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The Early Morning Team Huddle

Real-world insights from AADOM author Rosa Pasquantonio

I would’ve loved to be a fly on the wall in the first office that introduced the morning huddle.

Typically, the dental team comes in early to set up their rooms, instruments, desks, work areas, and then immediately gets to work on their hectic day.

The doctor arrives and excitedly announces, “Starting tomorrow, I would like to take 15 minutes before the start of every day to go over our daily schedule; it’s called “The Morning Huddle.”

Did the team turn to look at the dentist like they had lost their mind?

It could have been entirely possible that the doctor heard about this new concept from a colleague, or perhaps a conference that they had attended. Or maybe it was a visionary in a dental practice that dreamt it up after having had one of THOSE days!

Implementing a significant change is often difficult in the beginning, but once you’ve become accustomed to the new norm, you can’t live without it.

But on the flip side, I wonder how dental offices can successfully carry on without a morning huddle.

I can’t imagine what it feels like not to have a briefing to discuss the day or, more importantly, to get that contact time with the people I’m spending the rest of the day with.

How the early morning team huddle works

Like clockwork every morning, dental teams around the country file their team into a room to plan out another great day in dentistry.

Many of us are passionate about our work. The morning huddle is an opportunity when we say we’re there for one another. We know that during the day, we will pass the baton as needed and go the distance as needed.

During the huddle, it’s extremely important to turn our attention to the schedule, where we discuss the procedures for the day, patient needs, doctor chair time, and other items.

We discuss anything and everything regarding our work, everything that is quick and pertinent to consider, and that everyone needs to know to be productive.

This ten to fifteen-minute exchange makes all the difference in our days.

My team huddle experience

In our orthodontic practice, it’s essential to be aware of the availabilities we have in six to eight weeks.

When we come away from our morning huddle, we’re already ready for the day ahead. At our huddles, updating each other on pressing matters with regards to patient treatment is primordial, and at times may even discuss the previous day if needed.

We have an important rule of not undertaking lengthy discussions such as schedule changes or procedural changes at this time. We reserve those longer discussions for staff meetings; morning huddles are strictly reserved for the tasks at hand for that day.

Everyone that has something to say may do so, proactively and politely. We often start with a joke, or by poking gentle fun at one another, giggling sets us up for a positive day.

It may happen that if a team member is late for the huddle, rather than making them feels left out, we make a point of saying good morning to them when they come in, and this gives them a chance to say good morning and feel included rather than late and isolated.

It often reminds me of a family sitting down to have a meal; we are complete when everyone is present. A team functions best when we are all current and informed!

Remember the rules to a successful morning huddle

  1. Start the morning huddle 15 minutes before your first patient
  2. Have an agenda
  3. Say a bright GOOD MORNING and SMILE to everyone
  4. Be on time
  5. The entire team must attend
  6. Do not eat breakfast at the huddle
  7. Come ready to go
  8. Review patient and treatment files before the huddle
  9. Discuss the schedule
  10. Discuss specific patient needs for the day
  11. Doctors communicate incoming calls that are pressing so that admin can filter their phone calls accordingly
  12. Scheduling coordinators inform everyone what types of availabilities and openings we have in the schedule
  13. Office Managers advise every one of pressing matters that will affect different areas of the practice
  14. Office Managers give a quick update on where we stand in our conversions & production
  15. Discuss challenges and celebrations
  16. Wish each other a good day before we head to our respective posts!

This list is indeed extensive, and we can add more items to the agenda if needed.

Keep in mind that a team that is organized and in place will make their way through this list quickly. An organized dental team is a happy team!

Meet the Author

Rosa Pasquantonio, FAADOM smiling with pink lipstick, glasses, and a white shirtRosa has worked in the dental industry since 1980 and currently serves as a dental business manager for TGO Orthodontics.

She received a certification from Concordia University in Administration and Human Resource Management and obtained her FAADOM in 2018.

That same year, she was nominated for Office Manager of the Year and one of seven recipients of the AADOM Award of Distinction.

In 2019, she founded the Montreal Quebec Canada AADOM Chapter.… This text opens a new tab to the chapter’s website…


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