What Does A Dental Practice Manager Do?


Behind every great dental practice is a knowledgeable and efficient staff. One of the most important roles in a dental office is the dental practice manager. What does a dental practice manager do? In general, they oversee the non-clinical functions of a dental practice. This position helps run the practice and ensures everything works smoothly and efficiently. Here are some of the tasks you can expect to do as a dental practice manager.


Finances And Accounting


Financial management is an essential component of a dental practice manager. Every practice needs to oversee its finances to ensure everything is taken care of. Tasks may include overseeing the budget, monitoring cash flow, running reports and analysis, and more. Since a dental practice needs financial management, this is a vital part of what a dental practice manager does. Accounting tools are also necessary since it’s always a good idea to track expenses and income.




How do people find out about your practice? That’s where marketing comes in. Marketing efforts help draw potential patients to and grow your practice. While some practices have a marketing position on staff, a dental practice manager at least oversees the marketing campaigns and has some involvement. Marketing tasks involve managing and monitoring social media, receiving and interacting with feedback, and analyzing trends, especially when it comes to your competitors. To successfully grow your business, an effective marketing strategy is essential.


Dental Practice Manager Administrative Tasks


Daily administrative tasks are the backbone of any dental practice. A practice manager spends much of their time working on administration and tasks that help the business run effectively. Some examples of administrative tasks can include:


  • Cleaning maintenance
  • Managing inventory and restocking as needed
  • Ensuring a clean and safe workspace
  • Technological troubleshooting
  • Overseeing proper storage of paperwork and documents


If needed, some of these tasks can be delegated to other positions on your team. But generally, the practice manager plays a big role in overseeing the administration and related tasks of your business. 


Staffing and Human Resources


An efficient dental practice relies on a productive and knowledgeable staff. You need to have team members you can depend on every day. Dental practice managers manage hiring, training, and oversight of your employees. The process of hiring and training in itself can be a big job, especially if you have several positions to fill. Finding the right person for the job is an important aspect of running a dental practice, and making sure everyone is on the same page with benefits and paperwork takes time. 


Are you feeling overwhelmed by the prospect? Dr. Coughlin coaches dentists and dental practice managers to run their practice efficiently and productively. We can help you with tools and tips to turn your practice into a thriving business with the support of an experienced dental practice manager and owner.


If you are a dental practice manager or you are looking to hire one, we hope this article has been helpful in demonstrating the value of having this role on your team. Are you interested in learning more about coaching options with Ascent Dental Solutions? Call our office at (413) 224-2659.

3 Benefits For Dental Employees

Every good employer offers benefits to their employees. Dental practices are no different. In order to attract top-notch employees, a great benefits package can go a long way. However, you also want to ensure you keep up with or match your competitors’ benefits.  Otherwise, you risk losing employees to other practices. Read on to learn about the importance of benefits for dental employees.


Why Benefits Matter for Dental Employees


You can offer your employees benefits as perks of working at your dental practice. For your employees, a benefits package should be both attractive and practical. Employees want to feel appreciated and have the freedom and flexibility to have some form of work-life balance in their lives, especially in a post-Covid world. For some employees, benefits can make or break their decision to join or stay with your practice or go elsewhere. 



How Does It Benefit Your Dental Practice?


A good benefits package helps you attract and keep top talent. This benefits your practice. It means you can be competitive with who you draw into your practice, which can boost your organization’s reputation. Top-notch staff can expand your business if they bring their existing clients to your practice. Regarding morale, your employees may often feel that your benefits package reflects how you feel about them. An engaged staff boosts productivity and saves you money in the long run.


Benefits For Dental Employees


You can offer various benefits, and adjust them to reflect your business. The basic benefits to include are health-related, vacation time, and retirement planning. You may also want to incorporate dental service discounts and related benefits for your employees.



Health-Related Benefits


Arguably the most important benefit you can offer your dental employees is health insurance. In Massachusetts, for example, health insurance coverage is mandatory. Your employees need health-related coverage, so this should be a priority benefit you should offer. Shop around and find a plan that works for your budget and for them as well. If possible, look for competitive premium rates and low deductive plans to save you money and keep your workforce healthy.

Personal Leave and PTO


Unsurprisingly, your employees will want to work for a practice that offers competitive vacation benefits. You can incorporate different formats to achieve this goal, including flexible schedules, paid time off policy, and unpaid vacation for emergencies. Vacation time is important for every employee and may especially be valuable to those with young families and other needs.


Retirement Planning Benefits for Dental Employees


Finally, retirement planning options are an important benefit for dental employees. Although many employees are in the workforce longer than previous generations, equipping your workforce with a means to financially plan for retirement is to your advantage. Implement a retirement contribution benefit package and see the positive difference it makes to employee morale and your practice as a whole.



Work With Ascent Dental Solutions


Are you a dental practice owner or manager looking to offer the best benefits for your employees? Call (413) 224-2659 to learn how Dr. Coughlin can help you navigate the process.

What Is A Cloud-Based Dental Practice?

The day-to-day operations of a dental practice rely heavily on software and systems. Whether you own your practice or are part of a larger group, you likely spend a fair amount of time working with practice management software. Traditional practice management relies on servers and networks to keep and maintain documents, client data, and other important records. Cloud-based technology makes it easier to keep records, protect and secure data, and manage the tasks and the overall flow of your dental practice.


Cloud-Based Dental Practice Management Software


Cloud-based dental practices rely on solutions that store data, information, and records in a centralized and secured space on the Internet. Cloud technology solutions mean your dental practice can have access to reporting, calendars, records, and more with the click of a button rather than having to connect to a network beforehand. A cloud-based dental practice also makes it easier to access information remotely and on the go, which is essential these days.

Cloud Management Software vs. Traditional Servers


While dental practice management, understanding the differences between server and cloud options is helpful. Traditional servers utilize networks in a specific location rather than being able to store information remotely. Server-based networks typically have higher upfront costs and maintenance, especially because of the need for IT support and troubleshooting. There are limits in terms of how your business can grow with traditional network infrastructure, which makes cloud-based dental practices in a better position to thrive.

Cloud Management Benefits


After you know the differences between cloud-based and network servers, it’s easy to see some of the benefits that cloud management has to offer. Cloud-based solutions can save your dental practice in terms of cost, which frees up time and resources for the other aspects of your business you need to tend to. Much of the upfront costs associated with network servers are eliminated with cloud dental practice management software. Another benefit of cloud-based dental practices is the added security measures. Cloud practice management provides a reliable source to back up data in case of any losses as well as protection from other external security risks. Your dental practice manages and maintains client confidentiality and patient records. These records can be exposed to breaches without expensive and consistent security measures in place. While cloud management systems still need hardware updates for optimal security, it’s much easier to build and manage without bulky infrastructure and the need for as much server-based IT support.


Should You Choose A Cloud-Based Practice?


Should your dental practice switch from a server-based network to a cloud management system? Here are some of the best cloud dental practice management software options:

  • Denticon/Planet DDS
  • tab32
  • Dentrix Ascend
  • Curve Dental

It can be confusing to know what choice is right for your dental practice, especially when you want to make sure it continues to run smoothly. An established and reliable cloud-based dental practice can help centralize your operations and financial systems to give you back time for other things you need to keep your business thriving.

Ascent Dental Solutions Can Help


Looking for help with choosing a cloud management software system? Dr. Coughlin is knowledgeable and has successfully grown and managed over a dozen dental practices. Email kcoughlin@ascentdentalcare.com to learn how he can help your dental practice today.

Private Dental Practice vs DSO: What’s The Difference?

What are the main differences between a private dental practice and a DSO? In 2022, there are so many choices you have to make as a new dentist. The decision to go with a dental practice, go out on your own, or join a dental service organization can be overwhelming. Part of the reason Ascent Dental Solutions exists is to provide guidance to new dentists as they make decisions for their careers. As you do this, deciding between joining a dental practice vs. DSO plays an important role. This post reviews some of the differences between the two.

Advantages of Private Dental Practices vs DSO


When it comes to dental practices, you can choose from owning a solo business or joining a small group with other dental providers. There are several benefits to joining a dental practice. You typically have more flexibility in your hours, schedule, and other resources. This is alluring to many young dentists who want flexibility in their work environment. As a business owner, you can often set your own hours (within reason) and work when you want to.

Disadvantages of Dental Practices



Depending on the type of dental practice you join, there can be some disadvantages. If you want to own your practice, a downside is that you wear many hats – including marketing and promoting your business. While some people thrive on doing different tasks rather than the same ones all day long, it can be overwhelming if you are just starting out. You might find that partnering with a more experienced dentist gives you the best mix of autonomy and support.


Advantages of DSO


DSO stands for Dental Service Organization. These are organizations that manage the administrative side of things, leaving you to focus on providing excellent clinical care. Faced with high student loan debt and increasing dental school costs, DSOs can be a good option for many young dental professionals. Most if not all of the administrative tasks are managed by the DSO, and you receive a steady and reliable income from the get-go. If you prefer a reliable system and support network, DSOs would likely be a good fit.

Disadvantages of DSO


There are pros and cons to everything. With DSOs, there are some disadvantages to keep in mind. The first is that you have less freedom and flexibility if you choose to join a DSO. This option reflects a traditional employment experience, which may or may not be a plus for you. You also may have to go through corporate “red tape” and requirements that would not be an issue if you owned your practice. DSOs often manage important aspects of a dental practice like staffing, which can make or break the client experience. In these organizations, you don’t have control over these and other decisions.

Private Dental Practice vs DSO? Dr. Coughlin Can Help


As you decide what option to take in your dental career, you don’t have to do it alone. Dr. Coughlin has experience growing and managing 14 practices over his career. Contact him today to learn about how he can help you make the best financial and professional decisions for you!

7 Ways to Grow Your Dental Business in 2022

As technology advances and needs change, your dental business adjusts as well. In 2022, there are several factors that go into growing – and maintaining – your practice. In order to build and sustain a successful dental practice, the best approach is to try out several methods to see which ones work well for you. Continue reading to learn about some of the best ways to grow your dental business in 2022.

Friendly Service

When a new client walks through your doors, your staff are likely the first people they meet. There’s a reason they’re called the face of the company! If you emphasize excellent customer service as a value for everyone on your staff, you will reap the benefits later on.

Simple Scheduling Processes

A good business runs on efficient processes, and dental practices are no different. For new and existing clients, a clunky and outdated scheduling process can easily lead to frustration. If you keep your scheduling systems as simple as possible, the more time you have to provide the services that affect your bottom line.

Innovative Technology

Technology has made great strides in every industry over the past several decades. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to incorporate the newest advances in dental technology in your practice. Trade-in your outdated systems for more innovative ones and see how they can help grow your business.

Start A Blog

If you haven’t started a blog yet, you’re missing out on reaching a lot of potential clients. Blogging demonstrates your expertise and knowledge while also providing value to your audience. If a client is impressed by one of your posts, they are more likely to visit your business when they need to see a dentist.

Request Feedback

Do you have a system in place to receive feedback from your clients? If not, this is a valuable tool to have in your toolkit. Send out periodic surveys to understand areas of your business that need improvement. This process will help you discover blindspots and find ways to further meet your clients’ needs.

Offer Incentives for Referrals

A spin on the word-of-mouth strategy, referral incentives are a fun way to bring in more potential clients. Have your current clients refer friends and family to your practice and give them a discount or other benefit in return.

Hire A Dental Coach

If you’ve tried these marketing tips and haven’t seen the growth you need and want, it may be time to hire a dental coach. Dental coaches are experienced dental professionals and can offer a unique form of expertise to help you grow a thriving business. For example, I have over 35 years of experience in the dental industry and my experience allows me to encourage and support you along the way to creating a thriving practice.

I hope these tips help you grow a successful business in the dental industry. And if you’re interested in working with me as a dental coach, contact me today!

What Is a Dental Coach?

A dental coach is typically someone who has worked many years in the dental industry, both as a dentist and as a practice owner. These coaches will then take that experience and train and mentor other dentists to grow, scale, and sustain their own practices. Dental coaches understand that much more goes into starting and growing a successful dental practice. 

There are marketing, hiring practices, patient experience, systems, and employee engagement to consider beyond the financial side of things. In addition, each dental coach has their own areas of expertise, years of experience, and education, so it’s important to find a dental coach who is the right fit for you. 


Why Should I Hire a Dental Coach?


There are several reasons to hire a dental coach, depending on where you are in your journey. You might be a new dentist, fresh out of dental school, looking to develop a resume, make professional connections, and perhaps looking for your first job. You might also be further in your career, established as a dentist, or looking to start your first practice. Sometimes a dentist who currently owns a practice might hire a dental coach to help them scale and grow their business or even sell it. 

Reasons to Hire a Dental Coach 


  • You are a new dentist just starting your career
  • You are an established dentist ready to open your own practice 
  • You have a dental practice and want to scale your business
  • You own a dental practice and want to sell 
  • You want to establish more sustainable systems in your practice
  • You want to create a stronger team that is more engaged. 
  • You want to develop stronger marketing strategies.


While there can be other reasons to hire a dental coach, these tend to be the most common reasons why a coach can be beneficial. 

How Can a Dental Coach Help Me?


As mentioned above, a coach can help you grow your career, scale your practice, or even start a new practice. As a dental coach, I personally aim to help develop a custom coaching program for each client so they can get the most from our time together. We can cover goals, accountability, strategy, and implementation. 

My main focus is based on your needs, but I also include several topics, including: 

  • Practice management
  • Employee engagement
  • Patient satisfaction
  • Business and marketing

How Do I Hire a Dental Coach?


If you are ready to hire a coach, do some research to find someone you connect with. Take the time to look at their background, experience, and results. This will help you feel confident with your coach and help create a better experience for you. 

I hope this offers some clarity on the benefits to hiring a dental coach and the ways coaching can help you grow, scale, and improve your practice and career. 

If you would like to work together, and learn more about my own coaching services, here is more information about my process and I would be happy to answer any questions you have or get you scheduled for a call. You can contact me here to learn more. 

The Pros And Cons Of Owning A Dental Practice

As with any big life decision, owning your own dental practice comes with both advantages and disadvantages. If you are considering owning your own practice, there are a few things to consider before going all in. However, the good news is, the pros of your own practice are pretty enticing and there are a lot of benefits to forging your own path.

The Pros Of Owning Your Own Dental Practice

Owning your own practice brings with it a lot of career freedom. You will have the ability to set your own schedule and you will have the flexibility to run your practice your own way. There is also a feeling of security, being your own boss. You don’t have to worry about getting fired or working in an environment that you don’t enjoy.

Another benefit of owning your own practice is the uncapped earning potential. You are not bound to a salary or earning cap, you have unlimited growth capacity and can expand, open new locations, and scale. And not only are you building wealth now, but you are also creating a future income for retirement. When you are ready to retire, you can sell your practice and enjoy a comfortable rest of your life without financial stress. If you are not sure how to scale your dental practice, I offer 1:1 coaching to help you grow your business in a way that aligns with your goals and future plans.

As a business owner, you can also enjoy the benefits of tax benefits and can deduct education, your pension, insurance, travel expenses, and more. It is also common to feel more job satisfaction when you work for yourself, and owning your own practice gives you the space to have a better work/life balance.

The Cons Of Owning Your Own Dental Practice

While there are many benefits of owning your own dental practice, there can be a few disadvantages depending on how you look at it. For one, you are more than a dentist. You are a business owner, boss, marketing professional, and wearing many hats to keep things going. While hiring can help ease this balancing act, it does take extra effort to run your own practice.

Another con to owning your own practice is the financial pressures of overhead costs, especially when you are just getting started. While owning your own practice can bring with it many financial growth opportunities, there are fleeting moments of fear as you try to grow your business. The good news is, the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages of owning your own practice.

While there may be some challenges, working with someone who has already been through this process and came out the other side with success, can help you navigate the growing pains of starting your own practice. I offer many different coaching programs to help you transition into being your own boss and running a dental practice that makes you proud and allows you to have a healthy balance and financial growth.

Why You Should Hire A Dental Coach?

Dental school gives you the skills you need, but not always the business know-how to transform your practice, hit your income goals, and serve your patients in a big way. This creates a learning curve, many mistakes, and unnecessary detours on the path to sustainable success. But there is an easier way to navigate life after dental school or grow your current dental practice.

Three Reasons Why You Should Hire A Coach

As mentioned above, not having the right tools and experience when trying to grow your practice can lead to costly mistakes and headaches. But having a coach to lean on gives you support and strategy from someone who has been there, made the mistakes, and found the right pivots to create success.

1.) Working with a coach also helps you reach the next level of growth. Whether you are new to the dental industry, trying to grow your practice, or even sell your practice- coaching can help you reach the finish line faster. Sure, you could Google and use trial and error, but if you want to get results more quickly, coaching is a tool that will get you there.

2.) Dentistry can be a lonely profession and doesn’t always come with the collaboration of colleagues. That’s where coaching comes in. When you work with a knowledgeable coach who can collaborate, understand your industry, and provide an actionable plan, you will reach your goals faster and struggle less.

3.) Working with a coach can help you streamline and improve your training, management, systems, and marketing to grow your business more sustainably. In addition, having an outside strategist look at your current processes objectively can create far better outcomes for your future.

After over 30 years as a dentist, I now have 14 successful dental practices, and through my experience of knowing what works, what doesn’t, and replicating successful strategies, I can help you do the same.


Ready to take your dental practice to the next level? Reach out now!

Pros and Cons of Joining a DSO

If you are an upcoming or recent dental school graduate, you have lots of big decisions to make. One of the most important ones is where to work. A key component of your success as a dental professional is to weigh your choices and career goals carefully and spend time looking into the pros and cons. This post is a brief overview of some of the pros and cons that come with joining a dental service organization, or DSO’s.


Dental service organizations are companies that manage the operations aspects of a dental practice. These can include services like IT, payroll, human resources, and more. While some independent practices struggle to have enough staff to manage these tasks, a DSO provides a buffer and the necessary support so that you can focus on helping clients. If you prefer more structure in a work environment, a DSO might be a great choice for you. Since many of the administrative and operations tasks are taken care of, you are more likely to have more reasonable hours and a better work-life balance. This might be particularly interesting to you if you have family or other commitments outside of work. Another advantage to joining a DSO is the higher salaries – made possible because of the structure and established organizational business model – and growth potential. In many ways, a DSO is also a good choice for new dentists who may be unsure which path to take but want valuable experience.


Despite the obvious benefits of joining a DSO, there are also disadvantages as well. The first is especially relevant if you plan on opening your own practice or joining a smaller one. DSO’s offer more structure and operational resources, but when it comes to your independence with staffing and other aspects, there is often not as much freedom. You also might find yourself bogged down with organizational red tape that you would not have to deal with otherwise. Schedules and hours for dentists in DSO’s are typically not as flexible as they could be if you worked in a smaller practice or managed one yourself. If you crave independence both in your work life as well as your schedule, a DSO might not be the best option – at least for now. However, since no DSO is the same, it’s important to look into several to get an idea of the environment and expectations. Some dentists also find that for all of the operational and technological advances that a DSO offers, patient care can get put on the back burner. For many dental professionals, this is a deal-breaker


Whether you are a new dentist or a seasoned professional, DSO’s offer compelling benefits, despite some real drawbacks. Want to discuss some of your thoughts or concerns with someone who knows the industry? Email Dr. Coughlin today to learn about his keynote informational session “Dental Service Organizations: Are they right for you?”.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Dentist?

Are you considering becoming a dentist but want to know more about what it takes? How much school is involved? Do you need more than a four-year degree? These are very important questions to ask when considering a career in dentistry. Whether you are just starting out or have completed several courses already, this article will provide a basic overview of what it takes to become a dentist in 2021.


Before starting any endeavor, it’s wise to consider the “why” behind your wanting to do something. This is especially the case with dentistry because it is a rewarding career as well as a demanding one. Consider what draws you to the dental field. Are you interested in how dentistry works? The desire to help people improve their oral health? Maybe you come from a family of dental practitioners and you feel this is expected of you. Whatever the reason, by addressing these questions, you can be prepared for the hours of training ahead with purpose, which can make all of the difference in the long run.


If you want to pursue a career in dentistry, it’s important to understand the cost. Dental school is a financial and time investment, although, for many aspiring dentists, the benefits outweigh the cost. It is helpful to consider how you plan on paying for school beforehand, for example, and to keep in mind the amount of time that will be required of you. While you most likely are aware of this, understanding the financial, emotional, and mental investment ahead of time often means you are more prepared to tackle setbacks along the way.


In terms of actual timing, it takes most aspiring dentists about four to eight years of school before joining a practice or starting their own. Most dental schools require several prerequisites, including college biology, physics, and chemistry, before applying for a spot. After you have completed these prerequisites, the next step is to take the Dental Admission Test (DAT). The majority of candidates take the DAT about a year before they plan on enrolling in a dental school program. After the admissions test itself, you complete the application, which can also include interviews, personal recommendations, and academic evaluations from your GPA and DAT results. Once you are accepted to dental school, the majority of programs take about four years to complete. However, if you are interested in a more specialized field like dental surgery, for example, expect several years of schooling following the initial four years. Each state has specific licensure requirements as well. Review the Massachusetts requirements for dental licensure here.

While the path to becoming a dentist takes time, money, and energy, it is a highly rewarding and fulfilling career. To learn more about the steps to becoming a dentist, your career options, and everything in between, contact Dr. Coughlin at kcoughlin@ascentdentalcare.com.