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A Dental Office Checklist – An Office Manager’s Best Friend

Kristie Williams with text, "real-world insights from AADOM authors"

As dental office managers, it can be overwhelming trying to remember everything that needs to be done to ensure that the practice runs smoothly.

This is especially true when a million and one tasks need to be completed on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.

From scheduling and confirming appointments, filing claims, ordering supplies, and cleaning up at the end of the day, it’s definitely a lot to try and manage (and remember).

This is where having a checklist for every position in the practice becomes a dental office manager’s best friend!

Checklists are a great way to:

  • Improve your team’s effectiveness
  • Ensure tasks don’t fall through the cracks
  • Reduce stress because everyone knows what is expected of them

Keep reading to learn the steps to follow to customize checklists for everyone on your team.

1. Individual accountability

Identify each position in the office.

Every team member needs to have their own checklist, whether they’re full-time, part-time, or even an intern.

Itemization helps ensure that everyone knows what’s expected of them in their role and will help hold them accountable for their assigned tasks.

2. Create a master task list

Conduct a brainstorming session to create a master task list.

Start by writing down every task that needs to be done in the office.

And I mean everything from the front office to back.

From answering phones, sharpening scalers, ordering supplies, paint touch-ups on wall dings, even watering the plants and changing out light bulbs.

3. Decide how often it needs to be done

Decide the frequency of each respected task.

How often does it need to be completed?

For example:

All trash cans are to be emptied daily. Traps need to be cleaned weekly. Spore testing is conducted monthly, and so on.

4. Delegate tasks

Once the frequency has been determined, divide the tasks amongst the list of team members.

Some tasks will be self-explanatory, such as confirming appointments being added to the scheduling coordinator’s daily task list.

For other items, you may need to just choose who will be given that duty.

For instance:

Watering the plants is not a job title-specific task.

Be sure to divide the tasks equally among the team members.

Ensure that all team members know that the jobs assigned are non-negotiable. Just because they may not like a task on their list does not mean they do not have to do it.

They all need to be held accountable for their tasks.

That being said, be sure that you’re open to input.

For instance:

Your hygienists may already know how frequently they need to sharpen their scalers, so be sure to allow appropriate time for what’s already being done. Certain instruments require more frequent sharpening than others.

5. Put it all together

Now it’s time to put everything together!

With each task assigned to each team member, put it in a spreadsheet.

Try to keep all checklists to one page by using short but precise descriptions. Delegate as many tasks as possible.

Dental office checklists for smoother day-to-day schedules

Here’s an example of one front and back dental office checklist from our practice.

Hygienist Checklist … Opens in a new window to a PDF…

Scheduling Coord Checklist … Opens in a new window to a PDF…

This is just to give you an idea of what our checklists look like and how they function.

The checklists are, of course, completely customizable according to your practice’s specific needs.

Each team member fills out their checklist and turns it into the office manager at the end of the workday.

The office manager reviews all the checklists, ensuring that tasks have been completed, place their initials in the appropriate box, and then hands the checklists back out to the team at the next day’s morning huddle.

This is an added benefit to the dental office manager because it provides a written paper trail showing accountability.

If a task is marked as being completed but wasn’t, it makes it easy for the office manager to follow up with that specific team member. The same is true if a task is left unmarked; the follow-up is easy to determine why the task was left undone.

Implementing a dental office checklist can save time and help minimize the “what should I do next” dilemma.

Checklists also help to ensure that tasks are being completed on time.

Even the simplest of tasks can easily be forgotten when we get busy.

Checklists provide accountability and improve productivity.

Our team members know what they need to do, and no one feels as though they are doing more than someone else.

However, if one team member is running behind at the end of the day, it’s easy for others to see what is on their checklist to help them out.

It’s a great way to facilitate teamwork just as much as responsibility.

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Meet the Author

Kristie Williams headshotKristie Williams is the dental office manager for Bighorn Pediatric Dentistry … Opens in a new window to Bighorn Pediatric Dentistry’s website… in Sheridan, Wyoming.

Kristie began her dental career in 2014 and earned her AADOM Fellowship in 2018. In 2021, she was inducted as an AADOM Master. 

She currently serves as Secretary for the Yellowstone Valley, Montana Chapter of AADOM.… This text opens a new tab to the chapter’s website…

She has been married to her amazing husband for almost 30 years. They have four grown children and three adorable grandchildren.



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