Dental Articles

Dental Office Manager Salary: You Get What You Pay For

Paying A Dental Office Manager Salary: Why The Right Person Is Worth It
Many Dental Practice owners are intimidated by the price tag attached to a Dental Office Manager salary. As a business owner, it can be tempting to try to conserve finances. But sometimes it takes an investment to make a return. When you find the right employee, with the right skillset, the investment into a Dental Office Manager’s salary will bring any Dental Practice a huge return! 

I always cringe when I’m in a Dental Office and I’m told there is no Office Manager. I mean really, there are managers in stores, restaurants, pharmacies…all different types of offices and businesses. Failing to hire an Office Manager for a Dental Practice can be as detrimental as it would be to fail to hire a store manager at a Target.  After all, your Dental Practice is a business, and just like any other business it desperately needs someone overseeing day-to-day operations.

Smooth operation and streamlined services are the pride of any Dental Office. Although all employees contribute to this end, the Office Manager is responsible for every aspect of that outcome. Not having an Office Manager would be like a team without a coach, a church without deacons or a school without a principal. 

Sometimes Dentists think, “I can handle those behind-the-scenes things as well as my patients! It’s worth it to put in a few extra hours and not have to pay a Dental Office Manager salary!” But over time, those extra responsibilities will begin to weigh on them. They will get worn out with all the nitty gritty of running a practice, and will forget about their passion: producing Dentistry!

Even the most productive Dentist cannot handle the responsibility of patient care AND...

  • Daily prep for morning meetings
  • Running meetings
  • Insurance denials and appeals
  • Patient assistance
  • Staff scheduling
  • Creating and managing office systems
  • Marketing
  • Budgeting
  • Employee reviews
  • Patient complaints
  • Accounts payable and receivable
  • Hiring and firing
  • So much more!

No one person can perform all these tasks well. Eventually, things fall between the cracks, systems will fall apart, the Office environment will begin to suffer, and even patients will begin to notice that things don’t seem to be operating as they should.

Paying a Dental Office Manager salary seems like a big expense, until you start to consider what a relief it would be to turn over all day-to-day management tasks to someone else, the right someone else, and to focus entirely on Dentistry and patient care! Your patients will notice a vast improvement to their services, you will have more energy to do what you are passionate about, and your job will start to be fun again. If you think of it in those terms, the price tag doesn’t seem high at all!

A Dental Office Manager Salary Will Pay For Itself With More Business
When consulting with Dental Practices, I always say that the Dentist should turn the handpiece and the Office Manager should handle everything else. A Dentist who is devoted to his or her patients will be able to deliver awesome service. Awesome service leads to great feedback. Great feedback leads to more referrals, and more returning, loyal patients! But it’s critical to make sure you’re not just hiring anyone for the position: it has to be the right person with the right skills.

You also need to hire someone you can get along with: there should be a strong relationship between the Dentist and Office Manager, and the position is certainly not 100% autonomous. There needs to be a set time to meet on a weekly/bi-weekly basis where the Dentist and Dental Office Manager can collaborate and make decisions together regarding any issues in the practice. After all, it’s still your practice! But your mind will be far less burdened with the minutiae of daily operations.

Managing a Dental Practice is a very demanding role. If you find the right individual for the job, life in the office will become noticeably less stressful. Beyond the administrative role they embrace, the Office Manager can set the tone or the culture and create a more pleasant work environment and that positive office culture increases productivity while decreasing stress.

All these changes will help your Dental Practice provide service with excellence, and bring a huge increase of new patients and overall revenue.

Dental Office Manager Salary: Choosing The Right Skillset

Since this Dental Professional will be overseeing most everything in the office, technical skills are important. Knowledge in Dental Office procedures and terminology, computer applications, accounting, and fiscal management will be valuable assets. And since your Office Manager will be handling insurance claim submissions, he or she will also have to possess a thorough insurance background.

As important as these technical skills are, “soft skills” are more important. Technical skills can be taught, but personality traits and soft skills must be hardwired or gained through life experience. In order for the cost of a Dental Office Manager Salary to be worth it to your practice, it’s so important that you take your time, check for these soft skills, make sure personalities are compatible, and pick the right person for your Dental Practice the first time.

1.      Leader

Leadership skills help a person not only Manage your Dental Practice, but bring it to new heights of success. I have spent decades learning the importance of leadership skills in a Dental Practice. And let me tell you something, leaders are not naturally born! It takes life experience, intuition, and an understanding of yourself and others. Having a true leader heading up operations in your Dental Practice, someone who can help your team understand their strengths and weaknesses and will walk alongside your team members as they grow, will help your Office run smoothly, your team function at the best of their abilities, and will bring your business to new heights of success. If you can find someone who has natural leadership skills and abilities, their Dental Office Manager salary will pay for itself!

2.     Friendly

Attitude is everything. Your Office Manager is the personification of who you are and what your Dental Practice stands for. He or she will be dealing with your team and patients every day. An unapproachable individual will eventually undermine whatever positive culture you have created. This leads to patients failing to return and higher staff turnover.

3.     Great Communicator

A great Office Manager needs to be better at listening than talking. While knowledge of clinical information is important when educating patients, empathy is more important and can often be more effective at getting treatment acceptance.

4.     A Collaborator

A properly functioning business is created when teammates are open to listening to other people’s ideas, information, and thoughts.

5.     Problem Solver

Identifying problems and providing solutions is one of the major requirements in an Office Manager. There is no place for indecisiveness because both patients and the team rely on the quick resolution of problems.

Are you struggling to find just the right person to be your Dental Office Manager? Post your job at and we will help you find the right candidate that best fits your team. 

Is your office struggling right now, and you’re not sure what changes to implement? Reach out to us for a free consultation today! I’m offering 20 minute consultations at no cost to you or your dental practice, and we can sit down and discuss the places your Dental Practice needs to make changes. Every business can be a success! You just know where to start. That’s where I can help!


“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak

be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid

be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly."

-Jim Rohn