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Navigating Dental Practice Buy-ins: A Guide for Aspiring Practice Owners.

The dental industry continues to evolve, offering various paths for professionals to establish or expand their careers. One avenue a dentist can take involves buying into a practice, allowing dentists to acquire partial or full ownership of an existing practice. Let’s explore the concept of dental practice buy-ins and the financing options available to help you make an informed decision and secure a successful partnership.

Understanding Dental Practice Buy-ins

A dental practice buy-in is a process where a dentist purchases a percentage or complete ownership of an existing practice, either by becoming a partner with the current owner(s) or buying them out. This arrangement provides several benefits for both the purchaser and the practice’s current owner(s):

  1. Professional collaboration: Joining an established practice enables dentists to work alongside experienced colleagues — fostering a supportive environment that promotes professional growth.

  2. Shared resources: Buy-ins facilitate resource sharing, such as equipment, office space and administrative staff — reducing costs and boosting efficiency.

  3. Established patient base: Buying into an existing practice grants access to an existing patient base, community relationships and reputation.

  4. Easier transition: Starting a new dental practice can be daunting and expensive. A buy-in can provide a more stable income stream and a smoother transition.

  5. Succession planning: Buy-ins can be an effective succession strategy for retiring dentists, ensuring continuity of care for patients and a gradual practice handover.


Common Financing Options for Dental Practice Buy-ins

Securing financing is a critical aspect of dental practice buy-ins. Here are six common financing options to help you determine the best approach for your situation:

  1. Conventional bank loans: Many banks traditionally offer loans tailored to dental practice acquisitions. Some banks will offer 100% financing while others require a down payment and are secured by the practice's assets. Applicants must have a solid credit history and demonstrate their ability to repay the loan.

  2. Seller financing: Sometimes, the current owner(s) may provide funding for the buy-in. This option can be more flexible and requires fewer credit checks, but it depends on the seller's financial capabilities and willingness to offer financing.

  3. Personal savings or investments: Financing a buy-in using personal savings or assets can help avoid interest payments and debt, but may deplete personal financial resources.

  4. Partnerships: Forming partnerships with other dental professionals or investors can help distribute financial risk and provide additional resources, but it also involves sharing ownership and decision-making authority.

  5. Small Business Administration (SBA) loans: The SBA provides government-backed loans for small businesses, including dental practice buy-ins. These loans often have longer repayment terms and lower down payment requirements than conventional loans, although the application process can be more time-consuming, unless an SBA Preferred Lender, such as Commerce Bank, is used.

  6. A combination of multiple options: Sometimes, the best strategy may be a mixture of the financing options above. For example, if the seller provides partial financing for a buy-in opportunity, it may make sense to work with a bank to determine if a conventional bank loan can be used to make up the remaining costs.


Choosing the Right Financing Option

Before pursuing financing, evaluate the dental practice's financial health, patient base and growth potential. Consider the associated risks and benefits, and consult financial advisors, accountants and attorneys to ensure you understand the terms and obligations clearly.

When assessing financing options, consider the following factors:

  1. Interest rates: Compare the interest rates and fees associated with various financing options to determine the most cost-effective choice.

  2. Repayment terms: Evaluate the repayment terms, including the loan term, monthly payments and prepayment penalties.

  3. Down payment requirements: Analyze the needs and assess whether you can afford the upfront costs.

  4. Eligibility criteria: Determine if you meet the eligibility criteria for each financing option.


Dentists looking to explore conventional bank loan options should consider Commerce Bank as their primary lender. With a variety of traditional loan options specialized to meet the needs of the dental industry, Commerce is dedicated to helping streamline the practice buy-in process, providing greater flexibility to dentists that are serious about expanding or entering the industry for the first time.

Our dental financing professionals will work with you to determine the best affordable funding option available — allowing you to focus on running your new practice.

Visit our website for more information about how Commerce Bank can assist you with your dental practice buy-in.