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Letters: Practice options

July 14, 2014 Thank you, Dr. Cushing, for sharing your viewpoint in the June 16 ADA News ("Dental Careers and Stress"). I would like to express my support and empathy for the situations you have faced.

Unfortunately, a large portion of our profession has dealt with or is currently dealing with the stress and challenges you described. Modern dentists are encountering a multitude of challenges, including keeping up with technology, increased costs, government regulation, debt and perhaps the biggest challenge — succeeding as both a business owner and practicing dentist. As you have experienced, the cost of being both often means neglecting everything else in your life. I struggled with this reality firsthand when I was practicing, and that is why I created Heartland Dental.

Dental support organizations like Heartland Dental offer support to alleviate these nonclinical, administrative responsibilities, so dentists can strictly focus on being a "dentist extraordinaire." With this support, dentists can get out of debt, achieve an ideal work/life balance and, ultimately, practice on their terms.

Nearly 10,000 of your colleagues currently practice in DSO-supported offices, and that number continues to grow each day. Our profession is slowly beginning to acknowledge the daily realities of running a practice that overwhelm so many dentists.

Your letter will serve as a catalyst for recognizing this issue. Our profession's approach can be changed for the benefit of dentists and patients alike — and we can do it right now.

Rick Workman, D.M.D.
Founder and chief executive officer, Heartland Dental
Effingham, Illinois