How to Start a Dental Practice in the UK: 6 Critical Steps

Are you a dental practitioner looking figure out how to start a dental practice? Follow these 6 steps to chart your path for success.
how to start a dental practice

If you are a qualified dental professional looking at how to start a dental practice, congratulations! You took a large step that may be the most important one of your career. However, it’s important to have everything you need and know a few things before you open up and accept patients.

For starters, you may want to find a dental wholesaler to partner up with, because you will need the right equipment to examine your patients and perform procedures. We’ll also talk about the steps you need to take to start a dental practice.

How to Start a Dental Practice

If you are a dental professional planning to launch their own dental practice, keep reading. Let’s get right to it.

1. Know your budget

Of course, it’s going to take money to launch your dental practice. The startup costs in the UK are estimated to be around £200,000, which may have to be borrowed through an appropriate commercial loan. This will help with the initial costs of launching your practice whilst sustaining the day to day operations for the first few months.

2. Finding the right location

As you start a dental practice, you will need to be located somewhere close to your patients. Doing a location analysis will be critical to your success. In London, it’s vital to be close to a tube station, and elsewhere access by public transport is vital. Parking space is also vital.

Consider your patient’s demographics: what area would be most appropriate for your patients? Where are the competition located? Once you find out that data, you can find the best spot to set up your practice.

3. Purchasing equipment

Yes, equipment will be needed to perform the duties as a dental professional. But that doesn’t stop there. You’ll need furniture for the waiting area and office.

Of course, there’s the office products themselves. You’ll need to purchase everything to keep the practice functioning from the administrative side of things and beyond.

4. Put together plans for staffing

You will be hiring one or more hygienists, dental nurses, perhaps a receptionist and other employees. Have a plan together of who you’re going to hire. Schedule time to screen and hire applicants and ensure they are correctly qualified.

Don’t forget to consider other things like the benefits you will give them, policies for time off, and more. Consider what your employees might need to encourage them to stay with you for the long term.

5. Decide if your practice will offer NHS dental services

In the UK you have the option of being part of the NHS for providing general dental services for patients.

According to the current dental contract, every course of treatment counts for one more Units of Dental Activity (UDA). UDAs have a monetary value, depending on your location.

If you are starting a dental practice in Scotland or Northern Ireland, please note that your income will be based on the following:

  • Allowances
  • Item of services fees
  • Continuing care payments and capitation

What if you are accepting private patients?

If you choose to accept private patients, they will be asked to pay for their treatment at the conclusion. You can set your own pricing. You may want to offer patients a payment plan for higher-priced treatments.

6. Bring in new patients

Within the NHS, patients will need to pay a standard charge unless they are exempt. Those exempt from such charges include:

  • Persons under age 18 (in Wales, under 25 or over 60 for examinations)
  • Students age 19 and under
  • Pregnant women or who have had a child in the previous 12 months
  • Prisoners
  • Persons receiving specific benefits and credits

Any non-exempt patients in England or Wales will fall under a specified price band, depending on the treatment needed.

Final Thoughts

If you are planning to start a dental practice in the UK, there are plenty of decisions that you need to make. This includes what to include in your budget, to include yourself in the NHS network, and more. These can be daunting challenges.

But rest assured, if you follow this guide, you’ll be well ahead of those still trying to figure out what to do. Be sure to follow the necessary steps so you will be able to launch a successful dental practice.

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