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How Can a Dental Office Improve Teamwork?

Karol Peters, MAADOM with text, "Real-world insights from AADOM authors"

How can we better work together as a team?

What can we do as dental managers to help our teams have an appreciation for those they work alongside day after day?

There are many ways to facilitate camaraderie among our team members.

In this blog, you’ll learn four examples of tactics that can be put into action at any dental office.

1. Morning huddles

These moments help us to come together as a team to focus on opportunities for patient needs.

When we meet together, we start the day on the same page and move in a coordinated effort.

We can also plan for possible challenges and designate the team members who are best suited to deal with them, should problems arise.

For instance:

If we think one particular patient will refuse x-rays, but we have a team member she’ll listen to, we can have that person discuss the needs with the patient.

Anytime we miss a morning huddle, our day just isn’t the same.

We miss cues that we shouldn’t have overlooked.

Our teamwork suffers, and it changes the entire atmosphere of the office. The patients can sense it as well.

Unfortunately, we don’t get a do-over.

Make huddles a priority and do whatever it takes to have every member in attendance.

2. Team meetings

Regular team meetings allow us to spend an extended time together to keep focused and energized as a team.

Our team meetings introduce new:

  • Products
  • Techniques
  • Technology

We also review current office protocols to discuss ways to increase our skills or utilize new techniques for our patients.

The primary goal of team meetings is to evaluate and agree on how to integrate technology and services for the highest possible level of patient care.

It’s a time to refocus and celebrate our successes.

We occasionally have a trained specialist come in to work with our team.

Frequently revisiting success stories improves team morale and bolsters compliance with procedures and protocols, especially newer ones.

3. Cross-training

When a team member is unexpectedly out of the practice, it’s up to the rest of us to take up the slack.

If your team members are cross-trained, it’s immensely helpful in getting work done without compromising patient care.

But:

It also helps the rest of the team to see value in the absent team member.

Some practices routinely have team members alternate the front and the back positions, primarily for better understanding and appreciation of what their fellow team members bring to the practice.

Team members helping each other accomplish their work helps facilitate teamwork and deepens relationships.

Ultimately, cross-training makes the practice more successful through better patient care.

4. Time spent together away from work

Finally, time away from the practice as a team is invaluable for establishing relationships.

Away from the stresses of work, team members are able to interact in a more relaxed manner, allowing their relationships to grow and mature.

It’s amazing and gratifying to observe the change in the office demeanor after the team has had opportunities to grow closer together, especially when those difficult days arise.

The team is better able to understand and support each other when they’ve spent time devoted to having fun and getting to develop relationships on a deeper level.

Some of our best memories are the times we spent together doing something fun.

We’ve traveled, watched movies, gone to an escape room, eaten out, and provided Christmas gifts to foster kids, just to name a few.

Purposely facilitate relationships so your dental office can improve teamwork

We’ve all heard and agree with the phrase:

“Teamwork makes the dream work.”

Providing specific opportunities for the team to get to know each other allows them to appreciate their similarities and differences.

Both are important if we want to have a fully functional team.

It’s not all about the work!

But the work is more gratifying, unifying, and meaningful when the team finally discovers how to best work together.

Their unification allows both the practice’s goals to be achieved and their own personal ones.


Meet the Author

Karol Peters in blue top and glasses outsiteKarol Peters, RDH, MAADOM graduated from Lamar University in 1978. She began working for Dr. M. H. Peters Jr… This text opens a new tab to the practice’s website… as his first hygienist. Today, the two of them have been happily married for over 42 years.

Karol has worked in all aspects of private practice and is currently the managing director.

Her experience with management software training has allowed her to work in areas such as conducting fraud exams in dental practices.

In 2021, Karol was inducted as an AADOM Master.

She and her husband live in the NASA area of the Texas Gulf Coast with their two Maltese, Lola and Dixie. She enjoys her involvement in church activities, mission trips, and traveling.

Become an AADOM author!

One thought on “How Can a Dental Office Improve Teamwork?
  1. Avatar for American Association of Dental Office Management
    Sylvia

    Dear Karol,
    Thank you for the tips on how to improve team work.
    Do you have a tool that Dental Chair Side assistants use to hand over when they are going on off or away?

    Where I work the Assistants do not get to meet to do a face to face hand over. T

    Reply
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