Dental Offices

Dental offices are one source for medical practice management jobs. Within a dental office, medical practice managers report directly to the dentist (or dentists) and are responsible for ensuring the entire office runs smoothly and efficiently. The dental practice manager oversees all aspects of office operations, from personnel to budgeting. While most dentist practice managers are not actual dentists, many have experience working in the field in other capacities. Having prior experience working in a dental office, rather than just any medical office, is more important than is obvious. Generally, dental terminology is not taught in health care management degree programs. Working in the field is the best means for learning dental terminology, which is critical for success as a dental practice manager.

Personnel management is a large component of medical practice management in a dental office. In small offices the manager handles all scheduling, hires new staff, arranges training for new staff and continuing education for older staff, maintains benefits packages, and handles all interpersonal conflicts. Larger clinics may have staff specifically to handle many of these human resources functions, though it is still the manager’s responsibility to oversee the processes and ensure they are being performed in a manner best fitting the office.

Medical practice management of a dental office also includes handling all financial and accounting procedures. This may include paying bills (i.e. rent and utilities), purchasing office supplies, and maintaining the payroll. Dental practice managers are also responsible for long-term financial planning. This may include planning the purchase of new, state-of-the-art dental equipment or budgeting for an office at a second location. Precise financial planning is necessary for office success. The mismanagement of funds can quickly drive a dental office out of business.

In small dental practices, front desk duties may also fall on the practice manager. The manager may answer phone calls, arrange appointments, and handle insurance paperwork. Indeed, the manager of a small dental practice may act as a jack-of-all-trades, handling anything and everything that comes along – other than the dental work itself, of course.
Regardless of practice size, there are essential skills that all dental practice managers need. They must have excellent communication and organizational skills, the ability to handle pressure and crisis situations with a level head, and motivated, positive outlooks. It is also necessary to be familiar with dental terminology and comfortable with technology.

The benefits of working as the medical practice manager for a dental office are many. Dental practice managers earn competitive wages and bonuses. Most dental offices offer excellent medical and dental insurance, some even provide dental care at reduced costs for family members. There is little or no night and weekend work, plus there is vacation time and paid holidays. Working in a dental office provides an excellent lifestyle for those interested in dental practice management.

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