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Dental office managers help offices run smoothly with their many contributions.

Careers in dentistry: The importance of dental office managers

April 24, 2024
Office managers keep dental practices humming along. What's the secret to a successful OM? Organization and a great attitude are good starts.
Kyle L. Summerford, Editorial Director

Careers in dentistry: Have you ever considered what it would be like, and what it would take, to be a dental office manager? Here, Kyle Summerford breaks down what an office manager does, and why they're important members of the dental team.

Dental office managers (OMs) are like the glue that holds everything together in the dental office. But what exactly do OMs do, and why are they so important for the success of the dental practice? Let's break down the role of OMs and see how they play a vital role in making sure everything in the practice runs smoothly.

Understanding the dental office manager’s role

OMs are like the quarterbacks of the office team. They're the ones who make sure everything happens on time, that everyone knows what they're doing, and that patients are happy. From scheduling appointments to managing paperwork and helping with billing, OMs do a little bit of everything to keep the office running smoothly.

Key responsibilities of OMs

Dental office managers wear a lot of hats, but here are some of the main things they're responsible for:

Administrative tasks: This includes tasks such as scheduling appointments, keeping patient records organized, and making sure all paperwork is in order. Basically, they make sure all the behind-the-scenes tasks are done correctly.

Manage staff: OMs are in charge of the people who work in the office. They hire and train new staff members, make sure everyone knows what they're supposed to do, and generally try to keep everyone happy and working together.

Deal with patients: OMs are often the first point of contact for patients. They help patients schedule appointments, they answer patients’ questions, and they make sure patients have a good experience when they come in for their visits.

Handle finances: The money side of the office is also the responsibility of the OM. They keep track of expenses, send out bills, and make sure everything adds up at the end of each day.

Drive growth and build relationships

Beyond making sure things run smoothly, OMs also play a big role in helping the practice grow and build relationships with patients. The OM might come up with marketing ideas to attract new patients, find ways to make scheduling more efficient, or just make sure everyone in the office is friendly and helpful to patients.

Speaking of patients, dental office managers work hard to build relationships with those all-important people—the patients. By being friendly, helpful, and making sure patients have good experiences every time they come in, OMs keep patients coming back by fostering connections and relationships with them during each of their visits.

Meet challenges and ensure success

Running a dental office isn't easy, but OMs are there to help navigate any challenges. Whether that's dealing with a difficult patient, finding ways to cut costs without cutting corners, or making sure everyone is happy and working well together, OMs are the ones who make sure everything hums along smoothly.

In short, dental office managers are the unsung heroes of dental practices. They do a little bit of everything to keep the office running smoothly, from scheduling appointments to managing staff and making sure patients have great experiences. Without them, dental offices wouldn't be the same.

The role of OMs extends far beyond managing administrative tasks—they set the tone for the entire office environment. When dental office managers have a positive attitude, a willingness to support their team, a dedication to providing exceptional customer service, and show grace under pressure, they set a powerful example that inspires other team members to rise to the occasion.

Tips to become a great dental office manager

Lead by example: Show your team what it means to be proactive, helpful, and dedicated to providing top-notch patient care.

Communicate effectively: Keep the lines of communication open with team members and patients to ensure everyone is on the same page and feels heard and valued.

Stay organized: Develop efficient systems for managing tasks and schedules to keep operations running smoothly and minimize stress for yourself and your team.

Focus on continuous improvement: Always be on the lookout for ways to improve processes, enhance patient experiences, and foster a positive work culture in the office.

By embodying these qualities and continuously striving for excellence, OMs can elevate themselves to be truly outstanding members of the team, making a significant impact on the success and overall atmosphere of the dental practice.

This is just a brief overview of the pivotal role of dental office managers. As we become empowered, connected, and unite, our abilities are endless.

Kyle L. Summerford is president of Summerford Solutions Inc. Being a dental office manager, dental practice consultant, and dental coding educator has enabled him to guide his company to provide services to dental practices and their staffs nationwide. Kyle has lectured at many CE events and academic institutions—Stony Brook University, New York City County Dental Society, and Georgia Regents University. He’s authored many Dental Coding with Kyle articles. He’s the founder of Dental Office Managers Facebook Community and Dental Manager Connect. Contact him at [email protected].