Since graduating from UCLA in the mid-70s I found Dentistry going through many transformations as far as its delivery of dental care to our patients. In the 70's there was a fear among all private practitioners that HMO style insurance would take over (similar to Kaiser.) That never occurred. HMOs are still in the 5-6% range of overall Dental Services in our area, primarily PMI for the state, which is a division of Delta Dental. The current challenge in Dentistry is corporate dentistry or DSO's or Dental Service Organizations. These large corporate practices have huge money backing them up and can provide services at decreased costs, but not without risk. While almost every one of my graduating class dreamed of owning their own practice I do believe that percentage is drastically lower today for a variety of reasons and one of them is corporate dentistry. Many of the corporate players are offering different financial packages and continued education opportunities. They are finding ways to reduce staff and doctor turn overs that plagued the industry in the past and corporate dentistry will continue to grow over the next several years because of what I believe are 3 primary reasons.
11. Generational differences between myself and the new graduates. There are happy just “working for the man” and getting their paid holidays and benefits. They value their time off and do not dream of creating their own “empires.”
22. My class only had 3 females out of a class of 106. At UCLA in Dr. Naten's class 3 years ago, it was 60% female. Because of differences between men and women dentists which I have blogged about before, women desire to work part time only, for family reasons compared to male dentists and therefore there is a complication in buying their own practices compared to their male counterpart.
33. Lastly, the debt load of current graduates can be $300,000.00 compared to the $50,000.00 debt load that I had in the 70s. While this may be consistent with the increased costs of housing in that same time frame it certainly is a daunting factor in setting up your own practice.