Content Dam Diq Online Articles 2017 10 Troubleshooter Chaos

Troubleshooter: Dentist seeks advice for managing his unruly staff

Oct. 26, 2017
Video: Dr. Chris Salierno offers sound advice to a dentist who's having trouble getting things under control in his office.

Nearly everyone has problems and concerns on the job, and sometimes you're just too close to a situation to solve something yourself. Share your concerns with us, and we'll examine the issues and provide guidance. Send questions to [email protected]. To view more Troubleshooters, visit and search "Troubleshooter."

QUESTION: I am a general dentist in Massachusetts. I own a small dental practice with one dental assistant, two hygienists, one office manager, and one part-time receptionist.

I have three issues:

1. I have a hard time getting my assistant to use her time efficiently. She needs to keep the lab clean, organize the stock room, and other chores she won’t do or does not do well.
2. The receptionist takes too much time off and does not do the duties I ask of her.
3. One of my hygienists becomes upset if we schedule a patient before lunch or at the end of the day. She does not care to have her schedule run late at all.

Don’t get me wrong. They are all good people. But what I want is more team understanding and cooperation. I don't like to point fingers, and I don’t want any of the team members to point fingers either.

How can I become an efficient boss and leader?

ANSWER FROM DR. CHRIS SALIERNO, former editor of Dental Economics:
Since there are several complex issues in this question, Dr. Salierno chose to share his ideas to help this dentist via video. What tips does he offer this dentist about getting his staff and practice under control?

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Don't be shy! If YOU have a tough issue in your dental office that you would like addressed, send it to [email protected] for the experts to answer. Remember, you'll be helping others who share the same issue. Responses will come from various dental consultants, as well as other experts in the areas of human resources, coding, front office management, and more. These folks will assist dental professionals with their various issues on DentistryIQ because they're very familiar with the tough challenges day-to-day practice can bring.

Originally posted in 2017 and updated regularly

About the Author

Team Troubleshooter

This weekly column on DentistryIQ features questions from everyday people who work in dental practices, who have issues they would like addressed by the experts. Those who regularly take the time to answer questions include Rebecca Boartfield, Patti DiGangi, Dr. Chris Salierno, Laura Hatch, Karen Daw, Jill Townsend, Lisa Marie Spradley, Shelley Renee, Judy Kay Mausolf, Robin Morrison, Paul Edwards ... and the list is growing.

Send your question or issue for an expert to address to [email protected].. You'll be glad you did.