How Much Does It Cost to Start a Dental Practice?

Posted by on Nov 30, 2022 9:00:00 AM

One of the most common questions surrounding opening a dental practice is: how much does this process cost? 

Starting a practice requires capital, recurring revenue, employee salaries, a significant amount of time, and more — altogether, it can feel overwhelming. However, by calculating a general price range ahead of time, you can make the best decisions for your career. 

Here’s an overview of the factors that contribute to the overall cost of a dental practice and why it can fluctuate: 


What Is the Average Cost of Starting a Dental Practice? 

According to the ADA, you can expect to invest about $500,000 into starting a dental practice. This is an average number, and it’s possible for your practice to cost more or less than this. 


6 Factors That Impact the Cost of Starting a Dental Practice

There are a number of components that go into the start-up costs of a dental practice, including: 

1. Loan Payments

Many dentists who start their own practices must have some form of financing to open the business, secure a location, purchase equipment, start hiring, and market your practice. Depending on your lender, amount, and the market interest rate (among other factors), your loan payments are likely to be a sizable part of your expenses. 

Regardless, you should know the sum of loan repayments you can expect every month and when you need to make them. 

If you’re considering opening a dental practice and searching for loan options, you can speak with different lenders to find the loan terms that work best for you. 

2. Insurance 

You will need appropriate insurance to protect yourself and your practice. For example: 

  • To protect your information, you may decide to look into you may decide to look into data breach coverage due to the widespread occurrence of data theft. 
  • To protect your employees, your dental practice may need worker’s compensation

It’s important to know what coverages you will be required to purchase and any recurring charges to expect, such as an annual fee to maintain your business license. 

3. Physical Location

Regardless of whether you lease or purchase your space, you’ll often find this will be an ongoing cost for a significant period of time. 

The Dental Clinic Manual has some recommendations for office space guidelines — they suggest: 

  • 200 square feet for a waiting room. 
  • 120 square feet for an office. 
  • 80 square feet for a supply closet. 
  • 110 square feet for each operatory. 

There are a number of factors that contribute to the overall cost of a dental practice’s physical location, including real estate, utilities, amenities, federal, municipal, and state taxes, and more.

4. Payroll

When opening a dental practice, you’ll need to put together your team

You’ll be hiring a variety of people with different skill sets, including dental hygienists, front-office staff, and other team members, so it’s important to note the common cost differences between each of those. For example: 

  • Hygienists can earn anywhere from $40,000 to more than $100,000, depending on the state your practice is located in, according to DentalPost
  • Front-office staff members can earn between $14 per hour ($29,120 annually) and $21 per hour ($43,680 annually), according to
  • Dental assistants may range from $16.40 per hour ($34,112 annually) to $23.27 per hour ($48,402 annually), according to Indeed.

Salaries, even before the addition of benefits, can amount to several hundred thousand dollars annually. 

5. Licensing and Legal Parameters

Starting your own practice requires you to register your business as a legal entity. You’ll be required to pay any applicable up-front charges required by your state, including registration fees, which vary depending on your location. 

6. Practice Equipment

Practices require a mix of standard office equipment and specialized dental equipment. Many practices also purchase dental management software to provide data storage for patient records, appointment bookings, and other essential information. 


Running a Successful Dental Practice

Once you’ve launched your new practice, it’s time to get to work. You’ll want to begin by creating and growing your patient list. There are a number of ways you can do this, including by: 

  • Developing and targeting your target ideal patient type.
  • Receiving and utilizing patient reviews. 
  • Using marketing, promotion, and advertising to grow your practice.

To learn more on growing your patient list and running a successful practice, access our free Ebook, Strategies To Grow Your Dental Practice Patient List, today! 

About Treloar & Heisel

Treloar & Heisel, an EPIC Company, is a premier financial services provider to dental and medical professionals across the country. We assist thousands of clients from residency to practice and through retirement with a comprehensive suite of financial services, custom-tailored advice, and a strong national network focused on delivering the highest level of service. 

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