A Guide to Dental Practice Management

Mia Jensen | January 10, 2024 | 16 min read
A Guide to Dental Practice Management

Running a successful dental practice takes more than just providing top-notch dental care. It also requires effective management of the business growth.

From financial management to marketing, staff management to patient relations, different aspects of dental practice management must be considered.

But with so much to think about, where do you even start?

That’s why we’ve created a complete guide to Dental Practice Management.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through all the key elements of managing a dental practice, from setting goals and developing a strategic plan to streamlining operations and training your dental team.

We’ll also cover important topics such as financial management, marketing and patient relations, and staying up-to-date on industry regulations.

By the end of this guide, you’ll have the knowledge and strategies you need to take your practice to the next level.

So, this guide is for you whether you’re a dental practice owner, manager or staff.

What is Dental Practice Management?

Dental practice management refers to the administration and operation of a dental practice, such as planning, organization, and supervision of all aspects of the practice. This comprises managing staff, finances, marketing, patient relations, and compliance with industry regulations.

Dental practice management aims to ensure the practice runs smoothly, is financially successful, and provides high-quality care to patients.

Effective practice management increases the efficiency, profitability, and the growth of practice. It also improves patient satisfaction and builds a positive reputation.

Why Should You Care About Dentistry Management?

Dentistry management may seem like a dry and unimportant topic, but it plays a crucial role in the success of your dental practice. Dental management ensures happy patients and increased revenue.

For example, automatic scheduling and a powerful appointment system can greatly reduce patient wait times and improve overall satisfaction.

Proper financial management can help you stay profitable and plan for future growth. And using the latest technology in dentistry can help you provide the best possible patient care.

But dental management isn’t just about numbers and systems.

It’s also about creating a positive and welcoming environment for patients and staff. By investing time in your practice’s management, you can foster a culture of excellence and create a reputation for providing top-notch dental care.

In short, dentistry management is not something to be overlooked. It’s the backbone of your practice and plays a vital role in its success. Effective dental practice management will improve your bottom line and provide your patients with the best possible care and experience.

Common challenges in dental practice management

There are many challenges that dental practices face when it comes to managing the business side of things. These issues can be time-consuming and complex. It can be difficult for practices and dentists to find the time and resources to handle them all effectively.

This can lead to inefficiencies, decreased profitability, and a negative impact on patient satisfaction. Some of the most common challenges are:

Financial management

Dental practices face many financial challenges, including managing expenses, billing and collections, and budgeting.

Additionally, dentists need to be aware of insurance reimbursement rates. To ensure maximum reimbursement, they must know how to communicate effectively with insurance companies.

Staff management

Managing staff can be a complex and time-consuming task. This includes recruiting, hiring, training, and retaining staff, as well as managing schedules and payroll.

staff management


Attracting new patients and retaining existing ones is a constant challenge for dental practices. This includes developing a dental marketing strategy, creating a website, using social media, and developing relationships with referral sources, such as other dental practices and primary care physicians.

Patient relations

Building and maintaining positive relationships with patients is essential for the success of a practice. This includes managing patient expectations, handling complaints, responding to reviews, and ensuring patient satisfaction.


Dental practices must comply with various regulations, including OSHA, HIPAA, and state-specific dental practice acts. This can be challenging and time-consuming, but it is essential to avoid costly penalties and protect the practice’s reputation.

HIPPA & OSHA Compliance


Dental practices need to use cutting-edge technology to improve the quality of care and patient experience. However, keeping up with the latest technology and ensuring that staff are trained to use it efficiently is challenging.

Dental Tech & Equipment

Time management

Dental practice owners and staff often don’t have enough time to manage their business. They’re often juggling between providing quality care, scheduled appointments, procedures and many other things. It can lead to burnout and impact your practice negatively.

How to Run a Dental Practice? 9 Tips for Successful Management

Running a dental practice requires a mix of providing high-quality care to patients and effectively managing your practice’s business side of things.

Here are some tips for successful dental practice management:

1. Set Clear Goals and Develop a Strategic Plan

Setting clear goals for your dental practice and developing a plan for achieving them is crucial. This ensures that the practice is moving in the right direction and that everyone is working towards the same objectives.

When setting goals, it’s important to be specific and measurable.

For example, instead of setting a goal to “increase patient satisfaction,” set a goal to “increase patient satisfaction ratings from 2 stars to 4.5 stars within the next six months.” This type of goal is specific, measurable, and has a clear timeframe for achieving it.

source: https://www.fossilconsulting.com/2021/10/11/setting-smart-training-goals/

It’s also important to set goals for different areas of the practice, such as financial, marketing, and patient satisfaction. These goals should be aligned and support each other.

For instance, if you set a goal to boost patient satisfaction, it may also support the goal of increasing revenue from existing patients.

Once you have set specific and measurable goals, the next step is to create a plan for achieving them. This plan should outline the specific steps you would take to achieve the goals and who is responsible for taking those steps. You can find many examples and templates of marketing plans online.

The plan should also include deadlines for completing each step and a system for tracking progress and making adjustments as needed.

You must review and adjust the plan regularly to ensure it is still aligned with the practice’s goals and progress is being made towards achieving them. This is also an opportunity to reassess the goals. Make any necessary adjustments based on the practice’s current situation.

2. Streamline Operations and Increase Efficiency

Running a dental practice is complex. The constant juggling of managing staff, finances, and patient care can be draining. But what if I told you there’s a solution to this problem?

Streamlining operations will increase efficiency in your practice by tenfold. By automating repetitive tasks, you can free up your time to focus on the things that really matter.


Imagine not having to spend hours every week on paperwork and administrative tasks. Instead, you can spend that time building relationships with patients and providing the highest quality care.

By incorporating the latest technology in your practice, you can improve patient care and overall experience. The right technology can make a big difference in your operations, from digital X-rays to electronic health records.

EHR Example

Have a clear system in place for managing staff and patients. So you can ensure that everyone knows their roles and responsibilities and that you see patients on time.

3. Adopt a Dental Practice Growth Platform

A dental practice growth platform can automate your dental marketing, patient text messages, contactless payments, and online scheduling.

In short, it can streamline all aspects of running a successful dental practice in one single system.

DemandHub is the answer to all your patient satisfaction problems. It helps you manage your online reputation, get more positive reviews, and streamline your patient journey.

We bring new patients to you by integrating DemandHub’s CX tools into your dental websites, such as text messages, Web Chat, Online Scheduling, and much more.


With DemandHub’s modern messaging capabilities, you can start a two-way conversation with your patients. Send messages with review links directly to patients and enable them to post a review in 30 seconds or less — all with just a few clicks.

4. Focus on Financial Management

Your practice’s financial management is critical to its success. Effective financial management starts with creating a budget.

Having a budget in place allows you to identify potential expenses and plan for them. It ensures that you are financially prepared for the future. It also helps you to track your income and expenses, which can help to identify areas where you may be overspending and make adjustments as needed.

Managing expenses includes identifying unnecessary expenses and cutting them. It helps you find ways to reduce costs and negotiate with suppliers to get the best deals possible.

By keeping a close eye on your expenses, you can ensure that you’re not overspending and that you have enough money to invest in the growth of your practice.

But that’s not all!

You must also understand how to best work with insurance companies to ensure maximum reimbursement. This includes understanding the different insurance plans, submitting claims correctly and efficiently, and effectively communicating with insurance companies.

By doing this, you can reduce the amount of denied claims and increase revenue for your practice.

Investing time and effort into improving your financial management skills can pay off in the long run, leading to the growth and prosperity of your practice.

5. Invest in Marketing

A successful dental practice should aim to add at least 25 new patients per month to be successful. Attracting new patients and retaining existing ones is important for achieving the growth of a dental practice.

Without a solid marketing strategy, your practice may struggle to attract new patients and retain existing ones. And in today’s competitive market, this can be the difference between success and failure.

Knowing your target audience is the first step in developing a successful marketing strategy. Who are your ideal patients, and what are their needs? Once you know this, you can create a message that resonates with them and develop a plan to reach them.

Creating a website is another essential element of your marketing strategy. A website is often the first point of contact for potential patients and must make a good first impression.

Your website should be easy to navigate, provide information about your practice, working hours, location and services, and have a clear call to action.

Social media is also a powerful tool for reaching new patients. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter allow you to connect with potential patients more personally and build relationships with them. Regularly posting content can keep your practice top of mind and attract new patients.

Don’t forget about the power of referral marketing. Building relationships with referral sources such as other dental practices and primary care physicians can be a great way to attract new patients.

By providing excellent care, you can gain positive word-of-mouth and increase the number of referrals you receive.

Dental Staff

6. Train your dental team to deliver exceptional customer service

Patients’ opinions of your practice depend on the first person they encounter at your office - whether it’s a receptionist or medical assistant.

The clinic’s staff members radiate confidence so that patients get the message that “This is a great dental clinic with excellent service.”

The happier and more savvier your staff is, the better reviews you will get from your patients.

How to train your dental staff to deliver awesome customer service?

  • Answer the phone promptly with a pleasant voice.
  • Ensure that the paperwork is completely filled out. Help the patients who have trouble filling it.
  • Keep a friendly attitude and listen to the patient’s needs.
  • Manage the office with productivity and precision.
  • Ensure the patient that their issues will be addressed.
  • Give support to patients after their appointment.
  • Don’t put the caller on hold for more than 2 minutes to avoid patient frustration.
  • “Let me find out” is a more supportive response to a question than “I don’t know.”
  • Respond to phone calls promptly.
  • Ask for their experience politely and professionally to get positive reviews for your dental practice.

Post patient satisfaction surveys, testimonials, and reviews on your website, social media pages, and blog.

Also, take things to the next level by listing your practice on other dental review sites to allow patients to share their reviews.

These small things can make a big difference in how patients view your clinic. By incorporating these gestures, you could have happier patients, more referrals, and increased revenue.

7. Focus on Patient Relations

Even if you’re great at gaining new patients per month, it won’t do any good to your practice if they only visit once and never return.

New patients are always best, but it’s important to ensure you’re not losing more patients than you’re gaining.

It costs 5 times more to attract a new patient than to retain an existing one. The odds of selling to an existing patient are significantly higher (60% to 70%) than to new patients (5% to 20%).

Make sure to have a patient retention plan to reduce attrition rates. Offer incentives like loyalty programs, discounts, free follow-up visits, or free services for returning patients.

You can retain patients by making them feel exclusive by staying in touch with them and rectifying their issues on time via web chat, text messages, or social media.

So, you will develop a great reputation with your patients and keep them happy, leading to higher patient retention rates.

Read our complete guide on “Dental Reputation Management 101” to start growing your practice. This guide will tell you how to get more reviews and find new patients online with top tips on managing your dental clinic’s reputation.

Dental Reputation Management 101

The dental industry is constantly evolving, with new technologies and regulations emerging all the time. Dental practices must stay up-to-date on industry trends to remain informed and compliant.

One of the best ways to stay updated is by attending dental conferences. These events provide an opportunity to learn about the latest technologies and techniques in dentistry. Attending conferences can also be an opportunity to network with other dental professionals and learn from their experiences.

Networking can also be a valuable way to stay informed about industry developments. This can include joining professional organizations, attending local dental society meetings, and participating in online dental communities.

By building relationships with other industry experts, you can learn about new technologies and regulations and best practices for running a successful practice.

Moreover, it’s also important to stay updated about changes in laws and regulations that can affect your practice.

This can include staying up-to-date on OSHA regulations, HIPAA compliance, and other industry standards. So, you can ensure that your practice operates legally and ethically by staying informed and compliant.

9. Expand Your Dental Services

Patients are always looking for new and innovative dental services. It’s essential to keep your practice up-to-date with the latest treatments, procedures and technology and expand your services to stay ahead of the curve.

For example, if you don’t offer cosmetic dentistry services like porcelain veneers or tooth contouring, consider adding them to your services. You can also expand into pediatric dentistry or implants to increase patient flow and revenue.

By following these tips, dental practice owners and managers can effectively manage their practices, increase efficiency, improve patient satisfaction, and ultimately lead to a more profitable practice.

What should you do next?

If the idea of managing your dental practice sounds daunting, worry not!

DemandHub is a practice management software that can do the heavy lifting. It improves your online presence by earning more positive reviews for your practice.

Get more control over your digital footprint in an all-in-one convenient platform. Monitor your online reviews, respond to feedback and take proactive steps to grow your practice 10X.

Get a free trial today!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Dental Practice Management

What does a dental practice manager do?

A dental practice manager oversees the daily operations of the dental practice. This may include managing staff, overseeing patient scheduling, handling billing and insurance claims, maintaining the office’s inventory, and ensuring compliance with healthcare regulations.

How can I improve my dental practice management?

You can improve dental practice management by:

  • Streamlining processes,
  • Adopting dental practice management software,
  • Training and developing staff,
  • Optimizing scheduling,
  • Maintaining a patient-centric approach to care.

What skills are needed for effective dental practice management?

Effective dental practice management requires:

  • Strong leadership and communication skills,
  • Good understanding of dental procedures and healthcare regulations,
  • Financial acumen,
  • Ability to provide excellent patient care.

What is the meaning of dental practice management?

Dental practice management involves overseeing the operations and administration of a dental practice. This includes aspects like patient scheduling, staff management, billing, inventory management, marketing, and maintaining compliance with healthcare regulations.

Why is dental practice management important?

Dental practice management is important as it ensures the smooth operation of the dental practice, provides a better patient experience, improves efficiency, reduces stress for staff, and can enhance the financial performance of the practice.

How do I manage my dental practice?

Managing a dental practice involves several steps:

  • Set clear goals for your practice,
  • Use dental practice management software to streamline administrative tasks,
  • Train and develop your staff to ensure high-quality patient care,
  • Provide excellent customer service,
  • Monitor key performance indicators to measure your practice’s performance and identify areas for improvement,
  • Keep up-to-date with industry trends and regulations to ensure your practice remains competitive and compliant.
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