Dentist Contracts
In the dental industry, contracts of employment play a crucial role in establishing clear expectations and protecting the rights and interests of both dentists and dental practices. These contracts outline the terms and conditions of employment, ensuring a harmonious working relationship and providing a legal framework for resolving disputes. In this blog post, we will explore the key elements that should be included in dentist contracts of employment to ensure clarity, fairness, and compliance with applicable laws.

Position and Duties 

The contract should clearly define the dentist's position and duties within the dental practice. This includes specifying whether the dentist will be a general practitioner or a specialist, as well as detailing the specific responsibilities and tasks expected of the dentist. By outlining these details, both parties can have a shared understanding of the dentist's role and responsibilities.

Compensation and Benefits

The contract should outline the dentist's compensation structure, including the base salary, bonuses, incentives, and any other forms of remuneration. It should also specify the frequency and method of payment. Additionally, the contract should detail the benefits package, such as health insurance, retirement plans, vacation and sick leave, and continuing education allowances. Clearly defining the compensation and benefits ensures transparency and helps prevent misunderstandings or disputes in the future.

Work Schedule and Hours 

To avoid any ambiguity, the contract should clearly state the dentist's work schedule, including the days and hours of work. It should also address any on-call responsibilities, weekend or holiday coverage, and expectations regarding flexibility or overtime. Clearly defining the work schedule helps manage expectations and promotes a healthy work-life balance for the dentist.

Termination and Notice Period

The contract should include provisions regarding termination of employment and the notice period required by both parties. It should outline the circumstances under which either party can terminate the contract, such as for cause or without cause, and specify the length of notice required. Including these provisions helps protect the rights of both the dentist and the dental practice and provides a clear process for ending the employment relationship.

Non-Compete and Non-Disclosure Agreements 

To protect the interests of the dental practice, the contract should include non-compete and non-disclosure agreements. A non-compete clause restricts the dentist from practicing within a certain geographic area for a specified period after the termination of employment. A non-disclosure agreement ensures that the dentist maintains confidentiality regarding sensitive information, such as patient records and proprietary practice information. These agreements help safeguard the practice's goodwill, patient base, and trade secrets.

Dispute Resolution and Governing Law

Including provisions for dispute resolution and the governing law in the contract can help prevent costly and time-consuming litigation. The contract should specify the preferred method of dispute resolution, such as mediation or arbitration, and indicate the jurisdiction whose laws will govern the contract. By establishing these provisions in advance, both parties can have a clear understanding of the process for resolving any disagreements that may arise.

Professional Development and Continuing Education

Including provisions for professional development and continuing education in the contract demonstrates the dental practice's commitment to the dentist's growth and skills enhancement. The contract can specify the practice's support for attending conferences, seminars, and workshops, as well as any financial assistance provided for further education or specialization. This promotes professional development and ensures that the dentist stays updated with the latest advancements in the field.

Performance Evaluation and Review

To maintain a high standard of performance, the contract can include provisions for regular performance evaluations and reviews. These evaluations provide an opportunity for constructive feedback, goal setting, and professional growth discussions. Clearly defining the evaluation process and criteria in the contract helps create a culture of accountability and continuous improvement within the dental practice.

Ownership of Intellectual Property 

If the dentist is involved in research, innovation, or intellectual property creation within the dental practice, it's important to address ownership rights in the contract. Clearly defining who retains ownership of any intellectual property or inventions resulting from the dentist's work ensures that the dental practice can protect and utilize these assets appropriately.

Compliance with Regulatory Requirements 

Dental practices must comply with various regulatory requirements, such as state dental board regulations, healthcare privacy laws (e.g., HIPAA), and billing and coding guidelines. Including provisions in the contract that require the dentist to adhere to these regulations helps ensure compliance and protects the dental practice from potential legal and regulatory issues.

Succession Planning

For long-term stability and continuity, the contract can address succession planning within the dental practice. This includes outlining procedures for the transition of patients, transfer of responsibilities, and potential buy-in or partnership opportunities. Incorporating these provisions into the contract allows for a smoother succession process and minimizes disruptions to patient care.

Amendments and Modifications 

It's important to include a clause in the contract that outlines the process for making amendments or modifications to the agreement. This ensures that any changes to the terms and conditions of employment are documented and agreed upon by both parties in a formal manner.


Dentist contracts of employment are essential documents that set the foundation for a successful and mutually beneficial working relationship between dentists and dental practices. By including key elements such as position and duties, compensation and benefits, work schedule and hours, termination and notice period, non-compete and non-disclosure agreements, and provisions for dispute resolution, dental practices can ensure clarity, fairness, and legal compliance in their employment relationships. Seeking the guidance of a dental attorney experienced in employment law can help ensure that these contracts are comprehensive, enforceable, and tailored to the specific needs of the dental practice. Remember, a well-drafted contract of employment can provide peace of mind and establish a solid foundation for a successful partnership between dentists and dental practices.