How to grow your dental practice

As the number of oral health practitioners grows in New Zealand the need for existing practitioners to raise the bar on their practice's service increases. And while the increase in practitioners doesn't automatically equate to increased competition for patients, the 309 person growth in newly registered practitioners indicates that the oral health fields are attracting more and more professionals within the country.

Some fields are proving more competitive than others with the following registered practitioner fluctuations observed by the Dental Council of New Zealand in each key discipline from 2017/18 to 2018/19:

  2017/18 2018/19 Change
Dentists and dental specialists 2,936 3,004 + 68
Oral health therapists 517 585 + 68
Dental hygienists 477 466 - 11
Dental therapists 508 442 - 16
Dental technicians 407 397 - 10
Clinical dental technicians 238 239 +1

And while some of this growth may be from overseas dental practitioners research has shown that the barriers to many looking to set-up their dental practices in New Zealand are exceptionally high. Several interviewees outlined that because the cost of dentistry in New Zealand was quite high the expectations from patients were also quite high, which places financial stress on those looking to set-up a new practice.

These standards are evident even in public reviews of dental practices across New Zealand. Several, like the example below from a practice in Hamilton, not only highlight service, processes and the standard of work but also things like the quality of the premises:

Dental practices

And this clinic by Dentec in Riccarton also won particular praise for the service, location and the quality of the practice fitout.

Dental practice solutions

So if you're looking to attract more patients, increase revenue and potentially grow your business across New Zealand then what are the areas you need to focus on?

Dental practice nz

Dental Practice Fit-out

The design of your practice enables you to offer a great service, put your patient's minds at ease and supports the delivery of a flawless procedure. From the reception to the treatment room your patient, especially a first time one, is assessing you. It may be a popular saying but judging a book by its cover is exactly what many patients do as your internal fitout is an indication of the care, attention and pride you take in your business.

The fitout is your first impression, while your service is the lasting impression. Therefore it makes sense that this is one of the main focus areas for growing your practice.

When creating a new practice you have complete freedom. Many landlords will support the changes you wish to make as the investment any oral health practice makes in the space locks them into a long-term lease, which benefits the landlord. And while the idea of a financing a new practice fitout may seem scary there are a number of options available. Even if a bank has turned you away there are still options ahead.

Specialist finance companies see oral hygiene practices as very low risk for lending, due to the almost guaranteed income streams ahead. As a rough guide, a practice fitout may cost around $500,000 and such lenders are happy to cover that figure with no proof of income required.

This enables any new or growing practice to prioritise the overall look of their location and keep patients smiling throughout their visit.

Book a no-obligation fitout consultation to see how we can create a space
patients want to come back to time and time again ››

Referrals and reviews

Understanding whether patients are happy with your service, and will come back again, is more than an unspoken agreement. For practices looking to grow from repeat customers there's a process of asking for feedback, and enacting change if required.

It may surprise you but 85% of purchasers find online reviews as helpful as personal recommendations, which means you have a real opportunity to have patients promote your practice to future customers. A Google My Business page is free to create and enables patients to leave feedback for others to read. This may seem daunting, as responding to negative feedback (if it arises) can be nerve-racking but the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks.

Good reviews can help your practice rank better than your local rivals in local Google searches. For example, if someone searches 'teeth whitening Christchurch' they're more likely to click on the first result than scroll to a lower one.


It's impossible to fully articulate the value you can place on a quality team. Not only do high-functioning staff members reduce stress, increase practice efficiencies and create an enjoyable workplace but they also put the patient's at ease and give them a great experience that can change their perception of dentistry for life.

Keeping good practitioners and training those that require improvement is an investment in your growth. As Richard Branson famously said “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.”

If you're looking to grow your dental practice then there are a few areas we can help. From identifying available locations for your next move to assisting with finance negotiations for your next design and build we can support your growth goals. As one of New Zealand's premier oral hygiene design and fitout specialists, we're experienced in all facets of creating the perfect environment for your work. From spaces that enable you to do your best work, an environment patient's will feel at ease to a place your staff will look forward to returning to we can be your perfect partner.

Why not let us look after your smile while you look after your patient's?

Book a free, no-obligation call to discuss your plans, no matter which stage you're at.


The team at Dentec operate across New Zealand. We are always happy to come to you and ensure we have a full understanding of your requirements and establish a strong foundation.