As soon as a dentist graduates, he/she is faced with a tough decision. Obviously the best scenario is in being able to pursue a PG degree. But, this is not always possible.
The reasons are many & varied. Whatever they may be, you have to switch to plan B. Whether it is going for Govt service or setting up a private practice is something you have to thoroughly think about before reaching the crucial conclusion.
A bachelors degree with that one-year internship should have prepared you for the vagaries of being a dentist. Some of the best dentists are the ones with only a bachelors degree. They have reached the pinnacle of their profession through the dint of hard work & constant self-examination.
If you do not feel that you have had enough exposure to various cases, you could try senior internship or working under someone who has an established practice. This way you can prepare yourself for the road to your own practice.
Once you do decide to set up your own office, there are certain things that should be kept in mind.
3) Partnership or Individual set up?
If you have been to any of those business seminars that are constantly going on, you would have become familiar with the importance of location. The marketing gurus are right. A good location does give your clinic a fair amount of visibility. That always helps because in the early days of your practice you want to be able to reach as many people as possible. Once you have got the location scouted the next step is investment, easily the most important consideration.
A really good set up will cost you around 2.5-3 lacs (INR). This is inclusive of the chair, x-ray equipment & other normal armamentarium. One thing that has to be kept in mind is that there is plenty of room for you, your staff & the patients to move about. I have been to clinics where the space is so congested that the dentist himself cannot move. So keep plenty of space to have a pleasant environment. A visit to a dentist is considered very stressful so having a pleasant ambience should get rid of the butterflies.
Finally, keeping in mind the exorbitant costs of upkeep, you should consider taking in a partner. This is purely a personal decision. But having a partner will lessen the initial financial burden that you will have to work under.
But believe me, a private dental practice, no matter where the set up, is a pretty lucrative one. And the satisfaction that you get out of administering a successful treatment is immense. Work towards building up a good reputation for yourself, that way you will be able to attract patients, no matter what the rest of them say.
Finally, remember the Hippocratic oath. It will stand you in good stead when the going gets tough.