How to Build a Dental Group

How to Start, Scale and Sell a Dental Group – Webinar

Across the UK an interesting phenomenon is occurring in the UK Dental landscape, more and more dental groups are emerging all in search of quality dental practices to purchase.

They are searching high and low for quality dental practices that will contribute to the group’s EBITDA.

Increasingly, we are hearing from clients stating that their turnover is around £2m and they would like to build over the next few years to sell it for £20m!

Sounds great. However, the key factor some of the groups have not thought about is the debt-level funding they require. If you need to borrow £19m in order to sell it for £20m, I don’t think you would be so inclined to build a dental group.

Click here to listen to our podcast episode on whether now is the time to grow a dental business.

How Easy is it to Build a Dental Group?

It’s Not About How Much You Sell For

The thing you need to really care about is not the total amount group sells for, but ultimately what you actually receive into your bank account after paying off all the debt and taxes.

In other words, if you worked that hard over five years to build your business and sold it for £20m, but only put £1m into your bank account, would it have all been worth it?  Probably not.

In simple terms – it’s the net figure you are interested in, not the headline figure.

This is actually the number you need to start with. So, instead of saying you want to sell your business for £20m, it’s essential to state what you want to receive net of debt and taxes.

Click here to read our guide on How to Sell a Dental Practice.

Contact us to find out more

So how do you plan to achieve your net goal? Is it via acquisition, start-up or a combination of the two?

If you’re going to make acquisitions over the next five years, do you know:

  1. how much revenue on average they should each be generating?
  2. how much you’re going to pay for a typical acquisition?
  3. how many acquisitions you’ll have to make each year?
  4. how much you’ll need each of those practices to grow after you’ve acquired them?

Click here to read more about choosing between starting and buying a dental practice.

Growing The EBITDA Is Essential

If you haven’t really thought about the answers to those questions, in other words: if your business is generating £2m in revenue today at an EBITDA margin of 20% and you want to sell it for a net £5m in five years, you’re probably going to have to grow your business at a rate of around 40% annually.

Is that really achievable in the current market? Especially as there are many more buyers than sellers currently in the UK market for quality dental practices- some of whom are willing to pay over the odds for them?

On exit, the net amount you will receive will ultimately be determined on the EBITDA being generated, and the real key is to grow the EBITDA faster than the revenues of the group. Through margin expansion is where groups can achieve a higher multiple and, hence, a higher valuation on exit.

This will mean centralising many costs as the group scales and keeping a close eye on keeping costs tight, whilst still delivering a quality service.

Click here to read our guide on How to Grow a Dental Practice.

Where Some Dental Groups go Wrong

Buying Multiple Dental Practices – What To Consider

Expanding your current dental practices is not the only way of building a dental group. I have worked with many clients who found that the best option for them was, instead, to buy more dental practices.

The one thing I will say is that this can be a complex process and it’s one which is not always easy to get right. No one wants to put an already successful business at risk, so considering mergers and acquisitions carefully is important.

Click here to read our guide on How to Buy a Dental Practice.

Have The Right Team In Place

No matter how long a dental professional has been in business, they are not best placed to make the most well-informed choices when it comes to legal and financial implications.

It’s important to put a professional team in place, before entering into a deal to buy further practices and merge them with the current one.

The team should include dental solicitors and dental accountants who can make sure that the deal is a solid one, that all relevant information is disclosed and that contracts include all agreed aspects of the deal.

Click here to read about the 10 things to look for in a dental accountant.

How To Ensure A Successful Merger Or Acquisition

There are several tasks that should always be completed, if an acquisition or merger is to be completed successfully and you want to build a dental group.

  • A plan should be created that helps with the purchase of further surgeries and deals with the structure of the business after the acquisition.
  • An analysis should be completed of the services currently being carried out at the surgery that is to be acquired. Is it a good fit in the current plan for the business?
  • A detailed review of the proposition should be drawn up, so that any potential issues can be identified.
  • An implementation plan should be drawn up, so that any acquisition or merger can happen without any significant negative impact on the business as a whole.

Over the years, I have seen the value of this work first-hand, working with clients to ensure that building a dental group is the positive experience that it should be.

Action Plans

  • Evaluate Financial Goals: Focus on the net amount you wish to receive after all debts and taxes, rather than the gross sale price of the dental practice. Plan your financial goals with this net figure in mind.
  • Strategize Growth: Decide whether acquisitions, start-ups, or a combination of both are the best path to achieve your net financial goals. Understand the implications of each approach on your business’s growth.
  • Focus on EBITDA Growth: Prioritize growing your EBITDA faster than your revenues. Implement strategies for margin expansion and cost management to enhance valuation multiples at the time of exit.
  • Plan for Mergers or Acquisitions: Develop a comprehensive strategy that includes the evaluation of potential practices for acquisition, integration plans, service fit analysis, potential issue identification, and implementation planning.
  • Assemble a Professional Team: Before embarking on acquisitions or mergers, gather a team of specialists, including dental solicitors and accountants, to navigate the complexities of legal and financial aspects, ensure thorough due diligence, and secure favorable terms.
  • Conduct Due Diligence: Perform detailed due diligence on potential acquisitions to ensure they fit within your strategic plan and do not pose unforeseen risks to your business.
  • Implement Effective Integration: Develop and follow a clear implementation plan to ensure that any acquired practices or mergers are seamlessly integrated into your business operations, minimizing disruption and maximizing value.
  • Monitor and Adjust Strategy: Regularly review your growth strategy and financial performance, adjusting your approach as necessary to meet your net financial goals and respond to market changes.
  • Evaluate Financial Goals: Focus on the net amount you wish to receive after all debts and taxes, rather than the gross sale price of the dental practice. Plan your financial goals with this net figure in mind.
  • Strategize Growth: Decide whether acquisitions, start-ups, or a combination of both are the best path to achieve your net financial goals. Understand the implications of each approach on your business’s growth.
  • Focus on EBITDA Growth: Prioritize growing your EBITDA faster than your revenues. Implement strategies for margin expansion and cost management to enhance valuation multiples at the time of exit.
  • Plan for Mergers or Acquisitions: Develop a comprehensive strategy that includes the evaluation of potential practices for acquisition, integration plans, service fit analysis, potential issue identification, and implementation planning.
  • Assemble a Professional Team: Before embarking on acquisitions or mergers, gather a team of specialists, including dental solicitors and accountants, to navigate the complexities of legal and financial aspects, ensure thorough due diligence, and secure favorable terms.
  • Conduct Due Diligence: Perform detailed due diligence on potential acquisitions to ensure they fit within your strategic plan and do not pose unforeseen risks to your business.
  • Implement Effective Integration: Develop and follow a clear implementation plan to ensure that any acquired practices or mergers are seamlessly integrated into your business operations, minimizing disruption and maximizing value.
  • Monitor and Adjust Strategy: Regularly review your growth strategy and financial performance, adjusting your approach as necessary to meet your net financial goals and respond to market changes.

Click here to find out more about acquisition finance.

Structuring a Dental Group for Optimal Tax Benefits

Contact us to find out more

As you may have seen in some of our previous blog posts, the last few years have seen the rise of many dental groups throughout the UK.

With practices across the country facing financial difficulty, we have seen even more dental groups either spring up or continue to grow as practices are snapped up at lower-than-expected prices.

Whether the groups consist of just a couple of practices or even a dozen, dental groups are becoming more common and are growing all the time.

Click here to read our article on Dentist and Dental Associate Expenses Guide

Importance of Structuring Your Dental Group

Always start with the end in mind. What do we mean by this? We mean your tax planning needs to fit around and compliment your ultimate goal or plan for your business. And your life!

It is important to note that dental groups come in all shapes and sizes, there is not a one-size-fits-all solution.

One of the problems we’ve seen dental groups making is primarily with how they are structured.

The problem is that many groups simply grow by raising the finance the purchase new practices, surgeries and equipment and they give no thought to how the businesses are structured.

In other words, they haven’t considered the tax consequences of how their group should be structured.

For instance, if you own several dental practices but some are held under your own name, while others are held as limited companies, this can have real consequences to your accounts and tax later on.

This is especially true once you start to grow your group further.

Click here to avail our service on acquisition finance.

Taxes to Consider for Dental Groups

Possible dental group structures

We are often asked ‘am I better off as a sole trader or forming a limited company?’. Unfortunately, the answer is pretty much always ‘it depends’.

It depends on your earnings, your losses, your assets, your personal situation and so much more.

The UK’s tax regulations are not straight forward, what works best for you is often a complex question.

If you want to find out more, we would strongly recommend you get in touch with us.

Most dental groups will fit into one of these 4 categories. However, this is not an exhaustive list by any means.

Structure 1: Sole trader with sub trades.

In this structure, you will typically have a sole trader (the dentist), who owns a number of practices. These practices exist as trades, they are not incorporated entities and they are connected by reference to that own person who is the business owner.

For income tax purposes, all of the practices can exist as one trade. So, if one practice is making a lot of profit, and another is making a loss (perhaps a squat you have just started), you can get loss relief between the practices. You can transfer the losses from the loss-making practice to the profit-making practice.

Business Asset Disposal Relief will also most likely be available, if the criteria are met (more below).

It is also important to note that with an unincorporated business structure, you are taxed on all profits earned, whether or not you draw that money.

Structure 2: Dentist owns practices as limited companies.

In this example, the dentist has incorporated each practice as individual companies and owns 100% of the shares in those companies.

This tends to happen when dentists set up or buy new practices organically, one after the other. But the time will come when you have to ask yourself if it is the correct structure.

One benefit of having limited companies is that it is possible to pay tax at a lower rate on dividends.

However, you will most likely not be able to benefit from loss relief in this structure. If one practice is making a loss you will not be able to use that loss within the other practices.

It doesn’t mean you lose that loss, it is still available for future profits. However, that is not ideal from a cash flow point of view.

Business Asset Disposal Relief will also most likely be available, if the criteria are met (more below).

Structure 3: Dentist owns holding company which owns practices as limited companies.

In this structure, you have an intermediate layer between the dentist and the limited companies (practices), a holding company. The holding company owns 100% of the shares in the dental practices and the dentist owns 100% of the shares in the holding company.

As with structure 2, it may be possible to pay tax at a lower rate on dividends. You will also not be taxed on the profits that you don’t draw.

When structured correctly, this qualifies as a group of companies. Loss relief may therefore be available, since your practices exist as a group of companies.

Substantial shareholding exemption (SSE) is also available if the criteria are met. This means it you may be able to sell one of those practices and pay 0% tax on the shares.

Structure 4: Dentist owns mixed group structure.

In a mixed group structure, you have a holding company which owns some of the practices and the dentist owns some practices separately. These separate practices can either be held as limited companies or as unincorporated entities.

Loss relief is available to practices within the group.

Whether this is the right structure for you will depend on several things. For instance, what you intend to do with the money if you sell one of the practices.

Say you sell one of the practices owned by the holding company. You can sell it for £1million and pay 0% tax on the sale (via SSE), which is then paid into the holding company. However, if you want to draw that money down then it must be distributed as dividend, which will be taxed at a higher rate than Business Asset Disposal Relief (BADF).

So, that might not be the right route for that specific practice.

However, you could sell that practice and keep that money within the group by reinvesting it in one of the other practices within the group. You could also buy another practice, meaning you pay 0% tax and also do not have to pay interest on a bank loan, since you’ve funded it yourself.

Keeping practices outside of the group as separate entities may be right for you if you want to pay the BADF 10% tax, rather than the dividend tax.

Action Plan

  • Evaluate Business Structure: Choose between a sole trader, individual limited companies, a holding company, or a mixed structure based on tax efficiency, loss relief, and sale intentions.
  • Maximize Tax Relief: Use loss relief within your chosen structure to offset profits and losses. Consider the tax implications on dividends and the availability of Business Asset Disposal Relief or Substantial Shareholding Exemption for sales.
  • Strategic Planning for Sales: Decide on the structure that best suits your plans for selling practices, focusing on minimizing tax liabilities and maximizing net proceeds.
  • Consult Experts: Work with dental finance professionals to navigate tax benefits and ensure compliance with your business growth or restructuring.
  • Reinvest Wisely: Reinvest sale proceeds within the group to avoid high taxes on distributions and support business expansion or improvements.

Contact us to find out more

Selling Your Dental Group

One of the reasons that the way your dental group is structured is so important is the price you’ll get when you come to the exit.

After all that hard work building your dental group, you want to make sure you get the best price possible, as well as a clean and smooth break.

A clear structure to your business holdings makes this much easier. Below are examples of the kind of benefits you can get when you structure your dental group correctly.

Business Asset Disposal Relief

When you sell a qualifying business asset you will be taxed at 10% on the gains.

If at some point in the future you want to sell all or part of the business as an unincorporated entity, the following points must apply to qualify for the 10% BADF (previously known as Entrepreneurs’ Relief).

  1. You are a sole trader or business partner.
  2. You have owned the business for at least two years before the date you sell it.

If both of these apply, then the gains will be taxed at 10%.

If you have incorporated your practices into companies and you are selling shares or securities, different criteria must be met.

  1. You have at least 5% of shares and voting rights in the company – if they are not EMI shares.
  2. You are an employee or office holder of the company (or one in the same group).

Substantial shareholding exemption.

This is an exemption which gives UK-based companies exemptions on corporation tax on the gain of the sale of shares, when certain criteria are met.

For at least a continuous 12 month period, beginning no more than 6 years before disposal:

The company disposing of shares must hold an interest of at least 10% of the ordinary share capital of the other company.

The company must be a sole trader or member of a trading group.

The company holding the shares must be a trading company or holding company of a trading group.

With these points in mind, it is easy to see why it is so important to structure your tax affairs with the future in mind.

Consider where you want to be in 5-10 years and then work backwards accordingly.

Restructuring a Dental Group With Samera

If you’re in a situation where your dental group is growing, but needs a little bit more structure, or if you’re thinking about starting your own dental group – we are here to help.

Not only are we experienced business advisors, we are also dental group owners ourselves. We know exactly how to build your dental group so that it is structured in a way that helps you build the most value and get the best price when you sell.

Contact us today to find out more about structuring your dental group.

Our Expert Opinion

“I have been in the fortunate enough position to set up, run and own a dental group. Albeit a little smaller than previously, my experience is built on having done it. Many people think it is easy to borrow money and to then buy and build.

This was certainly true when interest rates were much lower, but now in a higher interest rate environment things are more challenging. The key is to identify the right practice to purchase at the right price, whilst your borrowing costs are managed carefully. Then, the next step is to identify how can you add value to the purchase – what could you do to the practice to improve EBITDA?

Remember –  a small improvement in EBITDA in multiple practices can have a significant effect. But if you buy the wrong practice at the wrong price, this can be a massive problem and, unfortunately, I have seen this on many occasions, where a group has purchased a few lemons, which has had a significant impact on the wider group, making it less attractive to any potential group buyers down the line.

Currently, the valuations in the market are lower than what they have been in the past, but for the savvy buyer, now is a great time to build a group. Get in touch if you need help!”

Dental Accounts & Tax Specialists

As dental practice owners ourselves, we know what makes a clinic tick. We have been working with dentists for over 20 years to help manage their accounts and tax.

Whether you’re a dental associate, run your own practice or own a dental group and are looking to save time, money and effort on your accounts and tax then we want to hear from you. Our digital platform takes the hassle and the paperwork out of accounts.

To find out more about how you can save time, money and effort on your accounts and tax when you automate your finances with Samera, book a free consultation with one of our accounting team today.

Dental Accounts & Tax: Further Information

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

The Climate for Dental Practice Growth in the UK

Dental Business Guide Podcast Episode | 8th February 2021
Arun Mehra and Nigel Crossman

Unlocking Opportunities: Exploring the Climate for Dental Practice Growth in the UK

Dental practices in the UK have been facing some changes recently. These changes include new laws and different patient needs, which are making the dental practice environment evolve. However, there are still great opportunities for dental practices to grow and succeed in the UK. By using the right strategies and approach, dental practices can reach their full potential and achieve significant growth in a short time.

In this blog post, we will explore some of the main factors that are driving growth in the dental practice industry in the UK. We will look at things like changes in the population and advances in technology, and how these trends are shaping the future of dental practices in the UK.

Read our guide on How to Grow a Dental Practice.

Introduction to the current climate for dental practice growth in the UK

The dental business in the UK is going through a time of change, providing many opportunities for dental practices to grow and expand. This is due to advancements in technology, changing patient expectations, and evolving healthcare approaches, all of which are continuously shaping the field of dentistry.

One significant factor contributing to the growth potential of dental practices is the increasing emphasis on oral health and its connection to overall well-being. People are becoming more aware of the importance of regular dental check-ups and preventive care, leading to a higher demand for dental services to maintain and improve their oral health.

Moreover, advancements in dental technology have revolutionised the field, offering dentists innovative tools and techniques to provide better patient experiences and outcomes. From digital imaging and CAD/CAM technology to laser dentistry and minimally invasive procedures, these changes have not only improved the quality of care but also expanded the range of services that dental practices can offer.

Additionally, the ageing population in the UK is also contributing to the growth of dental practices. As people age, they require specialised dental care, such as dentures, implants, and other supportive procedures. This creates a niche market for dental practices to cater to the unique needs of this segment.

Furthermore, the growing healthcare policies and the increasing availability of dental insurance coverage have made dental care more accessible to a larger portion of the population. As a result, more patients are seeking dental treatments and services, providing dental practices with a larger customer base to serve.

However, it’s important to acknowledge that the current environment for dental practice growth also comes with its challenges. Competition within the industry is fierce, with various dental practices vying for the same pool of patients. To succeed in this competitive landscape, dental practices need to stand out by offering excellent patient experiences, personalised care, and effective marketing strategies.

Action Points

  • Promote Oral Health: Educate on the significance of oral health for increased preventive care services.
  • Invest in Technology: Utilize advanced dental technologies for better patient care and expanded services.
  • Focus on Seniors: Offer specialized services for the aging population’s dental needs.
  • Maximize Insurance Benefits: Make use of healthcare policies and dental insurance to attract a wider patient base.
  • Stand Out: Differentiate your practice with superior patient experiences and personalized care.

Read our guide to setting up a private dental practice.

Factors influencing the growth of dental practices in the UK

The growth of dental practices in the UK is influenced by several important factors that shape the current environment for dental practice development. Understanding these factors is crucial for dental professionals who want to open new opportunities and expand their practices.

Firstly, there is a growing demand for dental services. As the population grows and ages, the need for routine dental care, cosmetic dentistry, and specialised treatments continues to rise. This increasing demand creates a favourable environment for dental practices to attract more patients and increase their revenue.

Another factor impacting practice growth is the advancement of dental technology. Innovations such as digital dentistry, CAD/CAM systems, and laser dentistry have transformed the field, improving treatment outcomes and patient experiences. Practices that embrace and invest in these technologies tend to attract more patients and gain a competitive edge in the market.

The evolving regulatory landscape also affects the growth of dental practices. Changes in regulations and policies, such as the NHS contract changes and the expansion of private dental care, can create new opportunities for practices to adapt their business models and expand their service offerings. Staying informed about these regulatory developments is essential for dental professionals to stay ahead and capitalise on emerging trends.

Moreover, there is an increasing emphasis on preventive care and patient-centred approaches in the dental industry. Practices that focus on patient education, engagement, and personalised treatment plans tend to build long-term patient relationships, leading to increased loyalty and referrals. Building strong patient relationships through excellent customer service and patient-focused care has proven to be a catalyst for practice growth.

Finally, economic factors play a crucial role in shaping the growth of dental practices. Overall economic stability, consumer spending power, and insurance coverage all impact patients’ willingness to seek dental treatments. Understanding the economic environment and adjusting pricing strategies and payment options accordingly can help practices attract and retain a diverse patient base.

In conclusion, various factors influence the growth of dental practices in the UK. The increasing demand for dental services, advancements in technology, regulatory changes, patient-centred approaches, and economic factors all contribute to the exciting opportunities available for dental professionals to expand their practices. Staying informed, embracing innovation, and adapting to the changing landscape are key to unlocking growth potential in the dynamic dental industry.

Action Plan

  • Capitalize on Demand: Focus on expanding services to meet the growing need for routine, cosmetic, and specialized dental treatments.
  • Invest in Innovation: Embrace and integrate the latest dental technologies to enhance treatment outcomes and patient experiences.
  • Navigate Regulations: Stay informed about regulatory changes and adapt business models to leverage new opportunities in both NHS and private sectors.
  • Emphasize Preventive Care: Develop patient-centered approaches, focusing on education and engagement to foster long-term relationships and loyalty.
  • Adjust to Economic Conditions: Tailor pricing strategies and offer flexible payment options to accommodate the economic status and insurance coverage of patients.

Contact us to find out more

Demographic trends and their impact on dental practice growth

Segment trends play a crucial role in shaping the environment for dental practice growth in the UK. Understanding these trends can help dental professionals seize opportunities and tailor their services to meet the growing needs of the population.

One key trend is the aging population. As people live longer, there will be an increased demand for dental services among older adults. This group often requires specialised dental care, such as dental implants, dentures, and oral health management for ongoing conditions. Dental practices that can meet the unique needs of older patients might find themselves in high demand.

Another important segment trend is the rising diversity of the UK population. With globalisation and migration, dental practices have the chance to serve a more diverse range of patients. This includes people from different cultural backgrounds who may have specific oral health needs or preferences. Practices that can adapt to and embrace diversity will be well-positioned to attract and retain a broader patient base.

Additionally, the younger generation presents both opportunities and challenges for dental practice growth. Millennials and Gen Z are more conscious of their oral health and will invest in preventive dental care. However, they also have higher expectations when it comes to convenience, technology, and personalised experiences. Dental practices that can leverage digital tools, offer flexible appointment options, and provide a patient-centered approach will be able to capture the loyalty of these younger patients.

It is also important to consider the impact of regional demographic variations. Different areas in the UK may have specific population dynamics, with variations in age profiles, economic status, and oral health needs. Dental practices that conduct comprehensive market research and tailor their strategies to the specific demographics of their local area have a competitive advantage in the pursuit of growth.

In conclusion, staying aware of segment trends is crucial for dental practices seeking to unlock growth opportunities. By understanding the needs and preferences of different segment groups, practices can tailor their services, attract a diverse patient base, and position themselves for long-term success in the ever-growing landscape of dental care in the UK.

Action Points

  • Cater to an Ageing Population: Develop specialized services for older adults, focusing on implants, dentures, and chronic condition management.
  • Embrace Cultural Diversity: Adapt services to cater to the oral health needs and preferences of a culturally diverse patient base.
  • Engage Younger Generations: Leverage digital tools and offer personalized, convenient services to meet the expectations of Millennials and Gen Z.
  • Tailor Strategies Locally: Conduct market research to understand local demographic trends and tailor services to meet regional needs.

Read our guide to buying a private dental practice.

Facts and figures about Dental practice growth in the UK

The Dental Practices industry in the UK was worth £6.6 billion in 2022, and it grew by 17.2% compared to the previous year. However, between 2017 and 2022, it experienced a yearly decline of 2.7% on average.

In the UK, the Dental Practices industry lost market share faster than the overall economy and the Human Health and Social Work Activities industry. It ranked eighth in size among the Human Health and Social Work Exercises industries and was the 132nd largest industry in the UK.

The main factor negatively affecting this industry is people’s real disposable income, while high industry support is the primary positive factor. Better dental hygiene has improved the condition of people’s teeth as they age, leading to increased demand for dental services as the population gets older. Older people are a significant market for dental practices.

As the number of people aged 65 and older increases in 2022 and 2023, there will be more opportunities for dental offices to provide their services.

Action Points

  • Industry Value: The UK Dental Practices industry was valued at £6.6 billion in 2022, growing 17.2% from the previous year.
  • Aging Population: Increasing demand for dental services with the growing number of people aged 65 and older.

Regulatory and policy changes affecting the dental industry in the UK

Recently, the dental business in the UK has experienced significant changes in rules and policies that have a big impact on the growth and development of dental practices. These changes have not only affected how dental experts operate but also created opportunities for growth and expansion.

One major change is the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2018. This regulation made data security stricter, requiring dental practices to review their data management processes and ensure compliance. While this might seem like an extra burden, it has also given dental practices a chance to improve their reputation by showing a commitment to data security and privacy.

Another significant change in the dental industry is the shift towards preventive and comprehensive approaches to oral health. With a greater focus on patient education and prevention, dental practices have the opportunity to position themselves as leaders in promoting overall health and oral well-being. They can do this by offering comprehensive oral hygiene programs, promoting healthy lifestyle choices, and adopting advanced technologies for early detection and intervention.

Moreover, the changes in the NHS dental contract have brought both challenges and opportunities for dental practices. The new contract aims to improve patient access to dental care and encourage preventive measures. This shift towards a preventive-centred model provides opportunities for practices to stand out by offering innovative and patient-centred services that go beyond traditional treatments.

Additionally, the ongoing changes in reimbursement structures and fee schedules have prompted dental practices to rethink their pricing strategies and explore alternative sources of revenue. Practices that proactively adapt to these changes by implementing efficient cost management, exploring private treatment options, and embracing digital solutions have a greater chance of thriving in the evolving dental landscape.

Overall, the regulatory and policy changes in the UK dental industry have created a dynamic environment that demands adaptability and innovation. Dental practices that stay updated with these changes and leverage the opportunities they present will be well-positioned for growth and success in the ever-changing dental landscape.

Read our guide on How to Build a Dental Group.

Technological advancements and their role in driving dental practice growth

In the UK, technology has played a crucial role in improving dental practices. Dentists now have access to many advanced tools and innovations that enhance patient care, streamline operations, and ultimately lead to practice growth.

One significant advancement is the use of digital dentistry. This includes tools like 3D scanners and intraoral cameras that have changed how dentists diagnose and treat patients. These tools provide detailed and precise images, allowing for more accurate treatment planning and better patient outcomes. Digital impressions have also replaced messy traditional impressions, saving time and making patients more comfortable.

Another area where technology has made a big impact is in dental implants. Computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) systems have revolutionised the way custom dental prosthetics are made. This not only improves the fit and feel of the final restoration but also reduces the time it takes to provide implant treatments.

Furthermore, advancements in practice management software have streamlined administrative tasks, making dental practices operate more efficiently. These software systems automated appointment scheduling, patient records management, billing, and inventory management, freeing up time for dentists and staff to focus on providing quality care.

Moreover, technology has also improved patient communication and engagement. Dental practices can now use various digital platforms to communicate with patients, send appointment reminders, and provide educational materials. This enhances patient satisfaction and loyalty, leading to more referrals and practice growth.

Overall, technological advancements have transformed the dental industry in the UK. From digital imaging systems and CAD/CAM technology to practise management software and patient communication tools, the role of technology in driving dental practice growth is significant. Embracing these advancements can create new opportunities and help dental practices thrive in an ever-evolving landscape.

Opportunities for expansion and innovation in the dental field

The dental field in the UK has many exciting opportunities for growth and progress. Thanks to advancements in technology and the changing needs of patients, dental practices have the potential to thrive in this ever-changing environment.

One significant opportunity for growth lies in the increasing demand for specialised dental services. As the population gets older, there is a growing need for dental professionals who focus on caring for older adults. Dental practices can tap into this market and cater to people who require special attention, and they are willing to pay more for it.

Another way to grow is by incorporating technology into dental practices. From digital imaging and 3D printing to tele-dentistry and virtual consultations, technology offers various opportunities to provide efficient and convenient dental services. Practices that adopt these innovations can stand out from competitors and attract informed patients who value personalised care and convenience.

Moreover, the growing emphasis on preventive and restorative dentistry presents additional growth opportunities. Dental practices that offer comprehensive services like teeth whitening, orthodontics, and dental implants can attract patients who want to improve their smiles and overall oral health. By staying up-to-date with the latest trends and techniques in cosmetic dentistry, practices can position themselves as leaders in the field and build a loyal patient base.

Innovation in the dental field goes beyond clinical services. Dental practices can explore opportunities for expanding their reach through strategic partnerships and collaborations. For instance, teaming up with local healthcare providers or health centres can lead to cross-referrals and a broader patient base. Additionally, exploring options like tele-dentistry or mobile dental units can help reach under-served communities and expand the practice’s footprint.

In conclusion, the dental field in the UK offers plenty of opportunities for expansion and growth. By identifying niche markets, embracing technology, offering comprehensive services, and exploring strategic partnerships, dental practices can unlock their full potential for success and growth. With the right strategies and a commitment to excellence, the possibilities in the dental industry are limitless.

Strategies for attracting and retaining patients in a competitive market

In a highly competitive market, attracting and keeping patients is crucial for the growth and success of your dental practice. Here are some effective strategies to help you stand out and build a loyal patient base:

Improve your online presence: In today’s digital age, having a strong online presence is essential. Create a user-friendly and visually appealing website that showcases your services, expertise, and patient testimonials. Optimise your website for search engines to improve its visibility and reach. Engage with patients on social media platforms to build relationships and showcase your practice’s personality.

Provide outstanding customer service: Offering excellent customer service is essential for retaining patients. Train your staff to be friendly, attentive, and knowledgeable. Ensure your patients feel valued and heard by actively listening to their concerns and addressing their needs. Personalise the patient experience by remembering their names, preferences, and treatment history. Going the extra mile will leave a lasting impression and foster patient loyalty.

Implement patient referral programs: Word-of-mouth referrals are powerful in the dental industry. Encourage your satisfied patients to refer their friends, family, and colleagues by offering incentives like discounts on future treatments or free services. Promote your referral program through various channels, including your website, online platforms, and in-office signage.

Focus on patient education: Educating your patients about oral health and the importance of regular dental visits is not only beneficial for their well-being but also for building trust and loyalty. Provide educational materials, blog posts, and informative videos on your website and social media platforms. Take the time to explain treatment options, procedures, and preventive measures during patient appointments. Well-informed patients are more likely to value your expertise and continue seeking your services.

Stay connected through regular communication: Establish a regular communication system to stay connected with your patients. Send out newsletters or emails featuring dental tips, practice updates, and upcoming promotions. Consider implementing appointment reminders and follow-up messages to ensure patients stay on track with their oral healthcare. By maintaining consistent communication, you will strengthen the patient-provider relationship and keep your practice top of mind.

By implementing these strategies, you can differentiate your dental practice in a competitive market and attract new patients while retaining existing ones. Remember, a strong online presence and providing exceptional care are the keys to long-term success in the dental industry.

Action Points

  • Online Presence: Boost your dental practice’s visibility with a user-friendly website and active social media engagement. Optimize search engines and share patient testimonials.
  • Customer Service: Elevate patient experiences with exceptional service. Personalize care and ensure staff are welcoming and responsive to patient needs.
  • Referral Programs: Encourage word-of-mouth through patient referral incentives, promoting loyalty and attracting new patients.
  • Patient Education: Build trust and loyalty by educating patients on oral health, treatment options, and preventive care.
  • Regular Communication: Keep in touch with patients through newsletters, appointment reminders, and follow-up messages to maintain a strong patient-provider relationship.

Read our guide on How to Retain New Dental Patients.

Financial considerations and funding options for dental practice growth

When it comes to growing your dental practice, money is an important factor to consider. Expanding your practice, buying new equipment, and hiring more staff all require funding. However, finding the right funding for your dental practice growth can be challenging if you don’t know the available options.

One common funding option is a business loan from a bank or financial institution. These loans provide a lump sum of money that can be used for various expansion projects. Before applying for a loan, it’s essential to assess your needs and determine how much funding you’ll require. Create a detailed business plan that outlines your growth strategies, projected income, and repayment plan to increase your chances of approval.

Another funding option is seeking investment from private investors or venture capitalists. This involves selling a portion of your practice’s ownership in exchange for capital. While this can be a great way to get funds, it’s important to carefully evaluate potential investors and negotiate favourable terms to protect your long-term interests.

Moreover, there might be government grants and programs available to support dental practice growth. Research local, regional, and national initiatives aimed at promoting healthcare professions, including dentistry. These grants can provide financial assistance, training opportunities, or tax incentives, helping you expand your practice while minimising financial strain.

Lastly, consider exploring partnerships or joint ventures with other dental professionals. Pooling resources and expertise can lead to collaborations that drive growth while sharing financial burdens. This collaborative approach allows for shared investments in new technologies, marketing campaigns, or office expansions, all while benefiting from each partner’s patient base and networks.

Read our guide on How to Finance a Dental Practice.

Before making any financial decisions, it’s crucial to consult with financial advisors or industry experts who can provide guidance tailored to your specific circumstances. They can help you understand the potential risks and rewards of different funding options and develop a sustainable growth strategy for your dental practice. By carefully considering financial considerations and exploring funding options, you can open doors for significant growth and success in the dental industry.

We hope you found our exploration of the environment for dental practice development in the UK helpful and insightful. As the dental industry continues to evolve, it’s crucial for dentists to adapt and seize opportunities for growth. By staying updated on the latest trends and factors influencing the business, you can position your dental practice for success. Whether you’re a new professional or an experienced one, there are always opportunities waiting to be explored.

Click here to read our articles Samera Learning Centre.

Grow Your Dental Practice with Samera

Join the Samera Alliance buying group today for free to save money on your consumables and assets, increase your profits and grow your dental practice.

You’ll get access to exclusive discounts on the consumables, products and equipment you need to build and grow your dental practice. You’ll also get exclusive discounts from our Alliance Partners, covering everything from HR, IT and legal services to utilities, compliance and dental technology.

Join for free. Save money. Grow your dental practice.

More on Growing a Dental Practice

For more information on growing a dental practice, check out the articles and webinars in our Learning Centre, like our guide on How to Grow a Dental Practice.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.