Dentist smiling as dental team works with patient

How to Build A Stronger Dental Team

Whether it’s on a soccer field, a construction crew, or in a dental office, one thing is certain: in order to be successful, every practice needs to have a good team. As a dentist, your key goal is always to care for your clients. 

One way to make sure that your office accomplishes that goal in the best way possible is by establishing a great team to aid you in aiding others. 

Assembling your crew of dream teammates might sound impossible, but with open communication, vision sharing, agreed-upon goals, and some creativity, you can fill your office with motivated workers, helping you reach success.

Here’s what it takes to make that dream a reality.

Communicate and Instill Pride

No one ever wants to feel like they’re just going through the motions at their job.

A worker who comes to work with a strong feeling of purpose is more likely to work with motivation and passion.

One way to create that sense of self-reward for your workers is by setting clear goals. If you clearly create the vision of an ultimate goal to be accomplished after days of work, your employees feel happier while spending those days in your office.

A worker with a purpose makes a strong teammate. 

Another key piece of information to relay to your employees is what their specific role is.

This is done by delivering a clear job description to employees. If an employee comes to work without knowing exactly what they’re supposed to be doing, they’ll feel uncertain and lack the confidence in their craft that otherwise makes them a powerful asset.

Setting a clear job description helps your workers better understand what their role in the success of their workplace is. When your employee understands how crucial their role is, they take more pride in owning that role.

A worker who is proud of what they do is likely to strive to make what they do the best that it can be. 

Taking Dental Impressions
Dental team taking digital impressions - your team works hard to make your practice successful. Make sure you also work hard to do the same for them!

Set a Script

Establishing a set script is another communication aspect that unifies your team.

Training your employees on what to say in certain situations helps them feel more comfortable. If you or other employees have successfully handled unexpected situations, or have mastered how to approach repetitive situations, it’s wise to share what you said.

By telling your teammates what to say in stressful situations, they’re more at ease when they have to handle them on their own.

This has the added bonus of creating a sense of uniformity within your office. If every patient who comes in with questions receive the same advice or answers, they see a well-organized team with the same set of knowledge and skills.

This cohesion improves how customers view your team, while making your employees feel like a closer unit. 

Listening Speaks Volumes

While these communication strategies help motivate and tighten your team, it’s important that employees know that they’re heard too. Communication is difficult and unpleasant when only one party is talking or dominating the conversation.

To make sure this doesn’t happen in your workplace, encourage employees to talk to you. If there is a problem or question and an employee is hesitant to ask you about it, that problem or uncertainty will remain.

But, when you consistently and clearly encourage employees to talk to you or one other, they feel less nervous to do so. This encouragement also shows your workers that you care about their voice.

This communication keeps things flowing smoothly and unifies trust among your team. 

Communication certainly leads to efficiency in your team, but it’s also important to keep your teammates happy. An unhappy member won’t care about the success of your team if they don’t feel like the team cares about them.

Fortunately, there are a few different ways you can keep members engaged and motivated.

Keep Your Dental Team Members Happy

An ongoing debate in 2021 is the topic of how much businesses should be paying their employees. Particularly after the pandemic, a lot of businesses are struggling to get workers to return or to hire new ones.

Since we all went through the same crisis, it’s likely a problem for your dental practice as well. One argument being made to resolve this problem is that businesses assure their employees are well paid.

In dentistry, staff turnover is already high – let alone after a pandemic. By making sure that your dental team is well paid, you’re clearly showing them you appreciate their contributions in these difficult times.

Sure, it’s often easier said than done, but remember: it can cost more to hire and train new employees than it to adjust payments for your current employees.

By paying your team well, it also shows that you care about their well-being, and makes them happier to work for you. Working for someone who cares about you always trumps working for someone who doesn’t.


Offer More Than Just Raises

Giving your dental team members individual attention is another great way to show them you care.

One way to do this is by holding yearly reviews. This creates an opportunity for you to praise employees on what they’ve excelled at and encourage them to continue growing. Workers who know their hard work is recognized continue doing their best.

By setting goals with your dental team, you also demonstrate that you care about their professional growth. By showing recognition and encouraging further success, your employees know you support them, and in return, are more likely to support your dental practice.

However, there’s still other, more cost-effective ways to strengthen your dental team.

Dental team cleaning patient's teeth

Don’t Hesitate to Get Creative

Even passionate, well cared-for employees get bored sometimes.

This is where it’s important for you to get creative. There are a couple of different ways to let your dental team feel loose while also enhancing your team.

No one enjoys the grueling process of spending hours on end watching a training video or listening to lectures, but it’s important your team members know what to do in almost every situation.

One way you can continue to educate your workers and make them feel more connected to one another is by creating an ongoing orientation process. Rather than holding a one-fits-all orientation class, create different ways to teach your employees over periods of time.

For example, try scheduling a role-playing exercise to take place once every two weeks. This allows your team to interact with each other in a lighthearted manner – hopefully improving their chemistry.

It also teaches employees how to handle different situations while diversifying their mindset on how to tackle hypothetical situations. 

The best time to be creative is when you want to improve your teammates’ enjoyment of one another.

It’s not only okay to be friends at work, it’s actually incredibly beneficial.

Set rewards along with your goals, allowing your workers to interact in a fun manner.

For example, if your team achieves a goal, schedule something like a bowling party. This creates an incentive for your team to accomplish their goals, while the party itself allows them to grow closer to one another.

You could even encourage weekly recreational gatherings, like a book club. Activities like this help your dental team grow together and establish a bond every week. When it comes to building a tight knit community, it never hurts to be creative.

The Takeaways

It’s not easy to build a successful dental team, let alone one that sticks around for years to come. However, taking the time and effort to do it is just as important as any other part of your business.

There are many different ways to do it, but it’s always important to remember to clearly communicate with dental team members, let them know you care about them, and let them have some fun.

Instill a sense of pride in your practice, and let them know they have a voice. Make sure their wages keep pace with their needs, and consider positive reviews.

Keep your dental team members happy, and you’ll be happy for years to come.

After all, your dental practice is your home away from home.



About First Choice Dental Lab

First Choice Dental Lab is a full-service dental lab with locations in Downers Grove, Il. & Wauwatosa, Wi.

We manufacture & customize quality dental restorations for general dentists. We create smiles based on your needs and budget.

We’re here to help you give your patients a reason to smile!

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