BUYING A PERIODONTAL PRACTICE can differ from
buying a general practice in a few ways. When you look
at a perio practice, the most important feature from my
perspective is, where are the new patients coming from?
Is the practice an established practice with word-of-mouth referrals, an Internet referral-based practice, or
a practice that has a general practitioner/prostho referral
system? If it is the latter, then you have to look at who
the referrals are and whether or not you can continue
this type of relationship.
That referral source might dry up for several reasons,
such as if you and the general practitioner have differing
practice philosophies. If you think that you will not be
able to continue the relationship with the referring
dentists, then that consideration has to be added into
the valuation of the practice.
TYPICALLY, a general dentist practice can be turned over
to the buyer as soon as sale agreements are signed and
money changes hands. My patient loss for general practice
transitions, if properly done, is less than 2%. However, a
specialist transition is another story. This can be like
herding cats, so be prepared.
The role of the periodontist seller is to make the practice referral sources comfortable with the new buyer. As
I tell my perio sellers, “Now is the time to cash in your
chips with your referral colleagues.” Hopefully, these relationships are long-term and mutually satisfactory, so
that the referral sources will give the buyer a chance.
I usually recommend a transition period of at least 90
days. During this time, the seller will introduce you to
the referral sources and their staffs. It is up to you to
present a good initial impression, both clinically and
Perio practices are facing a challenging future. General
dentists are keeping more perio procedures in-house and
resisting perio maintenance done by the periodontist.
This impacts practice profitability and growth. So, it is
critical that the transition be done properly.
We ask two experts the same question
on a complex issue.
I’m a periodontist
looking to buy a
practice. How does
this differ from a
GARY SCHAUB, the
owner of HELP
Appraisals & Sales Inc. in
Oregon, has over 25
years of experience in
health care and dental
sales, and transitions.
With a background in
and a master’s degree in
Mr. Schaub understands
the intricacies of
medical and dental
DDS, has a private
practice located in the
heart of Midtown
specializes in saving
teeth, implants, and
corrections. Dr. Froum is
a clinical professor in
both SUNY Stony Brook
and NYU Dental School
in the postgraduate
periodontics and implant
dentistry, and he serves
as editor of
I usually recommend a
transition period of at least
90 days. During this time,
the seller will introduce
you to the referral sources
and their staffs.
When you look at a
perio practice, the most
important feature from
my perspective is, where
are the new patients