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Inheriting a dental team: Making it smooth for everyone

June 22, 2022
Having a new dentist take over the practice can be difficult for everyone. Here are steps to take and questions to ask to help your new team feel good about the change.

Did you inherit your team of dental professionals? Hopefully they’ll make the practice transition painless. But you need to do your part and make the move a good one for them, too. Here are steps you can take to get to know your new office protocols and team members and lead them with confidence. 

When you purchase the practice, meet with team members individually and encourage open communication. This is your opportunity to get to know each person better and learn more about them. You can ask questions such as these. 

  • Do you need help with anything, and if so, what?
  • What tasks are most comfortable for you and why?
  • What tasks are least comfortable and why?
  • What is the most frustrating aspect of your job and why? Please elaborate and give examples.
  • What are the biggest distractions you encounter?
  • What aspect of dentistry would you like to learn more about?
  • What do you need to help grow your role in the practice?
  • What can your teammates do to better assist you in your role?
  • How can I help you make the patient flow better?
  • What else can I do to help you?

Allow team members time to think about their answers; don’t rush them. Think of this process like presenting treatment and payment options. Silence is not necessarily negative; it just means they’re collecting their thoughts. 

Related reading

6 simple rules for a happy dental team
4 ways to attract, motivate, and keep your dental team

It doesn't end there ...

Find out if they know and understand your vision for the practice. Do they share that vision? Lay the groundwork for handling gossip and communication issues. 

Review job descriptions and make modifications to meet your expectations. Review the current performance evaluation that’s used. If there isn’t one, create one and then use it. 

Have measures in place to determine if your hygiene team is profitable. Generate reports that will help you understand how the team works. Do they receive raises or bonuses? How do you know what to reward if you don’t know what you’re measuring? Establish and communicate your guidelines regarding what, when, and how you will determine salary or bonus issues. 

Track the number of patient contacts made and appointments scheduled each month in order to reactivate reluctant and overdue patients. Measure the number of cancellations in the schedule each day and how many of the changes were filled. Who is making those calls? How are they getting patients into the schedule? How much treatment did you recommend last month and how much is scheduled? Are you tracking this number? 

The list could go on, but this information should be your top priority when you inherit a team. Remember, they have questions and concerns about you, too. Establishing clear and understandable guidelines will go a long way toward determining your long-term success as a new practice owner. Good luck!

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