4 Steps to Add a New Dentist to Your Practice

Posted by D. Scott Fehrs, ChFC® on Jul 21, 2021 9:00:00 AM

When you’re ready to add a new dentist to your practice, there's a lot to think about. But once you've determined how to hire a dentist and found the person you want, the next step is to help them acclimate and get settled in. 

That can take more time than the actual hiring, since there's a learning curve for anyone taking on a new role or coming into a new practice. The new dentist may be nervous, and you can help put them at ease by having good procedures in place for onboarding and training.

Whether you're choosing someone right out of school or someone who's worked as a dentist in another practice for a while, understanding what they already know and what you'll need to teach them matters. After all the interviews and paperwork have been handled, it's time to get started with the real work of getting them settled in with your staff, the patients, and you. That's an important and delicate time for everyone, because it takes time to get everyone to feel comfortable and learn how they’ll work best together.


Step 1: Creating an Onboarding Process

Onboarding is a popular term for all the things your new hire needs to learn and acknowledge. It's the training phase, and it can take a few hours, days, weeks, or even months. How long it takes to onboard a new dentist when you hire them will depend on a number of factors. 

First, you'll need to establish all the methods and benchmarks that the new dentist will need to follow. Those might seem overwhelming to someone who's just gotten out of dental school.

It could also be problematic for someone who's used to doing things a certain way, and that can mean taking time to adjust. Re-learning something often feels more difficult than learning it the first time, because of the ingrained thoughts and ideas that have to be changed. 

There should be growth over time, and dedication to the practice you've brought them into. If they don't have that, they might not be the right person for your particular dental team. The goal is to determine that before hiring them.

Step 2: Getting Buy-in from Your Team

Your current team will need to meet the new dentist you've hired. They're going to be working closely with that person, so the sooner they start getting to know them, the sooner the new person can feel like a member of the team. 

Introducing them to one another the right way is important, and you want to ensure that the new hire gets a good start socially with the other professionals in your office. That first impression can be very valuable, so take some time to consider how you want to provide it.

Your team may have already had some hand in the hiring process, depending on how close you are to them and how many of them there are. If you've included at least some team members from the beginning, they already have a good idea of whether they like the person or not. They could have very valuable input into hiring the new dentist, or they may even suggest another individual who would be a better fit. If the hiring decision has already been made, though, your team may need some time to adjust to the new hire.

Step 3: Mentoring Your New Dentist

The onboarding process can easily extend into mentoring. When you're looking at how to hire a dentist, you want to ensure that person understands the way your practice does things. Working in a dental practice isn't like being in school, and working in one office may be different from another. 

With that in mind, you can focus on training your new dentist the way you want to. As they ask for ways to improve, and you give them feedback, you can gradually begin trusting them with more responsibilities.

There are a number of considerations when hiring a dentist, and how well they can be mentored is one of those considerations. If they aren't going to be receptive to your suggestions, or they won't take direction well, they might be a poor choice for your practice. 

Fortunately, you can be clear on all of that before hiring them. Their references, and how they move through the interview process, can tell you a lot about how they'll respond to taking direction or working with other people in your dental practice.

Step 4: Planning for the Future

Looking ahead with your new dentist can help you plan the practice's future. You may want your new hire to eventually play a key role in the overall growth and longevity of your practice. If that's the case, you'll need to help set them up for that, so the practice can pursue the highest degree of long-term success. Planning for the future comes with decisions to be made at nearly every level and step of the way.

But the more you have a cohesive team you can trust, the easier it will be to move your practice forward. Having everyone focused on the same goal means you're all working together, the right way. That produces more job security for your team and helps keep them dedicated to building a strong future for both your dental practice and themselves.

Hiring a New Dentist is a Big Step

If you want to add a new dentist to your practice, our HR guide may help. You don't need to hire someone you aren't sure about, or choose a candidate solely because you need another set of hands based on your number of patients. While it can be tempting to get someone in as fast as possible, taking the time to choose the right person for the job may be worth it. Then you'll feel secure in the choice you made, your team will be a strong one, and your dental practice can see the most benefit for the long term.

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Insurance products are offered through Treloar & Heisel, LLC.

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


Topics: Dental Practice Business Tips