What you need to know if you want to own a Dental Practice

Whether you’re planning to own a practice, or you already do, this article is for you. You won’t likely receive the following information in Dental School, in Residency or as an Associate Dentist. 

 Reality Bites:

 It does not matter how much you love your team or how much they love you, they will never care as much about the success of your practice as you do. You may believe they do and they may believe they do, but why should they? It wouldn’t make sense. It’s YOUR NAME on the door, on your license, and on your loans. YOU are, the one person,ultimately responsible for the Success of your Business. 

           Successful practice ownership: 

Numbers: You must take ownership here. Know which numbers to track, why they’re important, and how to obtain the numbers on your own.

  •  Hire a bookkeeper or an accountant to handle your business financials. Ask for a profit and loss report monthly or quarterly (at the latest). Learn how to read the report and review it each time you receive it. 
  • Let the professionals handle payroll and payroll taxes and save yourself a lot of headaches and money.
  • Keep in mind, over 50% of Dental practices experience embezzlement at some point. Most dentists fail to prosecute the embezzler because they’re embarrassed. The embezzler goes on to work in another practice and embezzles again. Review the end of day sheet and deposit report EVERY DAY. This will go a long way toward preventing embezzlement.

Team: Your largest investment

Participate in team meetings; lead by example. Participation shows you care about your practice. Listen to your team and implement suggestions that make sense when possible.

Hire slowly, vet well, keep detailed employee records and fire rapidly. Remember the saying; “One bad apple can spoil the entire bunch”. This is true with dental teams as well.

Don’t assume a potential employee is properly trained or credentialed for a position in your practice. Check all references, ask for copies of licenses and certifications. Ask questions to ascertain knowledge of the position. Very important *Ask the same questions of every candidate. This is the only way to truly compare candidate qualifications.

Invest in your team; it’s one of the best investments you can make; Practices in which team members are included in training have a better work environment and much less turnover than those who leave team members to their own resources for continuing education. You spend a lot of time with your team; Like it or not, their happiness affects your happiness.

“To invest in your team is to invest in the success of your practice” MFD

Show up to work on time. Please, don’t put your team in the position of making excuses for you. In doing so, you show a lack of respect for your patients, your team and ultimately your practice.

Burn Out and Your Legacy: 

If you become burned out (it happens) – Sell your practice before you run it into the ground. Maintaining ownership of a practice when you’re burned out or just going through the motions, is a disservice to your patients, your team, your family, and your legacy. Timing is everything when selling your practice! 

Plan ahead:

Regardless of your age, you need an “Emergency Directive document” for your practice.If you were to become disabled or die, someone you trust will need to handle the transition of your practice. It’s not as easy as you would think. See below: 

An Emergency Directive should contain the following information:

*Where to find the necessary documents

*Who to call about Disability, Overhead or Life Insurance

*Contact information for Employee


*Where to locate your practice appraisal

*How to obtain Practice Management Reports

*How to obtain Five Years of Tax Returns and the most recent Profit and Loss  Report.

*The contact information for a Practice Broker who can handle the Transition of your Practice. Please don’t expect your family to make these decisions.

Your “Emergency Directive” should be entrusted to a financial or legal adviser, in addition to a close family member or friend outside of your immediate family. The reason for the latter is simple; your spouse and children could be with you at the time of an accident. If not, they will likely be too emotional to remember where documents are located. 

If you have questions about this article or need resources, please email . If you prefer to speak on the phone, see link to schedule a call at your convenience. https://calendly.com/maryday. 


“You don’t have to struggle”. MFD

Dental Practice Ownership Resource, Mary’s book: The Dental Business; A Blueprint for Success.

 http://www.thedentalbusinessbook.com also available on Amazon

About Mary Fisher-Day

Founder and CEO of The Dental Business.

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