Navigating career decisions in dental service organizations: Practical advice for students, residents, and educators

David G. Dunning, Kenneth J. Davis, Brian M. Lange

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The dental practice market continues to experience unprecedented changes, including the increasing presence and influence of dental service organizations (DSOs)-corporate entities that provide support and practice management for group practices in such areas as financial operations, human resources, marketing, and legal services. At the same time, increasing percentages of new dental graduates are choosing to pursue an initial career path in corporate dental practices. As a result, new graduates and others making a transition into private practice are likely to encounter complicated, multifaceted variables related to associateship opportunities. Experts in dental education are articulating a need for more instruction in practice management, particularly related to DSOs. Accordingly, this Perspectives article discusses issues in five broad categories focused on vetting career decisions in DSOs: business systems; the dental team and patients; clinical dentistry; compensation and professional development; and ownership positions. In addition to explaining the importance of these areas, the authors provide specific questions prospective associates should ask in considering these career options. These considerations should be useful for students and specialists who are preparing for their dental careers and for the educators who help to guide them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1273-1278
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of dental education
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018


  • Associateships
  • Career planning
  • Dental careers
  • Dental economics
  • Dental education
  • Dental practice management
  • Dental service organizations
  • Dentistry trends
  • Dentists organization and administration
  • Dentists supply and distribution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • General Dentistry


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