Orthodontists are some of the highest earning professionals anywhere in the country. There is an increasing demand for teeth alignment and other cosmetic dental procedures for both the old and the young. But running a successful practice isn’t always easy. Apart from maintaining an office, you’ll need to take into account the overhead costs such as paying employees and buying high-quality orthodontic supplies.
In general, there are three directions an aspiring orthodontist can take to achieve success. They can either work as an associate in a well-established practice, open their own practice, or purchase a pre-existing practice.
1. Working as an associate
Becoming an associate in a well-established dental practice is the most common route most new orthodontists take. There is no doubt that if you belong in an established practice, it serves as a safety net and you immediately become associated with the practice’s reputation. Another advantage to this career path is the opportunity to gain extensive experience and learn from other orthodontists who are already experts in the field. An established dental practice has a steady stream of clients with varying conditions which will help enhance skills and overcome inefficiencies.
But every orthodontist knows that working as an employee should not be the end of the line. The ultimate goal is to own a practice and make a living as their own boss.
2. Starting a new dental practice
The main advantage of starting a new dental practice is the opportunity to establish every aspect from scratch. This gives the orthodontist a significant sense of accomplishment and greater control over their business decisions. But there are many challenges associated with running a dental practice. Some of these challenges include:
- A substantial capital required to purchase equipment, rent or build office space, hire employees and cover total expenses required to operate the practice until profits start to come in.
- Dental office employees and staff will require training.
- Since it is a new practice, the orthodontist needs to develop processes and procedures unique to their management style and personal business directives.
- The first few years of the practice do not necessarily make much money because most of the profit will likely go towards paying off loans to acquire capital.
Opening a new practice does entail more work, and there are higher risks involved. Nevertheless, the sense of accomplishment is higher once the practice achieves prominence and success.
3. Buying a pre-existing practice
The primary difference between starting a new practice and purchasing an existing one is that the dentist will inherit staff, employees, and facilities. Unfortunately, if these are not up to par, the dentist may need to make significant changes and spend a substantial amount on upfront costs to improve the inherited assets. But the advantage of buying a practice is that you already have an established client base which makes it a lot less challenging to get new clients through an active referrals list. The practice owner can also get the office up and running much faster; thus, benefiting from a quicker flow of profit.