Dentists use ODA as a resource for building, growing their practices

The Ohio Dental Association offers many resources for dentists who are in a practice transition, including for those dentists who are opening a new practice or expanding their practice.

Dr. Kari Cunningham, a pediatric dentist, recently opened a new practice in Euclid. Her commercial real estate agent found office space in a well-known medical plaza, and Cunningham then began assembling her “dream team” that included a contractor, architect, attorney, accountant, financial advisor, business banker, insurance broker and dental supply salesmen.

“Having our state dental association readily available to educate and guide me is reassuring in this process,” Cunningham said. “They are interested in seeing member dentists succeed and aim to arm you with plenty of information to allow you to make an informed decision that best suits your practice needs. I am forever grateful that my membership and involvement in organized dentistry has helped make my dreams of practice ownership come true.”

Dr. Kyle Bogan, a general dentist, recently moved his practice to a new location in Delaware. He said moving to a new location was an amplified version of when he first opened his practice. Opening his new location has had a lot of moving parts, from design to picking equipment to making sure the office is in compliance with regulations.

“Organized dentistry has played a huge role,” he said. “The ODA staff is a huge resource, if I had questions I would just call and get the answer.”

Cunningham agreed. “The Ohio Dental Association staff has been helpful to me regarding the many questions I have on compliance for the office. From hiring staff, to delegable tasks, and having dental students shadow me in my practice, ODA staff has guided me to make decisions that protect my practice and patients while allowing aspiring dentists to get the most out of their shadowing experience.”

Cunningham and Bogan also found the Exhibit Hall at ODA Annual Session to be a great resource for buying products and services. Bogan said as he was deciding on new equipment, the Exhibit Hall was a great place to try new things and see products because so many different companies were in one place at one time.

“To be able to go to the ODA Annual Session and do more than just ‘window shop’ in the Exhibit Hall was a big step for me,” Cunningham said. “Armed with my business credit card, I went to the Exhibit Hall with a mission to equip my office with instruments and materials. The vendors were extremely helpful in helping me meet my objectives and congratulated me on practice ownership.”

ODASC-endorsed products are another resource that Bogan said has helped him in his new practice. His associates have malpractice insurance through ODASC-endorsed MedPro, his office purchases whitening gel through ODASC and he has also purchased supplies through ODASC-endorsed companies.

Regulatory compliance documents and resources were another benefit Cunningham took advantage of, including OSHA, infection control, and HIPAA manuals and a template for the Notice of Privacy Practices. And Bogan downloaded employment posters for free from the ODA website.

Bogan said another helpful benefit he utilized was the Contract Analysis Service because he was considering signing up with a new insurance provider. This free service analyzes contracts with insurance companies/third-party payers, contracts with dental management service organizations and contracts that offer dental school students scholarships or loans in exchange for a commitment for future employment. It provides member dentists with information concerning a proposed contract so they can better understand and analyze its terms.

Additionally, Cunningham and Bogan both found their local dental societies to be a great resource for networking and meeting local dentists. Bogan said the Columbus Dental Society has been a great resource to have the ability to bounce ideas off of people and find out what has worked for other dentists.

“Our Greater Cleveland Dental Society has served as a tremendous support system for me,” Cunningham said. “Fellow leaders and member dentists have encouraged me to become a practice owner. My involvement in new dentist study clubs, dental student mentoring programs, and a host of committees has placed me alongside wonderful clinicians, many of whom are excited to refer their pediatric patients to a specialist they know and trust. I was excited to see our member dentists on the websites of vendors giving their testimonials about the superb services they received. It helped reaffirm that I was making the right decision when selecting members of my dream team.”

Bogan also utilized Reward Program Payment with Benco Dental to help offset the cost of membership dues for his associates. The Reward Program Payment allows dentists to redeem their Benco Dental BluChips® for a dues credit toward their ADA, ODA and local dental society dues.

Cunningham encourages others who are exploring practice ownership to take that next step toward their goal.

“This has been the most rewarding and challenging experience in my career thus far, but absolutely worth it,” she said.

Before opening her practice, she spent the first six years after her residency working in corporate settings and community health centers. She said that “everything has its purpose and season” and that her past experiences helped prepare her to be a practice owner.

Bogan said that any member dentist who is looking to start a practice should call the ODA first.

“More than likely if they don’t have a resource, they know someone who can help,” he said. “It’s a one-stop shop.”

To learn more about these and other resources, visit or contact the ODA at (800) 282-1526 or