Content Dam Diq Online Articles 2016 09 Frazzled 1

What do you do when a dental staff person can’t come in?

Sept. 12, 2016
It's never easy to find your rhythm for the day when a dental staff member calls in absent for the day. What do you do in these situations? Your peers would love to know.
Chris Salierno, DDS, Chief Editor, Dental Economics

I had to hire a temporary dental assistant last week. Thank the heavens that agencies exist in dentistry. I wonder what dentists do if they work in an area without a proper emergency dental staffing company. If someone doesn’t’ come in, do you just work by yourself? Do you bring in a family member?

Of course we know a common solution is proper team cross training. Teaching a dental assistant to process third-party payer claims and having a receptionist memorize bonding protocols isn’t that difficult, though I suspect many of us don’t take the time to do it. But even if we worked to have a cross trained staff, it still stinks to make people pull double duty. Even the best office manager in the world can’t answer phones, break down and set up a room, and check out patients at the exact same time.

I suppose in a perfect world we’d have multiple team members in a certain position who are free to come in when our first line of defense falls apart. If you have two part-time assistants to fill your week, then hopefully one can fill in for the other when needed. Or if you employ two assistants in a single day, then you might be able to pull off your busy schedule with only one.

Does anybody have a great solution here? Let me know in the comments section below. I’m all ears.



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About the Author

Chris Salierno, DDS | Chief Editor, Dental Economics

Chris Salierno, DDS, is the chief editor of Dental Economics and the editorial director of the Principles of Practice Management and Group Practice and DSO Digest e-newsletters. He is also a contributing author for DentistryIQ and Perio-Implant Advisory. He lectures and writes about practice management and clinical dentistry. He maintains a blog to answer patient questions at ToothQuest. Dr. Salierno maintains a private general practice in Melville, New York. You may contact him at [email protected].

Updated Dec. 4, 2020