Owning and operating a dental practice is a tremendous challenge; from hiring staff members to investing in equipment to attracting new patients. None of our patients are aware of the many hats we wear. What are some of the decisions you can make to ensure your dental practice succeeds and continues to grow? Here are a few known, but sometimes overlooked tips, to consider for success.
- Provide the Right Services
While most general dental offices provide similar services, it’s important to find what sets you apart from other practices. What procedures do you enjoy doing over others? Most of us have an area of dentistry that we prefer and services we’re just plain better at than others. However, are there other procedures you could consider offering? Perhaps there’s some new technology you could invest in. Have you considered a Cerec, or how about a scope that speeds up endodontic procedures?
I recall my mentor telling me he was going to gently push me in all the right directions. My mentor was a periodontist and I was a former dental hygienist, so I had a very strong and busy dental hygiene department. He introduced me to some of the finest cosmetic instructors in the United States. I got very interested in cosmetic dentistry and implants and invested a lot of time and money getting good at it. That investment allowed me to refer less desirable procedures to specialists.
- Have the Right Office
Do you want to rent your space or buy the building? I recall my very first associateship; he had a building that housed two separate dental offices. He owned the building and told me it was the key to making the most money possible. Do you want to have the responsibility of building maintenance or would you rather leave that to someone else?
Maybe you rent and you’re tight on space, your location isn’t ideal and you’re thinking about moving. Have you considered a larger space and sharing that space with a specialist or even another general practitioner? And if you’re comfortable in your space, when was the last time you remodeled? Is your carpet worn and dirty? How about the marks on the wall where the tube head has hit the wall too many times?
These are all issues to consider as you work to grow your practice. A great office manager is invaluable when it comes to making these types of decisions.
- Provide Convenience for Your Patients
When it comes to any business, convenience is essential. When patients go to the dentist, they don’t want to just be treated well, they want to be offered convenience and ease in seeking treatment. Have you considered the option of booking appointments online? Do you have specific time set aside to quickly provide care for emergencies? How about non-traditional, business hours a day or two a week? This provides convenience for patients who don’t like to miss work. Although I never recommend in-house financing, having flexible financing options from outside sources is a must to attract new patients and move treatment plans to completion.
When I was in private practice, we provided several “comfort treats” for our patents: blankets, pillows, hand wax treatments, a coffee bar with protein bars and juice. The restroom had three canisters with toothbrushes, floss and toothpaste for their convenience. Patients that were in the office for longer appointments were scheduled in the morning and lunch was provided following treatment.
- Have the Right Staff
One of the most important components to dental practice success is the staff. Your dental office manager, treatment coordinator, dental assistants and hygienists must be fully trained in exactly how you want your office to look and feel. Your older carpet and location pale in comparison to the importance of the dental staff and how your patients feel while they are in the care of these dental professionals.
And don’t forget training opportunities for your staff. Investing in them not only gives the staff member a sense of confidence, it gives the appearance that the entire team is more educated, more knowledgeable. This in turn creates greater confidence in your dental practice.
It’s been said that dentistry is one of the top ten most ethical and trusted professions in the U.S. To find the right staff seeking a job in the perfect dental practice, consider utilizing dental job boards. Dental hiring sites can easily help you connect with dental job seekers.
Hopefully, these known, but often forgotten tips, will keep your dental practice growing for years. By continuously investing time and money into providing your patients with the best experience possible, it will certainly thrive.
“Being totally honest with oneself is a good exercise”
Dr. Deborah Marynak is the owner of Dental Staffing.org, a dentist with over 30 years experience, and is committed to helping Dental Professionals find the right fit for both employees and employers. She also works with Dental Offices to help them streamline their clinical systems and teachrd Dental Teams how to effectively document to avoid risk.