The field of orthodontics has several potential pathways an orthodontist’s career might take. You may work for a practice, own your own practice, join a group practice, join a DSO or OSO or find that you’ve worked in a combination of these paths by the end of your career.

As an example of how one orthodontist’s career can change throughout the years, we talked to AAO-member orthodontist and Board of Trustees member, Dr. Dale Anne Featheringham.

Read on to learn about Dr. Featheringham’s career, with takeaways to consider if you find your career changing in similar ways.

An Example of Career Paths of Orthodontists

As a practicing orthodontist, Dr. Featheringham has a varied career—an experience in which many orthodontists can relate.

Dr. Featheringham earned her Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) from The Ohio State University in 2000 and got her first job in a dental practice in the Cleveland area. She moved back to Columbus to complete an MBA at Ohio State’s Fisher College of Business. She eventually opened her own practice, Featheringham Orthodontics, but her career didn’t end there.

  • After several years of managing her own practice, she combined her practice with two others, hoping the group practice would reduce the management workload.
  • In 2017, the group practice was purchased by an OSO. Dr. Featheringham and her fellow practice owners were intrigued by the broader organization handling the business aspects. This ended up being especially beneficial during the COVID-19 pandemic, as they were not responsible for implementing the changing requirements on their own.
  • Today, Dr. Featheringham is beginning to miss some of the business aspects and is leaving the OSO to start her own practice again.

With such a varied path, Dr. Featheringham’s career can offer several takeaways for others:

  • Choose the path that works for you, and don’t be afraid to switch if it’s no longer working.
  • Be aware of how your insurance needs may change as you transition to your own practice or to a DSO or OSO.
    • If you begin your own practice, you will need business policies like Workers’ Compensation, Cyber Liability, Business Owner’s Policy and more.
    • If you join a DSO or OSO, they may offer coverage like Life insurance and Short-Term Disability insurance, but it is important to compare policies and limits to any preexisting policies you may have.
    • If you leave a DSO or OSO, keep in mind that you may have a gap in coverage unless your purchase tail coverage.
  • Get support from others during career transitions, including fellow orthodontists, the American Association of Orthodontics, the AAO-Endorsed Insurance Program and more.

Support for Orthodontists of All Practice Types

As your career path twists and turns, it can be reassuring to have knowledgeable experts on your side.

The AAO-Endorsed Insurance Program, administered by Lockton Affinity, offers insurance policies designed by and for orthodontists. Because our policies are tied to your AAO membership rather than your employer, coverage will stay with you throughout career changes.

Plus, Lockton Affinity’s dedicated insurance representatives are trained to understand your insurance needs, whether you own your practice, sell your practice, join a DSO, are ready to retire or are thinking about getting back into your own practice.

Schedule a complimentary risk evaluation today to receive all the information you need to make an informed decision about your business insurance.