Three common questions new dentists have

New dentists have a lot to consider as they enter the workforce out of school. From permits and insurance to regulations and associateships, the decisions can seem endless and daunting. With that comes many questions. CDA Practice Support has updated a resource that answers many of the questions new dentists have.

The New Dentists Frequently Asked Questions resource, which is available at cda.org/practicesupport, covers everything from becoming an associate to purchasing a practice.

Below are answers to three common questions, among others, from new dentists that are featured in the resource.

I have questions about the contract the practice owner and I entered into because I have yet to receive anything in writing. How should I handle this?

Written contracts between owners and associates are critical. Too often, owners tell associates to come and work for them to see how things work out. Too many times, however, later never comes and contracts do not materialize. Many problems can arise between owners and associates, and when they have not been addressed in a written agreement, a resolution will be much more difficult. Never sign a contract that does not reflect the verbal agreement made between you and the owner. While dentists have many bills to be paid, signing a contract that is not favorable may cost much more in time and money.

I am leaving my associate position to open my own practice. Can I take the contact information of the patients I've treated so I can notify them of my new practice?

Whether you can do so depends on the terms of your employment agreement. If there is no employment agreement, or if the issue is not addressed in an employment agreement, the law may allow you to contact patients you have treated to inform them of your new place of practice. You may not use their contact information to send solicitations. You may not contact other patients of the practice that you did not treat. It is up to each patient to determine whether he or she will follow you to your new practice.

I am considering sharing space with another dentist to get my practice started. What are some of the things I need to consider?

Sharing space means you are either leasing or subleasing from the other dentist. It's very important to have a written agreement in place. Start the process by reading the article Leasing Commercial Property on cda.org/practicesupport. Be sure the agreement also addresses the use of the other dentist's employees, materials and supplies and the management of your patients' records. We advise seeking legal counsel to assist you.

To view more questions and answers, view the New Dentists Frequently Asked Questions resource on cda.org/practicesupport.

Topics: New Dentists

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