Business Overview

Dental offices are a necessary business in a local community because they help provide patients with routine and non-routine preventative and corrective dental care. Most of these procedures help ensure patients stay healthy. Some procedures, like crows, caps, and fillings, correct existing dental problems.

Who is this business right for?

A dental office is most suitable for individuals who have a passion for working with their hands and enjoy interacting with the general public. They must also be kind and caring people because many patients have a natural aversion to the dentist. Dentists have a hectic (though scheduled) lifestyle and work long hours.

Dentists have to attend a lot of school, usually in excess of 10 years (at least). As such, only those with a true passion for dentistry will be able to make it in this type of business.

What happens during a typical day at a dental office?

Day-to-day activities in a dental office include checking patient charts, meeting with patients and checking hygienists’ work after a routine dental procedure. Most dental offices also staff billing and HR personnel who are responsible for managing the day-to-day affairs of the office, including the financial aspects like patient billing.

Since dentists typically accept insurance, the office needs to be equipped with billing software that can handle this type of billing. Finally, as the owner, you will be responsible for educating your patients on good dental hygiene.

What is the target market?

Clients and customers are usually the general public. Almost everyone has a need for general teeth cleaning, so dentists operate in a local community, serving that community with basic preventative dental services.

In addition to these services, dentists often perform specialized services for people who have existing dental issues like missing, chipped, or otherwise broken teeth. They may also fill cavities and provide adjustment services (teeth straightening). Ideal patients, in these cases, are ones who have a need for these types of services.

How does a dental office make money?

Dental offices make money by charging patients for dental services. Sometimes, direct billing is used, where patients pay the dentist for services rendered. However, most dental offices also accept insurance so the patient may not pay directly. If they do pay directly under this arrangement, they pay a co-pay amount and the rest is billed to the dental or health insurance company. The insurer then bills the patient for any coinsurance.

The fees are usually a fixed or flat fee for services rendered and may include dental hardware for services like braces, fillings, and caps, crowns, and bridges.

What is the growth potential for a dental office?

Dental offices typically consist of one head dentist, a few hygienists, and a few receptionists. When starting a dental office, you’ll need at least a minimum “core staff” to cover essential services. In addition to the core dental staff, billing and HR are also usually necessary to assist in managing financials and staffing.

Growth depends on the marketplace demand for dental services. In a small town, a dentist may only have one or two offices. In a larger city, it’s not uncommon for a dentist to have partners and numerous locations.