There is a significant expansion of dental practice models in the country as the demand for dentists grows. The average person would assume that all dental practices are privately-owned by the dentist who works there but that is not always true. Here is an explanation of the different types of dental practices.

Dentist Owned and Operated Group Practice

This can be an individual dentist or a group of dentists who wholly own their practice and run all the administrative and business aspects of the practice. Typically, these are considered practices who are not affiliated with any DSO. Dentist-owned practices can also have multiple locations.

Dental Service Organizations (DSOs)

Some people get into healthcare wanting to practice independently but may want assistance with the actual management of their practice. This is where a service or support organization comes in. According to the Association of Dental Service Organizations, these groups ” contract with dental practices to provide critical business management and support including non-clinical operations.” You might also hear these relationships referred to as “corporate dentistry.”

A DSO may provide services including employee relations, practice technology, and financial management. By law, they can not manage the clinical decisions in the practice, those must be made by a licensed professional dentist. This article does a great job explaining the impact of DSOs on the dentistry industry.

Non-Profit or Community Health Practices

According to the California Dental Association, working at a non-profit or community health practice usually means “charitable, educational or quasi-governmental organization that often focuses on providing treatment for disadvantaged populations or training health care professionals.” Often times, there are benefits like loan forgiveness when accepting positions with these types of practices.


If you need help to find a dentist practice for you, please reach out to THMED and we will connect you to consultant to discuss new opportunity options. Email us at info@thmedstaffing.com.