10 Steps to Starting a Dental Practice

By: Dawn Patrick

Are you a dental student with dreams of one day starting a dental practice?

The journey from dental school to practice ownership is an exciting and rewarding one, but it also requires careful planning and diligent execution.

10 Steps to Start Building Your Own Dental Practice

Here are the top 10 steps and details you need to take to get started on your path to building a successful dental practice. 

Step 1: Define Your Vision 

The first and most crucial step to starting a dental practice is to define your vision. What type of practice do you want to create?

Consider your goals, values, and the kind of dentistry you’re passionate about.

Your vision will serve as the foundation for your practice. 

Step 2: Create a Comprehensive Business Plan 

A well-thought-out business plan is essential for turning your vision into reality.

Your plan should include: 

  • Your mission statement. 
  • A detailed description of your dental services. 
  • Market research and analysis. 
  • Financial projections and a budget. 
  • Marketing and branding strategies. 
  • A timeline for opening your practice. 

Step 3: Manage your Finances Wisely

Managing finances begins several years before you are ready to open your practice doors.

Young dentists often are confused by the process and think to themselves: 

  • I have too much student debt to qualify for a loan. 
  • I’m unsure if a home purchase or dental practice purchase comes first.
  • I don’t know where to begin finding a place to build or a practice to acquire. 

Step 4: Secure Financing 

Starting a dental practice requires a significant financial investment.

It’s always a good idea to get pre-approval and explore different financing options for your loans. You can pre-qualify in less than 2 minutes with some companies! 

Explore your financing options, including:

  • Personal savings
  • Loans from banks, credit unions, or specific dental financing companies like Provide.
    • You can pre-qualify in less than 2 minutes with a loan option through Provide
  • Assistance from family and friends.
  • Grants or scholarships.

Learn More about Provide

Step 5: Choose a Location 

Selecting the right location for your practice is crucial. 

Consider factors like: 

  • Demographics of the area
  • Competition from existing practices
  • Accessibility for patients
  • Visibility and signage opportunities

Step 6: Legal and Regulatory Compliance 

Ensure you meet all legal and regulatory requirements for opening a dental practice: 

  • Obtain the necessary licenses and permits. 
  • Register your practice with the appropriate dental board. 
  • Comply with local zoning and building codes. 

Step 7: Design Your Practice 

Create a welcoming and functional environment for your patients and team: 

  • Work with an architect or designer to plan the layout of your practice.
  • Select dental equipment and technology that align with your services.
  • Pay attention to interior design, creating a comfortable and calming atmosphere. 

Step 8: Build Your Team 

Recruit a team of skilled professionals to support your practice: 

  • Hire experienced dental professionals, such as dental assistants and licensed hygienists. 
  • Consider hiring an office manager to handle administrative tasks and help support your vision. 
  • Ensure your team shares your commitment to patient care and your practice’s values.

Step 9: Marketing and Branding

Develop a marketing strategy to attract patients to your practice: 

  • Establish an online presence through a website and social media profiles.
  • Create a professional brand identity, including a logo and branding materials.
  • Consider advertising and community outreach to promote your practice.
  • Hire a marketing company to create your professional website. 

Step 10: Prioritize Patient Care and Experience

“No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care” –Theodore Roosevelt 

  • Implement exceptional customer service practices. 
  • Focus on building trust and rapport with your patients. 
  • Communicate openly and effectively with patients about their treatment plans.
  • Ask for referrals and reviews. 

Get Started Today Building Your Own Dental Practice

Building your own dental practice is a journey that requires dedication, strategic planning, and a commitment to excellence in patient care.

Having mentors, like the team at IgniteDDS, is crucial to support the path you choose. IgniteDDS mentors young dentists and helps guide them on the path to success and offers Business Mastermind Courses to assist in understanding the process. 

By following these top 10 steps and paying attention to important details, you can lay a strong foundation for a thriving dental practice that reflects your vision and values.

Remember that your journey is unique, and every step you take brings you closer to achieving your dream of practice ownership. 

Photo by fauxels

Dawn Patrick

Dawn Patrick

Dawn has 30+ years of dental experience spanning all facets of dentistry including pediatric, cosmetic, complete health, and sleep. During her career, Dawn enjoyed 25 years in practice management including marketing, team training, and consulting. She joined IgniteDDS in June 2022 as Director of Operations. Dawn enjoys working directly with teams and customers to create a win-win. She is passionate about creating systems and processes that allow teams to excel. In her spare time, Dawn enjoys time with family, her two Goldendoodles, and traveling with her husband, Jon.