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As a dentist, your primary value to your business (and your patients) is performing procedures; discussing and explaining treatment to patients. After all, you own a dental practice – what should you spend most of your time doing? Dentistry, of course!

Statistically speaking your value as a dentist can run from $500 to $1,000 an hour (varying based on the type of work you’re doing and the area in which you’re located.) When you think about it this way, any time during business hours that you are not doing dentistry (or something that leads to dentistry) is lost revenue for your business.

So, if you’re where you are supposed to be during business hours – treating patients – who’s running the practice?

A superstar office manager – that’s who!

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I’ve worked as an Office Manager in all kinds of environments, from legal offices to tech startups. Across every industry, the common thread is office managers keep the office running smoothly so that all teams can stay focused on driving the company forward

Having an awesome Office Manager will have a significant impact on the practice, including:

  • A less-stressed doctor,

  • A well-run office with potential for growth,

  • Better organization which can positively impact clinical quality and

  • A more profitable practice.

Put another way, if you think of yourself as the CEO of the practice, then your Office Manager is the COO. While you’re busy taking care of the business of dentistry; they’re running the other aspects of the practice.

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That means when filling this position you’re looking for someone who can (or can be trained to):

  1. Manage

  2. Lead

  3. Solve Problems

  4. Hire

  5. Train

  6. Create Growth

Essentially, you’re looking for an executive or potential executive. Basic qualities would include:


Being solution-oriented means being an effective problem solver. Great Office Managers have the ability to look at a situation for what it is, assess it and then find ways to bring their ideas to life.

They can learn fast (as proven by their ability to apply what they have learned), and can train others but more than anything else they Get Stuff Done, regardless of difficulty, limited resources or the actions of those around them.

Friendly and Approachable

An Office Manager sits at the intersection of administration role and customer service role. They can spend all day fielding questions, queries, complaints and customer requests. A superstar Office Manager shouldn’t just be able to ‘handle’ this but should thrive on these interactions!

As well as interacting with patients, your Office Manager should be able to lead other staff in the practice; keeping everyone organized, on task and delegating responsibilities wherever necessary. This is just one more aspect of their role that frees up your time for focusing on being an excellent care provider!

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Prioritizes Dental Patient Service

There’s a lot of dental practices for patients to choose from but they will choose to stay at an office where they feel cared for. The dental Office Manager should be your leader and champion in creating this environment.

If you’re hiring or training an Office Manager make sure that providing good customer service and caring about patients is their first priority. They can demonstrate this by showing empathy for patients and being able to frame business decisions through a customer-centric lens.

Proactive, Diligent and Organized

Scheduling patients and collecting on both insurance claims and patient payments doesn’t happen by itself. Look for a self-starter who can put a system in place and who takes ownership in creating a successful dental practice. A superstar OM won’t wait to be told where they should focus their attention next, but will be productive in their own right.


What you’re looking for is someone who can, in effect, run your business.  Someone who you have complete faith in. You should feel like you can head off on a month-long world cruise and they would not only keep things under control – the business would keep growing in your absence! That’s a real superstar.

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