• Call now to discuss
    the first steps in selling
    your dental practice
  • 888-979-7925

Dental Practice Transition Articles

Browse the Categories

Friday, June 14th, 2024 | by Barry Farrell, MBA

Don’t Be a Left-over Fractured Root Tip! Ensure a Smooth Dental Practice Transition

Dental Transition Guide

When it comes dental practice transitions, do not become a left-over fractured root tip! Dentists fear leaving root tips and are frustrated when they find them because both situations create uncertainty.

Before you transition a practice, have a plan for your patients, staff, the purchasing dentist, and even yourself. Transitions should be quick, thankful, and positive.

Patient Care: Building Trust with Your Successor

Remember, patients are the most important aspect of your practice, not your bank account. Before your dental practice transition, make certain you take the necessary time to build a strong relationship with the dentist purchasing your practice.

Having a similar dental philosophy is most important to ensure a smooth change and retain patients. After your transition, patients deserve to continue to receive the same type of care you provided.

Communication is Key: Crafting the Perfect Transition Letter

smooth dental transition
To communicate directly with the patients, send them a two-sided dental practice transition letter 1 week before the move.

The front side of the letter should be written by you thanking the patients for trusting you to take care of their dental health and helping you support your family. The letter should include why now is the time you are selling your practice. Finally, explain how you will now become a patient of the practice and support the new dentist. Next, introduce the dentist who is purchasing your practice and outline why they are a great fit to continue serving the patients. The backside of the letter should be written by the purchasing dentist. The theme of the letter is to explain the dentist’s background, why they purchased the practice, how they will take care of staff, and what changes they anticipate making to enhance the patient’s experience.

Inform Your Staff You’re Transitioning the Practice

Loyal and high performing staff transitioning with your practice is critically important to the new owner. Staff are a significant reason why patients choose to come back every six months and why practice goodwill is included in your purchase price.

Tell the Staff You’re Leaving

When informing your staff that you are transitioning, practice straight talk. Tell staff exactly why you are selling your practice and how much you have appreciated their commitment to you and your family. Staff understand that you will retire at some point. The timing of informing staff of your transition is critical. Therefore, inform staff the same day you send transition letters to patients. Resist the temptation to inform staff too early to avoid possible turnover.

Thank Your Staff and Offer Them Bonuses

To demonstrate that you appreciate staff, two actions need to occur:

First, write them a handwritten letter recounting old memories and thanking them for their commitment.

Next, promise them two generous financial bonuses. The first bonus should be included on the last paycheck you provide. This is a thank you for your past service bonus.

Explain to the employee that the next bonus will be paid out in one month if the employee chooses to continue working with the purchasing dentist. This bonus is designated as a retention bonus. Out of respect for you, ask the employee to give the new dentist a chance and continue serving the patients. Providing two bonuses serves both the staff and builds practice goodwill with the acquiring dentist.

Step Back from the Practice to Avoid Confusion

Dental Transition
Remaining onsite working with the dentist who purchased your practice is like waiting on a left-over root fragment to become infected. It’s not comfortable because it creates mass confusion for all and does not give the purchasing owner the opportunity to make the dental practice his or her own.

Why You Shouldn’t Be Present at the Practice

The two critical situations you avoid by not being present is the patient you’ve had for the past 30 years requesting that they see you “one last time” or a staff member out of habit asking you to make a critical decision which may go against the purchasing dentist’s managerial direction.

How to Support the New Dentist

Instead of contributing to confusion, reassure the purchasing dentist over the next six months you are always available for support.

Next, schedule two check point meetings to discuss anything the purchasing dentist wants to discuss.

Have them create an ongoing list of questions to serve as an agenda to guide you through your meetings. Schedule these meetings for one week after the transition and four weeks after the transition.

Personal Aftercare: Life Beyond the Practice

Finally, take care of yourself after your dental practice transition. Have a plan to learn something new, volunteer at the local free dental clinic, or take your family on trip.

Instead of becoming an unwanted root tip, remember ADA code 7140 and cleanly extract yourself from your practice. Put a plan in place and remember all the great memories you’ve created while helping so many patients!

About the Author

Barry Farrell has participated in many professional transitions both in the corporate world working for Heller Financial when acquired by GE Capital and through his experiences co-founding a 4-practice dental organization in 2006. Barry graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Marketing and earned an MBA at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business with concentrations in Finance, Strategic Management, and Entrepreneurism.

Barry Farrell, MBA
ADS South – Transition Consultant