From routine cleanings to more intensive treatments, you rely on the dentist for your entire family’s oral health. Choosing the right dentist makes an impact on how each appointment goes, so you need to know what kind of dental experience you want as you start looking.

Consider a private dentist vs. corporate dentist organizations. Is one better than the other? Could there be differences in the treatment quality or type of experience you’ll receive? We’ll examine the differences between the two types of dentistry to determine which is right for you and your loved ones.


A single dentist or a small team of dentists own and operate privately owned dental practices. The lead dentist is in charge of the whole operation and assembles a tightly knit group of employees to help around the office. The dentist may have a small team of assistants to help with dental work and a few secretaries to answer the phone and schedule appointments. Most often, they operate out of a single facility in a set location.

Here are some of the benefits of private dentists:

  • Personalized treatment: If you’re looking for quality, individualized care, a private dentist may be the right choice for you. Instead of trying to see as many patients as possible throughout the day, private dentists devote adequate time to each patient who visits. They care about unique patient needs and want to see progress in their dental health. For them, it’s not about speed and numbers. It’s about providing excellent care in a comfortable environment that patients will continue to come back to.
  • First name basis: You’re more than a patient number or a folder in a filing cabinet to a private dentist. They want to know you on a personal level. They’ll likely be on a first name basis with you, remembering who you are and what’s going on with your dental health. This informs them of the best treatment to give you so you can have the healthiest smile possible. They’ll even ask you how your life is going, and many people find this level of familiarity helpful in combating dental appointment stresses.
  • Self-motivated care for quality: Private dentists set their own standards of quality and care. They love what they do and care about their patients — this is what motivates them. They have the motivation to succeed on a professional level, and they do this by giving you excellent care. They also care about their employees and want to help them advance in their careers, as well. Everyone benefits from personal motivation from the top down.
  • Community involvement: Private dentists seek to give back to the communities they call home. They understand they wouldn’t be where they are without the support of their community. That’s why you’ll often see private dental practices supporting local fundraisers, community events and neighborhood sports teams. This helps patients feel like they are also investing in their communities when they see their hometown dentist giving back. Some private dentists even go on mission trips to provide dental care to underdeveloped countries.


A team of executives runs corporately owned dental clinics and makes all the decisions for several operating locations. These include hiring and firing employees and setting the organization’s mission and goals. There’s usually a higher turnover rate for employees. The dentists can move locations on a daily basis if another clinic within the organization needs their help. Corporately owned clinics can offer great care, but they have a tendency to let numbers come before names. Patients receive a more contractual, fast-paced experience.

Corporately owned clinics have the following benefits:

  • More appointment times: Since corporately owned clinics see more patients, you have access to more appointment times. Planning your family’s appointments is easy since these clinics usually don’t book their appointments several months in advance. This gives you more flexibility in planning and allows you to make your appointments fit your life — not the other way around.
  • Walk-ins and emergencies: Corporately owned clinics have several dentists and assistants working at the same time across several locations. This makes walk-in appointments a possibility if you forgot to schedule one in advance. Walk-ins are especially helpful during dental emergencies, like an extreme tooth pain or chipped and broken teeth. These clinics build their schedules to accommodate walk-ins for unplanned dental emergencies.
  • Lower prices: Corporately owned clinics can sometimes offer lower prices. This is thanks to having a board of investors and many locations bringing in business at the same time. These clinics may also accept a wider range of insurance policies and government assistance programs. This can make them a good choice for families on a tight budget.


Choosing the right type of dental practice comes down to your personal preferences and the kind of experience you’re looking for. Corporately owned dental clinics could be the choice for you if you want flexibility and lower prices. Having the ability to walk into the clinic when the need arises is a significant benefit. And since they could offer lower prices, you can get good dental treatment at a cost that fits your budget. If you want an in-and-out experience, corporately owned clinics may be for you.

You may decide to choose a local, privately owned dentist if you care more about individualized care than speed or convenience. These dentists will not rush your care to make room for the next patient. They strive to give you service that you feel happy with. They’ll talk with you about the care you need, so you stay informed about the state of your dental health. You may have to schedule your next appointment a few months in advance, but the quality of care you receive is worth it.


If you’re looking for a private dental practice in Vancouver, Washington, Lighthouse Dental is the place for you. We offer the personalized care you want for your entire family. We do our dental work with care and compassion, so you can feel comfortable during your entire visit. Our team strives to work with you to achieve your dental health goals.

Whether you need a routine checkup, preventive care, restoration work or cosmetic dentistry, we can provide the services you need. Contact us today to learn more and book an appointment. We look forward to meeting you and helping you achieve and maintain a happy, healthy smile!

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