Where Do Dentists Buy Their Supplies?

Explore where dentists buy their supplies for quality dental tools and equipment. Find trusted sources and maximize your clinic's efficiency.

Becoming a dentist usually takes eight years, with the first four earning a bachelor’s degree and four years at a school of dentistry. Once done, you can work for someone else as part of a team or open up your own office and build a clientele to work with.

Along with the price of school comes the need for equipment, which is highly crafted tools of the trade that must be acquired.

Where do dentists get their supplies?

1. They Inherit It

No, I’m not talking about a loved one leaving their equipment to you in a will or as part of an estate. This would only work if both parties are dentists.

Rather, this is when a dentist is retiring and selling their practice to another dentist. The new owner will not only be purchasing the clientele and potentially the same location, but they also get all the operational equipment to run the business. These supplies may be cutting-edge or dated, depending on the needs and focus of the previous owner, but either way, you acquire them through the deal.

2. Private Supplier

There are companies dedicated to selling various supplies to dentists, and they are not part of a large corporation or chain. These are generally family-run, but don’t let that bring visions of a small operation.

Many provide supplies to thousands of dentists with a history dating back decades. They provide items like dental dam and other supplies that dentists use in their daily routines.

3. Dental Liquidators

Some companies acquire used equipment and resell it to dentists at lower rates. These are second-hand, but that doesn’t mean they are not safe. They are all approved equipment made of high-quality materials, and this is a way to recycle supplies and get more use out of them. While not all dental supplies should be second-hand, many are safe and ready to be reimplemented in service for dental care.

4. Dental Supply Reps

Doctors and dentists get regular visits from supply reps, and this is a great way to have your supplies brought to you. These individuals are knowledgeable and well-versed in the latest equipment and supplies you could implement into your business. Supply companies hire them to market their products, so you may not see all available outside of a particular company they represent. Still, it is a great resource for customer support and networking within your industry.

5. Dental Supply Companies

These are companies, brick-and-mortar and online, where you can find the supplies you need. Most stock many SKUs from various manufacturers, and they have dedicated staff to help you make your purchases. You build relationships with the suppliers and often have a dedicated rep who works with you continuously. This makes the whole buying process easier.

You want to work with a supplier that makes things easier and offers things like:

  • Transparent pricing
  • Same day shipping
  • No contracts
  • Friendly service

Find a dental supply company that fits your needs and makes you a priority in their operation. Having this kind of relationship makes purchasing supplies easy and seamless.

6. Mail Order Distributors

Some supply companies operate through call centres, where you phone in to make specific orders for the items you need. They usually have a smaller selection and don’t typically sell equipment. Some have sales reps but don’t physically visit your office. They may contact you by phone or email.

7. Fulfillment Houses

A fulfillment house is there to fulfill orders through various vendors. These companies can be a great resource, but you are not sure where the supplies are coming from, and it could be dangerous if they are procured from the “gray market.’

8. Dental Supply Chain

This is how the dental supply chain works.

Design and Development of Products

This is where manufacturers produce supplies and equipment for dental practices.

Testing Of Products

Testing must be done to ensure the product’s safety, effectiveness and reliability.


Upon completion of testing, products are mass-produced and made available to the market through various supply companies or directly to dental providers via sales reps.

Product Selection

Dentists look through catalogues to decide on what supplies they need. Many companies only stock a small amount and work on a just-in-time fulfilment model to save on inventory space.

Order Placement

After a dentist selects their products, orders are placed with the supplier, and they, in turn, get their orders fulfilled by the manufacturer.


Once ordered, the supplies are directly delivered to the dental office or brought in through a sales representative.

Use of Products

A dentist now has the supplies to use during their regular operation.

This is where dentists buy their supplies. It is nice to have options, and many dentists use various methods depending on their needs and product availability. Ultimately, a dentist wants to build a relationship with their supplier and seek a supply arrangement that suits them best.

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