Dental Staffing

5 Reasons to Terminate a Dental Employee: A Comprehensive Guide

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As a dental practice owner, it is inevitable that you may encounter situations where letting an employee go becomes necessary. Termination can function as a vital step in removing detrimental elements from your practice, allowing the rest of your team to flourish. When done at the appropriate time, firing an underperforming dental employee can be a favorable decision for both the individual and the overall practice. Extensive research has identified the top five common reasons why dental employees face termination. By understanding these reasons, you can make informed decisions to uphold the credibility and success of your dental practice.

  1. Poor Attitude: Initially, you may have hired an employee with immense potential. However, over time, circumstances or personal factors can lead to a decline in their attitude and performance. For example, I once had an exceptional assistant who experienced a notable change in behavior after becoming engaged. The majority of her focus shifted towards wedding preparations, resulting in neglect of her responsibilities and increased workload for other staff members. In fact, the entire team expressed their willingness to quit if she were not let go. Addressing such issues promptly is essential for maintaining a harmonious work environment.
  2. Personality Conflicts: Over time, an individual's personality traits tend to surface. Certain characteristics, such as being passive-aggressive, bossy, dishonest, overly insecure, or controlling, can create significant problems within the practice. Although everyone possesses unique quirks, these specific personality types often generate unnecessary stress. It is crucial to identify and address these conflicts promptly to prevent their negative impact on the overall practice.
  3. Punctuality Issues: Dentistry operates on a precise and time-sensitive schedule. When an employee consistently arrives late or frequently calls in sick, it places additional burdens on the rest of the team to maintain the practice's schedule. Timeliness is an essential aspect of professionalism and should be upheld by all members of the dental staff.
  4. Disrespecting the Dentist: Experienced dental hygienists and assistants possess substantial knowledge in the field of dentistry. However, it is essential to maintain professional boundaries and refrain from questioning the dentist's decisions, particularly in front of other team members or patients. If you find yourself compelled to challenge the dentist's authority, it may be indicative of a need to seek alternative employment.
  5. Embezzlement: This is a more prevalent issue than one might assume. According to Dental Economics, the average monetary loss due to embezzlement is $104,585 over an average period of 23 months. However, the monetary cost pales in comparison to the accompanying repercussions, such as shattered trust, time spent on recovery, damaged relationships, loss of patients and revenue, negative publicity, and the physical and mental health consequences resulting from ongoing stress. Swift and decisive action must be taken to address any suspected embezzlement cases within your practice.

For further guidance on terminating a dental employee who fails to align with your team's values, we recommend reading our article: "How to Effectively Terminate a Dental Employee Who Does Not Contribute to Team Success." Additionally, consider placing your dental practice profile and advertisements on For a more comprehensive solution, we encourage you to purchase a membership, which provides 24/7 access and annual discounts from our trusted partners. These hand-picked partners are dedicated to improving not only your dental practice but also your work-life balance and the overall satisfaction of your dental team.

In conclusion, remember that your employees are your most valuable assets. Investing in those who perform well while removing non-performers ensures the continued growth and success of your dental practice.

"Your greatest assets are your employees. Invest more in those performing well. Let the non-performers go."

~ Manoj Arora, From the Rat Race to Financial Freedom