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Dental Office Schedule: Turbulence or Smooth Landing?

By: Debbie

September 14, 2017

Dental Schedule

Dental Schedule Chaos or Smooth?

If you are a frequent flyer then you will relate to this but if not and you have been on a rollercoaster, substitute airplane ride for a rollercoaster ride.

It’s not often that you fly on an airplane for a few hours and never experience turbulence. It is just part of flying. With the help of technology and the knowledge of pilots to maneuver the plane any turbulence doesn’t last longer because the pilots can usually find a smooth place in the air.

The air traffic controllers provide great guidance so the planes have safe landings.

As an employee in the dental office you probably experience turbulence throughout the day. Patients call to change appointments, patients call with a toothache or broken tooth and need to be seen asap.


Who is your traffic controller in your office to be certain your day lands smoothly?

What procedures are in place so your patients know they can’t call last minute to change their appointment just because something better just happened to be available; i.e. a hair appointment. Seriously?! Yes, it happens. Patients believe they have more important things to do than come to their dental appointment (that is a topic for another blog).

Let’s get back to the turbulence that happens daily in the dental office.


What happens when the schedule changes? What do you do when 2 patients called in pain and the patient in operatory (Ex: Room #2) is running late because the local anesthetic is not working; the just won’t get numb!

How is your air traffic controller to oversee the schedule is running smoothly with all these changes? Who is in charge of making sure the day ends with a smooth landing?

Where does this process begin when your office hits turbulence?


It is imperative that you begin with the end in mind. Everyone on your team needs to know if you are on track to meet your goals. Everyone needs to know what they may not know when they arrive to the office.

This happens by everyone on the team auditing their schedule. Assistants and hygienists will audit their patients. The front office will audit the production, collections, A/R, the schedule, possible bottle-necks and holes in the schedule.

It is possible that this person who audits the schedule and oversees it runs smoothly and at capacity, is also the person who can be the air traffic controller. This is your key-player who will direct the traffic flow during your day at the office.

They are probably the first person to recognize the changes that occur in your office: Calls from patients who are running late, calls from patients who can’t make their appointment, etc.

If a clinician in the back office is running behind they need to communicate to the air traffic controller at the front office so this person can lead the team in the right direction to overcome roadblocks that will create a bottleneck at the front desk or unnecessary holes in the schedule.

The end result of your day is a smooth landing.

BTW: As I wrote this I was on an airplane and our decent into Los Angeles got a little bumpy. The amazing air traffic controllers did a great job and our plane landed safely thus; I am sending this to you.

What roadblocks and bumps do you experience daily in your office? Who is your office air traffic controller?

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About Debbie

Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS, is the CEO of Dental Practice Solutions. In 2000, Debbie founded Dental Practice Solutions and since that time continues to support the optimization of hygiene departments globally.

Through her proven systems to communicate oral disease to dental patients she creates highly profitable dental practices around the world. You can reach Debbie at: admin@dentalpracticesolutions.com or: 888-816-1511. Check out her no-cost hygiene department training: www.dentalhygiene.solutions