Private practice ownership 'a dream' with a cost: Dr. Joseph Oleske

The dream of owning a private practice is becoming less of a reality for many young dentists who are not able to handle the everyday management responsibilities while dealing with financial burdens, according to Joseph Oleske III, DMD.

New data from the American Dental Association's Health Policy Institute shows that ownership among private practice dentists continues to decrease, with only 72.5% of dentists in private practice owning offices in 2023.

Dr. Oleske is a partner at Simply Beautiful Smiles in New Jersey. He recently spoke with Becker's about why fewer dentists are becoming practice owners.

Editor's note: This response was lightly edited for clarity and length.

Question: Why do you think fewer dentists are owning practices?

Dr. Joseph Oleske: Practice ownership is a dream for many that too often consumes every bit of time from its owner. With ownership comes regulations, HR and payroll, legal, practice management, accounting, maintenance and marketing, not to mention the price tag for real estate, equipment and financing costs these days. It can be daunting. Owning a small business is not for the faint of heart. Lastly, we saw 8-11% increases in just about every expense without a corresponding increase in dental insurance reimbursements. I know many owners who are doing well, as well as several who are making less than they would working at a DSO-managed practice. In the end, it is a big decision to make for today's young dentists loaded with educational debt.

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