Dental Practice Equipment Checklist

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You’ve made the decision to start your own dental practice. That’s great! When establishing your new dentist’s office, you’ll need a lot of supplies and equipment right off the bat. It can be confusing to know where to begin and leave you feeling defeated if you don’t have a plan. Our Dental Practice Equipment Checklist will get you on the right path.

Starting with a dental practice equipment checklist can help you combat overwhelm and keep your opening date and budget on track.

This dental equipment checklist will help you get headed in the right direction. It covers every aspect of a patient’s journey at your business — from the waiting room to examination and out the door.

Dental Practice Equipment Checklist

Waiting Room

The waiting room is a client’s first interaction with your business. You’ll want to offer them a positive experience that makes them feel welcome and comfortable. Set the tone with a calming wall color.

Add seating and accent tables to match your aesthetic and some forms of entertainment like magazines, a television and toys for kids. Finish the space with decorative elements like wall art, plants and an aquarium.

Items to consider:

  • Chairs
  • Accent tables
  • Wall art
  • TV
  • Magazines
  • Toys
  • Plants
  • Aquarium
Dental Practice Equipment Checklist
Photo by Jose Losada on Unsplash

Front Desk

You’ll also need an area for your office staff to work — a place for patients to check in and make their next appointments. Outfit it with traditional equipment like desks, computers, printers, file cabinets and phones.

For maximum efficiency, purchase plenty of paper and office supplies right at the beginning so you don’t have to worry about that for a while – or worse, run out of something at a key moment!

  • Desks
  • Computers
  • Printers
  • File cabinets
  • Phones
  • Paper
  • Office supplies

Small Instruments

Hand tools are the meat and potatoes of your business. No dental equipment list would be complete without handpieces, excavators, scalers and several other small but essential devices. You’ll need a decent selection of these tools for your dental hygienists and your own repair work.

  • Handpieces
  • Excavators
  • Scalers
  • Drills
  • Burs
  • Curettes
  • Scissors
  • Burnishers
  • Prophy Angles
  • Tweezers
  • Forceps
  • Pliers
  • Probes
  • Files
Dental Practice Equipment Checklist
Photo by Quang Tri NGUYEN on Unsplash

X-Ray Equipment and Supplies

Without on-site dental imaging, you have no way to confirm cavities and other oral problems. So you’ll want to secure this as soon as possible. An x-ray machine is one purchase you definitely want to research to ensure you’re getting a high-quality product — save plenty of room in your budget.

Spend some time looking at different kinds to determine what will best suit your needs and is in your price range. You’ll also need to get all the supplies that come with running the type of x-ray machine you select.

  • Your preferred type of x-ray machine
  • Type-specific supplies

Large Equipment

X-ray tech isn’t the end of your large equipment purchases. There are several other staples you’ll want to get before opening day. To give patients the best experience, you should get an ergonomic and adjustable chair for each exam room.

You’ll also want good overhead or wall mount lighting to assist your process. Some other dental office workhorses include compressors, vacuum pumps and a water filter.

  • Ergonomic exam chairs
  • Lighting
  • Compressor
  • Vacuum pump
  • Water filter

Dental Supplies

To conduct business, you’ll need a hefty stash of basic dental supplies. Wooden tongue depressors, cotton balls, swabs, applicator brushes and floss are just a handful of items you’ll want to have on hand. You should aim to have a few hundred of most of these since they’re one-time-use items. Teeth cleaning and repair products like toothpaste, fluoride, local anesthetic and resin are essential to the job you do each day.

  • Wooden tongue depressors
  • Cotton balls
  • Swabs
  • Applicator brushes
  • Floss
  • Dispensing tips
  • Toothpaste
  • Fluoride
  • Local Anesthetic
  • Resin
  • Composite
  • Painkillers
  • Cleaning paste
  • Needles
  • Syringes
  • Crown and bridge supplies


If you prefer a uniform look across your whole staff, you can purchase customized and branded scrubs for everyone. Otherwise, you could provide a stipend for your employees to buy their own. Either ask them to purchase the same scrubs from a specific retailer or give basic specifications for color and style.

Alternatively, you could encourage your staff to wear scrubs that match their personality, which might be a comforting touch to young patients.

Safety and Sanitation

Most safety and sanitary supplies are consumables, so order plenty to begin with. Nitrile gloves, surgical masks and eye protection are all must-haves. You’ll also need bibs and x-ray aprons for patients. Another necessity for any dental office is a way to keep all of your implements clean, like an ultrasonic cleaner and an autoclave. To keep the rest of the office clean, stock up on disinfectants and other typical cleaning supplies.

  • Nitrile gloves
  • Surgical masks
  • Eye protection
  • Bibs
  • X-ray aprons
  • Ultrasonic cleaner
  • Autoclave
  • Disinfectant
  • Cleaning supplies

Office Furniture

Don’t overlook the importance of the furniture in your dental office. The right choices will make your job much easier. You’ll want instrument trays, a desk and a computer. Choosing cabinetry that’s simple, functional and easy to keep clean will be a life saver for organizing all of your dentistry supplies.

  • Instrument trays
  • Desk
  • Computer
  • Cabinetry
  • Dentist chairs

Marketing Materials

As part of a solid business plan, you’ll want to focus a small chunk of your budget on advertising. Spread the news about your new business by purchasing ad space on the radio, in local papers and elsewhere, depending on your budget.

Nowadays, you should also plan to have a website — either pay for hosting and design one yourself or hire a professional to create one for you. Promotional materials like pens, toothbrushes and stickers make great freebies for clients and can help bring new business.

  • Ad space
  • Website
  • Promotional Items (pens, toothbrushes and stickers)

Set Yourself a Budget

As you work on your dental equipment checklist, setting a budget is an absolute must. With so many things to purchase, it’s far too easy to spend more than you really have available. Allocate most of your resources to the necessities, while decor should get a minimal amount of your money at the start. That said, you should be willing to spend enough to get high-quality items to help you deliver top-notch service.

Dental Practice Equipment Checklist = Smart Start

Your dental equipment list will depend on the services you plan to offer at the start and could be heavily based on the amount you have to spend. It’s perfectly alright not to have enough for everything on the list. You just might have to scale back your initial offerings. Try beginning with simple cleanings and fillings, and keep staff limited until you get on your feet.

Still Not Sure?

If you are still contemplating starting your own dental practice, take a look at these 3 signs to see if a dental practice is right for you.

Dental Practice Equipment Checklist
Beth Rush

About the Author

Beth Rush

Beth Rush is the Managing Editor and Content Manager at Body+Mind.

Body+Mind features articles about diet, fitness, mental health, parenting and health care.



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