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Questions to Ask When Buying a Dental Practice

Business Development

Buying a dental practice is one of the most important decisions you'll make as a dentist. It's an exciting time — not only do you get to be your own boss, but you’re also investing in the futures of both your patients and staff as well. Plus, you get to have the chance to expand and improve upon a long-standing business.

However, it can also be overwhelming to think about everything that comes with purchasing a dental practice, from legal considerations to financial matters and more. Even if this may not be your first time buying a practice, every situation and community are unique.

As with any major purchase, there are certain questions that you need to ask before signing on the dotted line – questions that will help ensure your success down the road. Understanding what type of information to look for is key to ensuring you choose the right dental office for you.

In this blog post, we’ll provide the most crucial questions to consider when shopping around for a practice.  

1. Where is the practice located?

Location is a critical factor to consider when picking a dental practice to buy.  

As a dentist, you always want to ensure that your patients can easily access your clinic. Besides that, you also want to pick an area that’s close to where you live, especially if you aim to provide emergency services seven days a week. Knowing how many potential competitors are already in that area helps too.  

2. What is the practice’s current patient base?

Understanding the number of active patients and other demographics, such as age and insurance participation, will give you a better understanding of the potential success you could achieve with the purchase.

For instance, if you exclusively cater to adults, would you be open to the idea of working with pediatric patients?  

3. Will the practice seller be willing to introduce me to their patients?

satisfied female dental patient

Sealing the deal officially without having any idea whether the seller will introduce you to their current patients is a big no-no. Before starting your practice at your new clinic, you should already have a clear idea as to who you’ll be taking care of, and vice-versa. That way, the transitioning process will be much smoother for everyone.  

One of the things the selling dentist can do to help is by sending a signed letter to every patient to inform of the drastic changes that will take place. The letter should be able to introduce you, highlight your background and experience, and emphasize the fact that you’re committed to providing the same quality of care.

Also, try to ask if they could assist you with personal introductions, and get you acquainted with cases of special needs patients.  

4. How does the practice generate new patients?

Understanding the selling practice's patient acquisition strategy can help you assess the current marketing efforts and identify opportunities for growth. If they primarily relied on referrals from other healthcare providers, for instance, you might consider turning to online marketing or social media outreach to attract new patients.

At the same time, knowing their acquisition tactics will make it easier for you to plan for future marketing efforts.  Let’s say they’ve been successful in acquiring patients through a particular channel, such as social media or community events. You can actually maintain the patient base by continuing those efforts.  

5. Does the practice seller share the same quality of care philosophy as me?

Choosing a seller who has a similar care philosophy as you will no doubt make the transition much easier for everyone involved. However, the definition of high quality of care varies from one dentist to another. That’s why it’s imperative to gain a deeper understanding of how a practice operates before you decide to sign a contract.  

When you make an in-person visit to your potentially new dental practice, be sure to keep an eye on the following:  

  • Upkeep and maintenance of the facility, equipment, and sterilization process
  • Measures to ensure patient safety
  • Training and continuing education for staff
  • Bookkeeping and record-keeping procedures

6. Will I offer the same specialty services that were kept in-house?  

Let’s say you specialize in cosmetic surgery for adults but the dental practice you plan to purchase is mostly focused on treating kids and teens. Do you think you’ll be able to deliver high quality care to those young patients of theirs? Or, would you prefer to refer them to a pediatric specialist?  

7. Is there a need for me to add or replace any medical equipment?

Here’s something dental practitioners could all agree on: medical equipment can be incredibly costly. From sterilizers to X-ray machines you’ll find yourself spending a fortune.

In case the practice you’re planning to acquire has some defective or outdated equipment, you have to factor in the costs of replacing them into your offer. Also, see to it that all existing equipment complies with industry standards, and don’t forget to ask about the annual servicing cost.  

8. Is there a non-compete clause?  

A non-compete clause can guarantee that your dental practice is protected from any competition from the seller. This helps set up your business for long-term growth and prosperity.  

Make sure that you understand the boundaries and timeframe of the non-compete clause, as well as how it will affect your ability to grow the practice after buying it.

9. What patient communication software is the practice using?

Most dental businesses today have invested in internal practice marketing (IPM) to ensure they retain their existing patients. They use patient communication software to send automated appointment reminders to patients, make booking a breeze, solicit online reviews, and more.  

While there are countless options available in the market, not every single one brings outstanding results.  The ideal IPM solution should be able to give you more visits, phone calls, and referrals, and less cancellations and no-shows.  

That being said, ask about the software they’re using so you can research it and see if it comes with the top-notch features you’re looking for. Take the time to read what others have to say about it as well.    

10. Does the dental practice align with my professional goals?

The final and most significant factor to consider before acquiring a dental practice is whether it can allow you to attain your goals as a dentist. You need to carefully gauge whether it has the potential to progress and evolve into the practice you aspire to run two, five, or ten years from now.

For example, if your goal is to expand your dentistry to include wellness services and perhaps even skincare treatments in the years to come, then your best bet is a practice that’s in the process of physical expansion.

What Happens After You Finally Purchase a Dental Practice?

male dentist smiling at the camera

So, after making a successful purchase with the guidance of these questions, what’s your next move? Let us answer that for you: attract new patients by coming up with a robust dental marketing strategy!

You can leave all the digital marketing tasks to our highly skilled and dedicated experts here at Digital Resource! Whether you need help creating an SEO- and mobile-friendly website for your practice, running social media ads to target the right audience, or establishing yourself as a thought leader in the dental world, we are here for you.

Our team will collaborate with you in order to craft a custom marketing strategy that will not only drive more patients to your office, but will also put your practice ahead of your competitors. Our clients, including those coming from the dental industry, can certainly attest to that.  

What are you waiting for? Book a free consultation with us today to learn how we can take your dental business to the next level!  

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