New data from the ADA Health Policy Institute (HPI) shows that private practice ownership is dropping among U.S. dentists. The trend appears particularly sharp among younger dentists, according to new research published by the HPI.
Overall, fewer than three-quarters (73%) of dentists owned a private practice in 2021. In 2005, about 85% of dentists owned their practice.
The change in ownership is most notable for dentists under the age of 35. In 2021, only 9.5% of dentists under the age of 30 owned a practice, down from about 25% of dentists in that same age group in 2005.
Similarly, just over one-third (34%) of dentists between the ages of 30 and 34 owned practices in 2021. In 2005, more than half (55%) of dentists in that age group owned a practice.
Practice ownership is generally declining for other age groups, although the drop is not nearly as dramatic among older practice owners. The ADA data show:
- Seventy-three percent of dentists between the ages of 35 and 44 owned a private practice in 2021 versus 86% in 2005.
- Eighty-nine percent of dentists between the ages of 45 and 54 owned a private practice in 2021 versus 94% in 2005.
- Ninety percent of dentists between the ages of 55 and 64 owned a private practice in 2021 versus 90% in 2005.
- Eighty-five percent of dentists age 65 and older owned a private practice in 2021 versus 84% in 2005.
The ADA HPI also reported declines in practice ownership by gender, according to an HPI infographic. Practice ownership for female dentists dropped from 68% in 2005 to 60% in 2021, a change of just over 12%. Ownership rates for male dentists also plummeted from 89% in 2005 to 80% in 2021, accounting for a decline of about 9%.