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Opening a dental office: instructions and recommendations

by Hana

Every year, dental surgeons do wonders to treat cavities and several oral anomalies. Any dentist aspiring to set up a dental office, should keep in mind that the medical sector as a whole is a dynamic field with many opportunities opening up every year.

You don’t know where to start your business? Good news: In this article, we will guide you through the main steps of opening a dental office.

Conducting a dental practice market study

The first step towards starting your practice: market research. The objective of the market research is to allow you to validate the commercial opportunity of opening a dental clinic in the targeted geographic area.

Thus, you will need to know :

  • Is the demand for dental care on the rise?
  • What about rates?
  • What are the most requested services? Do they require special equipment?
  • Analyse the demand at the local level: how many and who are the inhabitants on the geographical area targeted? What level of demand should we expect given the age pyramid and the socio-professional categories of the inhabitants? Analyse the offer already present: how many dental offices are already established? How many employees do they employ? What types of benefits do they offer? Do theyseemoverwhelmed? Are their retirements planned?

Opening a dental office: Specializing ?

The idea is perhaps clear in your mind: you want to set up your own dental practice. But what will be your specific activity?

Overall, dentists fall into two categories:

  • General practitioners, who are versatile and generally address the most common problems;
  • Specialized dentists, for example in orthodontics or oral-facial surgery.

It will then be necessary to take into account the services you intend to offer in your practice, either yourself or by associating yourself with other dentists in complementary specialties.

Where to open your dental office?

The choice of the location of your practice is probably the most important point of your business plan. To get the most appropriate information before making achoice, you will have to rely on the data of your market research, which will take into account: the size and characteristics of the local population, as well as the number of dentists already present. Getting patients will be more difficult in a large city where dental surgeons are numerous comparedto a place where professionals are lacking.

Anotherquintessential step towards starting your business will beplanning the material and equipment you will need, depending on the specialties offered.

What are the material and human needs required for opening a dental clinic?

The business plan of your dental office is moving forward. As mentioned above, equipment and personnel planning is a must. The initial investment to set up a dental practice is quite significant.

Investments and equipment will include:

  • Any renovation or fit-up work in the premises ;
  • Furniture and equipment for the reception: counter, office, chair, computer equipment, telephone, software for the management of appointments, etc.
  • The layout of the waiting room: chairs, decoration, magazines, etc.
  • Setting up of patient treatment rooms: panoramic radio, reclining chair, sterilization equipment, etc.

In order to best quantify these expenses and compare prices: consider asking for quotes from your future suppliers.

Another helpful tip would be to ask for feedback from your colleagues. This is all the more true since the dental surgeon’s equipment must be properly positioned for the work to be carried out under favourable conditions.

At the staff level, the needs are relatively limited: one person to host the reception and possibly one or more to assist you during the treatment sessions.

In order to reduce the cost of initial investment required to open a dental practice, you can work with a group of colleagues, by having for instance a secretary for two or three practitioners, or by sharing the use of some of the equipment.

Carrying out the business plan

Once you have gathered all the information mentioned in the previous sections, you can start writing the business plan of your dental office.

The business plan is a document that allows you to present your project in a structured and business friendly manner.

This plan consists of two parts : a part written in which you will highlight the assets of the project, and a financial forecast in which you will show your financing need and the potential for profitability of your firm.

The business plan of your dental office has several objectives:

  • Allows you to take stock, that is to check that you have left nothing to chance and that the project is financially viable
  • Serves as a reference document to convince other dentists to partner with you, or banks to finance you.

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