5 Signs Your Dental Practice Needs a Makeover (and How to Fix It!)

Is your dental office feeling the squeeze? Rising costs and staffing woes are plaguing practices nationwide. But fear not, you’re not alone! Here are 5 key signs your dental practice needs a refresh, along with solutions to get you back on track:

1. You’re Struggling to Find Staff:

  • Having trouble filling hygienist, assistant, or even front office manager positions? You’re not alone. The 2023 Dental Economics survey found hygienist shortages are at a staggering 79% in the Midwest! This can seriously impact your practice’s efficiency and production.

Solution: Rethink your recruitment strategy. Offer competitive salaries and benefits, and consider flexible scheduling options.

2. Patients Aren’t Coming in as Often:

  • Short staffing can lead to longer wait times and a decline in patient care timeliness. Additionally, inadequate front office coverage can lead to communication breakdowns and missed appointments.

Solution: Streamline your scheduling and communication processes. Invest in technology that can automate tasks and keep patients informed.

3. Your Profitability is Taking a Hit:

  • DeStefano (2023) reports that practices with staffing shortages experienced a 10% drop in collections in 2023. This could be due to reduced patient flow, inefficient billing processes, or outdated fee schedules.

Solution: Analyze your current fee structure. Consider raising fees by 5% annually to keep pace with inflation. Don’t be afraid to renegotiate with insurance providers, and consider alternative payment models like membership plans.

4. You’re Stuck in a PPO rut:

  • While PPO plans offer predictable patient traffic, they often come with limitations on fee increases. This can leave your practice struggling to maintain profitability.

Solution: Explore alternative payment models like fee-for-service or membership plans. These models often offer more flexibility when it comes to setting fees. Also, make sure to contact your PPO payers and request a fee audit for your area. Use these ADA resources for help. This link will open to resources on renegotiating a contract and how to terminate relationships with payers. ADA Insurance Contract Support

5. Your Fees Haven’t Budged in Years:

  • Inflation is a reality, and your fees need to reflect that. The 2023 Dental Economics survey found 65% of practices raised fees in the past year.

Solution: Conduct a thorough cost analysis and update your fee schedule accordingly. The survey provides a fee table by region as a helpful reference point.

Bonus Tip: