female dentist with colleagues in the background

How to Own a Dental Practice

If you’ve decided running your own dental practice is right for you, how do you take your first step toward that future? You need to pick a path to practice ownership. For dentists, there are three primary options:

  1. 1. Building your own practice
  2. 2. Acquiring a dental practice
  3. 3. Becoming a partner at an existing practice

Let’s walk through what each of those options could look like.

1. Building your own practice

Building your own practice requires the biggest monetary and time investment, but can be the most rewarding. You will essentially be building your practice from the ground up. This can be a great option for dentists with an entrepreneurial spirit and an established patient base in a market with lots of opportunity for growth. If this sounds like you, your first step will be creating a well-thought out business plan.

A business plan is a general outline of how a company wants to grow in the coming years. It includes your business’s assets, what you’re good at, and the areas you know you may need help with. The business plan you draft helps organize your thoughts, plan out your goals, and receive initial funding. The plan will also help market your future practice to lenders considering investing in you by painting a complete picture about your future plans. Learn more about the components of a business plan in our Creating Your Business Plan Guide or by reaching out to our Business Banking team.

2. Acquiring a dental practice

If you are working at a practice with an  owner contemplating retirement, acquiring the dental practice could be a natural progression for you. When dentists retire, they often sell their practice to a dentist they know and trust – you! This option comes with several benefits, such as an established client base and well-known presence in the community.

If this seems like the perfect option for your career path, ensure the current owner knows you are interested and equipped with the skills and capital to take over the practice when it is time. Start offering to manage more personnel or processes in the practice, step up to be more of a partner in the business, and start taking initiative where you see potential to grow the practice. A great way to prepare yourself is to learn the steps of succession planning that the current owner may be looking at.  This will make it easier for you to watch for the signs and know how to step up when the time comes.

3. Becoming a partner at an existing practice

The final option for owning a dental practice is to buy into an existing practice as a partner. With this path, you become part of an ownership team, meaning the risks, successes, and celebrations are shared. This practice ownership option provides more security while also allowing you to lead. As you critically evaluate the current practice, pay particular attention to whether or not you feel you could truly work well with the existing team

Deciding to become a dental practice owner can be a huge step for any dentist, but your decision process is far from over. Next, you need to think about where you envision yourself in 10, 20 and 30 years and what your dental practice ownership will look like at that time. Building, acquiring, or buying into a dental practice are all great ownership options. Take the time to explore each and determine which is right for you.



1117-01 | Dental Program | Bankers Trust