Dental Articles

What Is the Difference Between a Dental Practice Manager vs Office Manager?


The role of Office Managers, depending on the type and size of the business, can vary significantly. The role of a Dental Practice Manager can vary as well, but comes down to one single goal: maintaining an efficient and profitable dental practice that delivers excellent patient care. Everything a Dental Practice Manager does in his or her daily role funnels down to that singular goal.

What are the characteristics of a successful Dental Practice Manager?

Staff Management

Depending on the size of the dental practice, the Dental Practice Manager will either manage a full administrative staff or be juggling the phones, scheduling patients and directing staff: all at the same time. 


Administrative Know-How

In a large Dental Practice, the Manager may have a full administrative team handling phones/scheduling, and financial arrangements/insurance and delinquent accounts, while the Practice Manager oversees the remainder of the practice. The Practice Manager would then personally handle: 

  • the clinical, admin and marketing budget 
  • accounts payable and accounts receivable 
  • any team difficulties or disputes 
  • hiring/ dismissals and team reviews 
  • development of monthly staff meetings
  • development of weekly meetings with the doctor/doctors   


Budgeting Skills

In the smaller dental practice, much of the budget, team management and budgeting falls on the shoulders of the Dental Practice Owner. I always cringe when I hear about the Practice Owner being involved in managing the practice. His or her only job should be turning the hand piece and producing the dentistry.



They must always display competence, integrity and professionalism to both patients and the team. A high level of competence and integrity communicates a level of expectations to the team. A lack of these important qualifications could eventually cause a valuable team member, with higher expectations in these areas, to leave the practice.


Practice Manual Development

Development of a clear, concise Practice Manual is essential. Well-written office policies create clarity and erase ambiguity. The Manager may find dissension if trying to improve someone’s behavior without them.


Social Media Management Skills

This person may also be overseeing the maintenance of the website and the Facebook page posts.



When I sit down and really think about what it takes to Manage a Dental Practice, I realize how disciplined  the Practice Manager must be in order to be successful. And, how the support team he/she hires needs to possess the same high level of discipline, integrity and ‘stick-to-it-iveness’.



    “Each person's work is always a portrait of himself.”
- Samuel Johnson


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