Practice Management |6 min read

Effective Strategies To Maximize Your Chances of Securing A Salary Increase

Real World Insights from AADOM Authors - Lan Alexander

There are many dental managers that express that while they do a huge amount of work, they do not feel their compensation matches their role and duties. Or, that it did at some point and hasn’t increased to match their current situation. While the majority of us are in this profession because we simply love what we do and want to help others, we also want to make sure we are financially compensated so we can provide for ourselves, our families, and pursue our goals outside of work.

And yes – it is absolutely true that there are many dentists and owners who fully value and appreciate their teams and are proactive when it comes to salary increases for managers. Those individuals are onto something good. However, there are also many situations where we need to advocate for ourselves to maintain our growth within the profession. This article will outline a few strategies to maximize your chances of securing a salary increase.

Invest in yourself

By increasing your value to the practice, you will be doing yourself the biggest favor. One of the most valuable resources we have as dental practice managers is AADOM. There is a wealth of knowledge available, including online education and webinars, not to mention access to key industry leaders and speaking engagements, and a community of other managers who relate to your unique challenges, obstacles, and celebrations as a dental manager. AADOM connects us in a way that is unique and genuine. Additionally, the yearly AADOM conference is an excellent way to network, stay updated on the latest dental trends, and meet and network with new friends and professional contacts.

AADOM’s distinction program with FAADOM, MAADOM, and DAADOM will also allow you to set yourself apart and become the very best of the best by completing additional requirements illustrating your dedication and passion for the dental field. There have been several employment opportunities specifying that the office was looking for a particular distinction-level manager, so it can definitely increase your value to potential employers. If you have no plans on going elsewhere, your dentist will easily recognize your ambition since the requirements for each distinction level require a huge amount of effort and expertise. When you achieve a particular distinction, have that checklist available to show them, so they can fully appreciate your efforts, accomplishments, and the value you bring to their practice.

Outline your achievements and skills

Be sure to document your achievements so you can clearly define how you’ve grown as a practice manager in measurable terms. Did you recently meet or exceed a practice goal? If you have implemented systems to increase production, collections, new patients, patient satisfaction, reviews, etc., then these can all contribute to your case for a salary increase. Keep in mind that you should have a baseline metric consistent with industry standards and be able to show consistent and sustainable growth over time. If you took on additional responsibilities and initiatives or increased the size of your team, then this should be mentioned as well.

On the other hand, if you can also show that you have effectively decreased costs and expenses (which helps increase practice profits), then this should also be taken into consideration. It might be advisable to audit your practice’s expenses, like supplies and processing fees because those are areas in which you might be able to get a better deal if you shop around. You might even be able to switch to a service or product that allows you to consolidate several processes and allows you to lower fees.

Taking a course or learning new skills is an excellent way to increase your value to the practice. This is not limited to dental only. Certain courses and skills are transferable to our industry. Some ideas include taking a course on marketing, sales, organizational psychology, HR, communication, leadership, business, and more! There are also a ton of free resources like podcasts and online articles that you can access on a variety of related topics. If you have accrued continuing education credits, then print out a transcript or bring those completion certificates so that your employer can see how invested you are in advancing their business.

Other considerations

Be sure to schedule a time for the meeting with your boss and time it appropriately to give yourself the best chance of success. The ideal time would be after an especially successful quarter or a huge initiative or goal is met. Let them know the topic of the meeting so they can come prepared. Be prepared and professional in your conversation, and be open-minded to see where they are coming from.

Have a figure in mind of what your target increase looks like, and be realistic. If you can confidently prove that the practice can support the increase without being strained, you’ll be in a better negotiating position. Be flexible and creative in what you are willing to accept since compensation includes more than just dollars paid out. For example, if you are salaried and the practice cannot pay you more, perhaps an additional week of PTO (but not additional salary) might be what you ask for. Or, if you do not have a bonus program, you could suggest implementing a performance-based one in lieu of a definitive salary increase.

If they cannot feasibly provide an increase at this time, then ask them what specific steps you can take so they can consider one and along what timeline is feasible. Set up another meeting to follow up based on that timeline and start working toward it.


Dental managers are used to working hard and being dedicated to our practice and teams. We work long hours, fill in the gaps, and solve problems before anyone even knows there is one. A lot of the time, our bosses may not even know the extent of just how much we actually do. So, use these strategies to increase your professional value at your practice and advocate to get the salary increase you deserve!

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About the Author

Headshot of Lan Alexander

Lan Alexander grew up in Cambridge, MA, and graduated from college with a Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Neuroscience. Lan’s dental career passions include creating a positive, fulfilling work culture and providing exemplary service to patients.

She has been a National AADOM Member since 2017, also serving as the Vice President for the Boston Chapter. Lan received her AADOM Fellowship (FAADOM) designation in 2019 and her AADOM Mastership (MAADOM) designation in 2022. Most recently, she completed the AADOM Diplomate designation program, receiving her DAADOM at the AADOM conference in 2023.

Outside of work, Lan loves spending time with her husband, Ron. She loves movies, exploring new restaurants, playing board games, and going on walks.

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