Where to Set Up Your Dental Practice – Urban Areas vs Small Towns?

How to choose where to practice dentistry? Should you choose an Urban Area for your dental practice or Small Town? This post will answer this question and help you in taking a decision.

In this post, we will explore the possibilities and advantages/disadvantages of opening a dental practice in a small town compared to much wanted urban areas. Therefore, this post is aimed at both new dental graduates and also for experienced dental practitioners who wish to expand further. 

For every dentist (New or Old) it is always the priority to first establish a posh and successful dental practice in an urban location. It is a familiar feeling, and it has been the norm for many years.

There is the notion that, starting a dental practice in an urban area makes it more profitable and quicker success. Moreover, to some extent it is still true but not in entirety.

In last decade or so, the scenario has changed a lot, and presently opening or expanding your dental practice at an urban location does not guarantee you immediate or delayed success.

In fact, there are multiple cases of failure where dentists have invested millions in setting up a practice at a posh urban area which ultimately did not click leading to substantial financial losses.

Dental Practice Management

With this introduction, let us start with our current case study. We asked around 500 dentists (a mix of new and old dentists within the age group of 35). Our questions were simple:

Would you like to open or expand your dental practice in small semi-urban town away from the primary urban area?

What are the various advantages and disadvantages of doing so?

From the responses, this article has been written with a clear-cut aim to make dentists understand the various possibilities of establishing a dental practice in small towns.

Advantages of having a dental practice in a metro city or urban area

Dental Practice Management
Advantages of Urban Practice ©

1. The general public is more aware of oral health importance. Therefore they are more willing to undergo dental treatments (if required) as they realize the value of good oral health. It leads to more revenue and professional growth (this aspect is on a constant rise in small towns and semi-urban area too)

2. More paying capacity of patients leading to more money inflow to the practice (this factor is not fixed but fluctuating with increase in inflation and price of the commodities)

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Dental Awareness ©

3. You have the option to target only high paying clients/patients to your dental clinic which increases your chances to earn more for a lesser quantity of work.

4. The most prominent advantage is to stay in an urban city with all the modern day amenities. You can have a level of lifestyle that you desire for. (However, most of the small towns are also gradually getting better in this aspect)

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Rich Dentist ©

5. It is relatively easy to arrange all the materials required for setting up a clinic in the urban area. (Here also, dental companies are now willing to supply products to small towns unlike before)

6. Communication: Staying and practicing in the Urban locations is beneficial in regards to communication via roads and flights. It gets easy for you to travel (This is one thing that smaller towns might lack. But the connectivity is always improving)

7. Better facility for your family: Urban locations provide better facilities for a dentist’s family in regards to schools, hospitals, malls and recreational spots.

8.  A Practice in Urban Area gives the opportunity to a dentist to increase his/her social presence over a period. There is more wholesome opportunity to grow in stature and riches.

See Next Slide: What are the DISADVANTAGES of having a dental practice in a Metro City

In this post, we are exploring the possibilities and advantages/disadvantages of opening a dental practice in a small town compared to much wanted urban areas. Therefore, this post is aimed at both new dental graduates and also for experienced dental practitioners who wish to expand further. 

Disadvantages of having a dental practice in a metro city or urban area

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1. The PRICE/EXPENDITURE factor: Establishing a practice in an entirely urban area requires a significant financial investment. It is similar to creating a startup where you keep on investing capital with the hope that it will work.

However, if your financial background is NOT STRONG to start with or you raise a considerable amount of LOAN from the market you immediately are burdened with DEBT.

For a start have a look at this post below, that covers all the financial points required for a dentist. Learn how to arrange funds for either starting a new set up or expanding your existing clinic brand.

Arranging Money to Start or Expand Your Dental Practice – Dental Practice Management

2. The High Prices of Real Estate: If you do not own your personal practice space, then it can get costly to pay the monthly rental. In addition to that, the rent will keep on increasing annually.

3. The High and Increasing cost of living: Better lifestyle is one of the reasons why people flock urban areas. However, if your practice is still picking up (without any additional source of revenue), it can get stressful to maintain the increasing costs of an Urban Life Style with modern amenities.

Dental Practice Management

4. High Expectation from Patients: Be aware that patients in the urban sector are highly demanding. They can pay the high prices you charge. However, you as a dentist need to be perfect in your work.

Most of the urban dentists we talked with, reported this as a constant stress point. It is the pressure of always being correct and satisfying the patients. If you cannot handle this, then your practice will go into loss very soon by a quick-spreading negative publicity.

Dental Practice Management

5. The Constant Need to Promote Yourself: In the urban areas, there is already a massive crowd of dentists (both new and established). So, just setting up a practice will not make it successful. There is a constant requirement for you to promote it.

Take it for granted, it is a mad rush. You will be under constant pressure to stay visible in the crowd of an ever-increasing number of dentists.

You will also need to spend much money to promote yourself in every online and offline medium. There is no way out, and many dentists complained that it does put them under a lot of pressure.

Dental Practice Management

6. You need to put extra effort into getting new patients. In an urban setup, just being good in your work does not guarantee success. You are in the constant struggle to get new patients in your practice. It is an ongoing process every day. Doing so is not easy, and many dentists also reported this as another high-stress point.

Read this article to know how to get new patients to your dental practice in the crowd of dental practices.

9 Ways to Attract New Patients To Your Dental Practice

See Next Slide: What are the Advantages of having a dental practice in a Small Town & Semi-Urban Area

In this post, we are exploring the possibilities and advantages/disadvantages of opening a dental practice in a small town compared to much wanted urban areas. Therefore, this post is aimed at both new dental graduates and also for experienced dental practitioners who wish to expand further. 

Advantages of having a dental practice in a small town/semi-urban areas

In the 21st century, it is sensible to know that, the concepts of small towns are no more applicable. Due to increasing online and road connectivities, the majority of the small towns are well connected to the cities.

Not only that, small towns provide many advantages to a young dentist which an Urban location can never provide.

1. Less Financial Burden: 

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It is one of the most important benefits of working in a small town. The cost of every aspect is low compared to urban centers. You will need to spend less money in:

  • Cost of setting up a clinic.
  • The amount that you need to loan from the banks.
  • Lower maintenance cost.

The above three cost-related factors will significantly reduce the financial burden which a dentist otherwise would have faced in the Urban location.

In short, you would not be facing a massive amount of Debt.

2. You do not need to fight an Army of Dentists

Unlike in Urban centers (where there is a vast crowd of dentists competing for patients), in a small town set-up, you can be hugely relaxed.

Dental Practice Management

You are no more part of the rat race fighting and struggling every day to get new patients. There is no backbiting or name-shaming the other dentists.

Majority of the dentists practicing in the small town feel they are much more relaxed and happy at work than their friends who are facing the competition in the urban sectors.

3. Much easier to make your mark as a Dentist:

In the overpopulated dentist numbers in the urban sectors, it is complicated and time-consuming to make a name for yourself.

A dentist may have all the charm and efficient skills as a dental surgeon, however, it will still not be enough to make a mark. Why? Due to the simple fact that patients have many options to choose from. There is also a high-level negative politics at work.

In a small town set-up, professional life is easier as the number of dentists is limited. If you are good at your work, you will soon name, fame and money as a dentist in that area.

Also, the cost of promoting yourself is minimal. All you require is good behavior, some local marketing in the town and nearby areas, limited online marketing and attending social events.

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4. Better financial stability that leads to stronger future

A dental practice set-up in a small town gives you more chances to cover the first 3 points mentioned before. It overall leads to a much better financial future and stability.

In a short period of years, a dentist stands to make a name for himself, his practice and also earn respectable finance for his family/himself.

All this leads to a much more relaxed lifestyle than struggling in the fast track and highly competitive urban area dental practice sector.

The professional career of a dentist comprises of 5 professional stages. As stated by Dr. Pranav Agale (from, every dentist has to go through 5 Stages in his/her career.

5 Stages in the Professional Life cycle of a Dentist

Our comparative interaction with Dentists in Urban location and small towns indicated that the small town dentists are much more relaxed in completing all the stages in the career of a dentist.

Next Slide: The Conclusion

So, what is better?

Setting a Dental Practice in Urban Metro or a Small Town/Semi Urban Area?

In this post, we are exploring the possibilities and advantages/disadvantages of opening a dental practice in a small town compared to much wanted urban areas. Therefore, this post is aimed at both new dental graduates and also for experienced dental practitioners who wish to expand further. 

So, what do you feel is better for a Dentist?

To set up a practice in an Urban Area or a Small Town?

The reality is there is “no hard fast and applicable to all answer” for this. It will vary from one dentist to another depending on many factors.

Dental Practice Management

Therefore, assess your factors thoroughly.

See again the previous two slides where we have discussed the advantages and disadvantages of practicing in Urban and Small Towns.

Based on those points, ask yourself the following questions before deciding on starting/expanding your dental practice set up in an URBAN/METRO location

  1. What is your exact financial backing/scenario?
    • Can you afford to spend money to set up a practice in an Urban area?
    • Can you afford the monthly rental if you do not have your own land?
    • Can you pay for the cost of marketing your dental practice in Urban Area?
    • Can you take a huge loan and repay the premiums in time?
  2. Are you mentally (with all awareness) ready to face the following:
    • High competition with thousands of Dentist?
    • The struggle to continually get new patients?
    • Additional expenditure and extra efforts to promote yourself among the crowd of dentists?
    • Significant financial costs for establishing & maintaining clinic + considerable promotional activities.
    • A lot of stress to handle.

If the above questions make you uneasy, then maybe URBAN AREA dental practice is not suitable for you at the moment.


Please keep in mind that we are not saying that NO NEW DENTIST should start a dental practice in an URBAN AREA. One may not have all the favorable factors at the same time to start an Urban Dental Practice. However, there must be a proper planning and steely resolve.

Though tough, yet, if you succeed in an URBAN PRACTICE (facing all the difficult points mentioned above), then you stand to gain a lot financially and socially. Many dentists once they succeed in Urban Dental Practice expand to other cities or smaller towns.

The reverse can also be done, which is the focus of this article. You can always start a practice in a smaller town, build on it, make a name for yourself, establish financial stability and regular income for your family, accumulate some savings and then expand to Urban Areas.

We hope this article gave you useful points to consider for your dental career.

In our final discussion with dentists, we found that the practices set up in small towns showed a lower gross income (compared to the similar Urban city based practices).

However, the overall financial losses or the failure rate of dental practices in Urban/Metro areas were much higher.

In contrast, majority (almost more than 96%) practices in small towns were financially successful within a year and then subsequently generating a stable earning for the dentist.

Hence, as we mentioned before, STABILITY is the KEY here.