The Complete Guide to Balance with Dental Patient Appointments

Optimize your dental patient appointments.

As a general or pediatric dentist, you naturally want to see and help as many patients in your community as possible. After all, you entered into this profession to help others, so the tendency to over-extend your patient appointments load is understandable.

Yet, have you ever considered that taking this approach could actually work against you and your practice? Today, we’re sharing a different perspective that could help you better serve your new and existing patients, grow your skill set, and achieve that coveted work-life balance that can sometimes seem elusive. 

The key? Schedule fewer dental patient appointments so you can improve service levels across the board. Let’s take a look at how and why this should be a priority. 

Spend More Time With Patients

When you’re overbooked, you’ll naturally feel rushed as you visit with each patient. Your mind is constantly a few steps ahead of you, thinking about what you need to do and who you need to see next. 

When this is the case, it can negatively affect your ability to be fully present with each client. You may also feel pressured to cut your time with them short, simply to fit everyone into your schedule for the day.

By carefully considering your workload, you’re doing your clients a major service. Not only can you focus more intently on their dental issues, but you can also spend more time with each of them. This gives them the opportunity to share their concerns with you and allows you to thoroughly explain any tips, procedures, and next steps that need to occur. 

Achieve a Work-Life Balance

According to a study by the American Dental Association (ADA), 75% of dentists deal with moderate to severe stress while at work. Are you nodding your head in agreement?

If so, then it’s easy to see why. The same ADA study found that more than half (51%) of all dentists work up to 50 hours each week, with daily challenges that include:

  • Mental stress.
  • Physical stress.
  • Irregular sleep schedules.
  • Fatigue.

Add to that an over-extended patient calendar, and you’ve got a recipe for burnout. When you commit to a smaller patient appointments load, you can reclaim some of that free time. This can help you focus on both personal and professional goals, without weighing the work side down.

Specialize Your Skill Set

When you spin your wheels trying to do everything at once, you may find that you don’t get very far at all. You’re constantly playing catch-up, which leaves little time to hone your craft.

As a dentist, you know that industry-related tools, technologies, and services are constantly evolving. Staying up-to-date on the latest knowledge can help establish you and your team members as go-to thought leaders in your community.

The only issue? It can be challenging to carve out time for academics when you’re over your head in patient appointments. 

By limiting the number of patients you see, you can free up time to study, learn, and strengthen your current skill set. You can even expand it as you discover specialized skills that could enhance your practice. This might include adding pediatric dentistry services to your general dentistry or family dentistry practice. Or, you may find that you’re interested in adding orthodontics to your current offerings. If you’ve ever considered going this route, then check out our upcoming courses

An added benefit? You can absorb the information much more easily when you’re able to give it your full attention. You may discover that your skills grow at a faster pace when you aren’t spread too thin, which is a win-win for you and your patients. 

Improve Patient Morale

Your patients care about their dental health, and they want to keep their smiles bright and healthy. Yet, they don’t want to drive to your practice four different times to complete a simple procedure. They value a dentist who is proficient, precise, and personable. 

Do you have all of those traits? If you’re rushing from one patient to the next, then it can be difficult to tell. 

By consolidating their dental appointments, you can save patients time and improve their morale. Not only will they feel appreciated and unrushed, but they’ll also know that their dentist cares about them. They can see that you value their time enough to scale back when necessary, and that small change can make a major impact. 

Build the Right Team

When you’re overwhelmed with patient appointments, it might feel tempting to hire anyone willing to help out. After all, the quicker you can build your team, the quicker you can start seeing new patients.

Yet, when you take this hurried approach, you may not take the time to fully vet each candidate, let alone be sure you’re hiring the right skills for the areas you want to specialize in and focus on. This could mean assembling a team full of staff members who, ultimately, aren’t a great fit for your practice. Your workforce is the most valuable asset in your practice, and all of the parts must be working in sync to create success.

By managing dental patient appointments more carefully, you can better focus your hiring and retention efforts. This way, you can make sure you’re only choosing qualified, experienced employees who can enhance your practice and help your patients feel at home. It also means you’ll hire the right expertise for the dentistry you want to perform.

Achieve Balance in Your Dental Patient Appointments

Especially if you’re a new dentist just starting out in the field, you may think that any business is good business. While you do want to grow your community presence, make sure you aren’t doing it at your personal or professional expense.

By lowering the number of dental patient appointments you accept, you can find new clarity and opportunity that you didn’t know existed. In time, you’ll be free enough to learn new skills, pursue new hobbies, and make new connections that drive your practice forward. Are you thinking about using that new-found time to learn more about the field of orthodontics? If so, then become a member of the AOS today!

To learn more about our popular orthodontics courses for pediatric and general dentists, check out one of the upcoming events below.

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OCTOBER 8-10, 2021

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14901 Dallas Parkway
Addison, TX 75254

SEPTEMBER 24-26, 2021

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5445 Forbes Place
Orlando FL 32812

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