Dos and Don’ts of a Successful Dental Practice

With more than 210,000 active dentists in the US in 2016, the need to make your mark within the industry has risen tremendously. How can you distinguish yourself from all the other dentists? How can you make your practice stand out among the five or more dental practices within the 10 square blocks of your practice?

Creating and maintaining a successful dental practice is a mix of many different factors, but for the sake of time, we will offer you the following dos and don’ts for creating a successful dental practice.

Don’t Overbook

This don’t is simple: do not cram too many appointments together on your schedule. Too many appointments mean a greater potential for delays and rescheduling. When surveying dental patients, one of the biggest complaints noted was that of long wait times. When a patient arrives on time for an appointment, they expect that because they respected you by not arriving late, they should be respected in return. If you fail to provide on-time service to your patients, they will most likely call one of the other practices in the area for their next appointment.

Don’t “Talk At” Your Patients

There’s a reason your patients come to you: you’re a professional, you’ve attended dental school, you’ve earned your degree, they trust that the procedures you perform are done with the utmost professionalism and skill. That said, when speaking with your patients about their oral health or the procedures you’re recommending, please remember that they didn’t attend dental school, they probably don’t know the terminology, and are probably overwhelmed by long, complicated terms.

Rather than speaking “at” patients, or even “dumbing down” your language, consider speaking to them in layman’s terms in a professional but friendly tone.

Do Ask the Right Questions

When speaking to your patients, make sure that you are “hearing” them; that you’re listening to their complaints, and that you’re asking the right questions. Ask them detailed questions about their pain, what they’ve experienced, and how they’d like you to proceed. Make them feel as though you’re actually seeing them as a person and not just a medical record number.

Do Be a Welcoming Practice

When patients arrive at your practice, do they feel welcomed by the staff or the atmosphere of the actual clinic? If your patients like how they feel when they’re in your clinic, the probability of their returning is high.

  • The Office

You can make your dental office more welcoming by choosing neutral or calming colors throughout—not just paint, but also staff uniforms (scrubs), artwork, and furniture. Comfortable furniture provides a place to sit during their wait that helps them feel at ease. A welcoming dental office also smells pleasant rather than clinical; include fresh scents rather than those from cleaning products. Your choice of music can also be a welcoming touch. Choose quiet, calming instrumental music rather than upbeat or harsh beat songs with lyrics.

  • The Staff

A welcoming front office and dental staff will offer a genuine smile, speak with a friendly tone, and answer any patient questions with professionalism and patience.

When your dental practice is a welcoming, professional, on-time, and friendly place for patients, they’ll return, which makes your practice a success.


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