• Tonya Burns

So, you are adding an associate! What is your plan?

Your dental practice is booming! You are booked out for months! Vacation time is non-existent. So, you are going to bring on an associate to help with your patient load. Great! A good solution. What is your plan once that associate comes to the practice? I know, you are going to give them the "easy" stuff. They can do fillings and you do all of the cosmetic dentistry. You are the owner, after all. Even better, they can do hygiene. I mean, dentists are excited to clean teeth and with your patient base, you can use more help in that department. Bad move! After all, you are likely paying them a salary to get them started, before you move into a different pay structure. Have you thought this plan just might be costing you money?

Don't get me wrong. Transitions and adding associates are key in today's dental. You, as the owner dentist should be able to focus on the dentistry you want to do. You have earned that right. The problem is, there was no plan to bring on that associate or you had a plan and then you didn't stick to it.

Planning is key! You should be planning that transition 9-12 months in advance and be scheduling for that doctor 6 months before they start. Why? Because they walk into your office with a schedule and will make you money, ease the volume of your patient base and give your practice what it is lacking! Most importantly, they will be happy to do the things they just spent 4-6 years learning! Now, depending on the dentist coming in, new grad or seasoned dentist, will depend on how you schedule. Your office manager or scheduling coordinator should be speaking with that dentist to find out how much time they need to provide the level of service your patient's have become accustomed to. Do they use different products, different instruments or are they the opposite handed of you and the operatory need to be set up differently? I have seen all of these scenarios and they just hinder everyone in that transition stage. Again, planning is key!

Start setting the expectation to your team and your patients. You may need to hire or train before the new dentist starts. Get staff in the practice so they are ready to go and your associate can learn from them. Give your associate your best dental assistant. Gulp! Did I really just tell you that? Yes, because it will be worth it in the end! Tell all of your patients how you hand picked this dentist and you can't wait for them to join your team. Then, get them scheduled in 6 months for an exam with your new dentist. This "ghost" schedule will be a key to success!

If you have any questions or would like help planning a transition, please contact me at tonya@completedentalpracticeconsulting.com

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