Dear Potential Associate,
First let me congratulate you on choosing the amazing profession of orthodontics! I hope you find that you are indeed now an “agent of change”. You now have the power to transform lives, to add value to an individual, to turn a caterpillar into a butterfly. However the main question to ask yourself is what type of Orthodontist will I be? There are primarily four options one has to choose in regards to your future.
First option is to go it alone, start your own practice and immediately become your own boss. The advantage of this is complete autonomy, no one tells you what to do. You decide your own practice philosophies, mechanics, staffing, inventory, and a thousand other decisions, coupled with a half a million dollar loan from the bank, and you are basically good to go! The disadvantage-just go back to all the advantages. However for approximately 10% of new orthodontists, this is their choice and they can do amazingly well. However, it is a 100% grind and commitment so be prepared to make some additional family sacrifices along the way. I speak from actual personal experience in regards to this matter.
Second option is to fund an older doctor’s retirement. If one can find an older doctor that is near retirement and will agree to transition smoothly out of the practice, this can be a very attractive option. Truthfully the “buy in” will fund the older doctor’s retirement and could become a win-win for both parties. The advantage is you have a proper and smooth transition, meeting parents and having thoughtful discussions with the senior doctor about every patient and their treatment progress. The disadvantage is sometimes the senior doctor stays much longer than initially anticipated once they realize the work load is less and not as consuming, and second the value of their practice is normally over inflated due to their personal attachment. Lastly, be prepared to have to spend more money upon transfer of ownership in order to update older offices with networked computers, digital X-ray machines, and the ability to be a chartless practice. Using an unbiased third party to appraise would be paramount for best results. Once again this is a very nice option and will allow you to be an orthodontist with a patient centric focus. The downside is that these options are very limited and unless this senior doctor is your mom or dad they could be almost impossible to find.
Third option is to go for the money! Enter corporate dentistry, they promise large salaries, signing bonuses, and fully staffed and functioning offices. With the average debt of recent graduates between $250,000 and $450,000, who could blame you? However the question remains, what type of orthodontist do you want to be? If you are hired today and tomorrow are placed in an office with 75 scheduled ongoing active patients with limited or no supervision, what type of decisions will you make in regards to treatment? How would you insure proper patient compliance and care? What decisions would you have to adhere to just to get through the day? Wouldn’t you want to meet the parents or have a transition introduction to the patients and their ongoing status and treatment objectives? If you are completely honest with yourself and remove your ego, all this scenario does is establish extremely unprofessional behaviors leading to cutting corners, subpar treatment, having a disconnect with the patients and becoming an anonymous doctor! Now multiply this between two or three offices that you will be working and all of this with no possibility of true ownership. This is what corporations will never tell you and the question is, how much is it worth to become that type of orthodontist? Also, don’t be too naive to believe that these habits are not carried with you throughout your entire orthodontic career.
However, there is a fourth option. Join a rapidly growing multi-practice group that allows for autonomy, personal growth, proper patient transition, direct supervision, finical stability, and the ability for equity. That is what we offer at Premier Smiles Orthodontics. We are not a large corporation but a handful of orthodontists who own and operate all our practices. We believe in profitability, but always put our doctors and patients first. We know that no one goes to school for 10 plus years to always work for someone else. When we bring in new doctors we stand side by side with them, introducing them to parents and patients and reviewing all treatment plans and mechanics to create a seamless transition. We want our doctors to feel empowered, not overwhelmed. We hold numerous doctor and manager meetings to strengthen office communication and to share successes and challenges of each office. We welcome new concepts and ideas that younger and even more seasoned doctors can bring to the table. We don’t just offer equity; we encourage it because we feel once a person has “skin in the game”, they become an even more valuable asset.
We are located primarily in The Greater Cleveland Ohio area; home of the world’s famous Cleveland Orchestra, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and three major sports teams including the 2016 NBA Champion Cleveland Cavaliers. We are located in a “foodies” paradise for fine and eclectic dining. The Greater Cleveland area hosts Playhouse Square featuring live Broadway’s shows and House of Blues. The area is surrounded by a vibrant nightlife, has wonderful school systems and surrounding suburbs, offers an attractive cost of living, and is an exceptional place to raise a family.
The question now seems quite simple; what type of orthodontist do you want to be and which one of these scenarios would allow you to be the very best one? If you believe that joining our team at Premier Smiles Orthodontics could be the path for you, please contact us at your convenience or upload your resume below. Again, congratulations on becoming an orthodontist.
Dale A. Kates DDS
Founder Premier Smiles Orthodontics
16909 Chagrin Blvd
Shaker Heights, OH 44120
13990 Cedar Road
University Heights, Ohio 44118
5603 Ridge Road
Parma, OH 44129
26300 Euclid Avenue, Suite 610
Euclid, OH 44132
26110 Emery Road, Suite 100
Warrensville Heights, OH 44128
9179 Mentor Avenue, Unit K
Mentor, OH 44060
Please call our office or fill out the form below to schedule a complimentary consultation!