Choosing the right dental office for your oral healthcare needs is an important decision. There are key differences between private practice and corporate owned dental clinics that impact the quality of care patients receive.
Pay Structure Influences Care
One major difference is how dentists are paid in each setting. Corporate dental offices often pay dentists through commissions, bonuses, and production incentives. This pay structure motivates dentists to recommend more treatments because their pay is directly tied to the quantity and cost of procedures performed.
In contrast, dentists in private practice are driven by patient health, not corporate sales goals. They recommend treatments based solely on a patient’s oral condition without worrying about production targets.
Continuity of Care
Private dental practices encourage continuity of care since patients see the same dentist at each visit. This allows the dentist to get to know the patient’s mouth, medical history, and dental needs over time. Ongoing personalized care from the same provider is a key advantage.
On the other hand, chain dental clinics rotate patients between different dentists. You rarely see the same provider twice. This makes it harder to receive continuing care tailored to your specific oral health status and risks.
Time Spent Per Patient
Dentists in private practice can take the time needed to understand patient concerns, explain treatment options, and ensure patients feel comfortable. The focus is on providing thoughtful, individualized care.
Corporate dental offices have tighter scheduling requirements to maximize patient volume. Appointments tend to be rushed with less time devoted to patient education and communication.
Practice Ownership Matters
A private practice dentist has a vested interest in the success and reputation of the business. Satisfying patients leads to referrals and a thriving practice. This motivates dentists to deliver excellent care that keeps patients coming back.
On the other hand, corporate dentists have less incentive to build long-term patient relationships since they are employees rather than owners. The success of the overall business does not depend primarily on their individual work.
Seeing Familiar Faces
In a private practice, patients are cared for by the same dental team including the dentist, hygienist, and dental assistants at each visit. These familiar faces enhance comfort and trust between patient and provider.
Corporate dental clinics have less consistency in staff. You’re unlikely to develop an ongoing relationship with any single team member when they are constantly changing.
Focus on Referrals
Due to lower profit margins, private dentists rely heavily on word-of-mouth referrals from satisfied patients to grow their practice. This motivates a strong commitment to providing top-notch care and service.
Large corporate dental chains have dedicated marketing staff and big advertising budgets to drive new patient traffic. They depend less on referrals, so individual doctors have less incentive to go above-and-beyond for patients.
Private practice dentists make recommendations based solely on patient needs since they are independent business owners. They aren’t pressured by corporate quotas or managers to meet revenue goals. This allows for more ethical treatment plans.
Corporate dentists may feel pressured to suggest unnecessary treatments to hit targets. While most dentists uphold strong ethical standards, the corporate targets can create dilemmas.
Accessibility of the Dentist
In private practice settings, the office owner dentist is readily available to handle patient concerns. You can easily contact your dentist with questions or issues. This facilitates transparent communication.
Good luck reaching your dentist with concerns at a large corporate dental office. You’ll likely end up speaking with administrative staff instead of the actual doctor who saw you.
Flexibility in Scheduling
Small private dental offices are often more accommodating when patients require appointment changes or special scheduling requests. The focus is on catering to each patient’s needs.
Large corporate dental practices adhere to strict appointment schedules and have less flexibility. Patients must conform to rigid corporate rules rather than getting personalized scheduling.
Patient Satisfaction Is Key
Losing patients directly impacts a private practice dentist’s bottom line. They have a vested interest in keeping patients satisfied to maintain their livelihood. This motivates a patient-centered approach.
For corporate dental chains, individual patient retention matters less than having a constant flow of new patients from heavy marketing campaigns. The satisfaction of existing patients gets less attention.
For example, Dr. Nugent’s office is a private practice focused on providing personalized care to each patient. As the owner, Dr. Nugent relies on exceeding patient expectations to continue growing his practice. This drives him to deliver the highest quality of care.
The choice between private versus corporate dental care can significantly impact your oral health. Seeking out a reputable private practice with an experienced dentist is wise. You’ll benefit from individualized treatment plans, continuity of care, and a shared commitment to your long-term oral health needs.