2 Great Goals to Set for Your Dental Assistants

Posted by Amy Carbone on Jul 19, 2021 9:00:00 AM

You want your dental practice to thrive, and there are several ways you can make that more likely. One of those is to set goals for your dental assistants. 

By setting goals for the people who work with you, everyone in the practice has the opportunity to work together. That can make the dental practice more cohesive and efficient, which means it's more likely to remain successful. 

If you're focused on building a strong practice, there's a lot more to it than just being a good dentist. You also need to be careful with how you handle the issue of goals, so your dental assistants don't feel like they're the only ones making an effort.

Working alongside them, and showing your assistants that you're committed to developing your dental practice, no matter what it takes, is a way to make it clear that you're dedicated and willing to do your share of the work. That way, when you set goals for your dental assistants, you'll be creating some goals and plans for yourself, as well. 

Whether you're wondering how to hire a dentist to work with you once your practice grows, or you want to stay small but increase your patient count, setting goals for your assistants and yourself, can really make a difference. Here are two of the best goals to focus on.

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Goal 1: Improve Productivity

There are several ways to measure productivity, depending on the kind of organization or industry a person is in and what their specific goals are. For a dental practice, productivity is generally measured through income, along with the number of patients the practice sees. That provides two separate measures of being productive, although they're tied together somewhat due to the understanding that a higher number of patients will typically lead to a larger overall income for the practice. Technically, a lot of expensive procedures could also lead to more income, but that wouldn't be typical or sustainable for the long term.

Increasing productivity means growing the practice and increasing revenue, and there are many ways to make that a reality. Dental assistants can have a lot to do with how well a practice does, because they're interacting with the public frequently and are often one of the first people a patient works with. 

Since they generally get to know patients more than the dentist does, at least at first, how they treat those patients will play a big role in whether patients come back again. If a patient doesn't feel comfortable with a dental assistant, or doesn't like the way they're treated at the practice, the odds of them coming back are definitely lower.

Certainly, that doesn't mean dental assistants have to just put up with anything that's said to them, or tolerate abusive or inappropriate behavior. But improving productivity through patient interactions, repeat business, and efficiency are all valuable. 

The more efficient a dental assistant is, the more likely it is that they'll get through the workload faster. That can leave them with extra time to learn new skills or do more things. It can also give them time to help and encourage others, so they can be part of a more effective and cohesive team at the dental practice. All of that is important and valuable for higher levels of productivity.

Goal 2: Create a Positive Work Environment

When dental assistants maintain a friendly and positive attitude, they can play a significant role in their practice. It may not be easy to be cheerful all the time, and it comes easier to some people than it does to others. Personalities are different, which is worth acknowledging. It really would be a boring world if people were all alike. But for dental assistants, a certain level of outgoing friendliness is needed. That helps patients feel more comfortable, and can even keep patients coming back. While not every assistant is going to be extroverted and talkative, being polite, helpful, and kind to patients is absolutely necessary.

Not every patient is looking for a lot of interaction, and it helps when dental assistants are able to "read the room" and adjust their level of interaction to match what makes the patient comfortable with their dental visit. For example, a quiet introvert may not want to chat, but may appreciate a kind word or simply polite, respectful, and necessary interaction during their visit. Someone who's more extroverted may be looking for a discussion about everything from their treatment to the weather to the latest celebrity news. Dental assistants who are positive and friendly can often adjust to these patient differences more easily.

Working with positive, friendly people can also help the workplace become more rewarding, engaging, and satisfying for everyone. It's not just the patients who are looking for happy and healthy interactions when they come to a dental practice. Coworkers also want to experience a welcoming atmosphere. If they dread going to work, they aren't going to be giving their best to your practice or your patients. Over time, that can really make a difference in how well your practice is performing, overall. 

Fortunately, friendly and positive people who treat patients well usually treat their coworkers well, too. That makes the entire workplace feel better.

Finding the Right Balance Matters

With the right goals, it's possible to increase the number of patients, as well as the overall productivity and value of your dental practice. Our HR guide can give you things to think about when you're considering everything from how to hire your dentist for your growing patient level to the ways your dental assistants can make your practice thrive. It takes a lot of effort and dedication to create a strong and growing dental practice.

But it's also easier with the right people. Your dental assistants are vitally important to your practice and everything it offers to current and future patients. By working carefully with them and setting strong goals to work toward, you'll be more likely to have the thriving practice you're hoping for.

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Treloar & Heisel, LLC. does not offer practice management advice. This content is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as advice.

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Topics: Dental Practice Business Tips