Dental Staffing

Dentists: Does Your Practice Lack Dependable, Repeatable Systems?

I’m quite certain that most people, outside the profession of dentistry, have no idea the complexity, the stress, both mental and physical and plain, challenging work this business entails. One of my colleagues once said: “I don’t care what you do for a living, there is no profession that is as difficult as the profession of owning and running a dental practice.”

Having worked in the field of dentistry in one form or another since 1969, I can safely say I’ve learned a few things. I’ve learned from schooling, mentors, and continuing education, but the one thing I’ve learned the most from are my mistakes. Not many people are comfortable talking about their mistakes, but I’ve had  remarkably successful mentors, all of whom stressed the importance of recognizing your mistakes, even if it’s in hindsight.

I recall the temporary hygienist standing in my office and quite literally yelling at me that although I was a good dentist, I had no systems! My first exposure to outstanding systems happened when I worked with a woman named Erinn B. Erinn now runs and owns Dental Express, a dental temporary staffing service in Wisconsin.

Watching her work was like listening to a symphony. She ran that ten operatory practice like a top and as I worked around her, it just clicked. I experienced sound systems, how smoothly everything worked and how much more productive and satisfying dentistry could be. So, when I write about systems and how important they are, I speak from experience as I look back at my own practice and now realize one of several missing pieces.

Then I had the good fortune to work with Jeri and Kim: the dynamic duo. These two women had developed their systems to a fault and once again, I could hear a symphony. Since that time, I have had the opportunity to work in offices, helping teams develop their systems, reduce stress, and enjoy the practice of Dentistry.

One incredibly important system that is often over-looked is Risk Management. This involves documentation, informed consent, and financial arrangements. The best defense in a malpractice suit is a well-documented chart. Although I have never been involved in litigation, I have been questioned by the Board.

And even though the complaint was shown to be unfounded, the Board decided my documentation was lacking. I made a promise to myself that I was going to study Risk Management and Documentation and become an excellent documenter. I have held paid positions, collaborating with dental teams, helping to improve their documentation skills and I’ve developed a continuing education course on Documentation to Avoid Risk.

No one outside of our profession has any idea how difficult this Dentistry really is! Do you have systems you need to improve? Whether it be your documentation, inventory, the new patient journey into your practice, sterilization, or employee manual: we can help! Email us at and let’s talk. The conversation is no cost to you. You can also check out our other article on Dental Systems: Dental Practice Owners: Are Your Clinical Systems Dialed-In to Save Time and Money?



“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, 
hard work and learning from failure.”
- Colin Powell