Tips for Handling Mistakes as a Dentist

Posted by Amy Carbone on Feb 28, 2020 9:00:00 AM

Making mistakes is typically part of professional growth. However, they need to be handled accordingly, especially clinical mistakes that may have impacted patients. Here's how to deal with the most common mistakes dentists make.

Staffing and Dental Office Mistakes

New dentists opening a practice or dental associates in managerial positions often make mistakes with the red-tape side of their businesses. These are generally relatively easy to rectify and are unlikely to put your practice in financial jeopardy.

Here's some tips to consider if you:

tips for dentists dealing with mistake

Hired an Inadequate Employee

When you realize you made a bad hire and no amount of training or direction is helping the employee get up to speed, it may be time to let them go. Before gearing up for an uncomfortable meeting with the employee, look into what you can do to make the transition as smooth and uneventful as possible. If you can, you might want to offer a severance package and outplacement services. In cases where the employee has misrepresented their abilities or had behavioral problems on the job, this generally isn't necessary.

Purchased Less Business Insurance Than You Need

Navigating insurance coverage for your dental practice can be challenging. Many dentists find later on that they haven't purchased enough coverage, or perhaps they are missing a key type of insurance, such as overhead expense coverage. If you don't have a complete insurance package for your practice, set aside time to meet with a professional who specializes in insurance products designed specifically for dentists. Go over your existing coverage and what you might be lacking, and discuss any potential benefits for bundling coverage.

Networking and Marketing Mistakes

Networking and marketing are often challenging for dentists, especially when they're focused on the day to day of providing quality dental care to their patients in the office. Marketing mistakes can vary widely in how they impact your dental practice, and networking mistakes (or missed opportunities) can do more damage to your reputation than your bank account.

Here's what you can do if you:

tips for dentists dealing with mistakes

Failed to Network with Peers in Your Area

Rubbing elbows with other dentists in your area (and your competition) may not be everyone's cup of tea. However, neglecting to network effectively can cost you later on. You may miss referrals from other practices, or your reputation could suffer if you're not a prominent provider within your community. Look for dental networking events to attend near you, or consider traveling to attend larger events like the ADA Annual Meeting or the American Dental Congress. Have high-quality business cards made with your contact information and give them out to interested parties. Create a strategy for making the most out of any events you attend. And be sure to follow up on any plans to meet, call, or email individuals you networked with.

Didn't Develop a Solid Dental Marketing Strategy

If dental care is the heart of your practice, you might consider your dental marketing strategy its lungs. It's a critical component of the overall structure of your business, without which other components may not function well or at all. Your practice likely cannot thrive without a comprehensive and effective marketing strategy, yet many dentists don't know how to develop one or simply don't have the time. 

Consider working with an established digital marketing agency with proven experience working with dental practices. Discuss a multi-pronged approach that includes blogging, video marketing, podcasting, email marketing, social media marketing, and other powerful forms of online advertisement.

Clinical Mistakes

Clinical mistakes are generally those that are made during procedures, usually involving a patient. Depending on how they are handled, these mistakes can be the costliest to your dental practice.

Here's what to do if you:

tips for dentists dealing with mistake

Made a Mistake with a Patient's Care

Unfortunately, one of the most serious and unsettling mistakes you can make as a dentist is one with a patient's care. Perhaps you failed to diagnose an abscess, or your patient developed an infection after a root canal procedure. While your first instinct may be to handle this type of mistake by apologizing and trying to make it right, saying or doing anything can be detrimental to your career and your practice. If you make a clinical mistake, it's critical that your first move is to consult your medical malpractice policy. Your insurance company may be able to connect you with an attorney who can instruct you on the next steps to take.

Learn More About Dental Practice Insurance from Treloar & Heisel

At Treloar & Heisel, we know how critical having adequate insurance coverage for your dental practice is. Mistakes can be costly and without good insurance policies, you could be left paying for those mistakes out-of-pocket. We can help you build an insurance portfolio that covers every aspect of your practice and every possibility. 

From business owner's protection and disability income insurance to term life insurance and more, we'll tailor your coverage to your specific needs. Contact us today to learn more about insurance products for your dental practice by calling 800.345.6040.

Disability income insurance for dentists

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Treloar & Heisel, Inc. and its divisions do not offer legal or marketing advice. Please consult a professional concerning these topics.

Topics: Dental Practice Business Tips