Tips for Maximizing the Efficiency of Your Dental Practice

Efficiency of Practice

There’s good news for dentists: more and more Americans are attending regular check ups, which is leading to a significant decrease in DMFT (decayed, missing, and filled permanent teeth), according to the National Center for Health Statistics. While it’s good news that, as a nation, we’re becoming more aware of our oral hygiene, and the best ways to ensure we keep our teeth looking and feeling healthy, this increase in visits has taken many practices by surprise, and some are struggling to keep up.

If you’re noticing that you’re regularly running late seeing patients, or have a pile of paperwork that’s waiting to be filed, then it’s a good idea to take a look at your current processes and see if there’s any room for improvement. Here are some great ways to maximize the efficiency of your dental practice:

* Hire a Team You Can Trust

A common mistake that many dentists make is that they fail to hire a team of dental assistants that they can really trust. Under law, dental assistants are able to perform a number of duties and procedures, including adjusting dentures, applying sealants, activating bleaching agents, administering nitrous oxide, and chemically preparing teeth for bonding. In many cases, dentists themselves oversee these duties. It may prove to be more cost- and time-effective for a practice to delegate certain tasks to skilled assistants.

* Go Disposable

Some dentists today feel torn between reusable diamonds and burs and single use options. While reusables may be better for the environment, single use options are undoubtedly better in terms of time management, staff satisfaction, and patient care. Using single use tools reduces the need for dental assistants to waste their time cleaning burs, when they could be completing more productive tasks. It’s also worth noting that many sterilization systems quickly dull burs, making them much less effective.

* Get Your Policies in Place

Just a single emergency situation can throw off your schedule for the entire day, leading to a flustered, inefficient practice. Although emergencies are, fortunately, few and far between, it’s well worth making sure that you have a comprehensive policy in place that instructs your staff on the best ways to deal with unexpected situations. An increasingly common system that practices in the United States are adopting, is to allot a period in the morning and afternoon that is reserved for last minute, emergency bookings.

Reviewing & Monitoring Your Processes

Remember to review and monitor any changes you make to your internal processes regularly. After all, making changes to your dental practice to improve efficiency isn’t a one-time thing. There is likely to be a lot of trial and error involved in making such changes, so it’s important to arrange for regular staff meetings to review and assess the recent changes and ensure that they’re achieving what they set out to do. Monitor these changes regularly, and amend your processes and practices if necessary. It may also be worthwhile drafting up a patient satisfaction survey to assess the impact on client satisfaction, too.

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