Dental Practice Scheduling Essentials: Timing is Everything!
Dental practice scheduling essentials for dentists include unique time considerations. Every dentist works a little differently. Therefore, we know each dentist requires their own unique schedule. And guess what? They get to determine what that looks like! So, where one dentist prefers 45 minutes for a certain procedure, another may request 30 minutes for the same procedure. And that’s all perfectly okay. And as auxiliary team members, we support this. However, we must also be realistic. And understand this might also change from patient to patient.
Dental assistants also function in their own unique way. This is of special consideration in making temporary fabrication. Especially for large prosthetic cases. Or even for new dental assistants who need more time. But as a new assistant grows more comfortable, perhaps a time reduction is in order. It makes sense that our restorative schedule templates may require tweaking now and then. So, we want to remain open and flexible to variables.
Doctor and assistant time is important to communicate with schedulers. We can do this through numbers and units of time. Let’s say each unit of time on our schedule is 15 minutes. And we want to communicate to our scheduler how much time to schedule for a specific procedure. My preference is to break down the time in 3 separate numbers. This is done by stating first the assistant time necessary. Then share the doctor time required. Finally, wrap up with the assistant time at the end.
For example, we might ask for a “1-2-2” in the doctor’s schedule for a crown. This is a simple way to say we need 15 minutes of assistant time at the beginning of that appointment. Then the dentist needs 30 minutes of time. And our dental assistant will finish up with a 30 minute window. This time break down may vary from dentist to dentist in a practice with multiple providers. But may also be a standard block of time in our template.
Dental Practice Scheduling Essentials: Plan Exams
Dental practice scheduling essentials include our hygiene exam considerations. And this is a great morning huddle conversation. Compare the hygiene schedule by hygienist to the restorative schedule each morning. Are there times of the day when a hygiene exam is necessary early into that particular hygiene appointment? And are there other hygiene patients who will receive an exam at the end of their hygiene visit?
Some hygiene patients may not need an exam at all. And on a busy restorative schedule day, we want to be very considerate of this. Is there a patient who is unlikely to have any restorative needs. And perhaps can wait until their next hygiene visit for an exam? Especially those very healthy hygiene patients who frequent the office for hygiene. The morning huddle is a crucial piece of our dental office day. As the huddles help us plan the management of our day.
Stick To The Plan!
After our morning huddle, everyone stick to the plan! If something unexpected comes up, that’s one thing. But it’s important that the team work together as a team. Have fun and enjoy one another. Talk about those unexpected happenings if possible. Especially when our decisions might impact the schedules or others. Think about the schedule of all our patients and our team members!