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How Many Patients Should a Dental Practice Have?

How many patients should a dental practice have

It is most likely that you’ve visited a dentist at least once in your life. It could be that you had to clean up plaque from your teeth, remove a troublesome tooth, check for dental attrition, or get braces. There is also a chance that you run a practice and have to spend most of your days visiting your clinic in order to help others. If you belong to this last group, then this article is for you.

Many dental clinics exist around the US. As of 2019, about 200,000 active dental professionals exist in the US, with a total of about 189,000 dental practices serving over 300 million Americans nationwide. This leaves a total of about 1500 patients to one dental professional considering the dental professional’s demographics.

But what happens in a case where only 189,000 practices exist? How many patients should a dental practice have? 

Keep reading to find out.

Table of Contents

Who Runs a Dental Practice?

A dental practice is run by a licensed dental practitioner. It could be a solo dentist or a group of dentists operating from one office or different individual sites. In most states, it is prohibited for unlicensed individuals to run a dental practice. However, states like Arizona, Ohio, and a few others allow ownership of dental practices by unlicensed entities.

Certainly, dental practices are run by professional dentists. However, there are some roles that require non-medical professionals, such as a marketer or receptionist. Other Dental professionals are general dentists, associate dentists, and dental hygienists. Other roles are dental nurse, dental technician, and dental therapist. 

How Many Patients Should a Dental Practice Have?

If you run a solo general dental practice, then you should have about 1500 active patients a year. That is a daily average of 6 patients. This will give the dentist ample time to handle each patient’s case satisfactorily. 

Generally, a dental practice with two hygiene rooms and two restorative rooms should produce about 1.125 million dollars per year with an individual patient billing of 750 dollars per annum. When you divide the annual income of 1.125 dollars by 750 dollars, it also gives you a total of 1500 patients. 

A dental hygienist can see an average of 8 patients per day while working with a hygiene assistant for an eight-hour shift. It helps to set a higher standard, like scheduling up to 12 patient meetings to make up for “no-shows” and canceled appointments.

In cases where the practice is run by a group, then a few more patients can be seen annually. 

Dentist showing patient their teeth
Smiling dental assistant

Dental Practice Statistics That Every Dentist Should Review?

It is established that a dental practice should have an average annual billing of about 1500 patients and could hold more to generate more revenue and become a more profitable firm. This can be a challenge for many practicing dentists, considering some factors such as patient relocation and death, but dentists should always prioritize comprehensive and preventative care above profits.

Here are some of the statistics that can help a dentist maintain an adequate patient influx to the clinic.

1. Number of Cancellations or No-Shows

It is essential to track the number of cancellations or no-shows that a dental practice receives. Following up with the reason for the cancellations can help the practice make improvements that can increase their patient numbers to optimal levels. Two or three calls to your per patient to maximize the chances of them coming in

2. Ratio of Treatment Presented in Relation to Treatment Accepted

Documenting information on the number of treatments accepted can help dentists and staff make improvements to their treatment plans and skills. An acceptance ratio of 70% to 90% is a good benchmark when compared with the treatment plan presented. This can greatly impact your annual revenue and bottom line.

3. Production Rate per Hour in a Dental Practice

Tracking how much gross and net income you are capable of producing per hour helps you calculate your productivity level and make structured plans. A number of practices earn about 100 dollars per hour, but the productivity rate can be increased to 300 per hour or even more. 

4. Ratio of Unscheduled Units for Doctors & Hygienists

Tracking how many patients are scheduled can help determine the efficiency of doctor-to-patient. Many practices end up having a surplus of staff because fewer patients schedule dentist appointments, and as an employer, you need to monitor your staff-patient ratio. 

5. Number of New Patient Phone Inquiries in Comparison With Actual Appointments Set

This is mostly about the effectiveness of the marketing style employed by the practice. When the number of actual appointments set by new patients who made inquiries is much lower than the number of phone inquiries, then the marketing style may need to be adjusted. 

Other worthy numbers to take note of are the number of new patients seen, the average annual billing per patient, the total patient base including active patients, the adjustments made in the practice, and the detail of documented financial figures compared with the actual money in the bank.  

How To Start A Dental Assisting School in Texas


Having 1,500 patients at your dental practice is a good guide to be able to run a profitable and stable dental office.

Dental professionals play a significant role in helping people maintain optimal oral hygiene. While many of them enjoy the practical part of their job, running a dental practice can be a bit of hard work. It is thus important to understand what is involved in running a practice and be fully equipped with how to deal with it.

At MCP schools, we help you turn that hard work into simple tasks that can be accomplished with the greatest of ease. Our guidelines equip you with some of the rudiments for running your clinic and even opening a dental assistant training school.


Click the Calendly icon below to schedule a 45-min Discovery Call with our CEO, Julian Milian, and learn how MCP can help your dental practice scale in 2022 and beyond!

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