Career Path Insights: Chief Dental Officer

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Oral health is health, but many underserved communities lack access to dental care. For many, the Community Health Center setting is the only place where they have access to affordable treatment for oral health needs. Traditionally, dental health has been separated from other types of physical health, but in fact, it shouldn’t be. Poor dental hygiene contributes to a host of health problems such as diabetes and heart disease. That makes the role of the Chief Dental Officer at an FQHC or Community Health Center so important. This blog will look at the role of the Chief Dental Officer to shed light on the importance of these professionals in the overall healthcare continuum.

What is a Chief Dental Officer?

The role of the Chief Dental Officer at a community healthcare facility is often an add-on to the traditional dentist position. Consider the CDO as the head of a service line in your dental practice. As such, this professional should be well-versed in dental health best practices but should also be a go-to for other dentists on the team as well as serving in an administrative function which includes budget accountability.

If you’re considering a Chief Dental Officer role your desire to treat patients should be matched by your desire to serve as an organizational leader which multiples to the entire patient population served. You will work with cross-functional decision-makers to guide the performance and strategies that make your community facility stronger. Some of the job requirements include:

  • Expertise in the dental field.
  • Risk assessment to determine what policies and procedures benefit the overall department and organization.
  • Establishing strong preventative intervention programs to benefit the populations you serve.
  • Communication, education, and sometimes public relations.
  • Collaboration and leadership to help guide your practice and your organization.
  • Either expertise or a willingness to learn about the profit and loss of the department.

Chief Dental Officers are one-part clinician and one-part administrative leader. In a community health setting, these professionals offer support, guidance and mentorship to other dentists in the facility while making decisions on policies that affect the organization, the dental service line, and patient care. It’s a good role for experienced dentists that seek to act in more of a leadership role that leverages their talent and experience with other providers. Unlike private practice, there is less financial and legal risk when employed by an FQHC or other community health clinic. However, you are on the cutting edge of best practices and the development of evidence-based standards that affect the communities you serve.

As you might imagine, the salaries for Chief Dental Officers are higher given their administrative and leadership functions. The national average for these positions is $175,063. The upper percentile on these positions averages $284,000 while on the low-end pay can range to $102,500. Clinical and leadership experience all come into play when negotiating for these positions. Your geographic location also plays a factor. Urban locations pay higher typically, however the cost of living in these regions is substantially higher and rising, particularly in the area of housing.

If this position intrigues you, talk with UHC Solutions. We have excellent opportunities for Chief Dental Officers currently available. Talk with our team today to find out more.