The Costs of Running a Dental Practice

The cost of running any type of medical practice has been on the rise since 2016. With other business, if the cost of the product or services rises the burden goes onto the consumer to make-up the extra cost. This is not the case in medicine. Dental practices experience facing added extra costs that other business’ may not have to invest in. The capital equipment can be expensive, and provided by you.

All dental practices will need to provide furniture for the waiting areas and this will routinely include:

  • Chairs
  • Coffee table(s)
  • Desk(s)
  • Computer(s)
  • Phone and phones system set up
  • Printer/fax
  • Toys for children
  • Magazines (and sometimes daily newspapers)

A stair lift for those who may require it is something to be strongly considered when looking at what needs to be bought and invested in. Furthermore, practice car parking facilities and easy-access parking should be considered

There is a wide range of equipment and medical equipment that will need to be accounted for and provided for many or all of the practice’s treatment rooms and this may include:

  • Patient bed
  • Dental light
  • Dental tools
  • Newtom Giano
  • Seating
  • Lights
  • Computer
  • X-ray equipment
  • Anaesthetics
  • Consumables; mouthwash, toothpaste etc.
  • Sterilising equipment
  • Whitening equipment
  • Equipment for taking patients through having braces; all the materials, the gum shields, the moulds.

All this will have to be kept up to date with costs of lighting, heating and cleaning services. The equipment needed will easily cost tens-of-thousands, but they are essentials when it comes to setting up and running a functioning and successful dental practice.

Payments and Finances

You may share your practice with the other dentists in the practice, but if not, you will need to pay your fellow dentists what they are due. Dentists can earn anywhere between £38,000 – £100,000 depending on whether they specialise or not. Within a dental practice, additional staff will inevitably need to be employed for the day to day running as well as some potential specialisations.

Practice Staff and Specialists

Most dental practices feature an orthodontist, who can typically expect to earn between £60,000 – £80,000 per year. You may decide to employ a separate hygienist or do it yourself. A dental hygienist usually receives a salary of about £25,000 – £35,000.

Each dentist will require at least one assistant so depending on how many dentists you have working in your practice, will depend on how much it will cost to hire a number of dental nurses. These dental nurses can expect around £18,000 – £22,000 per year in the NHS and can earn up to £27,000 in the private sector.

A receptionist may be necessary, they are usually on around £7.90 an hour. Depending on the size of your practice, you may have to hire two.

Insurance Policies

With running a dental practice, comes paying for insurance. This is absolutely necessary and therefore is a cost you cannot ignore when wanting to run your own practice.

As a dental practice, you will rely on the good working order of specialist dental tools – insurance can make sure that any breakdowns are dealt with quickly and therefore not damage the profit of your business.

A sample of what insurance is likely to be needed to cover across the practice:

  • Insurance for autoclaves (used for sterilization), dental chairs, x-ray machines, compressors and electronic equipment, covering accidental damage explosion, collapse, breakdown and more
  • Absence cover for key persons
  • Computers and content cover
  • Stock cover
  • Theft, which includes walk-in theft
  • Accident cover for employees
  • Employer and public liability insurance
  • Business Interruption cover for costs incurred and lost revenue
  • Jury service cover, for every member of staff you employ
  • Cover for employee dishonesty
  • Legal expenses and accountancy fees; including abuse, legal dispute or tax investigation using your own accountant
  • All risks for equipment out of the premises
  • Any signs, lamps and nameplates are covered
  • Optional cover for Loss Adjuster service
  • A 24 hour, 365 days-a-year claims line
  • £100 excess on most your of claims

Overall, the costs of running a dental practice, like with other medical practices such as a health care centre or doctors surgery, are high. It can be around two years until a medical practice starts to see increasing profits, however, these profits are worth the excessive cost of running one’s own practice.