How to Establish Yourself as a Dentist Accepting New Patients
Whether you plan to offer typical dental care or special orthodontic services, it is essential to take proper steps to ensure the successful creation of your practice. Precise planning and discipline to the project are the keys to transforming an idea into reality. You want to be fully attentive and proactive at each stage, facilitating efficient problem-solving responses and smooth progress from beginning to end. So, what factors do you need to consider when establishing yourself as a dentist accepting new patients?
1. Sink Your Teeth in Financial Planning
Good fortune happens when opportunity meets with planning. Knowing and planning your finance is the most critical aspect before setting up or re-positioning a dental practice. On average, starting a new clinic can cost anywhere between $250,000 and $500,000. Hence, most people need additional funding sources to address the budget needs.
Your position as a beginner qualifies you to get a small business loan to set up your practice. You can get the loan via traditional banks with loans specifically structured for a dentist. Some banks also provide discounts for dental associations. For instance, the Bank of America can give you a 50% discount on administration fees if you are a member of endorsed associations.
Another way of getting a small loan is via the United States SBA (Small Business Administration) loans. Participating lenders issue business loans with low-interest rates and flexible terms. Nonetheless, they have stringent requirements and a long application process that can last for several months.
Online small business lenders offer another financing option for your practice setup. They have a faster application and approval process, enabling you to access the funds within hours to a few days. Additionally, some have less strict requirements, offering loans to borrowers with less-than-perfect individual credit histories.
Regardless of the financing source you prefer, you want to ensure you have the best estimate for your initial costs to start and run your office. You can easily underestimate these costs, leaving you short on cash and growing debt shortly after opening your business. It is also wise to anticipate unexpected costs and put aside some money, just in case.
2. Be at the Right Place at the Right Time
Lee Majors once said, “It’s being in the right place at the right time and taking advantage of your opportunities.” Finding an appropriate location is critical when setting up as a dentist accepting new patients. If you are commencing a new business, you want to learn about competitors in the neighborhood and offer services that make you stand out. For instance, you can work with an orthodontist to provide extra services to the general operations.
If you seek to re-position yourself in a saturated market, you can modify your practice and turn it into a cosmetic dental office. Many people want to enhance their smiles and oral hygiene, and adding cosmetic services allows you to tap into that group. Generally, it is best to survey the location to ensure you understand your local market. Researching in advance also lets you avoid sites saturated with clinics providing the same services. You want to settle on a place close to your target clients that is accessible and within your planned budget.
3. Pick and Verify Your Building
Once you have your funds ready and the ideal location identified, you want to select the building to host your office. You can construct the structure from the ground up if you have the time and resources or convert an established space into your clinic. Both options require you to be attentive to the building’s legal requirements concerning compliance and waste management.
You need to anticipate and address legal matters when your venture involves constructing or remodeling a dental building. Some legal issues to consider include building codes, zoning laws, dental regulations, construction contracts, and civil rights laws. It is best to have trusted counsel via a lawyer and real estate agent to aid you in meeting the construction and design regulations. Local, state, and federal laws can influence your design plans in various aspects, such as stairs and elevators, doorways and halls, door-opening force. They also affect handicapped parking, restrooms, emergency alarms, and exterior walls. Being proactive in monitoring the legal requirements ensures you can begin life as a dentist accepting new patients without concerns about court battles.
Establishing a proper waste management system is critical when setting up as a dentist accepting new patients. You want your practice to observe various guidelines to ensure excellent hygiene and eco-friendly practices in your premises. For example, you can take a waste crown and metal grindings from gold filings for recycling and contribute to environmental care while making a profit.
You can also put a strict disposal system that separates medical waste and equipment such as scalpels, burs, and needles. Moreover, it is vital to discard extracted teeth according to the OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) Bloodborne Pathogens Standard. You also want to have a contracted waste handling service to deal with medical waste expertly. Generally, you do not wish to have a staff member transporting medical waste to prevent cross-contamination.
4. Determine Your Office Setup
Organizing your office is a step closer to your goal of being a dentist accepting new patients. You want to invest in quality furniture that will last a long time while delivering comfort to your clients and staff. It is also essential to consider the space required according to your clinic’s needs. For instance, a small room is suitable to operate the practice with one or two employees. In contrast, if you collaborate with other specialists, you will need additional square footage to accommodate the extra furniture, equipment, and personnel.
Furthermore, you want to look at the interior design that best suits your services while showing personality. You do not desire a clinic that depresses clients or one that is too vibrant and looks out of place. It is a good option to consult an expert designer to help you achieve your stylish vision while remaining professional. You can also consider setting up a green office featuring energy-efficient systems, all-natural dental care items, and collaborating with organizations with sustainable principles.
5. Get Your Gadgets
It is necessary to include the dental gadgets required for your services in your thoughts. These devices, such as ones for conducting dental implant procedures, can be expensive and need proper planning. Despite this, their durability ensures you can depend on quality products to deliver reliable services to your patients.
For instance, if you operate an orthodontic clinic, you want to invest in premium equipment such as interproximal stripping systems and pliers. You want to get the instruments in general and customized options to ensure you can deliver exceptional services to various patients. They say that you are preparing to fail by failing to prepare, which is true in business establishments. An experience you do not want is to turn away a new client because you lack the appropriately configured device.
Aside from purchasing, you want to research thoroughly to understand various pieces of dental equipment. Ongoing technological developments mean new devices continually emerge, and having a modern appliance can enhance safety and convenience for your practice. You can collaborate with IT specialists to guide you in finding and learning about the ideal software for your office.
6. Staff Your Mind
It is wise to consider hiring before moving into your new clinic. The early considerations enable you to have enough time to screen and interview candidates properly. Besides, you need to include staff salary in your budget plan to ensure you can pay those you hire.
You also want to look at employee-related concerns such as time off and health insurance. Scheduling the working hours and leave-of-absence days facilitates smooth operations while making tasks and handling emergencies easier. You can consider various health insurance policies and find the right fit for your practice. For instance, you can use group health insurance to cover your small business. Although the law does not require most enterprises with less than 50 employees to provide health insurance, having it enhances staff loyalty and care.
7. Avoid Brushing with the Law
Whether your business is general dentistry or specializing in certain services, it is compulsory to adhere to rules that regulate the industry. For instance, it is best to learn and follow all requirements by OSHA. Understanding them ensures you have the facilities to provide excellent working conditions. They also help you establish and maintain a safe environment for employees and clients.
Additionally, you want to begin handling legal elements early before opening your practice as a dentist accepting new patients. Some credentials take months before authorities issue them, resulting in delays or legal problems at the beginning of your venture. Similarly, government insurance can take several months and leave you in a fix when private insurance does not work out.
It is necessary to ascertain you possess proper licensing according to your state requirements. You also want an NPI (National Provider Identifier) number that certifies a healthcare entity or an individual provider. Dentists use the Type 1 NPI designed for individual healthcare providers. However, if your practice is part of an organization, you may also require getting the Type 2 NPI for your corporation. It is essential to identify you to your healthcare partners, such as payers in standard transactions in HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).
HIPAA is a federal law requiring national standards to protect sensitive patient health data. It prevents disclosing such information without the patient’s knowledge and consent. You want to ensure your business complies with HIPAA regulations before embarking on your new journey as a dentist accepting new patients. Besides, it is better to update and have all associated documents readily accessible for prompt delivery if authorities come inquiring.
8. Be a Reputable King of the Crowns
It is essential to work on your marketing as a dentist accepting new patients. You want to implement strategies to attract clients while offering quality services to ensure their return. Advertising strategies let people know of your existence, and excellent dentistry services build your reputation.
For instance, you can gain broad media exposure by working with local newspapers, TV, and radio stations. You can reach out to them to organize a question and answer segment that lets you discuss your field of expertise. Alternately, you can speak at seminars, community centers, and local schools to increase your presence. These methods present an opportunity to market your practice as a resident expert.
Another marketing approach is to create a website and feature blogs with relevant articles that readers can use. Posting practical information establishes you as an authority in your industry and increases your brand’s trustworthiness. You can also set up social media accounts and share links to your website content on the platforms. Next, you can incorporate discount offers in your services as you begin your practice. For example, if you run a family dentist’s office, you can include a cost-free dental cleaning service for kids now and then. You can advertise these special services by word of mouth, in front of your practice, and via social media.
Finally, creating a good impression is vital to attracting and keeping patients. Caring for your current clients lets them promote you to their friends and families. It is also advisable to be approachable and friendly to create an inviting atmosphere when people interact with you at your office or a conference. The aspects above guide you in knowing the essential factors to consider when starting as a dentist accepting new patients. It is critical to address each step, enabling you to cover all elements of setting up a business. You can conveniently plan your budget, find the perfect location, and incorporate your desired office design. In addition, this information helps you learn about some legal matters to verify, ranging from building compliance to labor regulations. These preparations ensure you have a firm foundation to support your dental clinic as you attract patients and build your portfolio.
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