Sharing your dental office space

There are many reasons why a dentist may decide to share their office space. For a practice owner, sharing office space may offer additional income from underutilized space. The lessee dentist will save on the cost of purchasing their own office and equipment. A leasing dentist may also benefit from working in an area or locale with a well-established patient base.

There are some major considerations before embarking on a shared dental space. According to the ADA Center for Professional Success, a few include:

  • What will the schedule look like for the shared space?
  • Is there a termination clause in the agreement?
  • What equipment is shared and how will the costs for maintenance and repair be split?
  • Will staff be shared?

Whether you are the leasing dentist or owner dentist, it is important to do due diligence in researching your potential partner. Are there any potential risks or conflicts with the dentist who will share office space with you? Do you have the same vision for an ideal way to run a practice?

If you decide to move forward with the decision to share space, the next step is to define the terms of the agreement. Some issues to consider addressing includes:

  • Duration of the lease
  • Terms of lease termination/renewal
  • Should a restrictive covenant be put into place
  • Shared or separate office number
  • Conflict resolution
  • Insurance

In creating an agreement, consult an attorney to draft and review the agreement. It is recommended that the attorney understands health care laws.

This document is not intended to provide either legal or professional advice, and cannot address every federal, state, and local law that could affect a dentist or dental practice. To the extent the above includes links to any websites, the ADA intends no endorsement of their content and implies no affiliation with the organizations that provide their content. Nor does the ADA make any representations or warranties about the information provided on those sites, which we do not control in any way.

8 comments

  • I no longer practice, but sharing office space worked well for me. I did it with many dentists over my 56+ years in active practice as a general dentist.

    • Hello Dr. Allen. I am the office manager at a practice in Maryland and we are interested in possibly embarking on this venture but unsure how to exactly go about it. How did you find a dentist to share your practice or space with? Did you have specialist lease any operatories and if so how did that work if another dentist referred them? Were there any conflict of interest issues? Any feedback or advice would be much appreciated.

    • Stacy Stein DMD

      HI Dr. Allen. I’m a general dentist with 20 years clinical experience and would like to connect with you on this topic. PLEASE contact me. You would be helping a fellow dentist! Thank you!! Dr. Stacy

    • Hi can you tell me the best places to post your ad to rent your dental office? We are located in New Jersey and have some dental space to rent on the days we are closed but have no idea where to post it. Thanks!

      • Taking a dentist into your office to share space is such a complicated situation. I read to my wife of 65 years some of the comments; we discussed my experiences with sharing and a group practice, of which i was the principal; It was my idea in the first place to form a group; it went from three to seven over a period of many years; and I had four strong willed partners who were willing to lay down their own egos and allow me to make many of the critical decisions over the 30 years of my group.
        Laws were different in those days and so were the economic conditions for dentists. The population was plagued with rampant decay; fluoride had only been in public water for 4 + years; No emphasis was on prevention. There was one hygienist in entire state of VA–many dentists were so busy cleaning folks teeth that no one could get appointments for six months. I believe the dentist practicing in those days considered one another as colleagues–never as competition. The fees between all dentist only varied a dollar or more ; I extended credit widely and riskily, but my practice grew . Dentist were no allowed to advertise in Va at that time. It had to be all “word of Mouth”; I think the basis of my success with younger and older dentists was that we all had a benevolent heart; we did not want to take advantage of any colleague; particularity a young naive recent graduate; we wanted to show him the way. A few years after my group grew, I joined the American Academy of Group Practice to further my knowledge; There was a Northeast chapter, where I found myself, but I was very uncomfortable ” Capitation” was rearing its ugly head and being used (abusing) with recent graduates there was an opportunity to make money at expense of the new associate. I quickly disengaged as I did not like the direction the Academy of Groups was taking. There is no way that anything I say today would be comparable to my style, and incentives to have that same group practice concept today. Things have dramatically changed. We did not have dental insurance; our tax laws were different and income tax laws encouraged us to form this group. I had four partners in five offices over the 30 years–but I also had 27 associates who came and went. ; many are still my close friends; many are retired, some are dead. It was a long journey; I enjoyed the test of my management (manipulative ) skills . I treated all with respect and concern for their welfare–as I expected each to do for me ~Most of what I could say would have no applications today; it worked for me. I am uncertain that any of my ideas would fly today

        It would require an entire evening of conversation , as my wife and I had tonight telling of personal experiences with individual doctors–even then I think it would be of general interest, but nothing specific. With each new situation specific contracts had to be agreed to –differing from year to year. I remember a couple of cases where we had great dentists under contract with limitation clauses in their contracts; for one an opportunity came up in one month; the other was the end of his first year; When told of the opportunities, I voluntarily suggested that each grab the opportunity and I tore up their statue of limitation clause–One 74 years old died this summer; the other is still a close female friend . I think dentistry is so competitive now; money orientated–I have actually made the statement to some fellow professionals that I do no trust many medical doctors nor dentists any more–Hospitals and insurance have killed medicine; Many factors have killed dentistry as I practiced it for 60 years. If you decided to share an office–make your contracts easy to get into and difficult (expensive) for an associate to get out. Make it so they want to stay. You as the owner can still let them out of a contract if you choose.

        If you seek a partner just to make or save some money==you will fail. Do not go there. Never take advantage of an associate!!

        Oh yes , there is plenty more…I have merely run out of space….

        My opinion of dentistry is so low that I will discourage any person person from going to dental school. My advice is: Choose another profession.

  • Sharing office is good idea to improve our quality , treatment to become popular.

  • alfredo santeiro

    I have my dental practice for 27 yrs and recently hired a management company and now am considering to hire an independent contractor 2 days a week. how do I structure compensation between all three,?

  • I like that you pointed out that you should be checking the background of the dentist that you will be sharing space to avoid conflicts. I will share this information with my best friend so that they will know what to do before hiring another dentist. It appears that they are going to buy a dental office, and they will open it to other dentists since there is only one dentist in their family. This will help them out in the future.

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