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Upon completing dental school, you are going to be faced with a bevy of options on your next move. Are you going to stay where you are? Are you going to pursue more training? Where are you going to work?
These are all important aspects to consider and there are even more if you’re planning on opening up your own practice. You’ve already decided you’re going to spend your life helping people with their oral health and beautiful smiles, but now many difficult decisions lie ahead.
Decide if You’re Pursuing a Speciality
Currently, there are ten different specialities being offered by the American Dentistry Association and choosing whether or not to pursue one could mean more training and extra steps. Some specialties take longer training periods than others and some require more exams, background checks or even interviews depending on the state.
Make sure you do your research not only on the type of speciality but also the state in which you intend to be practicing. Get all your ducks in a row before making the next big step in your dentistry career.
Organize Your Finances
It may be surprising that dental students finish school with more debt than medical students, averaging nearly $300,000 by the time they finish. As the years pass, that number will likely continue growing, meaning becoming a dentist will be more and more taxing on your wallet.
So before you start your own practice, sit down and lay out your finances and a financial plan. How much debt do you have? How quickly would you like to pay it off? Will you have to make any sacrifices? What are the benefits of paying it off sooner rather than later, or vice versa? Do you have any other immediate financial needs?
Maybe you’ve been working before opening up your own practice and you have your debt paid off, but that still means you’ll have to examine your financial situation.
Make sure you have a solid plan before going out on this grand venture.
Do Your Research On Equipment
One of the most challenging aspects of opening up a dental practice is finding the right and best equipment. If you have been in general dentistry the past few years, chances are you’ve been exposed to a number of tools and various equipment.
Just because that’s what other dentists are using doesn’t mean is what you have to use. Make sure you do your own research on what will work best for your practice. If you’ve gone down the specialist route, what additional purchases will you have to make?
Look Out for #1
You’re opening up your dental practice, great! You’ve done your homework, talked with experts and are ready to get started. What else is left? Well, make sure you’re taking care of the most important asset: you.
While you may not think it, dentistry has as much potential for injury as any other medical career. Even though it is more sedentary than other medical jobs, the risk of injury is still present. Many dentists experience higher rates of chronic back problems, heart disease or cancer that could threaten not only their dental practice but their health and wellbeing as well.
You’ve come a long way in going through school and the big step of opening your own practice, don’t leave it to risk in case of an injury or disability. You need to make sure you are covered just in case. No one ever wants a disaster, but it pays to be prepared.
Break Out Your Business Side
While you may be an expert on root canals and everything teeth-related, you may not have the slightest idea about managing payroll, hiring staff or doing your taxes. You don’t have to be an expert on those things, but it’s good if you do some basic research on each subject. There’s no shame in reaching out or admitting that you don’t know something.
More importantly, however, is you start building a trusted team. Reach out to a CPA, talk to lenders, speak with equipment specialists and others. Let them help you develop a business plan and outlook. You don’t want to try and do everything yourself only to find out you missed some key parts along the way. Get started on the right foot with your new practice.