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The Difference in Responsibilities Between an Associate Dentist and a Dental Practice Owner



After graduating from a dental program, a newly qualified dentist has a couple of options laid before them. A dentist can begin the job search and find an existing dental office to join. This professional may even run the practice as the sole dentist in the office. Alternatively, as a qualified dentist, you can choose to open your own practice. You can become an owner, manager, and work for yourself.


These two major paths differ greatly. As an associate dentist, you’ll be working as an employee of someone. As a dental practice owner, you’ll be the employer. You’re responsible for finding staff, building the office, paying for the equipment, and all that comes with being a business owner. Let’s see where the differences lie when it comes to responsibilities.


Associate Dentist

To understand the salary, you must know what an associate dentist is responsible for and how they work. An associate dentist can work as a head dentist at an office with a salary. Another option for an associate dentist is to take freelance work.


As an associate dentist, you’re responsible for all patient care, meaning you have a heavy workload and lots of responsibilities. Rightly so, dentists on salary get well taken care of for this. Associate dentists who work by salary receive benefits like 401k payments, health coverage, sick leave, paid time off and maybe more depending on the employer.


An associate dentist who takes on freelance work holds the same responsibilities, but they do not get the same benefits. They get flexibility in their work, but they don’t get paid time off, sick leave, retirement assistance, and other similar benefits.


It’s difficult to average a freelance worker’s annual payment as some may work significantly more hours than others. On the other hand, an associate dentist under salary is easier to determine average income. The US Bureau of Labor found the average annual wage to be $159,2000. The top 10% of earners make over $200,000 per year.


Dental Practice Owner

Dental practice owners have significantly different responsibilities compared to an associate dentist. First of all, they work as a business owner. That means they must find an office, pay rental fees, maintain the office, find staff, purchase office equipment, and much more. Dental practice owners carry lots of responsibility. They must determine the procedures that take place in their practice, how much they pay their staff, and what benefits they provide.


The American Dental Association found the salary for practice owners to be $190,440. Thus, dentists who own practices seem to make more than associate dentists, but at the cost of much more responsibility.


Additionally, the difference in salaries will widely change based on the state of practice. Salaries, rental costs, taxes, and more all alter the take-home income a dentist receives. However, it seems a dentist who owns a practice will end up coming out on top, no matter the location.


Are you interested in increasing your income in the dental industry and making a difference in other people’s lives? Fill out our form or download the app to join the Stynt Network!



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