A unique co-ownership model and what it could mean for dentists

Dentistry.co.uk speaks to Rob Paxman about Dentex and how it could help some practice owners.

Dentex is a UK partnership group for dentists. Working to a unique co-ownership model, it is focused on encouraging clinical excellence and improving profitability, while providing the support that helps dentists to achieve their full potential without encroaching on their autonomy.

We recently sat down with Rob Paxman Dentex’s director of partnering, to understand a bit more about Dentex and how it differs from what’s already on offer in the UK dental industry.

Dentistry.co.uk: What is your role at Dentex?

Rob Paxman (RP): As director of partnering at Dentex, my role is to find promising, like-minded practices to work with. Dentistry is about relationships, and for us, trust is key to a successful working relationship with our partnering dentists. It’s important from the onset that I get to really know potential partners and understand their needs, hopes and future expectations as co-owners within Dentex.

It’s equally important that they in turn can fully assess and understand what our working relationship will look like once they join. Integrity is one of the key values of Dentex and fundamental to this is my role in finding the right partners for our model.

Dentistry.co.uk: NASDAL recently reported a decline in the single-handed dentistry model. Do you think this this trend is likely to continue?

RP: Yes, absolutely. We speak to dental practices every single day and some of the issues and concerns they have range from the time taken up by compliance, to increasing fees and red tape. It makes sense that, in a bid to achieve clinical excellence, they might look to other solutions, such as co-ownership, to relieve them of some of the bureaucratic burdens and allow themselves more time to focus on patient treatments.

Dentistry.co.uk: What makes the Dentex model different?

RP: Dentex was conceived and is managed by dentists, so we understand what it takes to run a successful dental practice. It began as a means to foster clinical excellence in dentistry. The concept of the organisation is to provide support to dentists as a partner, enabling growth without removing a practice’s autonomy; so, dentists continue to run their practice with clinical freedom, while knowing that there is help at hand to guide them through any thorny issues.

A fundamental difference is that we offer our partners the option to retain an investment in their practice. They share in value created in that practice, so that they continue to enjoy the rewards of growing, but with the benefit of additional financial, operational and regulatory support.

Dentistry.co.uk: What does Dentex look for in its partners?

RP: There are two ways dentists can partner with Dentex.

The first is as a regional partner. This is where the principal wants to grow their business, but doesn’t necessarily know where to start when it comes to expansion. Taking a minority share in the business, Dentex provides funding and the centralised resources – mentoring, guidance, technical, financial, compliance, compliance, legal and clinical support – necessary to drive growth.

The second approach enables a principal who wants to continue to be involved in their business, but would like to relinquish some of the burden of day-to-day management by becoming a practice partner. This enables the practice to benefit from the mentorship and support that comes from being part of a regional partner’s group. In this format, the practice can opt to hand over complete ownership or retain a proportion.

Choosing the option that is right depends on the business, long-term goals and lifestyle the partner wants to have. Both options are ways of creating long-term sustainable growth within a practice and mean they become part of a network of ambitious dentists.

Dentex’s ambition is to build a culture where our partners feel respected; in which collaboration is facilitated and supported; and where we work together to find areas for continuous improvement and innovation. Ultimately, we’d like to cultivate a culture that allows dentists space to nurture their passion for dentistry.

We feel it’s essential that we uphold the highest ethical standards and that practices remain a part of their local patient community. So, along with an eagerness to grow their business, we look for partners who embody these values and are demonstrating them in what they already do.

Dentistry.co.uk: Where do you hope Dentex will be in 12 months?

RP: Although we are relatively new to the market, Dentex has already started working with an exciting group of UK dentists, using a unique model that we feel will revolutionise the UK dentistry market. I hope that we continue to go from strength to strength, continuing to partner with some of the best dental talent in the UK. Whether a dentist is looking to grow their practice, build their own group of practices, or spend more time with patients practising the skills they trained so long to acquire, we want to be the go-to organisation that enables dentists to realise their goals, helping them through collaboration to achieve more.

Rob Paxman is highly experienced in acquiring and partnering with dental practice owners. He has an in-depth knowledge of the dentistry sector, having worked within it for 12 years. He has more than 18 years’ operational experience within healthcare, the majority of those within dentistry.

His experience in the dentistry business means that he understands what makes a successful dental practice. He also understands that relationship and trust are crucial to building a deal that suits both parties.

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