Woman dentist holds a mirror and shows a smiling boy his new beautiful smile

Adding a new dentist to a practice or utilizing locum tenens brings a wave of excitement and a unique set of challenges. This guide will help you navigate these processes, maintaining strong relationships with dental benefit plans, streamlining your administrative duties, and above all, providing optimal patient care.

Credentialing a New Dentist

Understanding the credentialing process is crucial for a smooth transition. The core considerations when adding a new dentist include:

  • Intention of the new dentist’s practice
  • Implications of adding an out-of-network dentist
  • Provider agreement between the practice owner dentist and dental plan

Contracting Considerations for Part-Time Associates

When hiring an associate dentist to work part-time, you must be aware of dental plan contracting considerations. Some contracts contain portability clauses that allow the contract to be shared among locations.

Utilizing Locum Tenens in a Practice

Practices can add dentists based on locum tenens under certain circumstances, with each dental benefit plan having its own policies. Some common scenarios when locum tenens may be utilized in a practice include:

  • Maternity/paternity leave
  • Disability leave (accident)
  • Death

Understanding Locum Tenens Arrangements

When employing locum tenens, the practice should:

  • Define the terms of the locum tenens agreement
  • Know time limits and documentation requirements
  • Adhere to plan-specific guidelines

Claim Submission Considerations

As always, accurate and timely claim submission is the key to maintaining a seamless workflow. Practices should:

  • Understand plan-specific coding and billing guidelines
  • Maintain accurate documentation of all services
  • Collaborate with the billing team effectively


In conclusion, properly informing dental benefit plans and submitting accurate claims when adding a new dentist or utilizing locum tenens is essential for minimizing disruption to your patients. As a member of the California Dental Association (CDA), you can effectively navigate these processes, ensuring a high level of patient care is maintained in your practice.

Source: California Dental Association (CDA)

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