Dental Practice Ownership—Sole Proprietor vs. Incorporation

Dental Practice

As a dentist, choosing the proper legal structure is one of the most important decisions you’ll make when starting your practice. As part of your dental practice acquisition checklist, two options exist: operating as a sole proprietor or incorporating your business. 

Each option has its advantages and disadvantages, so it’s essential to understand the differences and determine which structure is best for your practice. Learn which ownership structure should you pursue, along with where to find a dental practice management consultant: 

Sole Proprietorship 

The simplest and most typical sort of business structure is a sole proprietorship. You have total authority over the management of your company as a sole proprietor because you are the only owner. You will manage your practice’s finances, marketing, and adherence to the law.

Advantages of Sole Proprietorship

One of the main advantages of operating as a sole proprietor is the ease of setup and management. You don’t have to worry about filing additional paperwork or paying fees to establish your business. Additionally, you have complete control over your practice and can make decisions quickly and independently.

Another advantage of a sole proprietorship is the tax benefits. As a sole proprietor, your income is taxed at your tax rate, which may be lower than the corporate tax rate. You can minimize your tax burden by deducting business expenses from your taxable income on your tax return.

Disadvantages of Sole Proprietorship

One of the main disadvantages of a sole proprietorship is the lack of liability protection. You can minimize your tax burden by deducting business expenses from your taxable income on your tax return. This means that your assets, such as your home or car, could be at risk if your practice is sued or becomes debt. 

The challenge of raising finance is another drawback of a lone proprietorship. As a sole proprietor, you are responsible for financing your practice independently. This can make it challenging to secure loans or investments from outside sources.


Incorporating your practice means creating a separate legal entity that is distinct from you as an individual. This entity is called a corporation, and it is owned by shareholders who elect a board of directors to manage the business. As a dentist, you can incorporate your practice as a professional corporation (PC) or professional limited liability company (PLLC).

Advantages of Incorporation

One of the main advantages of incorporating your practice is the liability protection it provides. As a corporation, your business is a separate legal entity from you as an individual. This means that your assets are protected from any debts or legal issues that arise in your practice.

Another advantage of incorporation is the ability to raise capital. As a corporation, you can issue stock to raise funds for your practice. This can make it easier to secure loans or investments from outside sources.

Disadvantages of Incorporation

One of the main disadvantages of incorporation is the complexity of setup and management. You must file additional paperwork and pay fees to establish your business as a corporation. Additionally, you must comply with more stringent legal and financial requirements, such as holding regular board meetings and maintaining accurate financial records.

Another disadvantage of incorporation is the tax implications. Your business will be taxed separately from your income as a corporation. This means that you may be subject to higher tax rates than you would be as a sole proprietor. However, incorporation also has tax benefits, such as deducting business expenses and lowering your taxable income.

Which Option Is Best for a Dentist?

Choosing between a sole proprietorship and incorporation depends on your needs and goals as a dentist. If you are starting and want to keep things simple, a sole proprietorship may be your best option. However, incorporation may be better to protect your assets and raise capital for your practice.

Ultimately, the decision comes down to your circumstances and preferences. It’s essential to consult with a legal and financial professional before making any significant decisions about your business structure. They can help you understand the pros and cons of each option and choose the one that is best for you.


The decision of sole proprietorship vs. incorporation for dental practice ownership is subjective. The owner of a sole proprietorship is personally liable for all debts and responsibilities, but it is easier to start up and operate. Incorporation protects from personal liability, but setting up and maintaining is more costly and time-consuming. 

Finally, it would help if you pursued an ownership based on the individual’s needs and the practice’s size and goals. It is also important to consider the advice of a qualified tax and legal advisor or dental practice consultant before making a final decision.

Looking for a dental practice management consultant? Ash Dental CPA offers accounting services for dental and medical professionals and helps with purchasing, selling, and valuing dental practices. Contact us right now if you need a CPA for dentists!