Helping patients navigate routine dental cleanings and possible medical care can create a fulfilling career.
There are many ways to assist people with dentistry training, but which path could also lead to a privately owned practice? Anyone dreaming of that future should read these simple steps to starting a dental practice or an endodontic practice, including some important ways to get the support you need whenever the time is right.
How Are Endodontic vs. Dental Practices Different?
Many people get endodontists and dentists confused. They both work in the dental industry but have specialized skill sets that treat different patients’ needs.
Endodontists are dental experts who graduate from dental school and endodontic training for at least two years, if not more. They specialize in diagnosing and treating tooth pain, tooth extractions, root canals and dental implants.
Dentists receive the same education, minus the postgraduate endodontic-focused training. They perform routine cleanings, create fillings and conduct x-rays for regular appointments and consultations.
A dentist would be the expert who catches any signs of specialized care needs and sends you to an endodontist for additional help.
How to Open a Dental Practice
There are multiple steps to starting a dental practice. They’ll become much easier to handle if you know what to expect. Check out the essential elements of opening a dental clinic to determine how they’ll work with your future in healthcare.
1. Create a Realistic Budget
Budgeting is the first step in starting a dental practice from scratch. You’ll need to know how much money you should secure and your monthly expenses to determine if this is the right time to open your business.
The average dental practice costs around $500,000 upfront for supplies, hiring expenses and structural up-fit. Putting a minimum of five per cent down could cost $25,000, depending on your lender and interest rate. Monthly collections range from $14,000 or more before deducting owner compensation.
Your initial budget compensated by your dental lender will also cover hiring fees, monthly staff wages and all startup expenses like marketing. Speaking with an expert in dentistry financing will clarify how to estimate these costs.
While budgeting, you’ll also have to determine who will provide your financing. There are a few tips you can keep in mind when researching lenders.
3 Ways to Get Support
Starting a dental practice from scratch is much easier after investigating these types of lenders for your future business. Attend your meeting with potential lenders with an extensive business plan in hand, along with any required personal financial statements.
1. Seek a Small Business Loan
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) partners with various lenders to provide optimal loans to people seeking to open a business.
You could secure a low-interest loan with flexible upfront terms in exchange for a personal guarantee from yourself and anyone else with at least 20 per cent ownership of your practice. If your business failed to pay the loan back, you and any partners would have to sell your personal assets to make the payments.
2. Talk With Your Bank
Traditional banks also offer loans designed for dental practices. You may even find a discounted loan if your bank partners with a dental association.
Waived or reduced administration fees can save thousands while applying for a loan. Discuss your options with your current bank and any others with dental loans available.
3. Look Into Online Lenders
Online lenders are financial institutions that aren’t necessarily banks. They make qualifying for small business loans easy because they don’t operate under the same regulations as brick and mortar banks.
Your application and approval process may only take a few hours. It’s an optimal route for anyone ready to begin their practice immediately.
2. Select Your Desired Location
Location is a critical factor for any business. Dental practices must be close enough to where clusters of people live while avoiding any areas already overcrowded by dentistry providers.
Look into population growth charts as well. Areas with steadily increasing populations guarantee long-term dental patients in all age groups.
3. Search for Dental Equipment and Furnishings
Another vital part of starting a dental practice checklist is searching for your clinic’s furnishings and equipment. Save room in your budget for essentials like:
- Comfortable patient chairs.
You’ll also need furnishings to make the waiting area comfortable and provide everything the front office staff will need for customer service and administrative duties.
All these things must be present when your practice opens, which often delays interested parties if they can’t secure extensive funding upfront.
4. Handle the Legal Aspects
Dental practices need specific licenses according to what your state mandates. You’ll also need to register with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), obtain a national provider identifier number and comply with any local regulations outlined by your city or county.
Additionally, practice owners need legal plans for paying local and state taxes on time. A healthcare or dentistry attorney will assist with these steps so you don’t miss anything.
5. Hire an Incredible Staff
The best applicants for future dental practice positions will have practised skills. Dental assistants should have medical training and in-field experience from past jobs or internships.
Administrative experts must know how to handle daily operations, payroll and customer service experience.
As you interview candidates, keep your budget in mind. Practice owners have to pay monthly wages, plus insurance premiums, paid time off and other standard benefits like 401k matching for full-time employees.
6. Form Your Marketing Plan
No one will come to your dental clinic if they don’t know it exists.
Paying marketing experts to establish an online presence for your practice and create ad campaigns to reach your target patients will generate more revenue than guessing at ad placements or social media posts.
How to Open an Endodontic Practice
Endodontic practices are an essential part of any community. No one wants to travel a far distance when they are in pain, needing an extraction or searching for a consult. You should take these steps to open a practice and serve those in need.
1. Draft a Business Plan
Like any other business, you’ll need a plan to obtain any funding. Your business plan should include essential factors such as:
- How you’ll manage your business.
- A description of your endodontic services.
- Financial plans, like cash flow forecasts, collateral and projected first-year income.
- Daily operations details, like office hours, suppliers and accepted insurance plans.
After creating your business plan by yourself or with a mentor who already owns a business, you’re ready to meet lenders. Ensure that you try to review the following three tips to have the easiest experience possible.
3 Ways to Get Support for Your Endodontic Practice
Endodontic practice owners often find financial assistance most quickly by accessing these funding options.
1. Contact the SBA
The SBA provides loans for endodontists just like it helps dentists. The long-term financial assistance comes in a large up-front loan that you can use to purchase a lot, build your practice and supply it with everything it needs.
The money also often covers the initial fees related to hiring staff.
2. Find a Working Capital Loan
It is much easier for general dentistry offices to find patients and generate ongoing revenue. Specialized practices like an endodontic clinic work with more limited cases. Creating steady revenue projections in your business plan may be challenging, which is where a working capital loan can help.
This type of loan covers the everyday operating expenses that may come due before revenue becomes readily available. You could use this loan to make payroll, debt and mortgage payments. They often don’t require collateral because they’re smaller loans than mortgages or initial business funding.
3. Get Help From Online Lenders
While you may have a personal or local bank that can help with some financial aspects of your future endodontic practice, online lenders have more structural flexibility.
Check out your options regarding loans for starting your clinic to see if the approval process is faster and meets your upfront needs more quickly.
2. Scout Potential Locations
Location is even more critical for endodontic practices. Given that the average endodontic patient ranged from 53.6 to 55.9 years old between 2012 and 2017, you’ll find greater success in areas with middle-aged populations.
Cities with a mix of retirees and families are a good bet for future successful practices.
3. Find Specialized Endodontic Equipment
Endodontists ended specialized equipment for the unique cases that will walk through their door. Dental pulp testers, hand tools, obturation machinery and apex locators are just the start of your potential supply list.
Reflect on the services you’ll provide in your business plan to gather the tools you’ll need to treat patients with those conditions.
4. Complete the Legal Paperwork
Any medical practice needs licenses to operate, but those licenses change by state. Check what your state requires and hire a dentistry attorney to walk you through the legal language.
They can also help you register with the DEA and fulfil any regulatory requirements specified by your county or city government.
5. Interview Potential New Hires
Since endodontic services are highly specialized, hiring staff members will be much easier and beneficial for your patients if applicants have experience.
Dental experience is a basic requirement, but anyone with time spent in an endodontic practice will better handle your daily operations and every patient’s healthcare needs.
6. Begin Marketing Your Services
Many people don’t know what an endodontist is or what kind of medical services you provide. A robust marketing plan can fix that problem.
Social media ads, commercials and air time on local TV or radio stations will ensure that the local population knows where to go in their time of need. Partnering with regional dentistry offices for referrals will also boost your practice’s success.
Consider a Dental or Endodontic Future
There are many factors to consider when starting a dental practice checklist or opening an endodontic clinic.
Use these tips to better understand what you need to accomplish before opening your dental practice and beginning the small business ownership experience you want for your future.
My name is Beth. I’m a health writer with 3+ years of experience, and I run an online wellness magazine, Body+Mind.