7 Factors to Consider When Planning and Building Your Dental Practice

Planning a dental practice build? Avoid common mistakes and navigate the pitfalls with expert guidance and set your practice up for success.

7 Factors to Consider When Planning Your Dental Practice

So, you've decided to open your own dental practice. Or perhaps you are looking to expand your brand by opening another.

As any seasoned dentist knows, this is an exciting yet challenging undertaking.

The journey to establishing a successful dental practice goes beyond just clinical skills; it encompasses understanding patient needs, staying updated with industry trends and ensuring that your services are accessible and affordable.

With the ever-evolving landscape of dentistry, especially in the UK, it's crucial to be informed and prepared.


  1. Setting Up a New Dental Practice
  2. Budget and Financing
  3. Designing Your Dental Practice
  4. 7 Things That Can Go Wrong With a Fit-Out
  5. Essential Equipment and Supplies
  6. Creating a Positive Work Environment
  7. Growing a Successful Dental Practice

Let's delve deeper into some key factors to consider, backed by recent survey findings.

Understanding Patient Perspectives in Dentistry

In the dynamic world of dental care, patient feedback is invaluable.

Their experiences, preferences, and concerns provide a roadmap for practitioners aiming to offer top-tier services.

Drawing from recent survey data collected in 2022, we've distilled key insights that shed light on what patients truly seek and value in their dental care journey.

Here's a closer look:

  • Dental Visits and Care Type: 64% of respondents visited a dental professional in the past year, up from 47% in 2021. Of these, 66% received NHS dental care, showing a decline from 72% in 2021. This aligns with the trend of more people opting for private dental care post-lockdown.
  • Satisfaction and Concerns: While many were satisfied with their dental care, 21% found it unaffordable. Additionally, 17% and 18% were dissatisfied with the ease of getting an appointment and the waiting time, respectively.
  • Reasons for Not Visiting: 27% didn't visit a dentist simply because they don't usually do so. However, 23% avoided it due to cost concerns, and 13% couldn't get an appointment.
  • Access and Affordability Issues: 20% couldn't book an appointment in the past year, with reasons including backlogs (32%) and only emergency slots available (29%). 25% had appointments postponed or cancelled, and a significant 69% believe it will be harder to get dental appointments in the future.
  • Future Dental Care Intentions: 20% have an upcoming appointment, and 41% are likely to book one soon. However, 53% plan to have longer gaps between visits, and 49% might reduce routine check-ups.
  • Confidence in Dental Care: Only 38% are confident about accessing dental care when needed, but 67% believe the care quality in the UK is high. Interestingly, 30% have more confidence in private dental care compared to 13% for NHS care.

These points encapsulate the key findings and trends from the research, providing a comprehensive overview of the public's experiences and perceptions of dental care.

Now, let's explore seven key areas that demand careful planning and strategic decision-making when establishing your business.

1. Setting Up a New Dental Practice

Will you build completely from scratch or purchase an existing dental practice? Both options have pros and cons.

Constructing a new dental clinic allows you to customise everything to your specifications.

You can handpick the location, design the layout and outfit it with up-to-date equipment. However, building a dental practice from nothing takes significant time and capital.

Acquiring an established dental practice means inheriting existing patients and revenue streams. However, you may need to renovate, upgrade technology and market yourself to gain loyalty. Buying also means navigating dental practice valuations and negotiations.

As you deliberate, reflect deeply on your core values and vision for your ideal dental practice.

Will you provide general family dentistry or specialise in a niche field like orthodontics, pediatric dentistry, or cosmetic dentistry? Defining your clinical philosophy and objectives from the start provides direction.

When renovating a purchased dental practice, approach any changes thoughtfully. While you may be eager to put your mark on the space, drastic overhauls can alienate longtime patients.

Make updates gradually while preserving what patients know and love about their dental clinic.

No matter your path, visit other dental practices to get design inspiration. Note elements that impress you or seem lacking.

An ideal dental surgery balances clinical excellence with patient comfort. It should feel professional yet warm.

2. Budget and Financing

Launching a dental practice requires major capital investment.

Carefully calculate startup costs and operating expenses, factoring in dental equipment purchases, renovations, staffing, supplies, marketing etc. Be realistic regarding revenue projections too.

Most dentists cannot fully self-fund a dental practice launch. Seek business financing options like commercial loans or private investors. Your business plan projections are key to securing funding.

Aside from money, launching a dental practice demands immense investments of time and energy.

Mentally prepare for long days leading up to opening as you handle logistics. Maintain focus on your vision to stay motivated when challenges arise.

Moderating your lifestyle as your dental practice takes shape can help maintain long-term sustainability and happiness.

7 Factors to Consider When Planning Your Dental Practice

3. Designing Your Dental Practice

Your dental surgery design significantly impacts your team’s efficiency, patients’ experiences and your bottom line.

Well-planned dental surgery layouts enhance clinical workflow and allow staff to fully utilise their expertise. Patients feel comfortable in thoughtfully designed, professional yet welcoming spaces.

Strategically position surgeries, decontamination rooms, reception and waiting rooms, breakrooms and other spaces to minimise walking between areas.

Designing a dental practice that supports efficient workflows and enhances the patient experience is essential for long-term success.

Invest in state-of-the-art dental chairs, delivery systems, cabinetry and workstations to avoid repetitive stress injuries.

Comfortable patients and clinicians are essential for productivity.

Allocate space for future growth too. You may expand clinical offerings or bring on additional dentists over time. Build in flexibility to adapt your dental office as needed.

4. 7 Things That Can Go Wrong With a Fit-Out and How to Avoid Them

Renovating or building a new dental office comes with many potential pitfalls. Heed this advice to avoid common mistakes:

7 Factors to Consider When Planning Your Dental Practice

You can download this graphic as a PDF here.

Avoid these pitfalls by partnering with a dental construction specialist or dental builder. Their expertise in navigating unique dental office requirements is invaluable.

Our article, 'Why Specialist Contractors are Crucial' covers the specific responsibilities of plumbers, electricians and fitters in a dental practice fit-out or refurbishment.

If you would like to ascertain how each and every build element will increase your business performance and operational efficiency, then contact us for a chat about your project.

5. Essential Equipment and Supplies for a Dental Practice

Outfitting your new dental practice with proper clinical equipment and supplies is crucial.

Invest in high-quality equipment and other foundational gear based on your dental practice scope.

Dental practice management software is a must for scheduling, billing, charting and reporting.

Choose user-friendly systems with robust features, safety protocols and technical support.

Select reliable equipment from reputable manufacturers that suit your needs and budget.

Stock up on consumable supplies and establish accounts with dental supply vendors.

Build out your dental equipment gradually as your dental practice grows. Poorly chosen tools that don't improve clinical efficiency are unwise investments.

6. Creating a Positive Work Environment

Your team will be fundamental to your dental practice's success. Foster a supportive workplace culture and policies that attract and retain top talent.

Provide opportunities for professional growth through continuing education. Encourage work-life balance and self-care given the demanding nature of dentistry. Develop standardised protocols and systems to reduce stress.

Make your dental practice interior design appealing for staff too. Include proper lighting, comfortable break areas and natural elements like plants or artwork. Promote ergonomics with high-quality seating, equipment positioning and regular stretch breaks.

A rewarding dental practice environment benefits staff retention and morale, enhancing patient care. Set the tone you wish to perpetuate. Employees that feel valued pass on positive energy to patients.

7 Factors to Consider When Planning Your Dental Practice

7. Growing a Successful Dental Practice

Approach establishing your dental practice as a long-term endeavour, not a quick win. Patience and diligence will enable you to build something enduring.

Continuously research your local area’s demographics and needs. Offer services your community wants and lacks from competitors. Become a trusted neighbourhood dentist through outreach and involvement.

Provide excellent dental care with compassion. Nothing grows a dental practice faster than happy patients who refer family and friends.

Leverage digital marketing and reviews to attract new patients, yet don't neglect traditional word of mouth. Seek opportunities to speak with groups or contribute to local publications.

Reinvest earnings into enhancing your clinical offerings, technologies, and dental office environment. Add specialists or additional dentists as demand grows. Expand thoughtfully by replicating what succeeds.

The rewards of owning your own dental practice make the effort worthwhile.

With meticulous planning and care in executing each building block, you can establish an enduring dental clinic that fulfils your vision.

We wish you tremendous dental practice success!

Please contact us or schedule a short call if you need assistance bringing your dream dental practice to life.


1. What should I consider when planning to start a dental practice?

When planning to start a dental practice, you need to consider various factors such as creating a solid business plan, understanding the dental market and demographics, acquiring the necessary dental equipment and finding a suitable location for your practice.

2. How can I go about building a dental practice from scratch?

To build a dental practice from scratch, you will need to follow a step-by-step process. This includes finding a suitable location, designing your dental office layout, obtaining the required permits and licenses and sourcing the necessary dental equipment and supplies. It's also important to hire a team of skilled professionals to assist you in setting up your practice efficiently.

3. What are the key factors to consider when setting up a new dental practice?

When setting up a new dental practice, some key factors to consider include the location and demographics of the area, the competition in the dental market, the availability of dental and medical facilities nearby and the regulations and guidelines set by organisations such as the CQC (Care Quality Commission). Proper planning and compliance with these factors will contribute to the success of your practice.

4. How can I ensure a successful private dental practice?

To ensure the success of your private dental practice, it's important to focus on providing high-quality dental care using the latest technology and equipment. Developing strong relationships with your patients, maintaining a stellar reputation and staying updated on the latest advancements in dentistry will also contribute to the growth and success of your practice.

5. What are the costs involved in building a dental practice?

Building a dental practice involves various costs such as leasing or purchasing a property, renovating the space to meet your specific requirements, purchasing dental equipment and supplies, hiring and training staff, marketing and advertising and obtaining the necessary business licenses and insurance. It's important to have a comprehensive business plan in place to estimate and manage these costs effectively.

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