5 Ways to Get the Most Out of a Small Dental Office

October 8, 2017 | Category:


A great dental build-out or redesign can provide many benefits to your business, including more productivity and more income. You may think you need a larger space to accomplish these goals but, chances are, you don’t. You just need to know how to make the most of what you’ve got. We specialize in squeezing more productivity out of finite parameters, and have a few suggestions on how you can do the same.

1. Cut Out Unproductive Effort
Keep a log for a week, or even a day, of how much time you spend doing things that aren’t productive. Ask your staff to do the same. Whether it be hunting for files, trying to find the curing light, walking through a labyrinthine office space to get to the bathroom – you know where the time-sucks are! Make a list of what doesn’t work, and for each item, write down a possible solution. You might not need an entire redesign, or that might be exactly what you need.

2. Scheduling 101: Everything Takes Longer Than You Think
Schedules can be set up for failure from the start simply by trying to cram in too many patients. That causes bottlenecks, delays, annoyed patients, and lots of stress for the dentist and staff. Stress is unproductive (there’ve been studies). You can fix this situation in one of two ways, and preferably both:

1. More operatories
2. Savvier scheduling

The ideal number of operatories to maximize a practice’s productivity is three per dentist. If your small space can’t accommodate that, you’ll need very careful scheduling to keep everyone happy. Savvy scheduling starts by working backward: Create your schedule around a specific daily revenue goal, which is based on your revenue goal for the year. Don’t forget to calculate in vacation time when coming up with the number.

3. If You Don’t Have to Do It, Don’t: Delegate
The dentist can’t be everywhere at once, but with a crack team of support staff, it can almost feel like he or she can. As the dentist, you should do what only you can do, leaving the other parts of the process to hygienists and/or clinical assistants. Once everyone is comfortable with their roles, you can fine-tune your scheduling efforts by defining how much dentist time, assistant time, and cleanup time is required for each patient.

4. Adopt a Feng Shui Mentality
A central tenant is getting rid of the clutter – and whether that helps your chi flow or your workflow, the bottom line is: It helps. Many operatories are built bigger than you actually need, which is why achieving the 3:1 operatory to dentist ratio can be such a challenge. Not only are most operatories too big, they’re overstuffed with stuff! Take stock of everything you use daily, things you use occasionally, and things that have simply accumulated over time. Get rid of the random accumulation to make room to store the things you use occasionally, and enjoy the tools you use daily in an uncluttered space. If you need more storage solutions, however, you might want to contact a design professional to help you get organized.

5. Make Comfort a Priority
Let’s look at the root causes of productivity loss: Fatigue, and physical and mental strain. The harder we try to power-through, the less able we are to do it. So go easy on yourself. The more supportive your work environment is of your physical and psychological needs, the better able you and your staff are to do your best work. Look into ergonomic solutions for your operatory layout and tools; make the most of available natural light and fresh air; and create a bright, airy, clean workspace that is comfortable for you and your clients.

The size of your office doesn’t have to limit the growth of your business.

A well-designed space can make even small offices highly productive. Schedule a consultation with us today to learn how to make the most out of the space you’ve got.

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