Dental Practice: When to Expand and Add an Associate

By Dr. Addison Killeen

June 7, 2022

Growing Your Practice

One of the biggest topics I’ve seen discussed recently is when to bring on an associate dentist and possibly expand the practice. When these questions come up, sometimes the best thing to do is to look at statistics, and how you match up against others who have been in this position before. You might think you’re not busy enough yet, but if you are growing, you know it’s in your best interest to start planning.

When Jake Conway and I look at this problem, we often see a few different levels… and we categorize the majority of these by ‘Exams per month’. In the Chart below, see where you fall:

Routine Periodic Exams Per Month


One of the biggest symptoms of ‘too many exams’ is actually production that hits super-high months, then takes a dive in other months. This cyclical nature is due to the fact that on the high-production months, you are too busy doing work to adequately spend time on exams. Much like the wave function in the graph below:

Graph of y = sin(x)


These short, rushed exams lead to fewer dollars treatment planned, and lower case acceptance. Due to this, the next month has less treatment on the books.  When you have more time/energy to treatment plan during the slow month, your treatment planning goes up, your case acceptance goes up, and you get much more treatment on the schedule for the upcoming weeks and months. This up-and-down cycle has happened many times for dentists all across the country. 

If this pattern matches your production, know that hiring an associate is the solution to your problem, if done correctly. To address that more fully you will want to read the Associate Dentist Manual or lean on the experts inside DSN to see where others have succeeded or failed in hiring and training an Associate Dentist.

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