What are common dental office manager duties?
When patients think back on a positive experience at a dental office, they often think of the dentist or dental hygienist who treated them. But a positive patient experience starts well before that—with the office manager.
A dental office manager works with both patients and staff to help run an organized, positive, and welcoming dental office. Whether you’re looking to hire a dental office manager or better support your current team, knowing how to become a dental office manager and what makes an effective dental office manager can help you improve your office efficiency and patient experience.
Defining the role: Dental Office Manager 101
Dental office manager duties and roles can look slightly different, depending on the size of your office. For example, the dental office manager might delegate more often in a larger office, whereas they might take a more hands-on approach in smaller practices.
Typical dental practice manager duties include:
- Onboarding and scheduling staff
- Scheduling patient appointments
- Communicating with patients
- Managing the office on a day-to-day basis.
We’ll break down what each of those tasks looks like in a moment.
Characteristics of a successful dental office manager
While various people and personality types can succeed as office managers, they tend to have a few core characteristics in common.
These characteristics include:
- Trustworthy leader – Research indicates that the number one quality employees value in managers is trustworthiness. In the long run, employees would rather have a boss who pushes them hard and has their back than a boss who might ask less of them but can’t be trusted in difficult professional or personal situations.
- Proactive problem solver – Whether they’re finding a more efficient way to schedule appointments or solving a scheduling problem on the fly, the best dental practice manager thinks outside the box to proactively solve problems as they encounter them.
- Clear communicator – In both their role as a manager communicating with staff and as an office representative communicating with your patients, dental office managers spend a lot of time talking to people. If they can communicate clearly, directly, and positively, it will benefit the whole office. Additionally, research shows that patients rate their experience higher when the professionals they encounter during their visit show a willingness to listen, emphasize, and take the time to communicate clearly with them.
- Detail-oriented organizer – From reordering crucial dental office equipment and office supplies on time to tracking everyone’s schedules, the best dental office managers create clear organization systems so that they never miss an important detail—and neither do their coworkers.
While some people have these characteristics naturally, it’s also possible to develop them. So you may want to help current administrative assistants grow stronger in these areas until they’re ready to step into the role of office manager. And going this route means they’ll already know the ins and outs of your dental practice.
Typical dental office manager duties
As mentioned above, dental office manager job duties can vary by the size of the practice—and the unique strengths of your staff.
Dental office manager job duties typically include:
- Communicating with patients – Whether they’re communicating directly with patients themselves or managing a team of receptionists, office managers help schedule patient appointments, answer patient questions, and follow up with post-appointment information as necessary. They also manage patient records.
- Marketing to potential patients – As part of their role in managing patient communications, an office manager might also run or oversee marketing efforts like an office social media account or newsletter as patient retention strategies.
- Onboarding and scheduling staff – In smaller offices, a dental office manager may take on some HR tasks like hiring new staff members and scheduling time off. Dental office managers can also help onboard new staff members and create updated schedules.
- Managing business and finances – Depending on the needs of the practice, dental office managers handle a wide range of miscellaneous dental office management tasks, including ordering supplies and maintaining any IT systems used. For example, suppose you don’t have an in-house accountant for billing. In that case, your office manager may ensure staff receive paychecks, vendors receive payment, and patients and insurance providers receive invoices.
The dental office manager job also plays a crucial role in setting the office tone. If managers show a can-do attitude, a willingness to help their team, dedication to their customers, and grace under pressure, that sets an example that can inspire other dental staff members to step up as well. Here’s some tips for how one can elevate themselves to be a great dental office manager.
Help make your dental office more efficient with Dandy
With advancements in dentistry like the intraoral scanner, we help you find more efficient ways to make your office run smoothly at Dandy. As the first fully digital dental lab, we help level up your dental practice by digitizing the entire process when doing crowns and bridges, dentures, implants, partials, nightguards, and aligners.
The results speak for themselves—Dandy practices see an average of $30,000 in initial savings, a 76% faster delivery, and an 89% reduction in remakes.
When it comes to supporting your team, from office managers to dentists, Dandy has you covered.
Forbes. Office Manager Job Description (2022): Tips & Examples. https://www.forbes.com/advisor/business/office-manager-job-description/
International Journal of Electronic Business Management. THE IMPORTANCE OF TRUST IN MANAGER-EMPLOYEE RELATIONSHIPS. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/319130798_THE_IMPORTANCE_OF_TRUST_IN_MANAGER-EMPLOYEE_RELATIONSHIPS
Nova Scotia Dental Association. Patient Communications: A Guide for Dentists. https://www.cda-adc.ca/_files/practice/practice_management/patient_communications/guides/dentalguide-ns.pdf