New Dental Practice Management: 4 Mistakes to Watch Out For


Starting a new dental practice can be a great way to manage your own career, but it usually takes hard work, perseverance, and determination. As you begin this journey in new dental practice management, you might consider designing a business plan that helps identify potential mistakes before they happen.

New Dental Practice Management Mistakes to Avoid

Here are four common mistakes to watch out for as you build your new practice.

1. Not Hiring the Right (or Enough) People

Successful new dental practice management often starts with the hiring process. Before you make any staff decisions, you should review candidate profiles thoroughly and make sure they are not only right for the job but also for your workplace.

One helpful method might be a more informal and personal interview process. Of course, you should always remain professional and appropriate throughout any discussion, but you might ask questions that better reveal the candidate’s interpersonal skills.

These might be unobtrusive inquiries about their life outside of work, hobbies, or any other question you might think of that gives you a sense for how well they will fit in to your work culture.

Looking beyond a candidate’s on-paper credentials might also benefit your patients. Adding employees who you believe will promote positive staff-patient interactions may mean the difference between patients retaining your services or going elsewhere for their next cleaning.

2. Not Running Like a Business

When you are starting a new dental practice, you might forget that you are not just a dentist – you are also a business owner.

Sure, your patients’ well-being should be your primary concern, but you need to stay in business if you want to treat them. It may not be always easy to do, but you need to remember that your patients are also your customers.

You should always check overhead costs and consider adopting procedures that maintain high levels of patient care while reducing inefficiency, unnecessary patient waiting time, and support staff burnout.

For example, you may consider using the following four steps when welcoming a new patient to your practice.
  • Scheduling the initial patient appointment. Consider getting as much patient information as possible during the initial appointment set-up. This might include the reason they are requesting the appointment, existing medical conditions, age, and any other demographics you deem pertinent.
  • The patient’s arrival for the appointment. When the patient first arrives for check-in, verify that you have all the necessary information. You could also ask the patient if any information has changed since the appointment set-up.
  • The appointment. Staff escorts the patient from the waiting area to an examination room and confirm the reason for the appointment. They then explain to the patient the procedures involved in the checkup or treatment.
  • Checkout. When the patient finishes their appointment, staff escorts them back to the front desk. An office coordinator then can ask the patient if they have any questions, provide the patient with any applicable instructions for post-procedure care, and schedule any required follow-up appointments.

These steps may also help reduce the number of hours your staff spends in the office. Remember that they are often the first and last people patients see when they visit your practice. If they are stressed and overworked, they may not have the energy to be as friendly as you would like them to be.

3. Not Keeping Up with Technology

If you are not paying attention to advancements in hi-tech equipment and software that affect your business, you might fall behind your competitors.

Here are three examples of advancing technologies that make a patient’s visit easier and more pleasant:
  • Intraoral scanner. In the past, patients had to bite down on goo-filled trays to get dental impressions – but now they do not have to. Intraoral scanners take professional-quality photos and provide a complete, three-dimensional digital replica of a patient’s teeth.
  • Extraoral digital x-rays. It was not all that long ago that extraoral x-rays were unavailable. For patients, getting a full scan of their teeth and jaw was not always as easy as standing on a raised platform while a machine circled their head.
  • LED lights. Some people turn to over-the-counter kits that use hydrogen peroxide to whiten their teeth. Other patients turned to their dentists for laser treatments that often whitened some areas more than others. Now, many dentists use LED lights to safely whiten teeth with more consistent results.

None of these technologies are likely new to you, but they are examples of how quickly things change. You should always be on the lookout for the next advancement that can make your – and more importantly your patient’s – life much easier.

4. Not Having Enough Coverage

When starting a new dental practice, you may want to consider your coverage options early in the process. Some policies to review include:
  • General liability insurance. Accidents can happen, and you could be liable for damages or injuries if a patient files a claim against you. Note that while general liability insurance may cover physical harm and property damage, it often excludes cyber-related incidents.
  • Workers’ compensation coverage. Most states require dental practices with employees to retain a workers’ compensation package. This coverage helps cover a staff member’s medical expenses and lost wages due to an illness or workplace accident.
  • Cyber liability insurance. Online data breaches are becoming more and more common. These policies may cover damages resulting from stolen patient data. This confidential information might include billing information, Social Security numbers, and driver's license numbers.

New Dental Practice Management: Final Thoughts

New dental practice management usually requires practicing dentistry while also handling standard business owner responsibilities.

However, when you are that busy building your new dental practice and competing for patients, finding the coverage for you and your staff may be difficult.

This is where Dentist’s Advantage can help. We have the coverage solutions you may have to consider to help protect your new dental practice.

Request a quote today.