How to Start a Dental Practice: 5 Necessary Steps


Did you know that there are almost 200,000 dental practices around the United States?

Have you been thinking about starting your own dental practice now that you have a few years of being a dentist under your belt, but you are not sure where to start? Well, you’ve come to the right place.

If you’re looking to join the other 200,000 dental practices around the country, here’s everything you need to know about how to start a dental practice.

1. Do Your Research and Build a Plan

The first thing you’ll want to do is spend time doing research to see what dentists in your area are doing and what is making them successful.

You also need to understand what type of budget you are working with, which means what you can afford for a lease for an office building, licensing fees for your dental practice, salaries to pay your employees, and more.

It’s never a bad idea to ask around to see what other dental practices budgeted when they first started out as well.

From the research, you will then need to build a business plan for your practice. You need to consider how long you want to own the practice, your exit strategy if you ever plan to sell it so you know how to go about that, and your plan for branding and marketing your dental practice.

2. Settle on a Location

Next, you’ll need to settle on a location to open your dental practice. When becoming a dentist, you know you are needed pretty much everywhere. But the last thing you want to do is choose a location right next to a few other dentists that are already established!

If you have an idea of a general area, make sure to do some research so you don’t establish your practice in an area that is too overpopulated with dentists. For instance, if you want to have a practice in Minneapolis, Minnesota and there are already a ton there, consider moving the practice into the suburbs. You still have your location, just on the outskirts.

When choosing a location, you also want to consider the potential for walk-ins. If you put your dental practice in a shopping center, there is more likelihood that you will get walk-ins than if you were off on your own. However, if you want to be off on your own and do not want walk-ins, then this is not something to worry about!

Commercial buildings and leases on a higher floor tend to be cheaper than a ground floor location as well, so keep that in mind when deciding!

3. Obtain Everything You Need to Create Your Perfect Layout

If you’re ready to start your practice and have your location, it’s time to gather the essential equipment for your practice.

In addition to the dental equipment, you’ll also need tracking management software and computer programs to track your clients and patients.

Once you have everything you need, you will need to create your perfect layout! Consider where you want the waiting room to be in comparison to where the actual procedural areas should be. You may also want to have a few separate rooms for appointments and X-Rays as well as the more open dentist space layout.

Once you know how much space you need and the size of the practice you anticipate having, you can start looking for those leases to move in!

4. Start Marketing

One of the most essential things you can do for your business is to develop a marketing plan to get the word out about what you are doing.

You will need to plan for different ways of marketing, like ads in the paper or on local coffee shop bulletin boards as well as a digital marketing strategy.

As part of the digital marketing strategy, you need to plan to start a website and get on social media.

When building your website, you’ll want to incorporate who you are, your services, a contact page, and what makes you stand out among the rest. Don’t forget to also learn about dental SEO marketing so that your site comes up above others on search engines.

On social media, be sure to advertise the services you have, anticipate your opening, and even allow pre-bookings! This will build anticipation for your grand opening. You could even host a grand opening for your practice as well!

5. Apply for All of the Necessary Paperwork

After you’ve successfully completed the steps above by gathering your equipment, finding a lease, and having a business plan, you’ll need to apply for the necessary paperwork to own a dental practice.

You will need:

  • Business organization papers (this could be sole proprietor or LLC or other)
  • A tax ID number
  • A business license from your state

You will also need to look into the exact state’s laws and regulations about owning a dental practice to make sure there is nothing else you need in the meantime.

Now You Know the Steps for How to Start a Dental Practice

Starting a dental practice is not easy and takes a lot of work, just like building any business would.

But by following these steps, you know exactly how to start a dental practice. Once you follow these steps, it’s just a matter of time before you become known as the best dental practice in the area!

Did you enjoy reading about these steps? Be sure to read more of our blogs on our site!