ABCs of Dental Office Organization: Part 1

December 3, 2018 Bill Gregg DDS

Efficient office organization leads to effective office functioning. It frees team members up to take care of people. It can greatly increase effectiveness – defined as helping people make choices appropriate to their health and improving efficiency of care delivery.

Dental office organization starts with understanding tasks and roles:

ABCs in the Dental Practice

A = Administrative Tasks

These are tasks that can be done when patients are not present. For example, planning next week’s schedule for effectiveness or following up on and processing insurance claims.

More examples:

  • Filling the hygiene schedule.
  • Working the re-care system.
  • Supply ordering.
  • Treatment planning.
  • Specific treatment pre-planning.
  • Review of x-rays, charting, and chart notes. 

B = Behavioral Tasks

These are usually communication efforts with patients. Focused, uninterrupted time is available.


  • Talking to new patients on the phone.
  • Care instructions following treatment.
  • Treatment conversations.
  • Financial arrangements.

C = Clinical Treatment

Here the patient is present. Ideally, treatment has been organized and so thoroughly thought-out beforehand that care proceeds rapidly and efficiently.

I have heard it said that treatment can be fast and good, fast and bad, or slow and bad. Slow and good is virtually never possible.

Speed and efficiency respects the patient’s time and emotions. This is why effective clinical organization must include pre-planning. 

Understanding Office Roles

If you understand these roles for yourself and each team member, your week can proceed much more effectively. Many dentists do not feel “productive” unless they are chairside spinning the high speed, but this is not always the case.

If you consider your role in the practice as similar to a CEO (vision and implementation) and/or COO (efficient operations) you must consider “A” time important.

If you consider yourself an advocate for your patients, your “B” time – especially quiet time to ponder treatment options as well as learn and grow in communication – is essential.

To increase your dollar per hour productivity, you must practice continual chairside improvement and time management in treatment procedures. This is the only way to accomplish more work in a single day.

To be continued …

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About Author

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Bill Gregg DDS

I attended South Hills High School in Covina, Denison University in Granville, Ohio and the University of Redlands in Redlands, California prior to dental school at UCLA. My post-graduate education has included an intensive residency at UCLA Hospital, completion of a graduate program at The L.D. Pankey Institute for Advanced Dental Education ; acceptance for Fellowship in the Academy of General Dentistry (FAGD); and in 2006 I earned the prestegious Pankey Scholar. Continuing education has always been essential in the preparation to be the best professional I am capable of becoming and to my ongoing commitment to excellence in dental care and personal leadership. I am a member of several dental associations and study groups and am involved in over 100 hours of continuing education each year. The journey to become one of the best dentists in the world often starts at the Pankey Institute. I am thrilled that I am at a point in my professional life that I can give back. I am honored that I can be a mentor to others beginning on their path. As such, I have discovered a new passion; teaching. I am currently on faculty at The L.D. Pankey Institute for Advanced Dental Education devoting 2-3 weeks each year to teaching post-graduate dental programs. In other presentations my focus is on Leadership and includes lifestyle, balance and motivation as much as dentistry.

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