Starting a Dental Practice

  • Price: £5.99
  • Published: August 2016
  • Type: Business Opportunity Profile
  • Format: PDF
  • What qualifications and skills are required?
  • Key market issues and trends
  • Trading, commercial and legal issues
  • Legislation
  • Further information

Dental practices provide dental treatment and prescriptions for dental medicines, regular dental check-ups (usually once every six months) and advice about oral hygiene. Most practices also supply toothbrushes, toothpaste and other dental products, and some dispense dental medicines to private patients.

Practices are usually owned and run either by a single qualified dentist, two or more qualified dentists working in partnership or a limited company. Practice proprietors typically employ dentists and certain types of dental care professionals such as orthodontic therapists and dental hygienists, dental technicians and dental nurses, as well as administrative staff such as practice managers and receptionists.

The majority of dental practices provide a mix of NHS-funded dental treatment and private treatment. Some types of treatment, such as teeth whitening, are only available if paid for privately. In order to provide NHS-funded treatment, the practice proprietor must have entered into a contract with NHS England or the equivalent commissioning body in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The volume and type of NHS-funded treatment that the practice can provide depends on the type of NHS contract and negotiations with the commissioning body.

Dentistry is a regulated profession and it is illegal to practise as a dentist or dental care professional without being registered with the General Dental Council (GDC). Dental practices must also be registered with the GDC, and practice proprietors and dentists may need to be registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) or equivalent national healthcare regulator, depending on where in the UK the practice is based and the type of treatment provided. Once a dentist is registered, they can complete postgraduate training to expand the services and treatment the practice can provide.

This profile provides information about starting up and running a dental practice. It describes the skills required, the training available, the current market trends and some of the key trading issues. It also explains the legislation that must be complied with and provides sources of further information and support.

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