Image of a chart .. what are the top mistakes made by dental practice owners?

Top Mistakes Made By Dental Practice Owners

What are the top mistakes made my dental practice owners?

1- Under estimating the value of team communication


* Morning meetings or huddles are the most important communication of the day. This 10 to 15 minute meeting will set the tone for the day. The Doctor or Scheduling Coordinator should facilitate


  • Review the schedule for the day
  • Determine where emergency patients should be placed on the schedule
  • Discuss your goals for the day and month. Where you are, where you need to be and what you can do to get there
  • Review prior day and discuss any issues that need to be resolved
  • Discuss any house-keeping issues that can’t wait until the next team meeting


*Monthly or bi-monthly team meetings


  • Review and discuss practice goals
  • Review practice monitors (collection %, A/R)
  • Congratulate team on successes
  • Compliance update and training (if needed)
  • Review house-keeping issues


2- Dentists who aren’t aware of what’s going on in thebusiness side of the practice on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis.


  • Production and collections
  • End of day reports
  • Collection %
  • A/R
  • Insurance tracking (review report regularly)
  • Overhead


3- Dentists should make their own post op phone calls to patients with invasive treatments.

  • Endo, extractions, crown preps, implants


This is also the best internal marketing tip I could give you. Patients are impressed and feel special when they receive a call from the doctor, and they tell everyone!



4- Hygienists should make their own post op phone calls


  • To patients who have scaling and root planing.


5- Failure to keep up with Technology

  • Educated patients believe in technology and they hear about the advancements in dentaltechnology in magazines, on the internet, radio and on television
  • Many know that there is same day crown technology and will call around to find practices that offer it. Ask your front desk how often they receive calls asking about same day crowns.  Cad-Cam dentistry is here to stay and in today’s busy world time is more valuable than ever. If a practice averages 13 or more crowns per month, they will save money on lab fees by purchasing cad cam software
  • Patient Communication software. Likewise, patients hear friends or co-workers talk about receiving texts or emails to confirm their appointments rather than phone calls that disrupt their work day.  Demandforce, lighthouse 360 and smile reminders are three software programs I see used most often.
  • The use Digital radiographs are a must these days. Patients appreciate the lower radiation out-put and like seeing their x-rays on a computer screen


6- Failure to use the technology they do have to educate patients and increase treatment plan acceptance.


  • Intraoral Camera- let your patients see what you see. Print a picture and send it home with them as a reminder of needed treatment.
  • Patient education software – Guru and Caesy are both patient education software programs often used to educate a patient as to why treatment is necessary and the consequences of not having needed treatment.
  • Diagnodent – Patients appreciate technology that sees what the naked eye does not.

7- Failure to pay attention to risk management issues


  • Documentation: There is no such thing as too much documentation
  • Make certain that a protocol is in place and followed for Patients who decline   radiographs or recommended treatment
  • Preventive Therapy Notification for Periodontal Treatment
  • Failure to probe and chart results during re-care appointments


8- Failure to show appreciation to the team on a regular basis.

  • If you have a team that is on board with your practice philosophy, shows up to work on time and makes it clear they love their work and your patients. They are making your life easier every work day.  If your team knows that you appreciate them, it really goes a long way toward maintaining good team morale. Sometimes it’s a simple as saying thank you!


9- Failure to have an emergency exit strategy


  • Every dental practice owner should have a baseline practice valuation and letter of instruction.  The valuation should be updated at least every 5 years and should be placed in a safe along with your letter of instruction. One or two of the most trusted people in your life should know where these items are and how to retrieve them should you ever become disabled or worse.  If the worse should happen, your loved ones are grieving and are not in the state of mind to decide what to do with your practice and how to do it. For every week the practice goes unsold, the value drops 5%. This letter of instruction and valuation will take so much for the burden off of their shoulders and will go a long way in maintaining the value of your practice.

About Mary Fisher-Day

Founder and CEO of The Dental Business.