Planning for Your Practice Transition...Is an Associate Dentist in Your Future?

Transitions take place throughout the life of your dental career, from the moment you know you want to be a dentist to the last patient you care for. There are big and small transitions, and each is important. Some transitions have greater implications than others, however, and those on that list include deciding whether or not to bring on an associate.

At Mercer Transitions, a division of Patterson Dental, we have helped thousands of practice owners successfully navigate the steps of their transition in order to achieve a long-term solution that meets everyone’s objectives. In addition, for almost 10 years we have been helping practice owners find associate dentists across the country through our Transdent website.

Just recently, we launched to take its place. This updated, comprehensive search site is where dental practice owners, associate dentists and dental students can search for opportunities and learn about the possibilities of working together.

Patterson Connect also contains specific information on practice transitions and explains our approach to supporting our clients. We believe passionately in the concept that with the right information and the right guidance, you can absolutely achieve your ideal vision over time.

So how do you know when you’re ready to transition?
Maybe you’ve never thought about a transition before, but I bet you’ve thought about that vacation on your bucket list or wondered what will happen to your legacy – and your patients – after you retire.

These questions and others like them lead to dreaming about your life, which leads to creating a vision for your future. If you’ll need to make changes in your life in order for you to fulfill that vision, then some sort of transition will have to take place.

Typically, there are three areas of readiness that will help you know if you are ready for a transition:

1. Financial Readiness: Understanding your personal and practice economics helps define your ultimate goals and timeline for a transition.
2. Mind Readiness: Are you ready to share your practice, your staff, your patients? Are you excited about collaboration and sharing responsibilities, or terrified to give up control?
3. Practice Readiness: What can your practice support, how can we amplify practice systems to keep an associate scheduled properly, should an associate start part time or full time? And more!

It is a combination of all three of these areas that will define if you are ready to begin a transition now or, in some cases, what needs to be done to prepare for one in the future.

Planning for success
So are you ready for an associate? Ultimately only you can answer that question, though the answer might be more complex than you initially thought. To get a clear answer, it’s necessary to take a holistic approach to evaluating your existing practice; the potential of your practice, your team and the business systems in place; your openness to evolving your practice to support an additional provider; and ultimately your own vision for your practice.

Patterson Dental is deeply committed to the success of every one of our clients. As many of you know, we are committed to your practice success by enhancing the patient experience and the practice lifestyle. Our Transition Advisors can help you through this most important process. Their expertise in practice analysis and in helping you clarify your vision, searching for associate candidates and integrating associates effectively into a practice allows them to effectively coach you every step of the way.

Find out today what possibilities exist for bringing on an associate in the future or better supporting the one you have already. Work with experts committed to the long-term success of all parties and your practice. You owe it to yourself, to your practice and to the next generation of practice owners.

Contact Mercer Transitions for a free consultation to understand your options. The process will help you decide what option may be best for you and how to prepare for success. They will examine your practice dynamics and practice economics to determine your level of transition readiness. Then, through a personalized phone consultation to better understand your vision, they will make sure you know all your options and the ideal starting point for your transition should that be the best path for you.

Call 800.444.6162 or email

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Andrew Darke, National Practice Transitions Manager Andrew Darke currently leads Mercer Transitions, a division of Patterson Dental, and has over 25 years of business and financial experience. His areas of expertise include partnerships, contracts, coaching, tax planning, practice analysis and valuations. Prior to joining Mercer Transitions in 2002, he earned his BS in industrial and management engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and his MBA at Pepperdine University. Mr. Darke is also a commander in the U.S. Naval Reserves, where he has held command positions and currently works with the United States Naval Academy as a regional representative.