Content Dam De Print Articles Volume 107 Issue 6 Dreamstime Xxl 47248534

The passive management epidemic

June 1, 2017
Chris Salierno, DDS, Chief Dental Officer, Tend

There have been some troubling reports about the state of our profession. According to analysis from the ADA’s Health Policy Institute, a third of dentists say they aren’t busy enough.1 Dr. Roger Levin’s 2016 Annual Research Report stated that 27% of respondents are experiencing high or extremely high stress.2 Then there are stagnant dentist incomes, plateaued adult dental services, rising numbers of dentists . . . I could go on.

But there’s one statistic that has yet to be reported. It’s not something that could be easily measured or polled. It’s the number of dentists who are passive managers.

Passive business owners wait for success to happen to them. They wonder when the economy is going to “turn around.” They get frustrated by employee errors, but they don’t correct them. They don’t invest in better technology or accommodations for their practices because they believe what they have is “good enough.”

Active business owners make success happen. They pay attention to key performance indicators. They strategize how they can attract more patients. They think about return on investment.

I don’t have a clear statistic about the numbers of passive dentist business owners in the United States in 2017 to share with you, but I suspect we’re in the middle of an epidemic. It could be argued that much of the troubling data we do have shares a common contributing factor: a passive manager at the helm. An active dentist will attract patients, manage overhead, and lead his or her team regardless of the larger economic forces at play.

The good news is that becoming an active manager is not an insurmountable task. There are resources with which we can avail ourselves. We can read Dental Economics, hire the services of a consultant, and attend meetings that foster a healthy exchange of ideas.

This leads me to Principles of Practice Management conference, where I recharge my batteries and expand my business acumen with other like-minded dentists. I’ll be in Charlotte July 20-21 to get inspired by lecturers covering all aspects of the business of dentistry. I’ll also hang out with dentists from across the country who want to better themselves and their practices.

Whatever means we choose, we can lead our profession by becoming more active managers. If our businesses are strong and our spirits are high, we can face any economic challenge that may come our way.

Visit for more information and registration


1. Vujicic M. Solving dentistry’s “busyness” problem. J Am Dent Assoc. 2015;146(8):641-643.

Sponsored Recommendations

Clinical Study: OraCare Reduced Probing Depths 4450% Better than Brushing Alone

Good oral hygiene is essential to preserving gum health. In this study the improvements seen were statistically superior at reducing pocket depth than brushing alone (control ...

Clincial Study: OraCare Proven to Improve Gingival Health by 604% in just a 6 Week Period

A new clinical study reveals how OraCare showed improvement in the whole mouth as bleeding, plaque reduction, interproximal sites, and probing depths were all evaluated. All areas...

Chlorine Dioxide Efficacy Against Pathogens and How it Compares to Chlorhexidine

Explore our library of studies to learn about the historical application of chlorine dioxide, efficacy against pathogens, how it compares to chlorhexidine and more.

Enhancing Your Practice Growth with Chairside Milling

When practice growth and predictability matter...Get more output with less input discover chairside milling.