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5 Key Tips to Starting a Dental Practice


In America today, there are more than 200,000 practicing dentists.

Studies show that each year, more than 600 dentists start new practices — a number that is bigger than the number of dentists who retire in any given year.

While one of the benefits of studying dentistry is that you can run your own dental practice, the competition is slowly piling. Being your own boss sounds great, but it will require you to work extra hard. Whether you have graduated and need to start work, or need a lucrative side hustle, you need to ensure that the practice thrives and helps you achieve your dreams.

Just like any business, starting a dental practice can be a little bit difficult. However, the tips in this article will help you grow, learn, and avoid the numerous costly mistakes that new practice owners make.

Here are five things to consider when starting a dental practice.

1. Consider Buying an Already-Established Dental Practice

The Journal of the American Dental Association states that if you begin your own practice from scratch, it may take you up to five years before you mature financially. There are numerous clear benefits that you can reap from buying a practice.

First, you will start your work with experienced staff. In a typical situation, when you buy a practice, the hygienists, receptionist, and other staff come with it. They already know what they are doing, so they will only need to get used to you and you to them.

There are also better odds of you turning in a profit in your first year. Of course, this is great for you. You will acquire customers and that will eliminate the need to start from scratch.

When buying, make sure that you spend time looking at the profit and loss sheet beforehand. The numbers will vary from one year to the next, but the variations should not be excessive. You will also have a good idea of the amount of profit you should expect.

2. Do Your Homework

There are about 60 dentists for every 100,000 people. From this, it is clear that dental practices rarely close. However, when they do, it is a life-defining disaster.

In the past, it was easy to have booked patients even before you opened the practice. This rarely happens today.

Therefore, once you have chosen to start, you need to do a lot of research. It will help you understand what to expect and give you hints of unexpected problems that may come up along the way.

With enough research, you will be ready for most of the challenges that may come up. A great way to research is to talk to both new and experienced practice owners.

Proper research will give you all the things you need to expect from a real-life point of view. They will also give you all the advice you need on how to deal with these challenges.

3. Have a Trusted Network of Advisors

Once you have started your practice, you will meet new people. These people will all feel like they have a right to show you how to run a successful practice. Even your customers will have something to say.

You need to know how to filter through all the advice and tips you will get. It is also essential that you team yourself up with industry-specific advisors who will help you make all the crucial decisions you have to make here on out. Some people you need to know include:

  • Dental-specific building contractors
  • Specialized Certified Public Assistant
  • Dental-specific lenders
  • Dental equipment specialists
  • Lawyers
  • Insurance and financial providers among others

With these people, your practice will kick off and begin making its first profits within the first year. You will also get loyal customers.

Starting a dental practice will require you to have helpful and influential groups of people around you, not just specialists in the industry.

4. Find the Right Location

You can know all the right people, but if your dental practice is not based in a great place, you may not get as many customers as you hope. The location of your practice is critical.

It is always a great idea to research and understand your target market, where they visit mostly, and what they like. This will help you find an accessible area that is in close proximity to the targeted patients.

This area should also be within your budget. A rule of thumb is to make sure that you avoid areas that are already saturated with practitioners offering similar services.

Keep in mind that busy roads will always attract more customers. So look for commercial rentals in malls, near banks, and grocery stores. These areas always have dense traffic.

In an area that is easily accessible and can be seen from cars and by commuters, you will not have to market yourself as much as people in hidden places. Look at the traffic patterns to influence where your dentistry practice will be located.

5. Understand Your Budget Constraints

The costs of starting a dental practice are significant. That is why, it is necessary to find enough funding sources to kick-off your business.

A huge issue that most dentists face when starting their practices is that they underestimate the initial startup costs. This left them short in the following months, and they even ended up maxing out on their credit cards and scrambling to find additional capital.

Therefore, before you begin, it is important to calculate the initial costs of equipment, furniture, and sustaining the daily operations of the clinic. You also need to anticipate the unexpected costs and where you will find the money.

Starting Your Own Dental Practice Shouldn’t Be Stressful

Between the car loan, student loans, mortgages, and now the debt from opening the practice, it is essential you maintain predictable income. This may mean finding a side business that will build some revenue as your dental practice picks up. You can maintain an outside associate position two or three days a week to make it easier to predict cash.

If you need more life and business tips, keep scrolling our website. We have all the information you need to grow your business and improve the quality of your life.


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