From Dental Assistant to Business Manager
I started my career in dentistry in 2008. I was the typical ‘errand’ gal and handled filing our paper charts. I quickly realized the dental industry had my heart and decided to enroll in a dental assisting school. I never imagined that 15 years later, I would go from being a dental assistant to the business manager for a successful private dental office.
I have been at my current practice for ten of my 15 years in dentistry and don’t plan on leaving anytime soon! I started here as a front office assistant. It was nerve-wracking at first to leave direct patient care. I had zero experience in this aspect of the office and wasn’t sure if I would ever be good at it. After doing some personal research online, especially utilizing the AADOM group forums, I made significant changes that benefitted our practice and found that I have a real ‘knack’ for management! While some of it was a ‘trial by fire,’ the changes we implemented have resulted in a practice that puts the patient first while continuing to uphold the high quality of dentistry we strive for. Fast forward to the present day. I absolutely love my position and hope to help others grow successfully in their positions. I credit my success to Dr. Gavin, who believed in me and has always encouraged and supported my decision to learn and grow in my career continually.
Transitioning From Dental Assistant to the Front Office Is a Giant Leap!
Between navigating all the different insurance limitations (which are not consistent throughout the millions of policies available) and keeping the schedule full, it can feel like a roller coaster ride most days! While I feel lucky to have been able to experience the patient care side of the dental world, I have found that the business side of dental is where I belong. The knowledge base of a clinical team member who transfers to a front office position is beneficial in a way that cannot be measured. They can help navigate patient concerns about procedures by further explaining steps in a way that the ‘common individual’ will understand–a skill that some doctors don’t possess. Also, knowing the ‘ins and outs’ of how the clinical team operates the back office allows the entire practice to function as a well-oiled machine.
So How Do YOU Get There?
The first step is to research and apply for a position that piques your interest–either in your current practice or elsewhere! Don’t be afraid to ‘put your name in the hat’ for a job you think might be outside your skill set. Many employers are willing to train different skill sets on candidates with the personality they are looking for! The second step is not to give up! It can be easy to take rejection as a sign that you’d better not mess with the status quo,’ but keep trying! Take every opportunity to better yourself and learn from each experience – especially the negative ones!
In summary, it is imperative to always believe in yourself and invest in the future YOU want.
About the Author
Kristina Bekkum, MAADOM is the business manager for Valley Dental in Onalaska, WI. Having begun her career in dentistry as a dental assistant, she has spent the last ten years in administration. Kristina is a lifetime AADOM member, earning her fellowship designation (FAADOM) in 2020 and master distinction in 2023. She enjoys spending time with her husband and two sons when not in the office.