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Need help with a Dental Associate Contract?
What is a Dental Associate Contract?
A dental associate contract is a legally binding document between a dental practice and an associate dentist. This document outlines the terms of employment, which have previously been agreed upon through negotiations. Another name for this document is a dental employment agreement.
How to Become an Associate Dentist?
An associate dentist is a non-owner dentist that works within a dental practice. Typically, these are younger dentists that have not made the leap in starting their own practice and have chosen to get a job with a dentist that already has an established practice.
Associate dentists can either be hired as a full-time employee or an independent contractor, depending on what the dental practice needs. As a full-time employee, you will typically be offered benefits, which includes insurance, retirement plans, etc. Independent contractors need to pay for their own insurance and benefits.
Key Parts of a Dental Associate Contract
Independent Contractor vs. Employee
Before discussing the key components of a dental associate contract, it is important to determine whether you will be working as an independent contractor of full-time employee. These are two very different classifications that can have big implications on both employer and employee obligations.
On a high level, full-time employees will receive benefits from their employer and take greater direction. Independent contractors are self-employed, need to pay for their own benefits, and have more flexibility on when and where they work.
Here is an article that go over the difference between an Independent Contractor vs. Employee .
Now, let’s get into the key parts of a dental employment contract.
- Compensation, Wages, Salary: This is the part of the agreement that outlines the wage, salary, or earnings the employer is responsible in paying the employee.
- Role and Duties: This is the part of the contract that goes over your day-to-day responsibilities as an associate dentist.
- Qualifications: This it the part of the contract that goes over the required qualifications needed for the job.
- Benefits: This is the section that outlines the benefits you will be receiving from your employer, which can include health insurance and retirement fund contributions.
- Term and Termination: This is the part of the contract that outlines the length of employment and how it can be ended by either party.
- Liability Insurance : This is the part of the contract that goes over what party is responsible for securing insurance.
- Non-Competition: This is the part of the contract that goes over the employee’s ability to work for other dental practices in the future.
- Dispute Resolution: This is the part of the contract that outlines the procedures in case there is a dispute between the employer dentist and associate dentist.
Here is a paper written by the ADA Center for Professional Success about the terms within a dental employment contract.
Negotiating a Dental Employment Contract
As with any contract, dental employment contracts are negotiable. You just need to be willing to take the risk in hearing ‘no’. In some circumstances, if you take a negotiation too far you may lose your offer as the employer may not think it is worth the time or expect the employee to be a problem in the future.
If there are any parts of the agreement that you have questions about or may be troublesome, feel free to engage a dental lawyer for help. They will help guide you on what terms are considered ‘par’ for the industry and what terms you may afford to push back on. It is always wise to get outside help so you do not end up in a bad relationship without the rights you deserve.
Here is an article from Tufts School of Dental Medicine on considerations for your contracts.
Other Types of Dental Contracts
Employment contracts are popular within dental practices since dentists need a lot of help in the office if they want to grow their practice. There are other types of contracts that are also worth noting, which are below:
- Partnership Agreements
- Associate Buy-In Agreements
- Practice Purchase Agreements
- Shareholder Agreements
- Asset Purchase Agreements
- Commercial Real Estate Leases
- Equipment Leases
- Business Associate Agreements
- Liability Waivers
- Insurance Contracts
- Patient Consent Forms
- Employee Handbooks
Getting Help with Your Dental Associate Contract
Many dentists earn high salaries, so it is worth investing in help to make sure you are signing a contract that protects your rights. ContractsCounsel has many lawyers on its platform that can assist with reviewing your Dental Associate Contract. Post a project for free to get bids from qualified lawyers.
Meet some of our Dental Associate Contract Lawyers
John Daniel "J.D." Hawke is an experienced attorney with a law practice in Mobile, Alabama. He was born in Fairhope, Alabama and after earning his undergraduate degree at Auburn University, he received a law degree from Thomas Goode Jones School of Law in 2010. After law school, he formed the Law Office of J.D. Hawke LLC and over the last decade he has fought incredibly hard for each and everyone of his clients. His practice focuses on representing people facing criminal charges and clients dealing with family law matters. In addition to criminal defense and domestic relations cases, he also regularly handles contract disputes, personal injury cases, small business issues, landlord/tenant disputes, document drafting, and estate planning. He is licensed to practice law in the State of Alabama and the United States District Court for the Southern District of Alabama.
Thomas Codevilla is Partner at SK&S Law Group where he focuses on Data Privacy, Security, Commercial Contracts, Corporate Finance, and Intellectual Property. Read more at Skandslegal.com Thomas’s clients range from startups to large enterprises. He specializes in working with businesses to build risk-based data privacy and security systems from the ground up. He has deep experience in GDPR, CCPA, COPPA, FERPA, CALOPPA, and other state privacy laws. He holds the CIPP/US and CIPP/E designations from the International Association of Privacy Professionals. Alongside his privacy practice he brings a decade of public and private transactional experience, including formations, financings, M&A, corporate governance, securities, intellectual property licensing, manufacturing, regulatory compliance, international distribution, China contracts, and software-as-a-service agreements.
Attorney of 6 years with experience evaluating and drafting contracts, formation document, and policies and procedures in multiple industries. Expanded to estate planning last year.
George is a lifelong Houston resident. He graduated from St. Thomas High School and then Texas A&M University. He obtained his Doctor of Jurisprudence from South Texas College of Law in 2007. He is experienced in real estate, estate planning & probate, civil/commercial matters, personal, injury, business matters, bankruptcy, general counsel on-demand, and litigation. He is active in the community serving as past-president of the St. Thomas Alumni Board, a current member of the Dads Club Aquatic Center Board of Directors, current member of the Dickinson Little Italy Festival of Galveston County Board of Directors, and former PTO President for Briarmeadow Charter School.
My clients are often small and medium size technology companies, from the "idea" stage to clients who may have raised a round or three of capital and need to clean up a messy cap table. I help with all legal matters related to growth that keep founders up at night - hiring people, allocating equity, dealing with shareholders and investors, client negotiations and early litigation counseling (before you need a litigator). I've seen a lot, and because I run my own business, I understand the concerns that keep you up at night. I’ve been through, both on my own and through other clients, the “teething” pains that will inevitably arise as you scale-up – and I’m here to help you. I have over 20 years international experience devising and implementing robust corporate legal strategies and governance for large multinationals. I now focus on start-ups and early/medium stage technology companies to enable a sound legal foundation for your successful business operations. Many of my clients are international with US based holding companies or presences. My 17 years abroad helps me "translate" between different regimes and even enabling Civil and Common Law lawyers to come together. Regularly, I handle early stage financings including Convertible Notes, Seed and Series A/B financings; commercial and technology contracts; international transactions; tax; mergers and acquisitions.
Sammy Naji focuses his practice on assisting startups and small businesses in their transactional and litigation needs. Prior to becoming a lawyer, Sammy worked on Middle East diplomacy at the United Nations. He has successfully obtained results for clients in breach of contract, securities fraud, common-law fraud, negligence, and commercial lease litigation matters. Sammy also counsels clients on commercial real estate sales, commercial lease negotiations, investments, business acquisitions, non-profit formation, intellectual property agreements, trademarks, and partnership agreements.