  3. Less Babysitting: With experience comes independence and the ability to handle a variety of situations autonomously

Now let’s take a look at some possible advantages of hiring a dentist with less experience:

  1. Malleable: While an experienced dentist will come to your practice with his or her own idea on how an office should operate or with a well-defined clinical philosophy, a less-experienced dentist will be open-minded and receptive to guidance.
  2. Fewer up-front needs: This is true of patient load as well as guaranteed income. While many recent graduates have huge student loan debts to consider, they typically have less expense in the rest of their lives. They also come to your practice without the burden of trying to reach previous income levels. They typically are better able to handle a growing practice than a dentist who needs to maintain a higher standard of living
  3. Superstars are still available: Most practices would love to hire a dentist who is motivated, great with patients, can keep procedures in-house and who will be a boom to the practice for years to come. Dentists like that are rarely available long. These are the dentists who are partners or practice owners within a few years of practice, so if you find a candidate like this, be sure to have an advancement plan in mind so they can grow in-step with your practice.

Whether you’re looking for an associate with a lot of experience or an associate with a lot of potential, we would be happy to help you find the perfect associate, partner, or buyer for your practice. Contact us today and we’ll get started right away on finding the best long-term fit for your situation!

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