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3 Components of a Healthy Dental Practice.

3 Components of a Healthy Dental Practice.

Succeeding as an entrepreneur doesn’t happen without taking on risks. Pursuing your vision takes a good deal of courage and then some. And while making leaps might be scary, it’s the only way we can make gains. 

However, no leaps will be possible without building a business model you can lean on. That means investing time, money, and lots of effort in order to build a solid foundation. As if mustering the bravery to take risks isn’t enough, we also need to be calculated with preparing ourselves to take those risks.

It’s safe to assume that you’re reading this because you want to know what goes into a solid foundation for a dental practice. In other words, you want to know what a healthy dental practice comprises of. Well, you’re in luck! Every dental practice is unique, but I’m going to share three components of a dental business that a healthy dental practice just can’t go without.


1. A healthy culture.

From your dental hygienist to your dental assistant to your front desk team member, every member of the dental practice plays a key role. As the old saying goes, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. And while having a team that gets the job done is important, you also need a team who’ll get along well.

People hate change, unfortunately. And with all of the pivoting you’ll be performing in your dental business, change is going to be inevitable. It takes a good leader to keep everyone on board with changes you make, and that takes building chemistry (it also takes setting goals, which we’ll get to next). 

Like it or not, building chemistry is about treating your team like family. If you do, you can bet on your team feeling valued and heard. That’s going to make your day-to-day much more enjoyable, no doubt about it. Not only will drama be a rarer occurrence, but you’ll be able to ensure an easier workload thanks to the ability to delegate and elevate your team members. 

In addition to treating your team like family, another key factor in building a healthy culture is removing “toxic” people from your workplace. Toxic folks come in many forms, one of them being those who just love gossiping about their coworkers. That sort of highschool bologna can create a gloomy atmosphere that no one wants to come into. 

Your team doesn’t need to be full of rainbows and butterflies when working with one another, but you need to build a culture where everyone treats each other with respect. If someone is acting inappropriately, they need to be disciplined. That can come in the form of a stern talking to or, in worst-case scenarios, firing them. That said, firing should always be a last resort.

Furthermore, to “spread the love” and create a healthy culture, you may need to begin stepping out of your comfort zone and really throwing yourself out there. What I mean by that is openly communicating with your team about stuff that goes on outside of work and letting them know that you’re always there to listen to them.

The truth is, putting yourself out there just isn’t easy for some of us—but it’s a must. No matter what, you need to set an example and never lower the floor by treating your people like they’re lesser than anyone else.


2. Clear goals.

Setting goals is important because it helps entrepreneurs define what they want to achieve in the future. It also helps them know what they need to do today in order to get where they want to be. 

You can’t have an organized business without clear goals. I like to advise my fellow dental entrepreneurs to get a clear understanding of what they want their dental practice to look like not only six months from now but ten years from now. 

You can’t have a profitable and sustainable business if you’re not working toward objectives. They’re like mile markers that’ll guide you along the way. And these mile markers will never cease to exist; the moment you run out of goals to shoot for is the moment you’ve grown complacent—and I like to say that complacency is the archnemesis of greatness.

As aforementioned, people tend to hate change, but that’s the name of the game when it comes to owning a dental practice. Goals will help you to not only pivot but explain why you’re pivoting. People will react less adversely if they know there’s a reason behind any big decisions you make which may impact them.


3. A heart.

I know what you’re thinking: “Glenn, I’m a dentist, what do ya mean I need a heart!? Isn’t that a part of the job!?” You’re not wrong. All of us got into dentistry for a reason and we have plenty of heart already. For many of us, being paid to improve the lives of our patients is a combination we’re passionate about. 

However, there’s always more of an explanation behind why you decided to choose the path of owning a dental practice. In other words, there’s always a “why” that gives us a sense of accomplishment beyond the fulfillment we find from treating our patients. Perhaps it’s providing for your family. Maybe it’s the ability to become “large and in charge.” The beauty of your “why” is that it’s completely up to you.

Anyway, that “why” is the “heart” we ought to put into our dental business. Having a “why” will also help us to keep up our hopes and battle inevitable burnout. When we can remember the reasons behind working so hard, it’s easier to maintain our morale. 

That said, it’s easy to become consumed in running our business, which is why we need to be able to take a breather every now and again. Burnout is real for any professional in a dental practice—owner or not. Our day-to-day can be hectic, and it’s impossible to not feel like we’re drowning in our workload from time to time. While burnout exists for any person working in a dental practice, it’s more common when you’re in charge of everyone else. 

Striking a work-life balance is key for any dental practice owner and, to go back to building a healthy culture, your team should be able to strike that balance too. So, be sympathetic to their needs. Go above and beyond to let them know they’re valued as people. The less they feel like numbers, the better they’ll perform and the happier they’ll be.


Having a strong foundation is the key to succeeding as a dental practice owner.

Owning a dental practice means running a business, and it’s not easy. Between managing our team and taking care of finances, we need to wear many different hats. It’s like a machine with many small, moving parts. Before you can start moving that machine, you need to make sure all the gears are in working order. Because if you don’t put in the work behind-the-scenes, you’re bound to run into trouble.

I run a community full of dental professionals who can give you some nuggets of wisdom about running a dental practice. So, join the Nifty Thrifty Dentists Facebook group and reach out! People from all across the globe will be happy to let you in on their two cents and share what they do to keep their business healthy.



Glenn Vo
Author: Glenn Vo