For dental assistants looking for opportunities to advance their careers, the role of office manager is often appealing. Often, this transition is a natural next step in a dental assistant’s career progression. Assistants tackle many tasks every day and intimately understand the inner workings of a dental practice — which can translate well to an office manager or practice administrator position. Many dental practices provide cross-training for dental assistants, allowing them to handle office management duties on a part-time or as-needed basis.
Are you considering making the switch to an office management position? Here are some of the top benefits to taking on the role of dental office manager.
If you like wearing many different hats, dental office management may be exactly what you’re looking for! Every dental team member has a busy and full day, and the office manager is no different. The daily to-do list may include:
- Appointment scheduling
- Discussing treatment plans with patients
- Maintaining patient records
- Verifying insurance coverage and filing claims
- Financial reporting
- Processing patient payments
- HR management
- Marketing the practice
Having variety in your work can help you stay engaged and motivated, while preventing burnout often caused by doing the same task all day, every day. It also broadens your professional skill set and gives you valuable insight on every area of the practice, making you an invaluable member of the team.
Read more: How to become a dental office manager
Many dental assistants consider working with and helping patients to be the most rewarding part of the job. Office managers would wholeheartedly agree!
As a dental office manager, you’re usually the first and last point of contact for patients during their visits. You greet them when they arrive for their appointment, help them fill out paperwork, and collect their insurance information. Over time, you build relationships with patients — which can keep them coming back year after year. They’ll look forward to seeing you when they walk through the door for their next appointment, and the feeling is often mutual!
An office manager can play a particularly important role for a patient who is nervous or anxious about their visit, drawing on skills you develop as a dental assistant. You can chat with them before the procedure starts to understand their fears and past experiences, explain what will happen during the appointment, address any concerns they have, and answer their questions. All of this can help put them at ease before they head back to the exam room. Patients, in turn, are usually grateful that you took the time to get to know them and make them feel comfortable.
Just as a dental assistant is the heart and soul of a dental office, an office manager is the engine that keeps the practice running. Quite simply, the dental office couldn’t function without their efforts. An office manager works directly with everyone in the practice, and staff members will look to you for guidance in many areas. From coordinating patient treatments and ordering supplies to collaborating with the dentist to hire new staff or manage finances, you provide valuable skills and insights.
As an office manager, you’ll have a hand in almost everything going on in the office, overseeing day-to-day operations and ensuring the dentist, hygienists, and assistants can focus on patient care. Plus, you’ll help keep the practice running smoothly when things don’t go as planned — whether it’s adjusting the schedule for a late arrival or cancellation, or helping the team reorganize when a staff member calls out sick.
All of this makes a dental office manager a natural leader in the office.