How can dental students save for their own practice?

By: Ava Guzman

After graduation, dentistry students might immediately want to start working in order to get a return on their educational investment and earn a living. However, between student loans and the money needed to open up a clinic, the costs are steep.

Saving Money for Your Dental Practice

The American Dental Association (ADA) reports that an initial cost of $500,000 is required to start a career as a dentist. Fortunately, there are many ways to save for dental practice, and many of them can, and should be done while you still have years ahead of your graduation. Below are some of them:

Pay off loans quickly

According to the same ADA report above, you need $120,000 to $270,000 to graduate from a public dental school. This is much, much higher than the average four-year course due to the specialty of instruction. And if you want to save up for formal dental practice, you need to pay off your loans in such a way that they won’t eat up too much of your earnings in your first years of practice.

One thing you can do is invest some money to help fund your loans. More specifically, invest in index funds. Maryville University recommends this type of investment for college students, as they’re low-risk with big potential gains. Index funds follow the S&P 500, which are the highest-grossing companies in the country. You don’t even need to set aside a big amount, just $10 or $20 each week can be enough to begin.

Start your supplier search early

Canvassing potential dental equipment suppliers early on will allow you to get an idea of how much money you need to set aside when you start your own practice. To do this, search online for suppliers in your area or ask for recommendations from acquaintances. Make a shortlist of potential suppliers that have the equipment you’re eyeing and their price range. A company like Patterson may even offer cheaper rates for first-time customers who plan to buy in bulk.

Go through each of the suppliers’ reviews, even the bad ones. Keep in mind if and how the supplier responded and resolved the complaint. Take your time in making a decision because this equipment is an investment. You will use these tools to care for your future patients.

Work part-time if possible

Not all dental students have the time or energy to get a job on top of their academics, but if possible, working part-time will be a good source of income. They can work on campus for their convenience since some universities offer library and administrative work. Tutoring younger students is another option. You don’t even need to be formally employed for some jobs. You can get extra cash by offering proofreading and transcribing services to fellow students, for example.

Being a dentistry student will cost a lot, and even more so opening a dental practice after graduation. In our post ‘This Will Supercharge Your Impact in Dentistry’, we encourage dental professionals to make a mark in the industry using their education and experience. However costly starting a dental career may be, students can start saving up now for the future they want.

Up Next: Tax Guide to Buying a Dental Practice

Photo by Alexander Mils

Ava Guzman

Ava Guzman

Ava Guzman is a freelance writer specializing in health and finance topics. She uses the money she has earned to invest in stocks. Aside from working, she enjoys catering to her houseplants and trying new recipes.