Understanding and Evaluating Associateship Opportunities
Why is a Practice Philosophy Important?

Course Author(s): David G. Dunning, MA, PhD; Robert D. Madden, DDS, MBA

Why is a Practice Philosophy Important?


Your philosophy is significant in that it forms a framework and provides meaning as to your identity as a dentist. It provides significance through values and understanding which are motivational to staff and fellow dentists within the practice. Your philosophy will exemplify the standards and desire to provide the best professional care and do so at the highest level of service culture imaginable.


Relationships are built on emotional intelligence, the ability to seek and understand the views of others, in addition to the essential ability to build trust.3 Sharing your philosophy allows you to engage with others on a level of understanding that is built upon sound principles and strong core values.


Each of us must decide what is important to us in life in a manner in which reflects who and what we aspire to become as a professional. That means at times in our lives we must do some self-reflection. Those periods of self-reflection may likely occur while we are still in dental school, again when we graduate and again in private practice. A reality check on who we are and what we want to become should encompass your philosophy. Envisioning the future takes courage, skill, and the ability to explore future possibilities. It may even lead to the discovery you were wrong in assessing your personal and professional aspirations.

Interview Preparation

While interviewing for a positon as an associate dentist, you will no doubt be asked about your practice philosophy. Be prepared. Take the time to put your philosophy in writing. Share it with your family, friends, and mentors prior to your interview. It is nice to have one question you about your philosophy prior to being asked about it by a potential employer. In a similar manner you should investigate the philosophy of the potential employer. Ask yourself if you are comfortable with this individual’s principles and core values. Do they complement yours?