Why Dentists Should Experience Other Roles in a Practice Before Leading One


Here’s one for aspiring practice owners. If you can, get some experience working in practice roles other than dentist: treatment coordinator, receptionist, dental assistant — or all of the above.

So says Dr. Grace Yum, founder of Mommy Dentists in Business and the former owner of a three-location group. She started her career as a dental assistant before eventually going to dental school.

“I worked every role in the office,” she tells us. “I wasn’t just chairside. I worked at the front desk. I filed insurance. I poured up models. I was the sterilization girl. You name it, I did it.”

For Dr. Grace, this experience was incredibly valuable. She didn’t just gain a broader clinical perspective, but a stronger business sense of how each element of a practice fits together — something that would serve her well when she was sitting behind the owner’s desk.

We second her take. After years of doing marketing exclusively for dental, we’ve found that practice leaders who understand how all the pieces fit together tend to be much more successful at marketing than those that don’t.

From our end of things, that’s because good marketing doesn’t rely only on marketers, but on the ops team — schedulers, treatment coordinators, and even doctors — who take the leads generated by marketing and turn them into happy, repeat patients.

But this doesn’t just apply to marketing. If you hope to lead a dental practice, you’ll need to know how to build a support team that functions like a well-oiled machine. Otherwise, your practice culture will suffer, your patients will notice, and you’ll have trouble keeping your staff.

“I had to do every single job,” Dr. Grace says. “Including cleaning the toilets. If you’ve never had that experience, you really need to, even as a dental student, because then you learn the nuances.”

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