Most Dentists Have Had Trouble with Dental Associates

Post your comments about dental associates to our blog.

Dental Website MarketingIn our most recent survey, we asked dentists if they have had negative experiences with a dental associate. Fully two-thirds of our respondents said yes, they've had trouble with associates. Only 36% report never having had problems.

Read the dentists’ comments for more insight into their thoughts on dental associates.

General dentists versus specialists


Specialists were slightly more likely than general dentists to have had negative experiences with dental associates.

Urban, suburban and rural dentists


Is life really better in the country? Not, it would seem, when it comes to dental associates. Rural dentists were most likely to report problems with an associate.

Male dentists compared to female dentists


Female dentists were less likely to have had bad experiences.

For more insight into what our respondents are thinking, check out their comments!

Sex in the office turns out to be a bad idea

  • "Associate DDS developed a relationship with an office employee. Associate resigned and opened a practice nearby taking two employees with him along with contact information for patients. Divorces followed and DDS is now married to the office employee. Lawsuit was settled out of court. The whole 'affair' was a nightmare." (Kansas dentist)
  • "Associate sexually harassed an assistant and did not deny it! Horrible experience. We got through it with an 'education' and have come out even better for it." (South Carolina prosthodontist)
  • "My young eager associate-future partner had a long term secret affair with my (married/mom) receptionist. They are both gone now, thankfully. I had placed a lot of trust in each of them and felt very deceived." (New Hampshire dentist)

Here’s some advice…

  • "Be sure to have a good solid legal contract before you bring in an associate!" (Arizona dentist)
  • "Before hiring an associate, I found it helpful that I discussed with each candidate dental philosophy, diagnosis, and treatment planning. Also, a thorough written employment contract is absolutely necessary before s/he steps in the door." (Minnesota dentist)
  • "Talk to other dentists about their experiences. Learn from them. Have everything, every detail, spelled out in a contract, including exact salary percentages, and who is responsible for what costs." (Minnesota dentist)

It's about the bottom line

  • "Great credentials, but after 5 years in practice she couldn't produce her way out of the overhead I was providing. I haven't had one since!" (Michigan dentist)
  • "Greedy. Dishonest. Stole patients. Stole leases." (Pediatric dentist)
  • "Better off being a sole proprietor." (Orthodontist)
  • "How about the associate being screwed over by the employer dentist?"

There are many ways for an associate to fail you

  • "Inappropriate relationships with patients, in need of supervision and a lot of redo's are some of the problems." (Massachusetts dentist)
  • "It was with a foreign trained dentist. I don't have to much to complain about his skills a practitioner, the cultural attitudes shot him down." (Minnesota dentist)
  • "She didn't care about patients time, she would talk on phone for 1/2 hr while a patient was seated, she would come back from lunch 1/2 hr late while a patient waited for her." (Illinois dentist)
  • "The young generation of practitioners unfortunately are also stereotypic of today's young workforce in their work ethics and attitudes. I have had some not even bother to cancel a confirmed the night before, interview appointment the next day!"

Associates ought to be good clinicians

  • "I had to redo several thousand dollars worth of treatment." (Michigan dentist)
  • "Nothing criminal, just poor diagnostic skills and moderate clinical skills." (Canada dentist)

Not everyone had bad things to say about associates

  • "I was an associate for 4 years and had a good working relationship with my boss. I gave the patients my best care because he treated me with total respect and confidence and also compensated me well. I believe the most critical element of a good working relationship is clearly defined roles, compensation and responsibilities. I appreciate that I had such a good opportunity fresh out of school!" (Florida dentist)
  • "If problems arose, they left!" (Virginia dentist)
  • "I have not had an associate yet but I'm ready for one. Would love to learn from others prior to making the mistakes myself." (Michigan dentist)
  • "Considering an associate… I'm interested in survey results." (New York dentist)

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