Sales: 800-861-5098

Dental Career-Track Pt. 3: Transitioning Advice for Retiring Dentists

By Planet DDS
July 7, 2021

Retirement thoughts can set in motion a number of feelings. Among them, for dentists, is how to transition the dental practice and professional career you’ve built all these years.

Your thoughts can feel like an approaching storm or they can fill you with relaxed images. Either way, timing is key to set in motion a plan for making the transition as smooth as possible.

For what-its-worth advice

The standard advice you receive might sound similar to a popular Chinese proverb – “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

That said, if you’ve begun the process, wonderful! Continue due diligence to get things in order.

If you haven’t begun to create a transition plan for retiring from dentistry – the best time (for trees) and you is…now!

Real-world advice to help you transition your dental career at retirement

Keep in mind that the transition is a process. Retirement (on the other hand) is an end result.

Transitional planning leads to the day when you can say with joy and confidence, “I’m retired!” It’s important to not have the question hanging in the air – “what’s next?”

That won’t happen if you start your transition journey now (if applicable).


Borrowing from the world of accounting, now’s the time to put a financial plan in place. This point has strong relevance to the earlier mentioned “20 year tree” analogy.

Assuming you’ve been doing dentistry for a period of time, you might remember the days when you felt the burden of student debt when you first launched your dental career.

The thought of putting money aside to plan for the day that’s now closer than it was then seemed a bit pre-mature perhaps. Delay can increase your stress. So, it’s a good idea to do something rather than nothing.

And if you’re really wanting to get into the numbers seek guidance from a financial professional.

Look ahead

Retirement might seem like a dream lifestyle. But making the transition from the daily business of dentistry to life free from that responsibility doesn’t happen on auto-pilot.

It’s vital to craft an accurate vision of what you want to do, be, see, and accomplish in retirement. Your plans don’t have to be grandiose or the stuff of postcards from some exotic locale.

But for life in retirement to feel like a next step of fulfillment you’ll need to be intentional about your lifestyle and related interests.

  • What side-hustles have you always wanted to do that you thought about during dentistry?
  • How much cash-flow (back to the financial plan) will enable you to live comfortably and with some ability to try some things you’ve wanted to do?

Preserve and promote your assets

Among your biggest assets is the dental practice you’ve built. And alongside that is the team that’s been with you and helped you create your dental legacy.

A practice transition will shine a spotlight on your entire enterprise. As you’re preparing to showcase your practice for interested parties make sure to spruce things up.

Design and decor tastes were probably personal to you. Any changes you make can be filtered through the perspective of current trends or (if necessary) a more modern appeal.

Give your facilities and your team the best promotion possible. This helps speed the transition towards a profitable outcome for you and the new owner/operator.

Pass-the-baton like a pro

Post-valuation and a signature of sale is perhaps the most tense part of the transition. This is where team and practice preparation pays off.

See it like a track relay. The margin of victory can often be in the effectiveness of the baton-pass.

You’re passing the baton to another dentist, a groomed associate, or an affiliation arrangement with a group dental practice or DSO. That pass can be good and seamless for all involved or it can be dropped leaving others to deal with what feels like a loss.

The keys: knowing your practice culture and listening to your team in advance to understand their fears and joys about the transition.

The best results will be a smooth baton-pass where your team and their new leadership will be launched into another winning era of dentistry.

You started strong. You’ve stayed strong throughout your dental career. Now, it’s time to transition (and finish) strong!

And while we’re on the subject of dental career advancement check out these related resources:

Develop an Entrepreneurial Mindset and Create a Thriving Private Dental Practice

Dental Career Track Pt. 1: Fundamental Advice for Dentists Early in Their Career

Dental Career Track Pt. 2: What Dentists Can Do to Face the Dental Hygienist Shortage (And Attract Talent)

Leave a legacy of good resources in the process

As every stage of your dental career, Planet DDS is a leading technology provider among emerging and sustained dental innovations and trends now and in the future.

Planet DDS’s Denticon is the proven cloud-based Dental Practice Management Software in today’s market among solo private practices, private group practices, and top DSOs.

Contact us for more information about how Denticon can streamline your workflow systems and operational tasks that can help you stay productive at this stage of your career and beyond.