Data aids new dentists in deciding where to practice

Wouldn’t it be nice if simply putting a wet fi nger in the wind were enough to fi gure out where to open a new dental practice — or where to fi nd work at an existing one?

Dr. Partha Mukherji of Forth Worth, Texas (middle), launched a private practice in 2012. Here he participates in a table breakout session at the 2012 ADA Evidence-Based Dentistry Champions Conference in Chicago.

Dr. Partha Mukherji of Forth Worth, Texas (middle), launched a private practice in 2012. Here he participates in a table breakout session at the 2012 ADA Evidence-Based Dentistry Champions Conference in Chicago.

Knowing which direction to take when making such important career decisions takes more data than that, of course. Thankfully, brave souls have paved the well-worn path to opening a new practice or deciding where to seek a position. Some have left a trail in the form of advice for new dentists.

Dr. Partha Mukherji of Fort Worth, Texas, for instance, has a few trail tips to share on figuring out where to open a practice. He graduated from Baylor College of Dentistry in 2001 and from the University of Texas School of Dentistry in Houston in 2002, where he completed a one-year postgraduate general practice residency in hospital dentistry focusing on the treatment of medically and physically compromised patients. Then he went to work as an associate.

“After practicing 11 years as an associate in private and corporate settings, I felt confident that I could do dentistry on my own,” he said. “Still, I wasn’t too confident on the business aspects of dentistry. In hindsight, I probably should’ve established my own office sooner. But, hindsight is 20/20.”

Foresight, with data, can also be 20/20. Before deciding where to hang a shingle and open for business, Dr. Mukherji consulted professionals. One of the first things he did was call on a reputable dental practice real estate agency. He made his choice of business location largely based on their assessment of the area. They helped Dr. Mukherji review such variables as demographics and the saturation of dentists in the area.

But Dr. Mukherji also calculated his decision based on certain personal preferences. “I lived in the area, was active in the area and wanted to practice in that area,” he said. He also asked friends, colleagues, specialists and dental vendors for their input. “I found that to be valuable, too,” he said.

Dr. Mukherji advises tapping ADA resources, such as statistical reports. The ADA also refers member dentists to data sources to explore when assessing where to practice. A few suggested resources:

US Census Bureau — Factfinder: Provides population information on household income, education, and many other demographics. Start by entering a city or zip code under the “Community Facts” heading in the left column.

2013 Color-coded zip codes, median household income: Provides a color-coded overview of zip codes ranked by income and education level. Clicking on the map will bring up additional details about the zip code’s income and education level. To locate the map, search the newspaper website for “super zips.”

Wells Fargo Practice Finance: Provides statistical information, including population variables for both residential and employed populations; socio-economic indicators including economics, education and housing; and number of existing practices in designated area.

10 comments

  • Good to know new practice in dental field, This changes are very much needed in dentistry to over come many challenges, along with the technical changes doctors need to reach out as many patients as they can by using technology in healthcare eVaidya.com is one of the successful model in that, good to know this changes are coming in healthcare, thank you for sharing this insights..

  • Awesome post! Deciding where to put up a practice is always a bit of a gamble, thankfully there’s now a way to help with that decision. Thanks for sharing these resources!

  • Feeling very good after knowing that there is new practice in dental field

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  • I think this information will help a lot of dentists who wish to open their own practice. It’s always good to do a lot of research before making big decisions, so I’m sure that the advice and the resources provided in this article will really benefit a lot of dentists.

  • This was a useful post and I think it is rather easy to see from the other comments as well that this post is well written and useful. I bookmarked this blog a while ago because of the useful content and I am never being disappointed. Keep up the good work.

  • Nice Reading. One of the biggest change a dentist should do to deciding where to practice, starts dental practicing using renting or buying mobile dental clinic.

  • Great article. Location is always key for traffic, but, the practice itself must provide a value. Whether you’re a dentist that is going for the low-income segment or a dentist that is going after the higher market. Both sides of the paradigm must serve and do something unique. Whether is providing extended or after hour care or providing spa-like treatments. This goes without saying that the service also has to be there.

  • Great article, location is key, At the same time, it should be pointed that it’s but one dimension of finding patients. When I started my practice, choosing location/area was not an option (due to my husband’s career), and the Bellevue / Redmond market is quite saturated. Yet, by finding particular segments of the population to focus on, and providing great service, we went from 0 to fully booked in less than three months.

  • Aside from those mentioned in the article, here’s another tip from NYU:

    “Another favorable location for a new practice is in a professional medical-dental complex near a hospital. Such a site is convenient for referrals and provides exposure to a health-oriented population. Such buildings usually are modern and attractive, presenting a positive and professional image that exemplifies modern health care. A professional building near a busy shopping center combines the benefits of this type of building with a high traffic location.”

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