turning Challenges into opportunities
Dental Practice Owners & Managers
My overheads are high. Staff costs are spiralling, overtime is out of control, there is a lot of wastage, and the production is much lower than I had anticipated. My practice is on the decline. I wish I knew what was really going on and how to fix things. I do not have the time to run business reports regularly and also am not very good at it so it does not get done.
There are a lot of gaps in our books and it is stressful for everyone. I wish everyone in the practice would realise that they play an important role in plugging the holes and not leave it just to one person. It would ease a lot of business pressure if we could have a steady income.
I keep having to firefight the same problem many times over. I wish we had some good processes that all staff could follow. It would make the practice run smoothly and things would be done right the first time. I just want to do good Dentistry and not have to deal with these problems all the time.
It is so hard to get staff motivated or take the initiative to do things and do it right. I find it stressful to tell staff to do things so I land up just doing it myself. Some staff can be disruptive and dominating. I feel trapped and have very little control over how things should be run and be managed. I just want to do good Dentistry and not have to deal with other things. I feel stressed and I don’t think I am cut out to be a leader. Don’t know what to do.
Managing staff performance is a major battle. I hesitate to do Performance Appraisals as I find it stressful to have those difficult conversations with staff as some get upset if you say anything negative about their performance.
Onboarding, Clarifying Job Responsibilities and Performance Management
We don’t have staff meetings because the few we have had have been a disaster. Staff squabble and air their grievances and someone or the other hijacks the meeting and it is very unpleasant. I don’t see how we as a team can have regular meetings although I recognise that it is probably beneficial. It would also be great to have team bonding sessions with clear goals, but I don’t know how to structure it without it being just about food and drinks.
Staff are not working as a team but rather each one does their own thing and they don’t help each other. Some staff have a bad attitude and it is really hard to manage them. The good ones are demoralised. I am worried I will loose them. There is a lot of negativity and backstabbing too that is creating animosity and tension.
My associate dentist and OHT are not as productive as they should be. I also think they are missing things or not presenting the treatment plans in a way that patients accept treatment. Patients leave without making appointments. It’s like a revolving door. There have been a few complaints too in their delivery of care. I am not sure how to align them to the business.
Onboarding and Managing Providers
Staff don’t take good care of equipment and there is a lot of breakdowns and breakages and it is so expensive to fix. Having to stop work, change rooms or even reschedule patients is stressful for everyone. My staff and I don’t know how to fix things. Every time we have to call out the maintenance man, it is so expensive and sometimes it is days before a problem can be fixed.
DIY: Dental Equipment Maintenance 101
I feel I am doing the same things over and over especially scale and cleans and would like to do other things. Maybe I am ready for another Dentist or should I hire an OHT. I lack clarity and am not enjoying my dentistry at the moment. I need to grow but not sure where to start.
Scale your practice. Prepare for growth and change.
I have very little exposure to management and no formal training in dental practice management. I feel lost and stressed as I don’t really know how to deal with many of the practice issues.
So you are a Dental Practice Manager now – What does the team expect of you?
I have too much on my plate and constantly feel I am not on top of things. I am in charge of rosters, payroll, staff training, attendance, performance, hiring and firing, stock ordering, equipment maintenance, Business reporting, managing patient complaints, advertising, marketing, keeping up with lab bills, accounting and more. It is a horrible feeling having all these unfinished jobs. I know I am not doing a good job and I question myself if I am cut out for this role.
Automate & Streamline Processes
I work long hours and hardly take holidays. It’s full on every day. I am not even making the money I thought I would. It is stressful working with patients and having to manage staff. I can’t seem to be able to switch off and relax. Working for myself has not given me more time for myself or my family. I feel I have provided a good job for everyone else but feel burnt out personally.
How to prevent and manage Dental Practice Owner burnout
Staff keep leaving. Practice is so unstable. It costs a lot to hire and train new people. I am loosing patients too. It has become very competitive. I would like to start getting patient feedback on a regular basis so I can course correct sooner rather than later. I would also like to get honest feedback from staff but don’t really know how this can be done.
Design and Implement Patient and Staff Feedback Questionnaires
I am not familiar with dental procedures and the codes either. I feel ill equipped to answer patient queries. There are so many dental problems patients present with and want to know what we can do for them. I just don’t have all the answers for them and wish I knew a bit more about the clinical side of Dentistry.
REC1: Dentistry 101 for the Dental Receptionist
The phone rings but the appointment books are empty. Often the new caller will ask for the price of something and then hang up. Even after their treatment, when existing patients come out to reception they decline to make the next visit appointment. I feel a lot of pressure from the dentist and management to fill the books but what can I do. I don’t have control over this. I can’t force people to make appointments.
REC2: Converting Phone calls to Appointments
There are many gaps in our book and there is pressure to fill the books. Patients leave without making the next visit appointments. Also, when patients cancel at the last minute or fail to show up, I find it very difficult to fill the book and don’t really know what I should be doing to have a full and productive book.
REC3: Productive Scheduling, Minimising Down time & Recall systems
When an existing patient calls with an emergency and we have a busy day, I find it hard to schedule the patient. Patients who call or walk-in demanding an appointment can be challenging too. If I don’t squeeze them in, then patient is upset and we loose the patient or they complain. If I do squeeze them in, then Dentist and DA are upset. I wish we could take care of this as a team or have some strategies so I know where and when to book in these patients.
REC4: Scheduling strategies for Emergencies and the Demanding patient
When a patient complains about a clinical procedure they received or the service we provided or they are aggressive, it can be very uncomfortable if you are at the other end of their displeasure or aggression. Managing their emotions and mine at the same time without escalating the problem is challenging. I wish I knew how to handle these calls or better still not have to deal with them. I also do not enjoy calling patients to get them to pay their bill.
How to manage patient complaints so as to not escalate the problems
I am having to multitask and manage patient phone calls, walk-ins, putting patients on hold, Dentist requests, messages to be passed on, helping DAs with sterilising, ordering stock, attending to emails, patient complaints, billing and more. All this on top of scheduling and rescheduling the appointment books. I don’t seem to have enough time in the day to complete all my jobs, loose track of half of them, and feel disorganised. There are sticky notes everywhere. I wish I had better control of my workload.
REC5: Manage your workload with effective tools and triaging
Do all 6 of the Reception Courses and be confident in your role as Dental Receptionist
REC6: Dental Reception Training Programme_Advanced
My dentist says that I should be able to anticipate their needs and set up for procedures accordingly. I don’t know how I can do this without them telling me what they want. If I don’t have something ready, they get upset with me and get it out themselves. I can’t keep up with all the changes either. Patients change their minds, even the dentist changes procedures and I have to adapt quickly. It’s a thankless job. Sometimes, it can get quite tense at work and I wonder if I should change careers.
How to better anticipate what your Dentist wants and 4-handed Dentistry
My dentist is very busy and has to go into 2 hygiene rooms to do check ups at the same time as attending to his own patients. The dentist expects me to talk to the patients about procedures, their medical and dental history, costs, post-op, and to go through consent forms whilst we wait for him/her to be ready. But, I really don’t know what to say to patients besides exchanging some pleasantries. I have not been trained. My previous dentist used to not allow us to talk to patients and said we were to be seen only! I am afraid I will say the wrong things and come across as being unprofessional. I am not confident of explaining dental procedures to patients or giving post-op instructions or discussing fees
Extended role of DA in patient communication and handover to assist with better patient management
Dentist runs late a lot especially when there are those squeeze-ins. Everyone is under the pump. Often, I have to work through the lunch hour to bring the sterilisation up to date. We hardly ever finish up on time and I get home late. It is hard as I have young children who rely on me. There is very little team work and I don’t like asking for help. Everyone seems to think that ‘someone’ will pick up the slack but no one knows who that is. I want to trust my team mates to do the right thing but often this does not happen. There is a lot of back stabbing that goes on. I wish I had better skills in conflict management and was able to talk to other staff members directly and openly when something does not get done or goes wrong.
T4 – The DA code: Timeliness, Team work, Triage, and Trust
We are a busy practice and keeping up with all the cleaning, oiling, and sterilising, maintaining steri logs, processing burs & instruments, distributing them back into the rooms, stocking rooms, keeping lab area clean, managing lab work, clearing rubbish, wiping down rooms, setting up for procedures, assisting, managing stock levels … is hard work especially because it is so ad hoc, everyone does things at their own pace and differently. We are always chasing up lab work and there are many errors in sending and receiving jobs. Rooms are not stocked properly and things like burs and hand instruments go missing. We need a proper system to manage the work flow.
Master Dental Clinic Co-ordination, improve workflow and ease pressure on teams
Do all of the General Courses for DA
6 week Dental Assistant Training Programme
I feel confident with general dental procedures such as check ups, cleans, fillings and simple extractions. I have had little or no training in specialist dental procedures such as RCT, Fixed or Removable Prosthodontics, Implants, Orthodontics, Paediatric Dentistry, or even complex surgical procedures. I wish I could learn more and be more prepared when thrown into the deep end to assist for these procedures.
Choose from 7 specialist DA courses
I spend a lot of time with patients and take great care to explain everything well. Yet, when they go to reception, they do not make the appointment. They give some reason or the other and leave. I wish I could motivate patients to take action and not leave problems unattended. It is frustrating to be rejected all the time. I don’t know where I am going wrong. I must admit I don’t like talking fees with patients. I have had very little or no experience with this. I just wish I had a steady income. Staff also loose income when I don’t work.
Building appointment books: Overcoming barriers, inspiring and motivating patients to take action and, increasing case acceptance
I am finding it very difficult to write all my notes in between patients as there is very little time and am having to spend hours after work to write them up. I wish my DA could assist capture some key points instead of just being in the room. I am afraid I will miss things and expose myself to litigation. I am also afraid of having procedures fail and patient complaints and am not sure if patient understands all the implications of going ahead with treatment or not having it.
Encounters of the difficult kind. Risk Management, Consent, Records, Emergencies, Triaging & Time Management
When I run late I feel this horrible pressure as I know it annoys my DA and also the receptionist as she has to manage patient expectations. I have to attend to a lot of dental emergencies and often not enough time is allocated. I am not sure what to do and I do not have a mentor to go to. Faced with complex cases or difficult extractions, I feel embarrassed to go and get help as I feel my peers and boss might think that I don’t have the skills required for the job.
Encounters of the difficult kind. Risk Management, Consent, Records, Emergencies, Triaging & Time Management
My DA has little or no training. I am constantly having to help her set up for me. She is unable to anticipate what I will need and what to set up. She also does not have any 4-handed Dental Assisting skills either which makes it very hard for me to do my dentistry especially with difficult children and adults. I do her job and mine. My receptionist also has no basic knowledge of Dentistry and knows very little about time needed for different procedures. Not having well trained staff is making my job very difficult.
How to work with your DA and Receptionist seamlessly with the right training
I used to feel confident about my clinical skills and knowledge. However, since starting in private practice, I feel overwhelmed with the complex cases I get to see and am afraid to make mistakes. I feel embarrassed to talk to my boss or other dentists about the cases as they may look down on me. I am quickly loosing confidence and don’t think I am cut out to be a dentist. I am always second guessing myself if I missed anything. I am worried that it could be negligence on my part to miss a diagnosis. Also am concerned about making mistakes.
What you need to know and do when you transition from student to private practitioner to be able to practice confidently
Hygienists and Oral Health Therapists
I work together with different dentists in the practice. After I finish the scaling and cleaning, the Dentist comes in to do the exam. They vary in their diagnosis and treatment planning and that’s a bit tricky. It is also time consuming having to wait for them to be free. But once they arrive it is so quick. I have to give them a good summary of what’s going on with the periodontal health of the patient and also highlight other findings. It is hard to be on the same page as the dentists and sometimes I don’t know how to prepare the patient to motivate them to take action. Sometimes I point out something to the patient and the Dentist dismisses it. It looks unprofessional and the patient does not know who to believe. Is there a more strategic way to do handovers where I can pass on information to the dentist quickly and effectively. I also need to know how to prepare the patient and explain things in advance so the busy dentist does not have to stop to do this.
Maximising scope, systematic handovers, value adding and seamless workflow
Managing phobic and apprehensive children and adults is very challenging and draining. I get worried about treating these patients. Some have very sensitive teeth and some are very abrupt. I would like to improve my skills and get the job done in the allocated time and not run late either. I felt so confident graduating and felt I knew my stuff. Now I am really doubting my abilities. Working with a dentist under time pressures and trying to manage all sorts of treatment plans is stressful. I don’t think I am cut out for it. I wish someone would have taught me all this. I don’t know how to work with a DA either.
Managing difficult children and adults, emergencies and time management
Doing scales and cleans all day long is not what I want to do. How can I show my dentist that I can do more. I would like to help them with treating children or even numbing patients up. However, I don’t think they feel confident that I can do this.
Maximising scope, systematic handovers, value adding and seamless workflow
Just excel dental training and Dental consulting
Choose a solution for your challenge from our services
Dental Training Courses
Choose from our range of hands-on practical dental training courses to improve your skills, reinvent and excel. We can also tailor the course to suit your individual practice and staff needs.
We offer 6 key Dental Practice Management Programmes. You can choose a pre-set programme or get us to design one for your needs. We realise that one solution does not fit all.
We provide coaching and mentoring to practice owners and their teams. It can be one-on-one coaching or group coaching. The goal of coaching is to get you to realise what it is you need to change and improve.
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Turn challenges into opportunities
Most likely you will find the solution to the challenge or problem you are facing at work from our wide range of dental courses and programmes listed on our solutions page.
However, if your challenge is very specific, and we have not listed the solution on our site, then we will design a course or programme to overcome that challenge.
Modes of Delivery
Courses have a start and finish date and each lesson is completed by the students individually within a time frame. This is then supported by the Instructor logging in for a group live online hour long Q&A session at a set time.
Self-paced online learning without a live instructor.
Courses are delivered at a set venue away from the practice. Due to COVID restrictions, all our face-to-face workshops have been temporarily suspended but will hopefully resume mid 2021.
Courses and workshops are delivered in the practice where the whole team is involved.