This article is part of our series about improving your dental practice operations. You can find the links to the other articles at the bottom of the page.

Before diving into any business venture, it’s typically a good idea to examine all of the costs involved and determine whether you have the necessary capital to make your purchase profitable. As a result, if you’re considering opening a dental office, you’ll want to be aware of all of the costs of opening and running this practice long-term.

Dental practices can be highly profitable, but they also involve numerous expenses ranging from staffing to marketing. Here’s our detailed dental office cost breakdown to help you understand the costs involved in running a dental practice.

Staffing

Patients come to dental practices for a wide range of reasons. If you’re hoping to run a profitable dentistry office, you’ll want to make sure you have the necessary staffing to provide ample appointment times for every dental procedure patients could need.

Specifically, you should be sure to have enough dentist staff to offer most or all of these common dental procedures:

  • Braces and other orthodontics
  • Dental cleaning and preventive services for healthy teeth
  • Dental implant procedures
  • Dentures
  • Emergency care
  • Gum disease treatments
  • Missing tooth replacements
  • Root canal and root planing procedures
  • Tooth extraction and wisdom teeth removal services
  • Treatment plan development

Remember that hygienists can only perform some tasks, such as routine cleaning treatments and x-rays. You’ll need more specialized doctors who have graduated from a dental school for advanced dental work, such as implants. These trained dentists will be more expensive to employ than hygienists.

Calculating the cost of staffing is simple. When you hire full-time staff, you typically present them with an hourly or salary wage that you will pay them. This wage represents how much they will cost you. For example, when you offer a salary of $50,000 to a dental hygienist, you can know that that hygienist will cost you $50,000 each year to keep on staff.

Once you’ve accumulated enough staff, retaining your employees is essential to staying profitable. We recommend using Weave Teams to create a unified location for your team to communicate with each other. This platform encourages team bonding and can make it easier for your staff to stay in the loop about important announcements.

You can also use Weave during your employee training. For example, you can utilize the Weave call tracking feature as you train employees to answer inbound calls and make outbound calls to customers.

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Systems Overhead

Overhead costs make up a significant portion of the expenses involved in running a dental practice. Many dental practices spend over 75% of their total annual revenue on overhead.

Here are a few specific categories contributing to overhead dental costs.

Office Supplies

Your dentist receptionist area plays a significant role in the first impressions you create for new patients. Purchasing high-quality, modern office supplies can show patients you use the latest practices and technology in your dental treatment as well. These office supplies may include:

  • Desks and chairs
  • Writing utensils
  • Clipboards
  • Printer paper
  • Business cards
  • Pamphlets

Your office supplies can also include technology, such as computers, phones, tablets, and other communication devices. Many dental practices think they need to spend thousands of dollars on every new piece of technology that comes out. However, using an automation program like Weave is a more affordable way to offer innovative communication methods to patients.

The Weave platform works with any desktop computer, laptop, or smart mobile device, allowing you to use this platform on your existing devices. You can use Weave Phones to keep track of inbound and outbound patient calls, send automatic texts to patients when you miss their calls, and view patients’ profile information every time they call your office.

Even better, you can use Weave to send automated appointment reminders and smart text confirmations to patients. These automatic texts can save your staff the time and hassle of calling each patient individually to confirm appointments. You can also personalize the texts, making your automated messages sound like they are coming from your team.

Also Read: How To Calculate Your Dental Practice Valuation

Administration

You should also factor your administrative costs into your overhead expenses. One daily administrative task that is essential to every dental clinic is collecting patient forms.

If your dental office is like many, you probably need every patient to fill out a form almost every time they come in. These forms typically ask for information about the patient’s:

  • Oral health
  • Dental insurance
  • Concerns since the last visit
  • Dental plan
  • Appointment type (teeth cleaning, x-rays, etc.)

Printing out physical copies of these forms can be expensive. Instead, you can save money by using Weave Digital Forms to allow patients to fill out their health information online.

With Weave, patients can find all of their new patient health forms on your website and fill them out from any smart device, including laptops, tablets, and smartphones. They can even fill out these forms on an iPad or other tablet you supply in your office.

Customer Billing

Your dentistry practice will also need to dedicate resources to customer billing. Some practices work with external billing companies to review patients’ dental insurance plans and request payments. However, you can save money by using Weave Payments to facilitate your billing processes.

Weave Payments can allow you to see a list of all patients with outstanding balances and send automatic texts reminding them to make payments. With this platform, your patients can also pay their bills right through their smartphones, which may encourage them to pay off their balances faster.

Scheduling

Scheduling is another essential administrative task involved in running a dentistry practice. The more patients you schedule, the more revenue your dental service will make. However, manually scheduling every appointment can take your staff’s time away from other pressing tasks, costing you more money.

Instead, you can save money by implementing the Weave Scheduling platform within your private dental practice. This platform can allow patients to schedule their own appointments on your website, reducing the necessity for manual scheduling calls.

Phones

Phone systems are another common cost involved in running a dental practice. Your practice should use an efficient, advanced phone system that allows multiple employees to answer and make outbound calls simultaneously.

Weave can provide your team with an affordable, modern phone system that allows you to optimize patient communications. With Weave, you can immediately see all relevant info about a caller as soon as your phone begins ringing. You and your team can also make calls from your personal mobile devices while using a dedicated business phone number.

Using an advanced phone system like Weave can allow your team to save time and handle patient calls more efficiently, improving your brand reputation.

Marketing

Marketing is an expense many businesses overlook when calculating the costs involved in operating their organizations. However, without marketing, your dental practice will not accumulate new patients, limiting your profits.

Some dental practices choose to work with marketing agencies. However, it’s typically more cost-effective to use a program like Weave to implement your own marketing tactics. For example, Weave’s email marketing templates can make it easy to send emails to patients that meet specific criteria.

Additionally, your team can use Weave Reviews to invite patients to leave reviews of your practice.

Dental Office Rental Rates, Purchasing and Construction Costs

You should also consider the cost to lease or purchase your physical dental office. You can expect this expense to cost anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars per month, depending on your specific office space and region.

If you decide to run a mobile clinic, for example, you can save money by not needing to lease a several-thousand-square-foot office space. However, many mobile clinics are less profitable than traditional dental offices, as they typically offer affordable dental implants and procedures for people without dental coverage.

Alternatively, if you plan to build your dental office from scratch, you’ll need to consider all of the associated construction costs as well. Building your office may be more affordable in the long run, but it would also take more time, prolonging your opening date.

Labs, Insurance, Licenses, and Related Expenses

Your practice will also need to pay laboratory and license fees to provide comprehensive dental care for patients. Laboratory fees and licenses cost dental practices an average of about 10% of their total annual revenue.

Every dentist and dental assistant on your staff will also need liability insurance in case patients sue for malpractice. This coverage costs an average of $40 per employee each month.

Opening a new dental office is a significant undertaking. However, breaking down every cost involved in starting your practice can ensure that you are prepared for the financial aspect of this business venture.

While there are numerous costs associated with running a dental business, using an automation platform like Weave can save you money, making it more affordable to start your new practice. Click here to watch your free Weave demo. 

Check out the other articles in our “Improving Your Dental Operations ” series:

  1. 4 Dental KPIs That Every Practice Owner Should Know About Their Practice
  2. The Insanely Efficient Dental Scheduling Template Tips
  3. 8 Dental Recall Script Examples To Use In Your Practice
  4. 6 Impressive Dental Waiting Room Ideas
  5. How To Calculate Your Dental Practice Valuation

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