Date of Conferral



Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.)


Business Administration


Janet Booker


Dentists graduate dental school ready to practice dentistry, but 85% do not feel prepared by the dental school to open and manage the operations of a general dental practice. General systems theory grounded this multisite case study. The research provides information on 3 solo practitioner dental practices that sustained beyond 5 years in the Washington, DC suburbs. At each operating practice, the dentist who owned the practice and 1 employee that also worked at the practice during the first 5 years were interviewed. The dentist provided marketing documents used during the first 5 years of the practice operations. Data triangulation was used to ensure the trustworthiness of the analysis of the data from the interviews and documents collected. The data collected was analyzed using coding, establishing nodes, and creating mind maps to identify 5 themes. The themes included working hard to provide dental care and relieve pain, marketing to ensure potential patients had the practice contact information when they needed it, learning continuously to improve the practice operations, putting patient's health before practice profits, and minimizing debt. The implications for positive social change for residents of the Washington, DC suburbs include the potential to receive the needed dental care and pain relief they need because dentists who learn from this research will stay late and return to their practice to treat patients who found the dentist's contact information from their marketing. The implications for positive social change for owners of dental practices include building a sustainable dental practice by implementing these research findings that include working hard, marketing, continuous learning, putting patients health first, and minimizing debt.