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Factors Attracting Pediatric Dentists to Associateship Agreements

Purpose: To evaluate the satisfaction of pediatric dentists in associateship agreements. Associateship agreements were deemed satisfactory if a dentist would recommend the employment experience to a colleague.

Methods: A web-based survey was administered to 6,587 pediatric dentists and pediatric dental residents in the United States in 2018. Attributes of associateships that affected dentists' decisions to join or leave a practice were examined with descriptive statistics. Logistic regression was used to identify significant associations between demographic characteristics and satisfaction with previous associateship agreements.

Results: The survey had an adjusted response rate of 13.2 percent. A total of 405 respondents reported previous experience as an associate in a pediatric dental practice; 62.0 percent of these individuals recommended their previous associateship to a colleague. Males were significantly more likely to recommend their previous associateship than females (odds ratio=1.85, 95 percent confidence interval=1.16 to 2.95). Income was the most frequently selected attribute that attracted dentists to an associateship (51.1 percent); 34.6 percent identified practice treatment philosophy as a primary reason for leaving an associateship agreement.

Conclusion: Nearly two-thirds of pediatric dentists who worked as an associate would recommend the experience to a colleague. Many dentists viewed these as positive career opportunities, even if the associateship did not culminate in buy-in or buy-out.


Gratz, K., McKernan, S., Pendleton, C., Xie, X., & Leary, K. Factors Attracting Pediatric Dentists to Associateship Agreements. .