What every dentist should know about participating in a DSO or OSO

Through: Kevin Henry

Once out of dental school, graduates begin to look at different choices regarding the approach to the job market.

Do they want to start their career in a small, medium or large dental practice? Is the goal to have a dental practice in the future or to purchase a practice as a partner? Knowing which decision to make can become a lifelong process, especially if the idea is to own/operate a solo or partnership practice.

The reason for this statement is that DSOs (Dental Service Organizations) or OSOs (Orthodontic Service Organizations) really do not want to be involved in a non-clinical approach to the affiliates.

A DSO or OSO has a staff of administrators and needs the clinical side of the practice where it can hire younger people from school and train them with clinical points. As the younger practitioners gain experience, there will be time for them to understand the administrative side of dentistry if they wish.

Benefits of participating in a DSO or OSO


The starting salaries for the service organizations are good with fringe benefits. In addition, there is an advantage to working without complicating the business side of dental administration and management.

From an hourly pay perspective, it will be more lucrative for a recent graduate to work only in the clinical side of the practice than trying to learn the business side of the dental office or practices involved in the service organization. The administrative and non-clinical side of the practice will have sufficient staff and knowledge of those who have been notified by the DNB or OSO.

less complicated

These types of opportunities are designed to provide graduates with a full-time clinical career without the burden of learning about administration and running an office. It appeals to many dental school graduates who want as few complications as possible from inception through retirement.

Nothing is very simple, of course, but for the graduate who wants fewer complications, the job at the DSO or the OSO sounds less complicated. However, for those who eventually want to have an office, this can be a setback based on the number of years they have been with the service organization, where the new hire learns very little about the internal and non-clinical side of office operation.

Disadvantage of participating in a DSO or OSO

Lack of opportunities

For those who want to own and manage a dental practice, start in a dental practice with unlimited opportunities to learn how to handle administrative, accounting and legal issues. Every year you work as an associate, you get closer to being ready to take over a dental practice.

In this case, a graduate can take a job in a small to medium sized office where there are plenty of opportunities to learn more about the clinical aspects of a dental practice in addition to the business side of a dental practice.

There are headaches along the way, but there are opportunities to learn about things that are not really concentrated in dental school, such as economics, hiring and firing, and other issues that need maintenance. Unlike the DSO or OSO, you don’t just focus on the clinical side of the practice.

You can change jobs or go to another small or medium-sized dental office, but you have received administrative training for the one you have worked before. You can use this knowledge in the new job and not be left behind as the DSO trained individual who has not learned much, if at all, about the non-clinical aspect of a past dental practice.

You are now about two to three years ahead of the DSO or OSO skilled person in administrative matters if there is competition for the same position. Understanding this advantage, if you want to have your own practice, is a huge advantage for a recent graduate. In the case of the DSO trained worker and the worker who eventually wants to have their own dental practice, each of them learns but only on specific aspects of the job.

Is a DSO or OSO something for you?

In summary, working with a DSO or OSO while learning what you need to understand the general details of running a dental practice will help a dentist move forward with the practice of ownership.

The DSO will likely offer a higher compensation plan initially, but will separate the clinical side of the practice from the non-clinical side and charge production to the employee.

The small to medium size dental office will necessarily offer a lower base salary to start with and probably even base a good portion on the worker’s production. An employee can learn the general aspects of the clinical and administrative side of the dental practice. After a few years, he or she will be willing to become a buyer of a dental practice if desired.

The choice is ultimately up to the graduate dentist, and either way it will lead to a reasonable income and an excellent opportunity to build a good reputation in the community.

photo by RODNAE Productions

The post What every dentist should know about participating in a DSO or OSO appeared first on igniteDDS.

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