Episode 17 – Deeper Dive: Demystifying Dental Contracts

“If you don’t understand a contract when you sign it, chances are it won’t be a useful document when you need it.”

Crazy things will happen to you in your journey as a dental practice owner. Your team will sue you, patients will be upset, and associate relationships will break down. It’s just a part of business ownership that you can’t get away from. The good news is, you can protect yourself and your practice…and it doesn’t have to be confusing. As a business owner myself, I know contracts aren’t that easy to read, but the more documents you look over, the more they will make sense to you. 

I was so grateful to my good friend David Cohen for joining me on the past two podcast episodes to help shine a light on the often murky world of legal contracts. One thing that especially stood out to me was when David encouraged business owners to know when you’re going to need legal advice. 

Please don’t go to the internet and download templates or piece something together. I do know people who have done this. While it may seem like an easy way to handle a contract, it won’t make sense to you when you read it, and worse it probably won’t protect you when you need it to.

So today, I’m sharing some of the techniques I’ve learned as a dental business owner for understanding and building contracts that will protect your Investment Grade PracticeTM including:

  • When to seek legal advice
  • What 3 things you should know about every contract
  • Negotiation: what it’s really about

Subscribe to Investment Grade PracticesTM on iTunes & Spotify.


Victoria Peterson 0:00
And I love what David said about negotiation. Negotiation is not about winning or losing. It’s not a sports game. Negotiations is about getting more of what you want, without making the other side lose status quo. So another way of saying that is how do I sit on the same side of the table? As the person that I’m negotiating with? How do I look through the world through their eyes?

Narrator 0:31
Welcome to Investment Grade Practices Podcast where we believe private practice dentists deserve to get the lifestyle today, while building an asset for tomorrow. Join your host Victoria Peterson to design the practice of your dreams and secure your financial independence. Let’s get started.

Victoria Peterson 0:53
If you don’t understand the language of a contract, as you sign it, chances are it will not be a useful document should you ever need it. Hello, everyone. It’s Victoria again. That was one of my biggest takeaways from David Cohen’s, back to back interviews, I certainly hope you enjoy the double podcast there, he had so much great insight to share with us. So even though legal terms are difficult, the more contracts you read, the more comfortable you’ll get with the pattern of it. And it has to make sense to you. One of the things that I do when I’m looking at legal contracts is I will actually write down what is the outcome of this deal? What are areas that I’m willing to negotiate on? And what are my non negotiables, absolute deal breakers. And I always have that list with me when I’m looking through the contract. And I want to be able to take a highlighter, and highlight the areas where deal breakers might be embedded. And if they’re there, then we keep negotiating. I want to highlight those areas that I might be flexible on to see what the other side came back with, to negotiate on. And I think David really, for me pointed out several real key pieces here.

Number one is that, you know, really know when you’re going to need legal advice, I have had so many doctors over the years, say you’ve hired associate doctors can I just use your contracts as a boilerplate or even worse, they go to the internet, and they start downloading bits and pieces of, of internet templates for associate contracts. And they put it together. And it makes no sense. And it’s not going to make sense to you when you read it. It won’t make sense to you when you need it. Because a contract has to do three things for you. Number one, you got to know how you’re getting in the deal. Number two, how you’re going to operate within the deal. And then number three, how to end the relationship. And as soon as the IGP book comes out, we’re working on it night and day to get it to come out. David and I are going to go really deep into each one of those. But getting into any deal, whether it’s purchasing real estate, hiring an associate, going into business partnership with someone, it starts with a dream or a desire.

And when you have that dream, start to educate yourself on the value, what is it that I’m purchasing? How do I compare that you know, to other things, you also want to think about the relationship between you and the other party. And then think about those negotiation terms. So that’s step one, this is all about step one, getting really clear within yourself, about what the deal means to you, and where you can compromise and how to look and make it simple. And I love what David said about negotiation. Negotiation is not about winning or losing. It’s not a sports game. Negotiations is about getting more of what you want, without making the other side lose status quo. So another way of saying that is how do I sit on the same side of the table as the person that I’m negotiating with? How do I look through the world through their eyes?

I think it’s one of the number one mistakes that I see when doctors are selling their practices. They’re looking through the sellers. i And I’ll have to tell you, I do this in selling my home. My husband Pete he’s not nostalgic at all. He says houses are a stepping stone you live in it, you sell it you get another one. I have more of this nurturing hearts like oh my god, and this was my child’s room and this is where we had family, Thanksgiving and holidays and I get really attached to the memories within that building. And I know as business owners, we get really attached To the joy that our practice has given us. All of that aside not to take anything away from that there is a place where you have to get more objective and say, and

20 years down the road, what does this look like to the new buyer? How do they fit into this dream, and being able to look in their eyes, understanding the buyer persona, and what they’re looking for, helps you to understand how to negotiate so that you get what you want, and they get what they want. That’s really the way these deals work best, really the way they work best. And I think for me, when it comes to any legal situation, it’s where our leadership skills show up the most. So for me, when I’ve been challenged in my leadership, it really gets challenged on legal issues. Because leadership boils down to how I show up within myself, am I a command of my own emotions. If I don’t have clarity of purpose, that guides my decisions, then I can really get caught up in the emotions of things when it comes to legal pieces.

The crazy things are going to happen to you in this journey, you’re going to have wrong wrongful suits brought against you patients are going to say crazy things about you, your team is going to sue you, the community’s going to be upset with you, it happens. You won’t get out of business ownership without those things happening. And it really comes down to how have I been doing the work on myself as a leader to be in touch with my emotions to take a breath and have I’ve developed the observation skills needed to discover the deeper currents that is in this challenge. So I hope that you really enjoy the conversation with David Cohen. He is my go to attorney and all of dentistry when it comes to buying or selling or contract law. He has been amazing resource to our clients over the years have they as they’ve built investment great practices. Until next time, have a great day.

Narrator 7:28
Thank you for tuning in to this episode of Investment Grade Practices Podcast. If you find value in this episode, help us spread the word by passing it along to a dental friend. Subscribe and give us a Like on iTunes or Spotify. Learn more about building your Investment Grade Practice at ProductiveDentist.com Today

Have a great experience with PDA recently?

Leave a Review

Need help?
Accessibility Options
Accessibility On Our Website

We are committed to continuously improving access to our goods and services by individuals with disabilities. If you are unable to use any aspect of this website because of a disability, please call (800) 757-6077 and we will provide you with prompt personalized assistance.

If you have trouble seeing web pages, the US Social Security Administration offers these tips for optimizing your computer and browser to improve your online experience.

If you are looking for mouse and keyboard alternatives, speech recognition software such as Dragon Naturally Speaking may help you navigate web pages and online services. This software allows the user to move focus around a web page or application screen through voice controls.

If you are deaf or hard of hearing, there are several accessibility features available to you.

Closed Captioning
Closed captioning provides a transcript for the audio track of a video presentation that is synchronized with the video and audio tracks. Captions are generally visually displayed over the video, which benefits people who are deaf and hard of hearing, and anyone who cannot hear the audio due to noisy environments. Most of our website’s video content includes automated captions. Learn how to turn captioning on and off in YouTube.

Volume Controls
Your computer, tablet, or mobile device has volume control features. Each video and audio service has its own additional volume controls. Try adjusting both your device’s volume controls and your media players’ volume controls to optimize your listening experience.

Read More About Accessibility and Why It Matters

Need help?

Oops! We could not locate your form.

Do not include sensitive personal, financial, or other confidential information (Social Security, account number, login, passwords, etc.). This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Helpful Resources

Below are links you may find helpful when scheduling an appointment with us.


Episode 213 – Requested Replay: The Waiting is the Hardest Part

“You’re not doing your patients any favors because their...

Episode 213 – Requested Replay: The Waiting is the Hardest Part (featured image)

Episode 239 – From Good to Great

“I’ve found ways to become free.” ~Dr. Chad Johnson Discover...

Episode 239 – From Good to Great (featured image)

Episode 116 – Requested Replay: Creating Patient Connections

In this episode of the Investment Grade Practices podcast, we invite...

Episode 116 – Requested Replay: Creating Patient Connections (featured image)
In the Press

I’ve Arrived: From $100 in the Bank to Generational Wealth in Less Than 3 Years.

from Dental Entrepreneur – Winter 2023 By Dr. Maggie Augustyn...

I’ve Arrived: From $100 in the Bank to Generational Wealth in Less Than 3 Years. (featured image)
From Our Blog

Free Case Study PDF: Results That Speak For Themselves

Dentistry is tough–you deserve support. But hiring a consultant can...

Free Case Study PDF: Results That Speak For Themselves (featured image)
Follow Us On Social Media


Stay informed on updates and upcoming events from our office.


Connect and learn more about Productive Dentist Academy.


Subscribe to our YouTube channel.


View fun photos and follow our team on Instagram.

Your Privacy
Privacy Policy

This privacy notice discloses our privacy practices and the use of Google Analytics 4(GA4), an analytic advertising feature. This privacy notice applies solely to information collected by this website and the GA4 platform. It will notify you of the following:

  1. What personally identifiable information is collected from you through the website and GA4 platform, how it is used, and with whom it may be shared.
  2. The choices available to you regarding the use of your data.
  3. The security procedures in place to protect the misuse of your information.
  4. How you can correct any inaccuracies in the information.

Information Collection, Use, and Sharing

We only have access to/collect information that you voluntarily give us via email or other direct contact from you. We will not sell or rent this information to anyone.

We will use your information to respond to you, regarding the reason you contacted us. Unless you ask us not to, we may contact you via email in the future to tell you about specials, new products or services, or changes to this privacy policy.

While Productive Dentist Academy is the primary data controller, Google, in the context of providing Google Analytics service, acts as a data processor. We use Google Analytics 4, a widely recognized web analytics service provided by Google, Inc., to track user interactions and gather data for advertising purposes. As a third-party vendor, Google Analytics operates independently and maintains its own privacy policy, which can be found at https://policies.google.com/privacy. We carefully select our third-party vendors for their commitment to user privacy and adherence to data protection standards. As part of our ongoing commitment to your privacy, we implement measures to ensure that services like GA4 comply with our high standards of data protection.

GA4 collects certain personally identifiable information from you as you interact with our website. This information includes but is not limited to your device ID, IP address, and geographic location. The information collected through GA4 is used to analyze user behavior, optimize our website’s performance, and tailor our content to better serve your needs. This data is compiled and anonymized, ensuring that it cannot be linked back to individual users.

Please note that GA4 may share the information collected with Google and other third-party service providers to enable data processing and reporting on website usage. However, we will not sell, rent, or share your information, especially your personally identifiable information, with any third party outside of our organization.

Your Access to and Control Over Information

You have certain rights regarding the data collected by GA4. You have the right to do the following at any time by contacting us via the email address or phone number given on our website:

  • See what data we have about you, if any.
  • Have us delete any data we have about you.
  • Express any concern you have about our use of your data.

In addition to opting out of any future communications from us at any time, you may also opt out of the GA4 feature if you so choose. You can opt out of the GA4 Advertising Features we use through Ads Settings, Ad Settings for mobile apps, or through the NAI’s. This link points to Google Analytics’ currently available opt-outs for the web https://tools.google.com/dlpage/gaoptout/ 


We take precautions to protect your information. When you submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected both online and offline. GA4 also follows industry best practices to protect your data both online and offline.

To ensure data protection while we are using GA4, we are implementing additional security measures that include and are not limited to:

  • limiting data access, 
  • using secure protocols, 
  • managing data sharing with Google

Wherever we collect sensitive information (such as credit card data), that information is encrypted and transmitted to us in a secure way. You can verify this by looking for a lock icon in the address bar and looking for “https” at the beginning of the address of the Web page.

While we use encryption to protect sensitive information transmitted online, we also protect your information offline. Only employees who need the information to perform a specific job (for example, billing or customer service) are granted access to personally identifiable information. The computers/servers in which we store personally identifiable information are kept in a secure environment.

Contact Us

If you have any concerns about the use of GA4 or believe that we are not abiding by this privacy policy, please contact us immediately. We are committed to addressing any privacy-related issues promptly and transparently.

By using our website and consenting to the use of GA4, you acknowledge and agree to the data collection and processing practices described in this notice. For more information about GA4 and its privacy practices, please review Google’s Privacy Policy on this link https://policies.google.com/privacy.

If you feel that we are not abiding by this privacy policy, you should contact us immediately.

Read More About Our Privacy Policy and Why It Matters

Terms of Service
Terms of Service

Entering this site or the links accessible through this site, you agree to be bound by this agreement. The information and the resources contained on and accessible through this site are made available by Productive Dentist Academy and/or its suppliers and vendors, and are subject to your agreement to their terms and conditions.

All contents copyright (c) Productive Dentist Academy

All rights reserved, Productive Dentist Academy makes this website available to all users for the sole purpose of providing educational information on health-related issues.

The accuracy of website, information, and resources identified are not warranted or guaranteed, or intended to be a substitute for professional health advice, to contradict health advice given, or for health care of any kind.

Your use of this website indicates your agreement to be bound by the Terms of Use and you expressly agree to be bound to the foregoing terms and conditions.

All materials on this website, including the site’s design, layout, and organization, are owned and copyrighted by Productive Dentist Academy, or its suppliers or vendors, and are protected by U.S. and international copyrights.

Material on this site may be used for personal use only. Commercial use of any sort is strictly prohibited.

Use of Resources & Information
This site may not be used as a supplement or alternative for health care, and is not intended and does not warrant or guarantee the quality or quantity of any services of any of the advertisers identified; further, the information provided is merely for educational purposes, and its accuracy is not guaranteed. Do not use this site as a substitute for health care. Please consult with your doctor or other health care provider regarding any health questions you may have. This site may not be used for health diagnosis or treatment. Do not use this site to disregard any health advice, nor to delay seeking health advice, because of something you read or see in this site.

You understand and agree that neither Productive Dentist Academy nor its suppliers or vendors or linked domain names are responsible or liable for any claim, loss, or damage of any kind, directly or indirectly resulting from your use of this site or the information or the resources contained on or accessible through it.

Productive Dentist Academy expressly disclaims any implied warranty or representation about the information or accuracy, relevance, completeness, timeliness or appropriateness for any particular purpose of any kind. Your use of this site is also subject to all additional disclaimers that may appear throughout the site.

Other Internet Sites Links
This site also includes links to other internet sites created and maintained by Productive Dentist Academy’s suppliers, vendors, affiliates, or subscribers. Be aware that Productive Dentist Academy does not control, makes no guarantees about, and disclaims any express or implied representations or warranties about the accuracy, relevance, completeness, timeliness or appropriateness for a particular purpose of the information or the resources contained on these or any other internet sites.

Further, the inclusion of these links is merely for your convenience and is not intended and does not reflect Productive Dentist Academy’s opinion on the accuracy or the importance of these other sites; further, Productive Dentist Academy does not endorse in any manner any of the views expressed in, or products or services offered by these other sites. All information in any site by Productive Dentist Academy, or associated or linked site, is extracted, read, used, or relied upon by you at your own risk.

Disclaimer of Warranty
Productive Dentist Academy and its suppliers and vendors disclaim all express or implied representations or warranties regarding the information, services, products, materials, and any other resources contained on or accessible through this site, including without limitation any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. All information provided by Productive Dentist Academy is made available “as is” and “as available” without warranty of any kind, or any express or implied promise, including, by way of example, its continuing availability.

Limitation of Liability
With respect to products, goods, or services purchased from any entity identified, listed, named or contacted through Productive Dentist Academy’s website, or any links to Productive Dentist Academy’s website, to the maximum extent permitted by applicable law, in no event shall Productive Dentist Academy or its suppliers or vendors be liable for any direct, indirect, special, punitive, incidental, exemplary, contractual, or consequential damages, or any damages whatsoever of any kind, resulting from any loss, which by way of example, includes loss of use, loss of data, loss of profits, business interruption, litigation, or any other pecuniary loss, whether based on breach of contract, tort (including negligence), product liability, or otherwise, arising out of or in any way connected with the use or performance of this site, with the delay or inability to use this site, or with the provision of or failure to make available any information, services, products, materials, or other resources contained on or accessible through this site, even if advised of the possibility of such damages.

You acknowledge and agree that the limitations set forth above are elements of this agreement, and that this site would not be provided to you absent such limitations.

You agree to indemnify, defend, and hold harmless Productive Dentist Academy and its suppliers and vendors from any liability, loss, claim, and expense (including reasonable attorneys’ fees) related to your violation of this agreement or use of this site in any manner. Your use of this site shall constitute your acceptance of the terms of this Agreement, as revised and modified, if any, each time you access this site. Productive Dentist Academy may modify this agreement at any time, and such modifications shall be effective immediately upon posting of the modified agreement.

Productive Dentist Academy’s failure to insist upon strict enforcement of any provision(s) of this agreement shall not be construed as a waiver of any provision or right.

This agreement and the resolution of any dispute related to this agreement or this site shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of Washington, without giving effect to any principles or conflicts of law. Any legal action or proceeding between Productive Dentist Academy or its links, suppliers or vendors and you related to this agreement or this site shall be brought exclusively in a state or federal court of competent jurisdiction sitting in Skagit County, Washington.

All materials on this website, including the site’s design, layout, and organization, are owned and copyrighted by Productive Dentist Academy or its suppliers or vendors, and are protected by U.S. and international copyrights.

This site contains links to other sites. Productive Dentist Academy is not responsible for the privacy practices of other sites that are linked to us.

Should you have any questions or concerns regarding Productive Dentist Academy’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use, please contact us.

Read More About Our Terms of Service and Why It Matters

Search the Website

Use keywords in the search box below to find what you're looking for.

Go to the Top of the Page