Building & Retaining Your Dream Dental Team: Strategies for Long-Term Success

Julie Burns highlighting Real-World Insights.


As we hire new team members, we strive to recruit the best. We look for unique characteristics in each member as we build our cohesive team.

Once we have achieved our rock-star squad, how do we increase team longevity to avoid a revolving door?

Here are a few things we have learned over the years.

Let Your Team Lead

Your team members do not want to be micromanaged or feel you are always looking over their shoulders.

Instead of managing, measure.

Once they are fully trained and understand the job description, let them work independently to accomplish their goals. You can be available to pair them with a veteran when they have questions or need help—but do not hover.

Have Compassion

We all struggle with stress and challenging situations. Please take a moment to greet and check on your team members daily.

Ask how you can help if they are having a bad day, or write them a note saying how much you appreciate them. A pat on the back, a high five, a fist bump, and even a hug can brighten their day.

Sometimes, bringing them a small gift showing them that you thought of them can also be an act of thoughtfulness.

Fun During Work Hours

Who doesn’t love food?

We have done taco bars, soup, sandwiches, and sweet treats. We also have team lunches (Dr. paid), have simple conversations (not about work), and enjoy each other’s company.

We dress up for Halloween; we have Christmas spirit week, which involves ugly sweaters, festive hats, and snacks.

We have made a few fun TikTok videos and have even brought a kiddie pool to keep outside to soak our feet on a hot day during lunch.

Learn More Now

Fun Outside of the Office

Team outings bring unity. They can be as simple as drinks after work or an extravagant week at the beach.

Some of our activities involve:

  • Axe throwing
  • Bowling
  • Touring a haunted house
  • An overnight stay with massages
  • A nice dinner

Having fun extra activities helps team members feel like the office is an extension of their personal lives—it’s more than just a paycheck.

Stay Vested

Your team will appreciate you supporting their continuing education and providing modern equipment in good working condition, 401k matches, and medical insurance (or stipend).

When a team member goes above and beyond, reward them.

There are many ways to show your team you are invested in them!

Lead with a Servant’s Heart

Although mentioned last, this is the most important. It may require sacrifice as managers, but it is well worth it.

Practice humility and focus on your team’s well-being. Be open to ideas and suggestions from your team.

Embracing these few principles will keep your team happy and willing to stay for the long haul!

Creating a cohesive, motivated, and loyal dental team is an ongoing process that requires intentional effort and genuine care.  These strategies not only help retain your rock-star squad but also enhance the overall patient experience, contributing to the long-term success of your practice.

Remember, a happy and valued team is the cornerstone of a thriving dental office.


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About the Author

Julie Burns, FAADOM profile picture.Julie Burns, FAADOM

Julie manages three dental offices in Nelson County, KY.  She has over 25 years of experience in the dental field.

She is a lifetime AADOM member and was inducted into the 2020 Class of AADOM Fellows.


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