Associate dentists are dentists who practice clinical dentistry but are not the owners of the dental clinic. They work as either employees or on a contract basis. Depending on the agreement with the dental clinic, they may or may not require a written contract for the job. Some contracts state that they must remain in the practice for a specific period.
Some restrictive covenants may be included in the contract:
Non-compete clause: Forbid dentists from practicing within a specific geographical area if they leave their position.
Non-solicitation clause: Forbid the dentists from seeking other coworkers and patients.
Associate dentists are responsible for doing all the clinical procedures that a dentist should know. The responsibilities include:
Full-mouth oral prophylaxis
Dental crowns and porcelain veneers
Removable partial denture and Complete denture
Dental implant crowns
Examining the patient’s oral cavity to diagnose and treat oral health issues.
Using X-rays and computer-generated imaging to assist with examinations
Administration of local anesthesia
Motivating patients on good oral hygiene
Prescribing antibiotics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
Taking impressions for fabrication of mouthguards and dentures.
Administrative and soft skills:
Knowledge of dental insurance
Strong communication skills
Managing staff and appointments
Requirements to be an associate dentist:
Associate dentists are fully licensed dentists. They should fulfill the criteria according to the American Dental Association (ADA).
Completion of four years of BDS
BDS- Bachelor of Dental Surgery
Completion of any post-graduate residency training
Maintenance of an active license that should be renewed every 2-3 years.
What should associate dentists look for in a clinical practice?
Employment is the first criterion that associates should consider in practice. Here, they practice clinical dentistry and receive compensation to support their careers. Associates must be able to maintain good relationships with other team members such as dental assistants, chief doctors, and visiting doctors. The moral values and philosophies should be consistent with one another.
Scope of dentistry:
After completing BDS, a decent salary package is offered to the students. The average salary for dental graduates in India is 3.05 LPA.
The scope of practice for associate dentists varies depending on several factors such as specific training, their level of experience, and the jurisdiction regulations in which they practice.
Carrier growth for associate dentists:
Many associate dentists become partners in their current practice or establish their dental clinic.
Some associate dentists pursue further education to become specialists in areas such as Orthodontics, Endodontics, Oral maxillofacial surgery, etc.
Some are drawn into careers in academics.
Some associate dentists benefit from ongoing continuing education and skill development.
Associate dentists can use their expertise and experience in various healthcare organizations.
They can get involved in volunteer work, public health programs, or professional organizations to promote oral health education and policy changes that benefit patients.
The career path for associate dentists is diverse and offers growth opportunities. They can fulfill careers that align with their interests by continually expanding their skills, knowledge, and professional network. They can utilize their clinical experience and leadership skills to take responsibility in healthcare organizations or professional communities. They can contribute significantly to the dental profession, improve oral health outcomes, and make a positive impact on the lives of their patients.
1. Teoh, Leanne; Park, Joon Soo; Moses, Geraldine; McCullough, Michael; Page, Amy (2023-10-01). "To prescribe or not to prescribe? A review of the Prescribing Competencies Framework for dentistry". Journal of Dentistry. 137: 104654. doi:10.1016/j.jdent.2023.104654. ISSN 0300-5712. PMID 37574106.