What Does a Dental Practice Manager Do? - DentalPost (2023)

Become a Dental Practice Manager

In any dental practice, the dental office manager plays a vital role. They keep business operations efficient, productive, and profitable. They prevent costly mistakes and maintain strong relationships with personnel and patients.

A highly skilled dental office manager helps dentists and dental hygienists focus on delivering outstanding dental care. With a competent dental practice manager, the practice will attract more patients, waste less time, and overcome all kinds of challenges, from employee conflicts to insurance verification.

If you want to become a dental practice manager, you have made a wise career move. Your work will draw upon many skills, allowing you more opportunities to grow and flourish than some other roles in the dental office. To find out how to make yourself a competitive candidate for a dental office manager’s position, read on.

What Education Do You Need to Become a Dental Practice Manager?

Managing a dental office doesn’t require any one kind of degree. Managers possess different educational backgrounds. However, some degrees will give you knowledge that’s critical for office management.

Obtaining a bachelor’s degree in business administration or in health management can make you more competitive as a job seeker. However, even if you have an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s in another area, you can still augment your education by taking certain coursework or earning relevant certifications.

Look into programs or coursework that cover managerial skills, business operations, human resources, accounting, bookkeeping, health insurance, and regulations affecting healthcare. Organizations like the Dental Assisting National Board can offer you those certifications.

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Also, make sure you’re comfortable with different kinds of office software. Familiarize yourself with Microsoft Office and Google Workspace. As you gain more experience with different digital tools, you’ll become more adaptable and have an easier time learning to use the specific software your dental office relies on.

How Do You Build Experience As A Dental Practice Manager?

Even with a good education, there’s a slim chance of getting hired if you don’t have any relevant experience. Many people start building experience by working in dental offices or other office settings connected to health care.

You can start out by working as an office assistant or a dental front office receptionist. Maybe you’ve already worked as a front desk coordinator or administrator in a different setting and can bring that critical experience to your new job. Some people who become dental office managers begin as dental assistants and broaden their education and duties to include business administration and office management.

How many years of experience do you need before getting hired as a manager? Each office will make different demands in their job postings. However, it’s important to not take a posting too literally and assume you’ll be written off for not meeting each requirement. When in doubt of your experience, apply anyway!

For example, if you don’t seem to have the length of experience an office requires, you may still be able to provide stellar references, demonstrate transferable skills, or show strong educational credentials. Emphasize any previous work experiences that highlight excellent communication skills and managerial abilities.

Sometimes, you can get your foot in the door at a certain office by starting out in a different dental front office job, such as a dental receptionist. As you continue to build your skills and earn certifications, you may wind up getting promoted internally to a manager position.

As a Dental Office Manager, What Skills Do You Need?

The exact nature of your responsibilities will vary from one dental office to another. Be sure to carefully read job descriptions and ask for clarification about specific functions.

(Video) The Role of A Dental Office Manager

In some offices, job positions are more specialized, and the office manager’s role remains distinct from a dental receptionist or a dental billing specialist. In other offices, the manager’s responsibilities may encompass some of the functions of a receptionist, a billing specialist, or a dental assistant.

Even in offices where the positions are more specialized, a dental office manager is expected to assist other personnel with challenging problems. For instance, they may need to help pacify an irate patient or deal with a thorny billing or insurance issue.

Regardless of the specific tasks required by the dental practice you work for, the following are some of the core skills you need as a dental practice manager:

Communication Skills

Whether you’re making phone calls, writing business emails, or holding difficult conversations with another member of the dental team, you need excellent communication skills. You need to be able to speak to a variety of people, including patients, other personnel, insurance company representatives, and business suppliers with ease and credibility.

The ability to communicate clearly, accurately, and with tact is essential. If you feel like your writing skills are weak, make sure to strengthen them with coursework and practice. Focus on how to write well as a business professional, and learn the conventions of professional communication.

Customer Service Skills

As a dental practice manager, one of your main goals is to give patients the best experience possible at your office. Even if a dentist or dental hygienist performs stellar work, patients will feel negative about the office if it’s poorly run.

Through the dental front office, patients form their initial impression of the dental practice as a whole. As a dental practice manager, you need to make sure the front desk and clinical dental team deliver impeccable customer service.

(Video) The dental office manager's role in maintaining and updating fee information

Is the dental front desk responding quickly to calls and following up in a timely way? Is a dental receptionist ever behaving rudely to patients or failing to explain things clearly? Is the intake process for a new patient efficient and welcoming?

Other ways to provide excellent customer service include helping patients sort out insurance issues, helping them understand and follow their treatment plan, and resolving conflicts about billing. One of your responsibilities as a dental practice manager is to oversee all of these aspects of customer service.

Leadership Abilities

Because you handle the management of the dental practice and the dental front office team, you need to show consistently strong leadership. As a leader, you resolve conflicts between team members, enforce rules and regulations, and set an example for how the dental front office should behave.

Another aspect of leadership involves hiring and providing orientation for new team members. Whether you’re hiring a full-time dental receptionist or having a new office assistant come in part-time, it’s your responsibility to ensure that they’re suitable for their positions and receive the on-the-job training they need to settle in.

The front desk also turns to you for guidance with various challenges. You’re expected to handle difficult situations with calmness and good sense. Know how to utilize the strengths of the office front desk and delegate responsibilities based on the skills of your office team members. This is where DentalPost’s assessments are invaluable, helping you better understand your team’s personalities, strengths, and weaknesses as well as workstyles so that you can better manage.

Organizational Skills

Without strong organizational skills, dental office managers flounder. Part of good organization involves maintaining a system of records. These include budget reports, receipts, insurance forms, and full documentation of patient care.

Another example of good organization involves juggling employees’ schedules. Whether they’re in a full-time position or coming in only a couple of days a week, you need to ensure that the practice is always staffed with enough employees.

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Adaptability and Flexibility

Best practices for a dental business change over time. You may need to adapt to new kinds of technologies, new insurance policies, updated industry regulations, and other evolving situations.

One recent example is how dental offices responded to COVID-19. To give patients a safe dental experience, managers had to make important decisions and implement new policies. These included updated rules about air filters and the number of people allowed in a waiting area.

In response to a variety of situations, managers need to act flexibly and with problem-solving abilities. The effectiveness of their response stems in part from their willingness to learn and adapt.

Big-Picture Thinking

Although you need to perform detail-oriented work as a dental practice manager, you also need to step back and see the bigger picture. What’s going well in your office, and what can improve? Are you noticing preventable mistakes?

Maybe one of the new full-time employees needs more office training. Or maybe you notice an inefficiency that’s putting a strain on the budget. You have to observe how personnel interact and whether they’re using the most effective systems.

Different offices also have their own specific needs. Whether you work for an orthodontics practice or for a family dental practice that serves both adult and child patients, you need to understand the particular needs of your dental practice. The solutions you come up with will be tailored to the specifics of your office.

Emphasize the Benefits You Bring as a Dental Practice Manager

After putting in the work to earn their Doctor of Dental Surgery or DDS degree, dentists want to focus on delivering high-quality patient care. Their DDS degree doesn’t prepare them for the management of a business. This is where you are invaluable to them.

(Video) Meet Lisa -- Derby Dental Practice Manager

As a manager, your job is to help their business thrive. Your work frees up their time and eases their stress. When you perform your job well, everything flows smoothly, the dental practice isn’t burdened by unnecessary costs, and patients and personnel are satisfied.

Whether a dental practice has one practitioner or a team of several, you bring tremendous value to their business. As a job seeker, highlight the many benefits of your skills, experience, and education. For their business to succeed, practitioners can’t do without a dedicated dental practice manager.


What is the responsibility of a dental practice manager? ›

Dental Practice Managers are responsible for the management and operation of Dental Practices. They manage the running of the business, organise appointments and billing, manage and hire staff within the practice, maintain records and ensure the practice complies with all rules and regulations.

What are the 12 responsibilities of the dental office manager? ›

Dental Office Manager Duties and Responsibilities
  • Management of all financial aspects of a practice.
  • Scheduling of client appointments.
  • Supervision and appointment of staff.
  • Managing insurance claims.
  • Taking care of marketing and public relations.
  • Implementing procedures and policies.
Dec 10, 2022

Is being a dental office manager hard? ›

Being a dental office manager is one of the most rewarding, challenging, and sometimes thankless careers. Mostly overworked and sometimes underappreciated; part firefighter, part therapist, resident momma bear – you are not bossy; you just have better ideas.

What do dental office managers wear? ›

My practice now requires all dental practice administrators to wear the practice issued uniform. We offer one color and several styles of blouses and sweaters to choose from, to allow for all body types. The administrative team can wear black, grey, or white business slacks or skirts of their choice.

What are your three most favorite duties of a practice manager? ›

Accomplishing goals, demonstrating respect, and making yourself available to your staff are great ways to create a positive and productive work environment.

What skills do you need to be a practice manager? ›

For a career in practice management, you'll need a variety of skills and qualities, typically including:
  • excellent financial skills.
  • the ability to manage a changing environment.
  • good communication skills.
  • leadership and motivational skills.
  • organisational skills.
  • a willingness to work with others and respect their views.

How do I become a dental practice manager? ›

The Dental Practice Manager Apprenticeship is a 12-18 month government funded middle level management qualification, and is comprised of 4 main components:
  1. The level 4 ILM Certificate in Leadership and Management.
  2. Portfolio of workplace activity.
  3. End Point Assessment – consisting on a synoptic project and interview.

How much does a dental office manager make in Texas? ›

The average Dental Office Manager salary in Texas is $60,700 ( $29.19 per hour) as of 2021, but the range typically falls between $47,000 and $74,390.

How much does a dental office manager earn in Oregon? ›

The average Dental Office Manager salary in Oregon is $62,240 ( $29.92 per hour) as of 2021, but the range typically falls between $47,960 and $76,260.

What is the best degree for dental office manager? ›

Dental office manager training

A high school diploma (or equivalent) is essential, while a bachelor's degree in business may be preferred. You should have good computer skills and be comfortable working with Microsoft Office, HR and payroll tools, and dental practice-management software.

What is the hardest role of office manager? ›

Letting employees go

This will probably always be the hardest part of any manager's job – and it's something you never want to get too comfortable doing. Unfortunately, there's no easy way around this one and it doesn't become any easier, no matter how much experience you have.

Is practice manager the same as office manager? ›

In general, a practice manager will have more high-level responsibilities and a higher level of education than an office manager. In common usage (and throughout this article), a practice manager is an individual who oversees the management and administrative functions for a healthcare organization.

Can I wear my hair down as a dental assistant? ›

Open your mouth and voice it to the dentist. Both he and his assistant should now the rules of proper hygiene. A professional look is sleek and clean - and the hair should be worn up, tied back in a ponytail or confined in a hairnet.

What color are dentist scrubs? ›

Dental scrubs are often boring. They come in colors such as standard blue and don't offer other options. But if you shop around, you can find scrubs in exciting colors.

What should a female dentist wear? ›

Scrubs are easy-to-clean garments that are ideal for a dental office setting. You can have fun with scrubs as well, getting various colors and patterns. Some practices choose to have everyone wearing the same color on the same days.

What are the five key responsibilities of a manager? ›

At the most fundamental level, management is a discipline that consists of a set of five general functions: planning, organizing, staffing, leading and controlling. These five functions are part of a body of practices and theories on how to be a successful manager.

What is another title for practice manager? ›

A practice manager is the administrator who runs a doctor's office, group practice, medical clinic, hospital department and other forms of medical offices. They are sometimes called medical managers, medical practice administrators, healthcare administrators and healthcare executives.

What is the next step after practice manager? ›

Advance in Your Practice Manager Career

It can take 2 years as an entry-level Practice Manager to progress to the senior practice manager position. Each advanced Practice Manager position requires approximately 2 years of experience at each level to advance in your Practice Manager career path.

What do practice managers earn? ›

The average salary for Practice Manager is £49,523 per year in the London. The average additional cash compensation for a Practice Manager in the London is £9,874, with a range from £1,840 - £52,994.

What is the difference between a practice manager and a practice administrator? ›

A practice administrator usually works in a larger practice, has higher-level skills and responsibilities and earns more than an office manager. Typically, practices need a practice administrator when they grow to somewhere between six and 10 physicians.

What are the 3 skills needed by a manager explain each? ›

Robert Katz identifies three types of skills that are essential for a successful management process: Technical skills. Conceptual skills. Human or interpersonal management skills.

How long does it take to become a dental practice manager? ›

About the dental practice manager level 4 apprenticeship

This higher level dental nursing apprenticeship takes 15 months, with up to 3 months EPA for completion.

Do dentists have practice managers? ›

Dental practice managers are responsible for the overall smooth running of the dental practice. Managing a practice, its staff and patients is an exciting and challenging role with a wide variety of duties, depending on the individual practice.

How much does the average dental practice make a year? ›

How much revenue can a dental office with one dentist generate? The average dental practice with one dentist can generate $941,600 in annual revenue.

What is the highest paying dental job? ›

High Paying Dentist Jobs
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon. Salary range: $264,500-$400,000 per year. ...
  • Endodontist. Salary range: $244,500-$384,000 per year. ...
  • Orthodontist. Salary range: $260,000-$374,000 per year. ...
  • Maxillofacial Prosthodontist. ...
  • Prosthodontist. ...
  • Periodontist. ...
  • Pediatric Dentist. ...
  • Dentist Private Practice.

What is the highest paid dental position? ›

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon (Median Annual Net Income $400,000): Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are known for treating injuries, diseases and defects of the head, neck, face, jaw including the soft/hard tissue of the oral and maxillofacial region.

How much does a dental office manager in DFW make? ›

Dental Office Manager Salary in Fort Worth, TX

How much does a Dental Office Manager make in Fort Worth, TX? The average Dental Office Manager salary in Fort Worth, TX is $74,866 as of December 27, 2022, but the salary range typically falls between $65,655 and $85,489.

How much do Aspen office managers make? ›

How much does an Office Manager make at Aspen Dental in the United States? Average Aspen Dental Office Manager yearly pay in the United States is approximately $50,349, which meets the national average.

Is it hard to work in a dental office? ›

Dental Office Work is Fast Paced

Or greet patients coming through the door while also answering a ringing phone. And when you work chairside, you need to be as swift as the dentist, even anticipating their needs during exams and oral surgeries so the procedures can go as smoothly as possible.

Where can a dental assistant make the most money? ›

Alaska has the highest dental assistant salary of $45,905. Mississippi has the lowest dental assistant salary of $28,202. The national average salary for dental assistants is $37,730. The national hourly pay for dental assistants is $18.14.

What are two disadvantages of being a manager? ›

The downsides of being the boss
  • You have to fire people. ...
  • You have to hire people. ...
  • You get the blame. ...
  • The workday doesn't end when you leave work. ...
  • You have to deal with bureaucracy. ...
  • Employees deserve your attention. ...
  • Someone can always come for your job. ...
  • Don't nickel-and-dime every decision.

What does a manager do all day? ›

Managers are most often responsible for a particular function or department within the organization. From accounting to marketing, to sales, customer support, engineering, quality, and all other groups, a manager either directly leads his or her team or leads a group of supervisors who oversee the teams of employees.

Is being a manager too stressful? ›

Yes, being a supervisor or manager can be stressful. According to a 2021 Gallup poll, between 33% and 35% of managers reported that they feel burnt out “very often or always.” Those who lead teams (people managers) reported higher levels of burnout.

Why become a practice manager? ›

If you desire to work in the healthcare field but are not interested in giving direct care to patients or clients, then pursuing a career in administration as a practice manager may be an ideal role for you. It's an exciting role with lots of varied work, plenty of career rewards, and lucrative salaries.

Is an office manager an admin? ›

Office managers and office administrators are similar and often require the supervision of clerical staff; however, they are different positions. Office administrators coordinate office functions, while office managers are the leaders who set the office's direction.

Is an office manager considered a boss? ›

Yes, an office manager is a supervisor.

Office managers typically play a more strategic role in a company, making decisions, setting goals, and overseeing the success of a team, while supervisors are responsible for administering tasks and ensuring they are done properly and on time.

Can dentists wear nail polish? ›

In addition to maintaining short nails and avoiding artificial nails, hygienists should avoid wearing nail polish. While freshly applied nail polish on short nails is not linked to increased bacteria around the fingernail area, chipped nail polish can harbor bacteria.

What kind of shoes do dental assistants wear? ›

The first thing to note when shopping for work shoes as a dental assistant is that most dental practices, and some state laws, requires that dental assistants wear closed-toed shoes for personal safety and health.

Can you wear jewelry as a dental assistant? ›

No visible jewelry, except wedding rings. Facial Jewelry or tongue rings are not acceptable.

What do black scrubs mean? ›

Black. A very bold and powerful color choice, the black scrubs meaning as seen above is consistent with strength, sophistication, and elegance. By wearing black scrubs, a feeling of formality is part of your presentation.

What do GREY scrubs mean? ›

Sometimes it's not to separate specialties, but professions: doctors wear a dark blue, while nurses wear a softer blue, surgeons wear green, receptionists wear gray, technicians wear maroon, and so on.

What do pink scrubs mean? ›

Pink: Pink is associated with nurturing and caring, making it an excellent choice for nurses or those who work with children. It's also a festive choice for Valentine's Day. Burgundy: Burgundy is another universally flattering and dressier color choice. It's a good alternative to wearing red scrubs.

What should you not say to a dentist? ›

Here is my top 10 list of things that should never be said to dental patients:
  • “That is expensive.” ...
  • Talking about another patient. ...
  • “You should get insurance.” ...
  • Discussing fees over the phone. ...
  • Saying mean things. ...
  • Displaying negative nonverbal communication. ...
  • Having a negative attitude. ...
  • Second-guessing the doctor.

What does a dental office manager wear? ›

My practice now requires all dental practice administrators to wear the practice issued uniform. We offer one color and several styles of blouses and sweaters to choose from, to allow for all body types. The administrative team can wear black, grey, or white business slacks or skirts of their choice.

How do you not get embarrassed at the dentist? ›

Tips to Overcome Your Embarrassment of Going to the Dentist

Communicate your concerns. Explain to your dentist why you're embarrassed before your visit. Sharing your concerns with the dentist and dental staff will help them adapt their treatment to your needs and put you at ease while you're in the chair.

What does practice management do? ›

A practice manager has the responsibility of managing all business aspects of a medical practice including financials, human resources, information technology, compliance, marketing, and operations.

What is the difference between a practice manager and an office manager? ›

In general, a practice manager will have more high-level responsibilities and a higher level of education than an office manager. In common usage (and throughout this article), a practice manager is an individual who oversees the management and administrative functions for a healthcare organization.

What are the roles and responsibilities of a care manager? ›

overseeing the day to day running of a care service. leading and managing staff so they can perform their roles safely and to the best of their ability. managing budgets and contracts. making strategic decisions about the future and growth of your care service.

What is the importance of practice management in the field of dentistry? ›

Practice management systems are crucial to the health of a dental practice. They help automate time-consuming tasks so that both the clinical and front office teams can focus on face-to-face interactions with patients.

How do I become a successful practice manager? ›

Here are 5 traits the perfect Practice Manager must have:
  1. #1 Passion. The number one thing your Practice Manager must have is passion. ...
  2. #2 Organisation. ...
  3. #3 Confidence. ...
  4. #4 Control. ...
  5. #5 Always learning.

Is manager better than admin? ›

Yes, an administrator is higher than a manager.

An administrator is typically a higher position than a manager in most companies' management structures.

What can I do after practice manager? ›

Top Careers After Practice Manager
  1. Office Manager(53,712 Jobs) 14.4 %
  2. Practice Administrator(75,986 Jobs) 12.1 %
  3. Consultant(171,733 Jobs) 6.4 %

What are the 10 responsibilities of a manager? ›

The ten roles as per Mintzberg (1973) are: “figurehead, leader, liaison, monitor, disseminator, spokesperson, entrepreneur, disturbance handler, resource allocator, and negotiator”.

What are the 5 roles of a manager? ›

At the most fundamental level, management is a discipline that consists of a set of five general functions: planning, organizing, staffing, leading and controlling.

What are 3 responsibilities of a manager? ›

Opinions vary about a manager's specific top responsibilities, but they certainly include leadership, administration and effective delegation.

Who is the most important person in the dental practice? ›

The most important person on your dental office team is the patient!
  • Some dentists are so worried about their own in-office team that they almost forget about the patient. ...
  • Start thinking of the patient as your most important team member.
Mar 1, 2006

What does practice management mean in dentistry? ›

Dental office management (sometimes called dental practice management, dental support, or dental support services) is a set of practices, procedures, and skills that go beyond clinical care, and that is needed to turn an education in dentistry into an actual viable practice.


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