FIGURE 5-1 Employment situation of dentists in private practice, 2005.

FIGURE 5-1 Employment situation of dentists in private practice, 2005.

SOURCE: ADA Survey Center, 2008.

(75 percent among dentists in practice less than 10 years) at an average value of about $13,200.

Most dentists (92 percent) are in single-office locations and have at least one staff member (92 percent). The typical dentist has almost five staff members on his or her team, including chair-side assistants, secretaries, dental hygienists, and other staff members. As seen in Figure 5-2, these dentists see patients across the age spectrum, with 14 percent of patients being over age 65 and 22 percent being under age 18. A little more than half (55 percent) of a private practice dentist’s patients are female. The majority of patients (63 percent) are covered by private insurance, and 31 percent of patients are not covered by insurance. Private practices tend to be located in areas that have the population to support them. The typical travel time to a practice is less than 10 minutes for about one-third of the population, 11–40 minutes for about half of the population, and 13 percent travel for more than 40 minutes.

A 2005 survey of new dentists (i.e., dentists in practice for less than 10 years) showed about 54 percent of new dentists start off as employees, but with more years of practice, they are less likely to be employees. As they move out of employee status, they move into partnerships or become sole proprietors. New dentists earned about $86,000 annually, but those

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