Common Practice Problems Overlooked By The Owner

Common Practice Problems Overlooked By The Owner

Having been in the industry for more than 13 years now, I have held many roles in dental practices throughout the years. I have held the title of dental assistant, manager, front office staff member, marketing, and now, a consultant to all patients. I have been through and seen my fair share of issues within a dental practice. I typically see doctors overlook the same issues on a daily basis. Here are just a few of those issues.


Team meetings are one of the most important things you can do for your dental practice. A team of happy staff members will result in better patient care and experience. Asking your team for input will make them feel like they are contributing to the practice. Team members will feel engaged and more comfortable with making suggestions in the future. Also, facilitating an organized meeting is key. Have an agenda and stick to it. Give yourself a time limit on each topic and make sure you revisit topics from previous meetings during the current meeting to address changes that are needed. There is no point in discussing what needs to change if you do not follow up and make sure changes are being implemented.


I bet most doctors think they know how long their procedures take and typically their perception is that a procedure takes 30 minutes less than it does in reality. How do know how much time to allow for your procedures? Simple, time each procedure and determine the average. The average will give you the best idea of how long to allow for each procedure. Expecting your patients to show up on time and then not seating them for their procedure upon arrival will result in unhappy patients. Change your patient’s perspective on healthcare by showing them you care about their time.

Tracking numbers.

Tracking your numbers is key to a successful practice. Doctors, do you know how much money you need to pay the bills and for your practice to survive every month? Do you keep track of dollars presented, collected, and what patients scheduled an appointment for treatment? Are you aware of how much money you are spending on marketing and what that marketing is getting you? It is so important to track these numbers on a daily basis. Your team needs to be aware of these numbers for the practice as well. Every practice needs to make a certain amount of income every month to pay the bills, so be sure to share this number with your team. If your team has no idea what that number is, then it is like playing a basketball game and never knowing the score.


Trust your team if they collectively tell you that a team member is not working out and contributing their fair share. If that is the case, then maybe that team member needs to go. I tend to see the doctor focus only on the chair side aspect when training team members and failing to see areas in which a team member’s skills are lacking. When this happens, it can negatively affect the office as a whole. There is a familiar saying that, “if one person calls you a horse consider the source, if seven people call you a horse get a saddle.” A dental office cannot operate without happy team members that work well together. Your team is the foundation of your practice.


Leadership is an individual’s ability to provide direction, implement plans and motivate people to help carry out those plans. In the fast-paced world of dentistry, we may not always have the time to “sugar coat” work that has been done incorrectly. This behavior can have a huge impact on team members and their attitude towards their work, as well as you. Acknowledging good behavior and praising them for it can go a long way. Most people are not driven by more money but instead are driven by recognition of a job well done and for appreciation from their boss and peers.

The Study, funded by Make Their Day, an employee motivation firm, and Badgeville, a gamification company, surveyed 1,200 U.S. employees from a broad cross-section of industries.  Among the study’s highlights:

– 83% of respondents said recognition for contributions was more fulfilling than any rewards or gifts

– 76% found peer praise very or extremely motivating

– 88% found praise from managers very or extremely motivating

– 90% said a “fun work environment” was very or extremely motivating

Ignoring these aspects of management will inevitably hold your dental practice back from flourishing. Plus, you will likely end up with dissatisfied employees. Be sure to take time and step back for a moment, consider how well your office stacks up against these common issues. If you are overlooking these issues within your office, consider changing the way you direct your office and your employees.