Dentistry Management: How to Run a Successful Dental Practice
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To patients, they go to the dentist for one reason: to see the dentist. But a dental office is so much more than just one practitioner. It takes a group of dedicated employees to keep a practice running.
A firm understanding of dental office job titles will empower you to hire the right people to deliver an exceptional level of service. If you’re learning how to start a dental practice or need to expand, here’s what you need to know about the various dental office positions.
Outfitting your practice with a unified team is not just a matter of qualifications, but a passion for dentistry and an unwavering commitment to standards. Working in a dentist office can present unique challenges, and you need people you can rely on.
Your search for a skilled team must go beyond certificates and experience. It’s important that you get a sense of who they are and what they’re passionate about during the interview process. Asking candidates, “Why do you want to work in a dental office?” is a crucial interview question that can help you determine what that person can bring to your practice.
In this section, we will break down the most important dental job titles, common responsibilities you should include in your dental office job descriptions, and what to look for in each candidate.
Quality control and efficiency are the realms of the dental assistant. Assistants must be able to juggle several clinical duties and some of the overall management tasks in the office. These are the responsibilities of staff who will support you as you carry out advanced treatments.
Assistants must be able and willing to take on scheduling appointments, greeting patients, keeping accurate records, and preparing their tools. They will sit alongside your primary dental team and assist with certain procedures, such as taking x-rays.
New assistants will usually find themselves brought in to fill the gaps within an existing team. Qualifying as a dental assistant is relatively easy, with most programs lasting one year. When hiring an assistant, it’s also a big plus if they are certified.
Top-quality assistants can keep a practice running during busy periods and take the strain off clinical staff. Check out this helpful resource if you need to know how to find a dental assistant.
Dental hygienists share many of the same roles as the assistant. The difference between this dentist role and an assistant is they focus more on the clinical side of the business. Hygienists can typically perform many of the clinical tasks assistants cannot. They focus on supporting patients by providing preventative dental care.
In many cases, practices will exclusively use hygienists to conduct basic dental examinations, thus freeing up dentists for more in-depth work. Some of the procedures a hygienist might carry out include conducting x-rays, monitoring oral care, and educating patients in oral hygiene
Dental hygienists need a bachelor’s degree to embark upon this career. Since hygienists play such a large role in primary care, a good hygienist should have excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to manage patient records keenly.
What is the role of a dentist? There are a lot of misconceptions regarding what dentists are and the roles they perform within a practice. Also known as dental surgeons, these professional healthcare practitioners are trained to prevent disease and ensure healthy teeth.
Dentists have an extensive educational background. All dentists must attend four years of college plus four additional years of dental school to attain these dental office position titles. They’re highly qualified and skilled in diagnosing, preventing, and treating oral disease. While most dentists are “general dentists,” many dentists choose to specialize in different areas.
When hiring a dentist, it’s important that you find the right fit for your practice. What are their specialties? Do they have a good bedside manner? Analyze your practice’s current needs and find a dentist that fits those needs.
Dental technicians primarily work within laboratories. They create and repair the many custom-made oral devices patients wear, such as implants, crowns, bridges, and dentures.
Technicians must work closely with the rest of the clinical team to understand the patient’s needs and produce precision-engineered oral devices. These practitioners operate state-of-the-art machinery to deliver better patient outcomes.
When hiring a dental technician, good communication is essential, as are the technical skills required to operate complex machinery. Many practices prefer to outsource this specialized work to third-party practices, especially practices that specialize in general dentistry.
Dental office managers coordinate the administrative work of practices. Office managers are typically the first person a new patient will speak to. Moreover, they can be expected to support patients through answering phones, keeping accurate records, and taking payments.
However, office managers don’t work just on the patient-facing side. They also operate as human resource managers, conduct interviews, handle staff complaints, and control the practice’s payroll. A high degree of organization and administrative experience is required in this dental office staff position.
Of all the dental office positions, this one could make or break your practice. While office managers may have several office staff working under them, many smaller practices also use dental assistants to assist the office manager.
Experience is everything, but it’s also worth looking into their qualifications. Office managers must have received a certificate in dental office administration because managing a dental office is much different than another type of office.
Receptionists are the first faces patients see when they walk into your practice. First impressions are everything, and the receptionist in your practice is responsible for crafting a positive first impression. Receptionists are responsible for handling various administrative tasks, such as taking in-person payments, scheduling appointments, and answering any queries.
They must have excellent interpersonal skills, as one of their primary responsibilities is to get the patient ready to meet their dentist. Detail-oriented and organized professionals suit this role best.
Unlike other dental office positions, receptionists need no specific qualifications — it’s up to you what you look for in a receptionist. As long as they can do the job and have a personable demeanor, they are ready to become a receptionist.
There’s no denying that we live in a digital world, and the need for businesses to promote online means dental practices need to be proactive in attracting patients. Promoting your dental practice via several channels, including dental digital marketing and social media for dentists, is crucial.
When searching for a marketer, ask for previous experience in promoting dental practices. While not essential, you ideally want a marketer who already understands your industry. Dental marketers are no different from any other form of marketer. There are no qualifications required, and results are all that matter.
Few practices have the budget to hire an in-house marketer. Instead, most marketing facilities tend to be outsourced, or marketers may be employed on short-term contracts.
Your practice’s success relies on your team. If you want to achieve an efficient practice that delivers great patient care, you need the staff and the system to manage them.
Cloud 9 is the ultimate cloud-based specialty dental practice management software, from taking care of your staff’s needs to patient scheduling and flow. Spend less time on bureaucracy and more time serving your local community with the platform that’s changing practice management.
To find out more about Cloud 9 and why thousands of practices have already integrated it into their businesses, request a free demo now.