Starting a private dental practice in Canada can be extremely rewarding for dentists and dental hygienists. Not only does it provide them with the opportunity to make their own income, but also with the opportunity to be their own boss.

Despite the many benefits of opening a private dental practice, it does not come without its challenges. It can take a great deal of time, effort and patience to open and manage a dental hygiene practice independently. In order to make this process easier, we have created a simplified plan providing information on all of the steps dentists or dental hygienists should take to start their own practice.

1. Sort Out Your Financial Situation

Starting a dental hygiene business can be an expensive project, especially if a dentist has just left dental school or is early on in their career. In order to determine whether you have the ability to open your own business, estimate initial costs including office location, staffing, tools and more. This can be an overwhelming job for anyone, so work with an accountant. They can help you determine your financial situation, organize your funds and plan to meet some of your financial goals.

2. Determine Potential Growth

A business plan is a detailed strategy that outlines the finances and expected growth of a dental office. Its information gives you an idea of the way that your business can grow depending on decisions regarding your team, clients and work. This can help make your life easier and simplify business planning.

Despite its usefulness, it can be difficult to determine a business’s potential value. Professional dental accountants can help dental hygienists and dentists create business plans and determine the potential growth of their dental offices.

3. Find A Location For Your Business

Developing a business is all about meeting the demand for a service or product. This is why a location’s market and demand for dentists should be one of the main considerations when deciding where to open a practice. For example, areas like Vancouver, B.C. or Toronto, Ontario are likely to have a number of practices but experience a high demand for dental services due to their large populations. A rural area in Ontario may not have as much demand as Vancouver, but it may lack a dentist who specializes in a specific area of dentistry.

When considering where to start your business, consider the demand, pre-existing market, pricing and close proximity to other things like schools, banks and other amenities.

4. Hire Staff For Your Dental Practice

In order to build a comprehensive dental practice, a dentist will need to hire various team members whose job is to contact clients, treat patients and other tasks.
When hiring, make sure to choose people who can complete these tasks with ease and a sense of professionalism. For the most part, clients’ perception of a dental practice is based on the dental hygienist who treats them and the office clerk that helps them. This makes it incredibly important to hire a dental hygienist and office staff that are friendly, kind and professional.

5. Meet Licensing & Legal Requirements For Dental Practices

One of the first steps to start in starting a dental practice is to meet the required legal and licensing requirements. In order to be certified to legally practice in Canada, both hygienists and dentists need to have completed dental school. They must also pass a licensing examination in the province or territory that they wish to practice in.

Similarly, a dental office must choose between three types of legal structure: sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation. A healthcare attorney can help make this process a lot easier as they guide owners through the steps of completing paperwork and acquiring their necessary licensing.

6. Purchase Equipment

Dentists and dental hygienists use a variety of state-of-the-art technology to complete cleanings, x-rays, surgeries and other treatments. Without these tools or pieces of technology, it is nearly impossible for treatment to be completed. As a result, it is important to purchase the necessary equipment and technology before patients start visiting the office.

7. Get Insured

While liability insurance is needed for every business in Canada, dental hygiene work is unique and includes different considerations to work with patients. Talk to a trusted insurance professional to learn about some of the policies you need to protect both your business and your patients.

8. Create A Marketing Plan

Most dental professionals fail to consider how important a marketing plan is for their business. A detailed marketing plan establishes a dental practice’s brand and attracts new patients to the practice. Every Canadian dental practice needs:

  • A logo
  • A professional website
  • A social media presence
  • Traditional print ads
  • A way to generate leads

A marketing strategy is a vital part of growing your business into a thriving practice, so it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Take the time to market your practice by tapping into current trends, sharing your vision, and describing why people should choose your practice over others. If you lack some time or skills to develop your marketing strategy, hire the services of a dental marketing agency.

Tips For New Dental Practices

  • Create a great office culture. It is important that the people who work for you feel cared for and appreciated because it boosts employee satisfaction and productivity. Whether you do this by praising each dental hygienist individually or hosting lunchtime parties, it will be sure to boost team satisfaction.
  • Prioritize patients. Your patient base is the most important aspect of running a dental practice. It is important to make patients’ experience your top priority. This can be done by ensuring patients are comfortable at all times, being friendly, and having flexible payment options.
  • Get help from other professionals. Starting and getting a business off the ground can be a difficult task. Rather than trying to do it alone, seek help and resources from other professionals. A lot of strategists, accountants, and dentists can help make starting a business easier. For example, the Canadian Dental Association offers many resources for dental professionals who are hoping to start their own practice.

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