Dentist Employment Agreement (Everything You Need to Know)

A Dentist Employment Agreement is an agreement between the dentist, i.e., licensed Practitioner, and a professional entity in which the Practitioner agrees to offer their services for an agreed salary amount, percentage of the business, or partnership level.

The dentist employment agreement simply acts as proof that the entity, i.e., the Employer and the Practitioner, i.e., the Employee, have entered into a profession or exercise of dentistry, and duly licensed practitioners are offering their services.

Employment agreements can either be in writing or oral. Oral agreements, however, are usually subject to indefiniteness, lack of selective memory of the parties involved, incompleteness, and disputes which may lead to litigations that can be expensive and time-consuming. On the other hand, if well-crafted, written agreements establish the understanding between the parties and their respective rights and responsibilities.

Types of Dentists

There are different types of dentists, and the type of dentist one may be required to visit usually depends on factors such as their age and oral health condition. When preparing a dentist employment agreement, it is important to understand the different types of dentists and the types of service that they render to ensure that you hire the right dentist to offer the best care for your patients.

Types of Dentists include:

Periodontists

Periodontists deal with the periodontium, i.e., the soft tissue supporting and surrounding the teeth in the lower (mandibular) and upper (maxillary) jawbones.

Periodontists focus on diagnosing, preventing, and treating diseases that affect the teeth’ supporting structure. They also specialize in the functioning, overall health, and aesthetics of the tissue structure.

Endodontists

This dentistry field deals with the dental pulp and periarticular tissues, i.e., the tissues, blood vessels, nerve surroundings, a tooth’s root, and tissues. Endodontists are highly trained in performing root canals and surgeries for dental pulp diseases.

Orthodontists

Orthodontists deal with malocclusion treatment, a condition where the teeth are not poised correctly in both the upper and lower jaws. Malocclusion can lead to an improper bite such as an under bite or overbite. Orthodontists provide either fixed or removable appliances such as braces, palate expanders, clear aligners, and retainers that help correct the patient’s bite and realign the teeth over time.

Pediatric dentist

Pediatric dentists specialize in the treatment of infants and children through adolescence. They also treat young patients with mental and physical challenges. They provide both preventive therapies and comprehensive dental treatments such as fluoride and sealant treatments.

Prosthodontist

Prosthodontists are responsible for providing oral prostheses that help replace damaged, decayed, or missing teeth. Prosthodontists specialize in dental restoration by applying false teeth appliances, including crowns, bridges, dentures, and veneers.

Verifying a Dentist’s License

Before employing a dentist, it is important to verify their professional license to ensure that they have been authorized to practice.

Click on the state to check on its’ professional licensure database:

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South Carolina
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Tennessee
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Wisconsin
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Issues That a Dentist Employment Contract Addresses

There are various issues that one must consider when preparing a dental employment agreement.

Such issues establish the foundation for the relationship between the Employer and the Employee.

Some common issues to consider include:

  • Are you planning to hire a full-time employee or an independent contractor?
  • How will the dentist’s production be measured?
  • Will any deductions be taken out of the Practitioner’s check, and how will you ensure that those deductions are legitimate?
  • Will there be any restrictions against moonlighting?
  • Under what circumstances will the dentist be fired?
  • Under what circumstances will the dentist be required to leave the practice?
  • If they leave, will they be subjected to a non-complete restriction?
  • What types of equipment, supplies, insurance, fees, or fringe benefits are covered under the agreement?

NOTE: The Agreement must be continually examined from time to time to ensure that it conforms with the state’s employment laws where the organization is operating.

Other issues to consider

Other than the above-listed issues, there are three other issues that one must take into serious consideration when preparing a dentist employment agreement.

They are:

Type and manner of compensation

It is important that you factor in the type and mode of compensation when preparing the dentist’s employment agreement. This, however, in most cases, will be based on the type of employment, i.e., part-time or full-time employment.  

Employment benefits

If the dentist will be given any benefits at the onset of their employment, it is important to list all the types of benefits that will be afforded to them.  

Liability of the parties

When preparing the dentist employment agreement, you also want to factor in the liabilities of both parties, i.e., who will be accountable for what?  

Crafting a Dentist Employment Agreement

A well-crafted dentist employment agreement is beneficial to both the Employer and the dentist as it spells out the responsibilities, rights, and duties of both parties, protects the job security of the dentist, and shields the Employer from various risks such as the release of confidential information or solicitation after the term of the contract ends. As such, it is important to know how to properly craft one to use when entering into an employment relationship with a dentist.

Here are basic steps that you should consider when drafting a dentist employment agreement:

Step 1: Identify the dental practice and the practitioner being hired

When preparing a dental employment agreement, the first thing you should do is identify the dental practice and the Practitioner you are looking to hire. As discussed, there are different types of dentists, all with their unique specialization. Make sure to go through and understand each of them, as that information will come in handy when preparing the dental employment agreement.

It is also vital to identify whether the Practitioner shall be an employee or an independent contractor. Both terms are legally meaningful as they define the relationship in which the entity retains the Practitioner to perform certain tasks. When preparing the agreement, whether the Practitioner is an “employee” or an “independent contractor” is a matter of utmost importance as a mischaracterization of this relationship could result in unintended or adverse consequences.

Step 2: Identify the parties involved in the agreement

Start your dental agreement by writing the title and properly defining all the parties involved in the agreement. Make sure to provide the date, mailing address, and both your address and the Practitioner’s address.

Example

DENTIST EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENT

This Dentist Employment Agreement referred herein as “the agreement” is entered into and by __________ [“employer”] with a mailing address of _____________, city____________, state of ___________ on the ______________ [date]

And

________________ [“practitioner”]-together referred to as the parties- with a mailing address of _________________, [city] ____________, [state]_______________

Step 3: Discuss the job’s term, location, and required availability

Next, provide a date for when the Practitioner is set to begin working, the terms of the agreement, i.e., what they are required to do, what time they are required to report to work, their final calendar date, and how the agreement can be terminated.

Example

Term: The Practitioner’s employment with _______ [name of facility/organization] pursuant to this Agreement shall begin on __________ [date] and shall end on the ________ [date] unless terminated by mutual agreement by both parties. The term of this Dentist Employment Agreement shall be renewed automatically for successive _____ [number of years] after the initial term of the agreement, unless and until terminated by mutual consent. When permitted by the context, all references made in this agreement to the “term of this agreement” will include the initial term and all renewal terms if any.”

The next item that you should consider when crafting your dentist employment agreement whether or not there shall be a trial period or if the employment will begin immediately without any trials. When preparing your agreement template, it is important that you include a provision for both to help you out in either instance.

Example

  • Trial Period. During the initial ___ [no. of days] days after the employment commencement date, either the [Tick appropriately] Practitioner Only ____, Employer Only ___, Both parties ___ shall be able to terminate this employment Agreement without being subjected to any penalty.
  • No Trial Period. Once signed, no party shall be able to terminate this agreement until its end date or its specified termination date.

Other than the term and trial period, another thing that you must put into consideration is the location, i.e., where will the Practitioner be working from. Here, depending on the type of dentist you are looking to hire and the type of service that your facility offers, there are two options that you may consider including in the agreement, i.e., specific location and location-at-will.

Example

Location: The Employee shall, according to the organization’s policy, be designated to a:

[Tick appropriately]

  • Specific Location __. The Practitioner shall, upon signing this agreement, be required to administer their services at the specific location of __________ [provide the full address of the specified location]. Should the premises change, such changes must be approved with the written consent of the Practitioner.
  • Location at-will __. The Practitioner shall be required to administer all their services at the location designated by the Employer upon the Practitioner’s written consent.

The last item that you should consider in the third step is the Practitioner’s availability.

This section sets out the number of hours the Practitioner will be required to work when required to report to work and the days they are required to work.

Example

Practitioner’s Availability. Subject to the other provisions of this Dentist Employment Agreement, the Practitioner shall upon signing this agreement be subject to the Employer’s control and reasonable direction concerning all the activities including but not limited to any reasonable assignment and scheduling of patients, work hours, and the timing of their vacations and any leave requests, which must be submitted within at least ___ [no of days/weeks] notice and with approval by the Employer.

Working hours. The Working hours for the practitioner shall be _____ [no of days] per week, specifically _________ [day of the week] though _________ [Day of the week] with working hours ranging from _______ [time] to _______ [time]

Step 4: Define how time-off will be handled

The next item that you want to take your time to include in the dentist employment agreement is how time-offs will be handled, including any bereavement days, sick days, vacations, etc. When crafting the dentist’s employment agreement, it is important to define this section in detail to help the dentist understand when and how they can get time off.

Example

Time Off:  The Practitioner shall, upon signing this dentist employment agreement, be eligible to both personal and work-related time off, including, but not limited to, continuing their education, bereavement leave, administrative leave, and any other types subject to the approval of the Employer.

Continuing Education: The Practitioner is encouraged and expected, from time to time, to attend meetings, educational conventions, seminars, post-graduate courses, and any other educational needs that may enhance their service delivery performance.

Personal Time-off: The Practitioner shall be entitled to a _____ [number of days] days off per year for vacation. The Practitioner shall be required to give the Employer prior notice per the rules and regulations outlined in this agreement. The Practitioner will be required to seek the Employer’s consent before taking their time-off, which shall not be unreasonably be withheld by the Employer. Any personal time-off taken by the Practitioner shall not be included with any other days off from work.

Step 5: Report on how this agreement may be terminated

A termination clause addresses the rights that a party has to end the agreement, other than by the agreement’s natural expiration. There are two different types of termination scenarios that must be addressed when preparing the dentist’s employment letter; termination without cause – within the discretion of either party and termination for cause.

Termination with a cause

This is where either party may decide to end the agreement with or without any reason. In most cases, the party terminating the agreement is required to issue a notice to the other party and specify a period after which the agreement will be terminated.

Termination for cause

Most employment contracts define the conditions under which either party can terminate the agreement before the end of the term, where in most cases, the termination is invoked by the conduct of the Employee. Customarily, “for cause” provisions permit the termination of an employee when they engage in egregious conduct or failure to perform the duties as defined in their contract.

Example

Termination obligations. Your employment is subject to termination by ________ [name of organization] for “cause” or without cause at any time before the expiration of the initial term or any subsequent term defined herein without any liability on _________ [name of organization] and any claim by you therefore or as a result thereof. For purposes of this employment agreement, “Cause” as used herein shall be defined to mean each and any of the following; (a) your conviction of a crime of dishonesty or other crime leading to your incarceration for more than 60 days; (b) your activity or conduct that constitutes a breach of your duties and responsibilities to ______ [name of organization]; (c) willful or negligent misconduct on your part in performing any dental procedure on your patients or if at _______ [ name of organization] the quality of services rendered by you fails to meet our general, ethical and professional standards.

Step 6: Review this paperwork and provide some additional items

Dentist employment agreements usually differ depending on various factors such as the type of dentist being hired, the duration of their employment, dental specialties, state laws, and enforceability issues. It is important that when drafting the dentist agreement, you go through all these factors to ensure they are in line with the employee hiring act as defined by your relevant state laws.

Additional clauses that you may want to include in the dentist employment agreement include; Non-solicitation, Non-complete clauses, and Governing law:

  • Non-Solicitation Clause: A non-solicitation clause is usually included in employment agreements to prevent the dentist from actively soliciting the organization’s employees, clients, suppliers, or patients away from the Employer.

Example

“Non-Solicitation of Employees. The Practitioner herein acknowledges that any important factors in the Employer’s business and daily operations are its doctors and non-doctor employees’ loyalty and goodwill. By signing this agreement, the Practitioner hereby agrees that during their term of employment and for two years following their termination with the Employer for any reason whatsoever or for no reason, you will not solicit, encourage, recruit, facilitate the hiring, hire or partake in any plan to cause any of the Employer’s employees to terminate their contractual relationship with the Employer, or solicit any of such employees in relation with a business initiated by you any other individual, firm, business or entity with which you are affiliated or that directly or indirectly competes with the Employer.”

  • Non-complete: A non-complete clause also referred to as a restrictive covenant, is a clause included in an employment agreement to help prevent an employee from taking part in the same/similar business, whether working for another employer or independently at the end of the employment relationship. For the non-complete clause to be valid, it will in most cases be limited to various factors such as a set period following the end of the employment relationship and the state laws governing the termination.

Example

“The Practitioner herein agrees that during the term of their agreement and for two years following the termination/expiration of this agreement, they shall not in any way whether directly or indirectly partake in, manage, operate, control, join, or engage in the ownership management, control and operation of, or be or engaged in, employed by or act as an employee or consultant to or in any manner by, any business in direct or indirect competition with within ____ [state]. The same business herein refers to any business that is engaged in the provision of dental care such related services.”

  • Governing Law: The governing law is the law to be followed should a dispute arise from the dentist employment agreement or contract. The governing law in the dentist employment agreement sets out the choice of law of the parties to the agreement.

Example

Governing Law. This agreement shall hereby be interpreted, constructed, and governed per the laws in the state of __________ [ name of the state].

Step 7: Signatures

For the agreement to be considered valid, both the Practitioner and the Employer must affix their signatures in the paperwork to show that they acknowledge it.

Example

This dentist employment agreement constitutes the complete and sole understanding of both parties, i.e., the dentist and the Employer, and supersedes all and any previous oral or written agreements or arrangements between them vis-à-vis the subject matter of this dentist employment agreement.

Practitioner’s Signature: _______________
Name: _________________
License number: ________________
Date: _____________________

Employer’s Signature: _________________
Name: __________________
Title:________________
Company name: _______________
Date: ____________________

Free Agreement Templates

Employment Agreements are crucial documents that must be prepared with significant consideration due to their effect on the Practitioner’s current employment and its lasting effect beyond the term of the employment. Therefore, it is important not to leave out any crucial component of the agreement that may prove costly afterward. To ensure that you capture all the key elements properly when preparing a dentist employment agreement, download and use our free easy to use downloadable templates for your convenience. Download now and get started!

Dentist-Employment-Aggrement-Sample_

Dentist-Employment-Agreement-Template_

Final Words

A dentist employment agreement is an essential proof of employment document that any organization looking to hire dentists should equip themselves with as it not only sets forth many of the details of the Practitioner’s employment such as compensation, duties, and benefits; key items that pertain to the duration which the Practitioner is employed but also establishes the nature of the relationship between the Employer and the Employee.