Types of Dentists
A professionally active dentist is primarily or secondarily occupied in a private practice, dental school faculty/staff, armed forces, or other federal service (e.g., Veterans Administration, U.S. Public Health Service); or is a state or local government employee, hospital staff dentist, graduate student/intern/resident, or other health/dental organization staff member.
An active private practitioner is someone whose primary and/or secondary occupation is private practice.
A new dentist is anyone who has graduated from dental school within the last 10 years.
An independent dentist is a dentist running a sole proprietorship or one who is involved in a partnership.
A solo dentist is an independent dentist working alone in the practice he or she owns.
A nonowner dentist does not share in ownership of the practice.
An employed dentist works on a salary, commission, percentage, or associate basis.
An independent contractor contracts with owner(s) for use of space and equipment.
A nonsolo dentist works with at least one other dentist and can be an independent or nonowner dentist.
NOTE: Each of these types can be either general or specialty practitioners.
SOURCES: ADA, 2009b,d.
patients of independent general practitioners are spread relatively evenly across the age spectrum and equally divided by gender (ADA, 2009b). About two-thirds (63 percent) of their patients have private insurance; only about 7 percent receive publicly supported dental coverage, and the remaining 30 percent are not covered by any dental insurance (ADA, 2009b). Similarly, independent dentists’ billings primarily are from private insurance and direct patient payments (44 percent and 39 percent, respectively) (ADA, 2009c). Nearly two-thirds of independent dentists (63 percent) and slightly more than half of new independent dentists (58 percent) do not have any patients in their practices covered by public sources (ADA, 2009b). However, in 2006, Bailit and colleagues estimated that 60 to 70 percent of underserved individuals who get care do so in the private care system (Bailit et al., 2006). While there is some disagreement as to whether dentists who care for patients with public coverage are considered part of