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how to run an efficient dental office

An organizational system that will change your dental practice's efficiency

Oct. 24, 2023
Patients have actually commented on how quickly and efficiently this dentist and his team tend to their treatment. The secret is an organizational system that the team highly recommends.

A common and frustrating schedule disruptor for many dental practices is a side book endodontic emergency. I go through the steps of identifying the tooth or teeth and then my team hauls out the equipment to treat the issue. Inherently, this is not much of an issue as my team knows what equipment and instruments I need.

However, my gripe with these emergencies is that it takes an inordinately long time to locate and set up the equipment necessary to perform my procedures (figures 1 and 2). Additionally, placing all those instruments and materials back after treatment is time-consuming.

Along the way, I used Zirc Dental Products to help deal with my grievance regarding instrument organization and accessibility. A longtime staple in the dental field, Zirc has developed a color-coded organization system for almost every dental instrument and material to help organize an office. Starting as small as bur blocks and color rubber bands that most of us are familiar with, Zirc uses their system to gain valuable seconds to systemize and create efficiencies that we can build into our office.

As clinicians in modern-day dentistry, we rely on efficiency to foster an environment that’s perceived positively by a critical and consumerist patient base. I’ve had patients comment on the speed at which my team and I were able to set up and finish the procedure to address their pain. I believe that Zirc’s organizational products help me reach the efficiency that I need in my day-to-day practice.

More "Along the Way" from Dr. Hatfield

Finding a workhorse endodontic file system

What the organizational method can do for you

Although I’ve only used Zirc’s organization system, The Color Method, to systemize my endodontic instruments and materials, I would eventually like my office to adopt the full system. The Color Method relies on a series of tubs, instrument cassettes, cabinet inserts, and drawer organizers to take the messy array that is a dental office and keep all the instruments and materials at your fingertips.

There is variability on how The Color Method can work for your office. It can be as simple as a procedure-specific setup, like I use (figures 3–6), or it can be standardized for all procedures or even to specific clinicians. This allows an office with multiple or single providers to have an almost unlimited ability to organize and systemize their instruments and materials.

The benefits of systemizing your office are multifaceted. Many dental industry business gurus agree that a systemized office is a productive office. We have systems for answering phones, making appointments, addressing dental claims, sterilizing instruments, establishing paid time off, and more. Why shouldn’t a system regarding instruments work the same way?

I can tell my team to grab my endodontic instruments and have everything set up in less than five minutes. This is a shorter amount of time than it takes a patient to become numb for the procedure. In the future that could mean grabbing an operative, extraction, or crown and bridge tray, depending on the patient’s needs.

When it comes time to turn over the operatory for the next patient, it could not be easier. The instruments are placed into their specific cassettes and run through the ultrasonic and right into the autoclave to be sterilized. They then return to their designated area in our office to be used by any clinician who needs it for the next endodontic procedure.

Along the way, I’m sure that you’ll find, just as I have, that organization is the simplest method to becoming efficient and predictable in our clinical lives. I encourage those of you wanting to solve your office organization needs to look into what Zirc has to offer. I’m certain you’ll find some benefit from their products.

Editor's note: This article appeared in the October 2023 print edition of Dental Economics magazine. Dentists in North America are eligible for a complimentary print subscription. Sign up here.

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