Building a Dental Office | 6 Tips for Success

Are you, or soon will be, a graduate in dental surgery, and want to open your own dental practice? You are in the right place ! The prerequisites, the legal status, the steps surrounding the creation of your firm… the steps are numerous and important! We guide you step by step.

What are the prerequisites for setting up a dental office?

To open a dental office, you must be a state graduate, and registered with the order of the dental surgeon of the area in which you wish to establish. This is required to get your RPPS number. You will also need to contact the regional delegation of the Regional Health Agency (ARS) to register and obtain your professional health card and your ADELI card. In addition, it will be necessary to declare and register your activity with health insurance: this will also trigger your registration with URSSF. Finally, it will be necessary to join a substantial pension fund.

What is the legal status for your firm?

Most dental surgeons opt for liberal position through SELARL (Liberal Practice Company with Limited Responsibility). This position is privileged because the rules to which it is subject are flexible and adapted to the opening of the dental practice. For example, there is no minimum share capital requirement, and the company is not subject to fees on profits or dividends paid.

Other options are available to you:

The choice of your legal status as a liberal profession is important for the rest of your activity: we recommend you to contact professional consultants who will be able to provide you with the best option according to your project.

6 tips for setting up your dental practice

do market study

Market research is the first step in opening your practice. Its purpose is to define the location of the area, specifically in the geographic area you are targeting.

Here are some questions you should ask yourself:

  • What are the most common treatments?
  • Do they need special equipment?
  • What rates are charged?
  • How many peers are there in the field that interests me?
  • Are any of them nearing retirement?
  • Are there many people in my favorite area?

This study will allow you to have a better overview of the dental market situation and subsequently make the right choice.

Choose a Location for Your Practice

Choosing the place of your practice is important. It is estimated that 99% of patients in dental practices do not travel more than 10 kilometers from their place of residence: therefore it is necessary to target a populated area!

In general, favor attractive locations in terms of route and access. Close to downtown, train stations, medical offices, pharmacies… there are many routes to explore!

Please note that if you wish to move to the same building as an associate, you must obtain his prior authorization.

Think about means of financing

Opening a dental office is expensive. Hardware alone can cost between $50,000 and $100,000. You may need to do renovation work in the room you have chosen, bring it up to standard, furnish the reception, waiting room, counseling room as well as decorate it. Even if you have personal funds, finding a means of financing will be essential. To do this, we advise you to draw up a business plan. Ask for individual quotes from suppliers to estimate your future expenses as closely as possible, but also use the results of your market research to gauge your future earnings. This business plan is an important document for banks, which will be required to grant you a loan.

One option is to partner with coworkers to share these costs! This would be particularly beneficial in the case of hiring a secretary shared among physicians, or some equipment such as radiography equipment for example.

find patients

To find your patients, you can refer yourself to local directories, or use platforms like Doctolib.

It is also possible to purchase a co-worker’s patient base. The value of the patient base is generally estimated at 30% of the average annual turnover of the said practice over the past three years. To do this, you must contact a colleague and agree on an assignment contract, which defines the terms of the acquisition of his patient base. In return for payment of a certain amount, he will introduce you to his customers as his successor. However, keep in mind that the patients under consideration are free to choose the physician of their choice.

Communicate at the Opening of Your Practice

Article R.4127-19 of the Public Health Code does not authorize you, strictly speaking, to advertise, but governs the means of communication available to you as a health professional. It is quite possible for you to communicate any information related to your skills, your background and your professional practices to the local press, or to social networks. However, you must fulfill the following conditions:

  • You do not use third parties;
  • You do not compare yourself with other practitioners or establishments;
  • You do not encourage the public to resort to unnecessary care;
  • The tone and content of your communication is not commercial.

Your practice space as well as word of mouth will be valuable aids to your practice!

Equip yourself with the right tools

When you open your dental practice, you have two options: to practice as a general practitioner or to specialize (for example in orthodontics or oral-facial surgery). Your dental equipment will depend on the choice, but some equipment will be required regardless of the option chosen. For example, we will think of gloves, masks, gowns, adjustable chairs, X-ray equipment, spittoons, surgical cutters, sterilization cassettes and trays, etc.

If you open your own dental practice on your own, you will also need to equip yourself with administrative tools:

Lastly, you will need to take out professional insurance, especially in professional civil liability. The latter protects you from risks and disputes that may arise in the context of your activity as a dental surgeon. Pharmacy multi-risk insurance will also protect your practice and your equipment in the event of damage!

What qualities are needed to become a good dentist?

Before the opening, good organization will be essential to anticipate and manage any unforeseen events! We advise you to get a good amount of information beforehand, as well as to know how to surround yourself with professionals and assign them certain tasks (advice for your legal situation, preparing your business plan, or even that working in your future practice, for example).

Once your practice is open, it is your humanitarian and professional qualities that will take care of your reputation and allow you to attract and retain your patients. So be professional, attentive, efficient and delicate in your intervention!

questions to ask

Can you open a dental practice without a diploma?

No, it is mandatory to be a state graduate and registered with the Order of Dental Surgeons to be able to open a dental office.

What is the budget for opening a dental office?

Your budget will depend on the work required on the premises you choose, but equipment alone can cost between €50,000 and €100,000. We recommend you approach your bank to set up a solid business plan and get a loan.

Can we buy back the patient base of a former firm?

Yes, it is possible and quite common too! Reach out to a co-worker, preferably near retirement or a desire to leave the field, to discuss a relocation contract.

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