Setting up and running a dental clinic in India is no child’s play. We aim to make it simpler for you with this guide to estimating dental clinic costs. We discuss:

BDS (Bachelor of Dental Surgery) is a reputed degree and dentistry, a respectable, prestigious profession in our country. In India, there are a total of 295 dental colleges, which produce around 30,000 dentists per year. Till date 1.3 lakh dental students have registered with the Dental Council of India and the dentist-patient ratio is 1:5000 as against the desired ratio of 1:7500. This means there are more dentists available than necessary, and as a result, many dentists are now looking to quickly set up clinics in different parts of the country and start their dental practice as soon as possible.

Here is an overview of all common costs involved in setting up and running a dental practice:

Education: A big cost incurred even before starting practice

It would be incomplete to not include educational costs in this articles since they weigh heavily in the first few years of practice.

For first year BDS alone, the fee in a government college is around Rs. 47,400 for open category students, as against Rs. 9,600 for reserved category students. In private colleges, the fee structure varies between 2.5 lakhs to 3.25 lakhs per year, for a period of four years. That’s a total of anywhere between 10 lakhs to 13 lakhs, most of which could be student loan debt that students would end up repaying once they start their practice.

The costs of running a dental clinic in India can be broadly summarised into 2 groups:

  1. Treatment costs
  2. Running costs

1. Dental treatment costs: Those incurred for actual dental treatment

Dentists require various machines, instruments and implements to perform dental procedures. Here are some basic minimum requirements to be planned for:

  1. On-time costs for dental chair and hard equipment, which range between Rs. 2,00,000 to Rs. 10,00,000
  2. Other on-time costs for X-Ray sensors, dental drills, and basic hand instruments which together range around Rs. 2,00,000 to Rs. 4,00,000

All such equipment undergoes daily wear and tear and over a period of time requires replacement.

Apart from these, there are various costs incurred at a unit level, while performing procedures. Here is an indicative list:

A. Costs incurred for dental fillings

This is one of the most common procedures that requires dental drills, dental burs (‘drill bits’, i.e. small, sharp metallic objects used for cutting teeth) and filling material.

  1. Dental drills: Rs. 4000 to 20,000
  2. Dental burs: Rs. 500 to 3000 per bur (multiple such burs are required for one single filling)
  3. Filling material: Rs. 800 to 7000 for about 3 grams of ‘composite’ or tooth-coloured filling material

Routine fillings (also called ‘restorations’) cost between Rs. 500-2000 to the patient.

B. Costs incurred for tooth extraction

For this simple procedure, the dentist uses local anaesthesia, syringe & needle, dental forceps, cotton and sometimes dental drills.

  1. Dental forceps: Different teeth require different forceps; the cost of a single pair being Rs. 1000 to 2500
  2. Other equipment ends up costing Rs. 50 to 300 per patient

This common procedure costs the patient Rs. 100 to 5000, depending on complexity.

C. Costs incurred for root canal treatment (RCT)

Another routine procedure, RCT requires several implements: dental drills & burs, several X-rays, dental files, measuring gauges, antiseptic solution, filling material (gutta purcha), cements, and more. The cost for each one varies widely, but the total cost ranges around Rs. 300 to 1500 per patient.

RCT costs around Rs. 1000 to 5000 for the patient.

D. Costs incurred for dental crowns

This procedure has three stages:

  1. Tooth preparation, which requires dental drills & burs, impression material (material & equipment for recording measurements of the teeth) and temporary crowns. Generally costs Rs. 100 to 300.
  2. Crown fabrication, which is usually performed in a specialist dental laboratory. Depending on the nature & quality of the crown, costs range from Rs. 100 to 3000.
  3. Crown fixing, which requires cements, dental drills & burs, and costs around Rs. 25 to 100.

Patients generally pay Rs. 1000 to 10,000 for a single crown.

E. Costs incurred for dental implants

These are metallic screws used to fix artificial teeth into jawbones.

Since this is a surgical procedure, the costs related to surgery range from Rs. 500 to 3000. Placing dental implants also requires equipment such as physiodispensers (machines that help drill the implant into the bone) and special dental burs, which together cost Rs. 25,000 to 2,00,000. Apart from these, the dental implants themselves cost Rs. 1000 to 10,000.

The cost to the patient is around Rs. 20,000 to 50,000.

To sum it up, the total costs of all the above ends up crossing 6 figures. Its obvious that even basic costs incurred for simple procedures are fairly sizeable!

2. Running costs of a dental clinic: Those incurred independent of actual dental treatment

A dental clinic is a small business, and incurs similar costs to any commercial establishment. Here are some common costs:

  1. Rent and maintenance costs
  2. Electricity, water, phone & internet bills
  3. White goods, such as computers, air conditioners, refrigerators
  4. Staff, namely the receptionist, paramedical assistants & associate doctors
  5. Marketing costs, like signage and advertising

Any good set-up in a busy area of a city costs a fortune to make and maintain, and running costs vary widely. However, do expect these costs to be no less than Rs. 20,000 and to easily reach Rs. 1,00,000.

Property costs for dental clinics in India

Since rental costs keep changing from time to time, it is important to know general trends & rate brackets, for efficient planning. You can check out the commercial property rates at Magicbricks and Housing, among other websites.

It is clear that setting up and running a clinic is not easy, and with each passing day, costs are only going up. Prospective dentists must thus budget for costs correctly and rely on thorough market research to plan for their practice.

– Contributed by Dr. Rachita Narsaria

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The last word

There is great pressure for the doctor to recover education expenses, pay off loans, generate enough revenue to cover all fixed & running costs, and still take something home. We at Practo strive to empower doctors with knowledge and information to help manage their medical practice effectively (thus lowering costs), to market their practice (thus bringing in more revenue) and at the end of it all, to help make their lives more peaceful & stress-free.