Dental Talent – 3 Questions to Ask Yourself When Hiring a Dental Associate

Hiring a dental associate is one of the hallmarks of a successful, thriving dental practice. It’s an important step to take, and if all goes smoothly, it can be the first stepping stone in the consistent growth of your dental practice!

There’s a delicate balance between what your practice needs and what you can afford. Sure, it will be a dental associate’s job to help with your workload and open up your practice to take in even more patients. However, if you add on to the practice too soon, you may lose money. On the other hand, if you wait too long before hiring another pair of hands, it can cause a drop in patient volume.

A dental associate will be working with you every day for a long time to come. Also, hiring one is the start of a professional relationship that could last for as long as your practice exists. This is a decision you shouldn’t make without first considering three important questions:

1. Can Your Practice Afford It?

Hiring a dental associate is a significant financial investment. You not only have to pay their monthly salary and benefits, but you will likely need to hire additional staff to assist them and handle twice the appointments. The overhead costs are high, and you have to be sure your practice can take it.

Dental practices almost always take a financial dip after a dental associate comes on board. If it turns out that your practice can’t support a new associate, it may put you in the red. This is why you must have a thorough look at your patient load and your income before considering a hire.

It’s vital to establish long-lasting relationships with all your patients, but a dental practice only grows and stays alive with consistent injections of new patients. If your numbers add up and it turns out your finances can handle the burden of another associate’s monthly salary, benefits, and other costs, then get those hiring wheels going!

2. Is Your Dental Office Running Smoothly?

If you are currently the only dentist in your small practice, you need to develop an effective and comprehensive system before even thinking about hiring an associate. Adding another person to a nonexistent or clunky office system is a recipe for disaster.

Make sure all steps of your office workflow are refined: patient communication, scheduling, assigning procedures, presenting treatment, providing speciality services, even marketing or outreach activities. If your system is running smoothly and you can figure out how an additional person would fit in, then an associate’s addition will go smoothly.

3. Do You Have Enough Space?

If you’re expanding your dental practice, you need to consider physical space. If you have at least one patient room that isn’t in use, then adding an associate should be easy. But if you have limited space, fitting in an associate will take some manoeuvring.

If you have the patient load but don’t have the physical space to accommodate a new hire, consider expanding your office hours instead. You can add days or split 12-hour shifts so that you can all work full time.

Before taking on any construction projects to add to your practice or fully transfer to a brand new one, make sure your patient load can eat up most of the additional costs.


Adding on to your dental practice takes careful consideration long before taking the first step in hiring. Look through your finances, marketing strategies, and practice workflow and figure out how and where an additional person can fit seamlessly. If you tick all the boxes and your practice is truly ready, then a dental associate will be a great benefit to you for a long time!

Are you looking to hire a dental associate for your practice? Dental Talent is a job board for dentistry that addresses the recruitment challenges faced by the dental industry. We help dental practitioners across the UK looking for top talent. Post a job on our board today!