Belle DuCharme

CDPMA, Dental Training Consultant

Four Steps to Improve Being a Dental CEO

Over several years there have evolved many changes in the delivery of dentistry, the new and improved technology, materials, new methods of diagnosing and treatment of dental disease and the medical breakthroughs affecting the success of dental treatment and patient wellbeing.

What I haven’t witnessed is a significant shift from the old ways of doing dental business to newer more efficient business systems that are accessible to dentists today.  There is a big slide toward the DSO or corporate management systems that are affecting the numbers of solo dentists and even small group practices that want to forego managing their people and their overhead totals. Why the shift?  Is it because there are huge challenges in managing a dental practice that can’t be overcome?

In today’s high tech moving at the speed of sound world, many dentists have realized,  though with trepidation, that they are entrepreneurs and business owners along with being health care providers.  Let’s say there is enough accessible information out there about the business side of dentistry. The weak excuse of not being trained in business systems is not because it isn’t there it is because dentists haven’t reached out to embrace it.   Even if you say you have an experienced Office Manager to help doesn’t excuse you from being the knowledgeable CEO of your business. “We weren’t taught business in dental school.”   Ask yourself, “How long have I known that I need to learn about business and revenue management?”  A couple of decades?

Stop hiding behind the excuses and get moving. All business owners want to improve their services, regardless of whether or not they consider themselves motivated to meet a goal.  My survey of what I think a successful solo or group practices have revealed some good advice:

  1.  Learn new skills and study new trends:  Say you don’t have time to read.  Sign up for Audible,,  to listen to learning and improving your business skills, people skills and time and money management skills.  Learn by listening to the latest business advice from the experts on any topic. Whether keeping up with dentistry journals, reading business books, or researching specific questions, all entrepreneurs report some focused continuous improvement through learning.  Attend free webinars at Viva Learning for clinical and practice management learning.  Earn CE credits under PACE/CERP. Make knowledge of new skills a must for your team so that they can continuously improve their skills with patients.  Offer reward incentives to those who take the time to listen to webinars or to read trade journal articles and can then give a short talk about what they learned and what would help the practice growth positively.
  2.   Acquire a business coach experienced with the special organizational needs of a dental practice.  Everyone can use a coach. Look at the many professional athletes, and you will note that all use a coach.  Someone with years in the business to give you advice and support who also has a stellar reputation in the industry.
  3. Improve communication skills.  Want to improve your verbal communication skills for communication with patients and to present treatment presentation options, Join Toastmasters International  Get to know other professionals from all walks of life whose goal it is to improve oral communication techniques and leadership skills plus to get the support from the group for definite and continuous improvement.
  4.  Network with other dentists or professionals in dentistry.

There are some things that you can’t learn without attending workshops and structured course/classwork.  Find professional study clubs that focus on the area of dentistry that you want to improve. Here is a helpful link:

Dental Billing Tips and News for Pros; Edition #135


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