Practice Management

Purchasing Protocols Of An Existing Dental Practice


Ron Weintraub


June 19, 2020

June 19, 2020

Buying a practice that is a successful fit requires assessing often-overlooked criteria. Prospective practice purchasers must do their due diligence to evaluate the culture of the existing patient base and the demeanor of the entire practice team.Prospective Practice Purchasers (PPP) often do not realize the responsibility and importance of determining the values of the existing patient base that will be transferred to them as the new owner. Patients have been immersed in and have reacted to the unique manner of the current owner/dentist known as the practice personality. Recognizing the constructs and behaviours of the current team and their effect on patients requires consideration by following established protocols; thus, maintaining the goodwill within the purchase. As a PPP, there is wisdom in confirming that the culture of the patient base and practice is aligned with his/her practice style and priorities before financial negotiations take place.


PPPs need to analyze themselves and their dominant practice approach to determine whether the patient population will reflect and be receptive to the PPPs’ personality and professional style. Two of the more predominant styles are (a)Personal Relatable Practitioner Style and (b) Significantly Results-Oriented Practitioner Style.

Personal Relatable Practitioner Style

If purchasers have a Personal Relatable Practitioner Style as a strong part of their leadership, they should attempt to purchase a patient base that will respond to this type of interface positively and avoid a hyper-kinetic downtown practice with a significant millennial population who may not view personal attributes as being important. Oftentimes, a heavily focused downtown practice precludes the opportunity of treating a number of family members which mean that the owner is unable to capitalize fully on the goodwill generated by a successful personal engagement with patients.

Results-Oriented Practitioner Style

Results-oriented practitioner style dentists derive their primary professional satisfaction by focusing mainly on effective treatment modalities without too much interpersonal interface. This type of practitioner might look for and find the most convenient location with compatible hours to accommodate their busy schedule; therefore, personal connectivity with the team is not “first order priority”. Location would be a great fit and allow for a satisfactory career in practicing in multiple locations.


These factors, while seemingly of lesser importance to finding “the ideal profitable practice”, in fact, play a large role in the successful purchase and transition of a practice.

With the current difficulty in finding a practice for sale in today’s environment, the often-overlooked aspect of analyzing a practitioner’s style has potential financial ramifications. The majority of capital outlay for purchase is for the opportunity to acquire a viable, stable patient base that can successfully transition from the current owner to the purchaser. When prepared,most patients are willing to give the succeeding dentist the opportunity to maintain the status quo with the patient’s hope that things do not change dramatically.Change is inevitable, and transitioning patients know the possibilities, which may lead them to re-examine whether they want to stay with the practice. One underestimated and important-factor for a successful purchase is the empathy of the practitioner. At times, the purchaser who replaces the former owner may be clinically sound and friendly but may lack the ability to project warmth and may not value this quality as a priority. This may inadvertently cause patients to feel displaced and seek care at another practice.


After practice style, the second most important factor one must consider prior to purchasing a practice is the demeanor of the total team and their understanding of the patient personality. Typically, the owner-operator’s personality and practice demeanor set the tone for the team’s interactions with the patient base. Some practitioners recognize that they need a supportive team who will stay on after closing. Those with the potential to contribute to a positive patient experience are the following:
  • Treatment Coordinator
  • Receptionist
  • Recare Coordinator
  • Hygienist
  • Clinical Assistant

Team members play a huge role in transitioning patient psyche and possibly influence them in the new environment. Because purchasers need to know the patient personality, they need to determine the potential impact that transferring care to the new management will have on patient retention.Today, patients think of an office in terms of the total experience which includes everyone with whom they interface. As a result, PPPs must identify and codify the predominant practice culture needed to evaluate the desire of the potential owner’s dominant style and the existing staff’s strengths. If the prevailing practice personality is one with which the owner-operator is happy and comfortable, proceeding with further due diligence to justify the purchase is wise.In buying a dental practice, many considerations deserve PPPs thoughts. During the decision-making process, emphasis should be placed on the potential purchaser’s practice style and the existing team’s demeanor as these are major contributors to the predicted financial success of the newly purchased practice