starting a dental practice

Are You Starting a Dental Practice? Here’s How to Find the Best Office Supply Distributor

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), in 2019 there were 200,419 dentists using their degree in some manner in the United States. And though it varies state by state, for every 100,000 people, there are 61.1 dentists. Over 6,000 new dentists graduate from dental school each year. And while not all of them plan on starting a dental practice, many of them will.

A dental office is like any other business. That means your dental business needs to buy products and services from outside vendors.

Keep in mind that not all vendors are alike. If you’re looking for a dental office supplier, keep reading. 

You’ll discover how to find the best professionals to work with. 

Steps to Take When Starting a Dental Practice

The good news is that the failure rate of dental practices is very low. In fact, being a dentist is commonly rated as one of the top 10 best professions. 

Dentists also enjoyed a high-profit margin when compared to other businesses. The average overhead for a private dental practice is between 55% and 73%. 

But that doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed success. The more you know, the greater the opportunity for increasing your income. 

Build a Network of Trusted Advisors

Start by building a network of trusted advisors such as:

  • Dental-specific building contractors
  • A dental equipment specialist
  • Specialized CPA
  • Money Lenders

Each advisor should be dental-specific. You want to surround yourself with people who know and understand your business model and industry. 

Learn About Running a Business

Being a great dentist is not the same thing as being a great business person. And many dental schools don’t teach students how to start and build their business. 

It’s up to you to learn the business of dentistry. Create a dental business plan so you can more effectively establish and reach your goals. 

Learn about entrepreneurship and marketing through courses, mentoring, reading books, or attending seminars. 

Get Financially Savvy

Learn how to create and stick to a budget. Get your credit and business scores as high as you can and maintain your high level of creditworthiness.

Never overextend yourself. And if you carry debt, make sure it’s manageable. 

Qualities in Vendors Dental Practices Should Look For

Not only should your vendor’s primary focus be on doing business with those working in the field of dentistry, but they should also possess certain qualities.

The business relationships you form are important. Here’s what to look for:


Humans aren’t perfect. And even technology fails us from time to time. 

Mistakes happen, but it’s how the vendor handles errors that can make a difference. A good vendor will take responsibility and offer a quick solution.  


Dentistry has certain rules, regulations, and guidelines that every dental practice must follow. And sometimes that affects what products you can safely use.

Your vendor needs to know and understand those rules and regulations. They must also understand your target market. 


Remember that people do business with people not companies. Make sure you’re working with vendors whose culture and values closely match yours. 

You might want to find a supplier who’s always offering new products. Perhaps a supplier who can help you reduce your environmental footprint is more your style. 

Questions to Ask Suppliers

Here are a few questions to ask your supplier to find out if they’re a good fit:

  • What kind of companies do you usually work with?
  • Do you have a minimum order quantity?
  • What do they know about your dental practice?

Ask how detailed their quotes are. Those who tailor their quotes to your specific requirements are the ones to do business with. 


Every relationship thrives on good communication. And when working with suppliers, how they communicate will directly affect your relationship.

Make sure the companies you do business with communicate effectively by:

  • Responding in a timely manner
  • Is fluent in your language
  • Speaks openly and directly

Transparency in a company is important. When something goes wrong you want honesty. 

How to Reduce Overhead

The key is reducing overhead expenses without reducing the level of quality you provide your patients. That’s not always easy, but it is doable. 

Evaluate the True Cost of Supplies

Create a system to track your purchases and inventory. This will help you manage your budget and help you keep your supply company accountable. 

Remember you could be paying hidden costs such as:

  • Restocking fees
  • Defective product returns
  • Overstocked items held in inventory
  • Shipping and handling

Look for where you can maximize on a free offer. Make sure you always receive credit if a supplier makes a mistake and get it in writing. 

Consolidate Purchases

Buying items from several suppliers may not save you money. Even if their prices are lower, by not consolidating your purchases to one place, you’re giving away some of your purchasing power.

If one company has 100% of your business, they’re often more willing to provide better deals to keep your business. A company with only a small part of your business perhaps isn’t as willing to do so. 

Consider Quality Vs Price

Don’t buy the cheapest. Buy the best. A well-made item will last you longer and cost you less in the long run.

Also, your patients could notice if you’re using a quality brand. And that can make a difference in how they view your services.

Look for Rewards Programs

Vendors know how to help save you money. Ask them to teach you how to order more effectively. 

Also, it’s not uncommon for suppliers to offer special programs, weekly specials or free products. 

Make Us Your Supplier

We know that starting a dental practice requires hard work. And we’re here to help you reach your success goals as quickly as possible.

We can help supply you with all your dental needs at great prices. Click here to register for your new account today. 

Last modified: May 1, 2020

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