Do You Know Who Your Operations Manual is For?

Have you ever sat down to help create your operations manual, trying to get your practice more systemized?
Great news is here: You should stop. You should not be doing the operations manual. You should not be creating documents.
However, your team is the key to the process. Your team should be creating the documents. Your team should be recording the videos. Your team is doing all this, not you.
In order to make sure that you keep the team on track, you should explain to them that the operations manual is:
If you want to hear my entire talk on this, check out the “Daily Dental” Podcast called, “Rallying the Team Around Systemization.” And, if you want to download all the documents I have, make sure to join the Dental Success Network so that you do not start from scratch when creating or updating your Operations Manual.
Be well and do well,
Addison Killeen
P.S. Joining Dental Success Network provides you with a wealth of resources, including access to comprehensive operational manuals and scripts. Don’t reinvent the wheel; leverage our community’s collective expertise and take your practice to the next level. Join today!

Want the Secret to Surgical Extractions?

Sectioning teeth can be essential when the root configuration prevents straightforward extraction. Roots may be dilacerated, widely splayed, or curved, making it impossible to extract the tooth in one piece. When a tooth is broken down to the bone with no structure to grasp, sectioning becomes necessary.

Key Techniques for Sectioning and Extraction

  1. Evaluate the Root Configuration: Before sectioning, assess the tooth’s root structure using radiographs. Look for any dilacerations or curvatures that could complicate the extraction.
  2. Section Early: It’s often better to section a tooth early rather than later in the extraction process. This can prevent complications and make the extraction smoother.
  3. Create Space by Removing Bone: Remove bone up to two-thirds of the root’s length to create enough space to push the roots into. Ensure you’re aware of anatomical structures like the sinus and the buccal and lingual plates.
  4. Sectioning in the Lower Jaw: When sectioning in the lower jaw, be mindful of the buccal and lingual plates, especially near the mental nerve. Use a bur tipped towards the center of the tooth to avoid damaging these structures.
  5. Sectioning in the Upper Jaw: In the upper jaw, consider the sinus proximity. Section through the tooth carefully, ensuring you don’t perforate the sinus. Use a sharp elevator or luxator to expand the bone around the tooth after sectioning.
  6. Using the Right Instruments: Not all elevators are suitable for every situation. Ensure your 301 elevators or luxators are thin enough to slide down the periodontal ligament (PDL) space effectively. Sharpen or replace old, worn instruments regularly.

Practical Tips for Sectioning

  • Feel the Difference: Get accustomed to the tactile differences between cutting tooth and bone. This helps prevent “over-sectioning” and ensures precise bone removal.
  • Elevator Techniques: Use sharp elevators to slide down the PDL space. If the roots are still encased in bone after sectioning, use the bur to remove additional bone around the roots.
  • Dealing with Root Tips: When root tips break off, create space by removing or condensing the bone around them. Use luxators or thin elevators to wiggle down the PDL space and loosen the root tips.

These techniques can significantly enhance your efficiency and success rate with surgical extractions. Practice these tips, and you’ll notice a smoother, quicker extraction process, leading to better patient outcomes and increased confidence in handling complex cases.

If you found this helpful and want more insights on advanced techniques, feel free to reach out or check our resources on the Dental Success Network. Join me in Ocala, FL, on October 5th for our Efficient Extractions Hands-On Course.


Dr. Aaron Nicholas
Dental Success Blackbelt Coach
Founder Monday Morning Dentistry

P.S. Are you looking to elevate your dental practice? Join Dental Success Network today and connect with a community of over 1,000 dentists. Gain access to exclusive resources, continuing education, and vendor discounts to help you run a more profitable practice and become a better clinician.

Are You Blocking Out Your Schedule Effectively?

I’ll admit, I didn’t do blockout schedules for years, and I thought it didn’t offer a whole lot. I really thought that a normal scheduling method would be okay, and even good, in my practice.
But now I’m a believer, and here’s why: It actually makes a huge difference.
Improved Time Management: By allocating specific blocks of time for different types of procedures, you can ensure that each type of appointment is scheduled during the most appropriate part of the day. This prevents the overlap of complex procedures with routine check-ups, leading to more efficient use of time. Staggering crowns and complex endo/implants with crown seats allows you to effectively use rooms and flow.
Enhanced Productivity: You can maximize the use of equipment and staff by scheduling similar procedures together. For example, putting two new patient/SRP blocks next to each other for 90 minutes each, then finishing the morning with a 60-minute prophy. That way, it equals 4 hours perfectly. This minimizes downtime and ensures that the operatories are used perfectly.
Optimized Staffing: Block scheduling allows for better planning of staff shifts and breaks. Think lunches. I don’t take lunch, but my team does. Block scheduling allows me to always have a perfect schedule and not get in legal trouble for HR issues. Staff can be scheduled based on the types of procedures being performed, ensuring that the necessary expertise is always available without under or overstaffing.
Reduced Patient Wait Times: By organizing appointments into blocks, you can reduce the likelihood of delays and ensure that patients are seen on time. This improves patient satisfaction and reduces the chances of scheduling conflicts.
Better Energy and Reduced Stress: You can optimize your energy and appointments for peak performance. Do you like doing endo first thing in the day? Or, leave it for last at 4 pm? You can set up blocks that follow your energy and focus, so that you do your best work when you’re at your best. You can also concentrate on one type of procedure at a time, reducing the mental load and stress associated with constantly switching between different types of procedures.
Increased Revenue: Efficient scheduling can lead to an increased number of appointments in a day, boosting the office’s revenue. By ensuring that high-revenue procedures are scheduled effectively, the office can maximize its profitability. Mark Costes and I have played this game many times. Offices can sometimes squeeze in $14-15k in a day, until we teach them effective block scheduling, and then they can routinely do $20k per day.
Ability to Allocate Emergency Slots: By using block scheduling, you can set aside specific times for emergency cases without disrupting the entire day’s schedule. This way, emergencies are handled promptly while maintaining the regular flow of appointments.
And that’s my top 7 reasons, and while I do love the numbers that blockout scheduling provides, I’d have to say that managing my energy is more important for me. I hope that this reasoning helps you, and if you need help, we have an amazing template on Dental Success Network.
Be well and do well,
Addison Killeen
P.S. If you found these insights helpful, consider joining Dental Success Network. Our community offers invaluable resources, expert advice, and a support network to help you implement strategies like block scheduling effectively. Sign up today and take the first step towards a more efficient and profitable practice!

Is Your Office Crushing Case Acceptance?

Achieving high case acceptance rates isn’t just about convincing patients to proceed with treatment—it’s about building trust, communicating effectively, and presenting options in a way that aligns with their needs and financial situations. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you enhance your case acceptance strategies.

Building Trust from the First Interaction

Case acceptance starts long before the patient sits in the dental chair. It begins with the very first phone call. When patients call to schedule their appointment, it’s crucial that your personality, warmth, and trustworthiness shine through. Use their name multiple times, answer all their questions, and remove any obstacles that might prevent them from booking their appointment. This initial interaction sets the tone for their entire experience with your practice.

Creating a Welcoming Environment

When patients walk into your office, the first 30 seconds are critical. They quickly decide if they feel comfortable receiving treatment there. Ensure that your front desk team is trained to acknowledge patients immediately, stand up to welcome them, and create a positive first impression. This welcoming atmosphere is vital for building trust and making patients feel at ease.

Mastering the Art of Presentation

When it comes to presenting treatment plans, your body language and energy are key. Be confident and enthusiastic! Confidence in the procedures and payment options reassures patients that they are in good hands. Practice your scripts until you know them by heart—this will help you respond to objections with ease and maintain a positive, persuasive demeanor.

Planting the Seed of Affordability

During your discussions, always plant the seed of affordability early. Let patients know that you have great payment options prepared to make their treatment affordable. This reassures them that their financial concerns will be addressed and keeps them engaged throughout the presentation.

Overcoming Common Objections

Patients often have concerns about cost, the procedures themselves, or their ability to get approved for financing. Address these objections empathetically and confidently. Explain that prequalification for financing does not impact their credit score and offer multiple payment options to make the treatment affordable. Always present the total cost, what insurance will cover, and the out-of-pocket expenses in a clear, concise manner to avoid overwhelming them with information.

Systematizing Follow-Up

If a patient leaves without scheduling, it’s essential to have a systematic follow-up approach. We recommend the 2-2-2 method: follow up in 2 days, 2 weeks, and 2 months. This ensures that no patient falls through the cracks and demonstrates your commitment to their health and well-being. Use a treatment tracker to log each patient’s progress and keep your schedule full.

Handling the “I Need to Think About It” Response

When a patient says they need to think about it, gently probe to understand their concerns. Is it the procedure or the cost? Address their specific worries directly and reiterate how manageable the payments can be. Your goal is to get a decision while they are still motivated and present in your office.

By implementing these strategies, you can significantly increase your case acceptance rates, ensuring that more patients receive the care they need while boosting your practice’s success.

Until Next Time,

Caitlin Mendez
Team Training Coach
Dental Success Companies

P.S. Looking to refine your skills and learn more about effective case presentation? Join us at the Dental Success Network and access our comprehensive resources and expert advice to elevate your practice!

Is Your Associate a Horror Story?

Have you ever heard some horror stories about dentists who hire associates?

There’s one where a group hires an associate to push out a partner. The oldest partner of the group has a problem with alcohol, and the younger members of the partnership hire an associate to push out the older doc. It didn’t end well.

Then there’s the one where the associate starts referring out everything. A young associate is hired into a practice but is scared of their own shadow. (Joking, of course, but you get the drift!) This associate starts referring out extractions, root canals, and other cases to other dental offices, even though the senior doctor could have handled those cases easily.

Then there’s this excerpt from the Associate Dentist Manual:

In this story, we see a senior doctor who was not prepared for an associate and did not want to coach the associate to succeed.

Dr. Kennedy was a younger doctor who was eager to settle in a small town in Indiana. This town had about 15,000 people and four dental offices, each about 35 minutes south of Indianapolis. The owner dentist of one of these practices was Dr. Jason, who graduated about 20 years ago and had been the town sweetheart since his award-winning days on the high school basketball team.

Unfortunately, Dr. Jason had started to get worn down by dentistry and was just not in a good mood most days. His back and neck hurt a lot, which contributed to his poor attitude. His leadership skills were also lacking, which led the office to be run, for all practical purposes, by his assistant.

This story begins at the end. On her last day, Dr. Kennedy didn’t say a single word to the other doctor, said her goodbyes to the team, and left. The team was heartbroken, as they had grown to love Dr. Kennedy. However, the grumpy owner doctor was holed up in his office, wondering how he would handle the practice going forward.

As they approached the end of their working relationship, the atmosphere in the office was pretty toxic. The senior doctor, who was 100% owner, would bring in the associate and berate her for not doing something correctly. When the associate worked harder to better adhere to this doctor’s standards, he would then berate her for taking too long.

After 11 months, the associate decided that she’d had enough and looked for jobs elsewhere. While she could have conceivably joined or purchased another office in town, she had signed a contract with a 15-mile non-compete. This negated any possibility of staying in town unless she wanted to fight with the owner doctor about the legality of the non-compete clause. She ended up leaving the city and having to sell the house she purchased just a year prior.

At the point of leaving, it dawned on her that she had missed a few red flags. One was that the owner previously had a partner in the practice, but she could not contact the prior partner during the interview process. She should have done more research into how the partnership dissolved and whether there was any backstory to this case. It turns out, Dr. Jason had driven the partner out with his poor attitude as well. If Dr. Kennedy had checked in on this story, then perhaps this unfortunate situation could have been avoided.

Another red flag is that Dr. Jason also wouldn’t allow the new associate into the practice to meet any of the team prior to her first day. This seems very odd, as there are usually not many good reasons for barring a visit to the office. This is understandable in the case where one associate is replacing another. However, if the spot was empty to begin with, it doesn’t make much sense. We assume this implies the team would have tipped the new doctor off to the toxicity in the office and the real reasons why there was an open doctor spot.

In all, this was a situation bound to fail from the beginning. Dr. Jason is not likely to find a new associate anytime soon. His demeanor towards the associate, as seen by the team, was horrible and toxic. Due to this fact, no future associate that does any research on the practice will find it appealing. This failure of the associateship might mean that Dr. Jason’s practice now shrinks to a permanent single-doctor practice. This also means that there may be lay-offs in Dr. Jason’s future, as the team shrinks to only handle the workload and patients of one doctor. If Dr. Jason really wants to have another doctor in the office, the most likely scenario is that he will have to sell to a DSO and then step back from all ownership responsibilities. Unfortunately, life doesn’t look easy for this owner after the failed associateship with Dr. Kennedy.

Stories like this are everywhere in the dental associate world, but it doesn’t have to be this way. With the proper planning and execution, the dental associate world can be fruitful and smooth. This doesn’t come with luck; it really only comes through proper planning.

The best resources to help you through this process of hiring and onboarding an associate are all found in the Associate Dentist Manual. This book is packed full of powerful resources that will help you get the best people into your practice, including letters to help recruitment, special hiring tests, and a complete onboarding system to make sure they understand how your practice works.

Together with these resources, let’s make horror stories like this a thing of the past!

Be well and do well,
Addison Killeen

P.S. Are you looking for a community that supports you through the challenges of hiring and managing associates? Join Dental Success Network today! Our members benefit from exclusive access to a community of over 1,000 dentists, real-time feedback on clinical and business cases, and a wealth of educational resources. Don’t face these challenges alone – become a part of DSN and transform your practice for the better.

Does Your Assistant Call in Sick Everyday?

Have you had that experience where your assistant keeps calling in sick and ruining what you presumed would be a great clinical day? This person is a good assistant—when they show up. However, they’re just unreliable coming to work.

When this happens, you’ve got two items on your “to-do” list:

  1. Hold them accountable. This means having the uncomfortable conversation that tells them how their actions are affecting the office. They might not realize how bad it is for you to run while down an assistant. Telling them this isn’t as much of a punishment as it is an awareness item. You need to make them aware of how this looks to you, how this looks to their fellow team members, and how this looks from an overall employer perspective. If they continue down this path, then punishment might be needed, and that might be in the form of not working for you anymore.
  2. Plan for the future. This means a future beyond this assistant—where you have to rehire for their position. In order to hopefully not have these problems again, you’ll want to have a killer onboarding system. This system will include a clear job description, a list of what this person does every day, as well as what general expectations you have of this person as an employee. When these are all set out clearly, it will make your life easier.

How do I create all these onboarding systems? Good thing is that we’ve solved that problem for you. After years of refinement in our own offices, Dr. Chris Green and I came up with The Complete Dental Assistant Manual. This includes hundreds of pages of documents that will give you the start, as well as the guidance to set these up in a way that will lead to success. Check out the book HERE.

As with everything, doing these two things sounds easy, but they’re going to take a lot of work. It will not happen overnight, and it’s going to come with some hiccups. However, with the right resources and a supportive community like the Dental Success Network, the job will get done, and your dental practice will be better off because of it.

Be well and do well,
Addison Killeen

P.S. If you’re looking for support in building robust systems and accountability structures in your practice, join Dental Success Network. With our comprehensive resources and a community of like-minded professionals, you’ll find the guidance and tools you need to succeed. Join DSN today and take your practice to the next level!

What Does Your 12 O’Clock Look Like?

If you’re anything like me, during the design phase of the office build-out, you analyzed every 12 o’clock picture you could get your hands on in order to optimize it for your own needs. You also likely have never seen the PERFECT design—I know I haven’t. My design is pretty darn solid (for me), but still not perfect. Meanwhile, your equipment rep is pushing a prefabricated, overpriced 12 o’clock cabinet that looks nice and has some of the features you want, but really doesn’t cover all of your bases.

So what do you do?

My approach is to use the following checklist to consider all of the items that you need to house and plan the location for. Sit down with a cabinet maker or your architect, some pictures of 12 o’clock designs you like, and sketch up the plans (don’t forget to include any necessary specs from your equipment rep). They can likely build what you want for a very fair price. While the prefabricated units cost $4,000+, you will easily be able to design one for $1,000-2,000.


12 o’clock considerations

(For operatory equipment considerations see separate video)

Check out this link for a video explanation on operatory IT & 12 o’clock setups plus a list of items to purchase for your operatory.

Until Next Time,
Dr. Chris Green
Co-Founder, The Practice Launchpad
Dental Success Blackbelt Coach

P.S. If you found this checklist helpful and want more insights, resources, and support for your dental practice, consider joining Dental Success Network (DSN). As a DSN member, you’ll gain access to a vibrant community of over 1,000 dentists, exclusive vendor discounts, and a wealth of continuing education opportunities. Join us today and elevate your practice to new heights!

Are We on a Rocketship or a School Bus?

An interesting thing happens when you realize your dental practice isn’t a rocket ship and can’t grow another 100%. I’m nearing that stage now. We probably need another doctor in the next few months (maybe even a few months ago), and we’re nearing maximum capacity. What does it feel like when the rocket ship phase of the roller coaster of hyper-growth evens out, and the doors to the company are still open, minus the fun, crazy numbers where each month we set a record of production, income, and new patients?

For those of you who have hit that, it’s an important juncture. You’ve built something that many people are envious of, but sometimes that loss of hyper-growth comes with a change (possibly even a sadness). There’s still growth, but it’s slower. There’s still a lot of patient care going on, but without the dopamine hit of green in every column. Heck, at some point, there will even be some months that are lower.

Such a place is an interesting achievement for the entrepreneur and poses many questions: Are we ready to continue on the path from this place we’ve arrived? Do we long for something more rollercoaster-y? Do we buy a second practice, or third? Does this settling of the mind and numbers lead to a ‘dark energy,’ as Alastair Macdonald would say?

Work-life at this stage is like the “stirring the oatmeal” phase in a relationship. When the thrill and excitement settle into the steady, sustainable moments, they are simply different from when things may have started. Perhaps we find ourselves bored on Friday at 4 pm. Perhaps we take a sabbatical and find that the executive team has everything taken care of in our absence. (All marks of a thriving team who knows their roles – including the leader.)

That can be a beautiful ride to take. But now the question becomes, what is the next thing we tackle? Do we want more growth and say, “Let’s move the practice to a new location, build out a new clinic, and go for a ‘Mega Practice’?” Or do we say, “I want to drop all insurances and go strictly fee for service?” Each path has its positives and negatives. Whatever your path, I hope you can find something that still lights a fire in your soul to keep chasing it.

Be well and do well,
Addison Killeen

P.S. If you’re looking for guidance and a community of like-minded dental practice owners, consider joining Dental Success Network. DSN offers a wealth of resources, including continuing education, and a vibrant community to help you navigate the complexities of practice ownership. Join us today and take your practice to the next level!

Is a Personal Assistant the Missing Link in Your Practice?

In the dynamic world of dental practice ownership, where efficiency and time management are paramount, the role of a personal assistant (PA) becomes increasingly essential. As dentists, the focus is often on patient care and clinical excellence, which are undoubtedly crucial. However, administrative tasks, practice management, and personal commitments also demand attention, which can overwhelm even the most seasoned professionals. This is where a personal assistant steps in, not just to alleviate the load but to enhance practice efficiency and personal productivity.

Enhancing Practice Efficiency
A personal assistant takes charge of scheduling, managing communications, and handling day-to-day administrative tasks that, although necessary, can be time-consuming. For a dentist, this means more time dedicated to patient care and less time fretting over logistics. This delegation not only streamlines operations but also significantly reduces stress, allowing dentists to focus on what they do best—dentistry.

Cultivating a Professional Image
Professionalism in dentistry isn’t just about how you handle your clinical duties but also how you manage your practice. A personal assistant helps in setting up and maintaining a professional image. They ensure that all the interactions you have with vendors, community leaders, and all other non-patient PR are handled with the utmost professionalism and efficiency. This consistency builds trust and satisfaction within your community, contributing to a stronger, more reliable brand.

Optimizing Time Management
Effective time management is critical in any business ownership. A personal assistant helps in optimizing the dentist’s calendar outside of the clinical schedule  to ensure that each day is as productive as possible without being overwhelming. A PA can also assist with personal time management, helping balance between professional and personal life, thus enhancing overall satisfaction and reducing burnout.

Supporting Business Growth
A personal assistant can play a pivotal role in the business aspect of a dental practice. They can help with marketing efforts, patient education materials, and even manage social media platforms. By doing so, they contribute directly to the practice’s growth and outreach efforts, freeing up the dentist to focus on clinical skills and services expansion.

For a full list of ways a PA can help in your office download my “What Can I Delegate?” document HERE.

If the idea of a PA might be something your office could use, but you are overwhelmed at the idea of finding one, reply to this email and we’ll connect on how I might be able to help or shoot me a message in Workplace!

See you on the inside,

Ashlee Hirschfeld
Chief Operations Officer
GSD Queen
Dental Success Network

P.S. Looking for resources to make your practice more efficient? Join Dental Success Network for our “Hiring and Training the Right Personal Assistant” course and get the tools you need to hire the right PA for you!

What Phase of Post-Grad Education Are You In?

Many clinicians of all experience levels are lured into learning more clinical techniques to grow their practices. I would submit that earning a fellowship in communication and case presentation should be accomplished before any effort is made to learn more clinically. Without the ability to lead a patient to a “yes,” all clinical skill sets are irrelevant. I advocate starting the journey of an associate with communication and case presentation training.

After a dentist has garnered the ability to learn how to effectively communicate with patients and team members, then and only then would I begin to pour into my associate from a clinical perspective.

I believe that accumulating repetitions of anything in life leads to higher proficiency. We also know that busy associates are happy associates. I encourage leaders to foster education in clinical areas that will keep an associate busy and that they will have ample opportunities to practice. I like to avoid the trap of learning enticing skill sets like implants, clear aligners, and botox.

Instead, I focus on the low-hanging fruit. In other words, what are they referring out the most? Typically, this includes surgical extractions and molar endo. I combine education in suturing, socket grafting, and PRF into this first phase of clinical advancement. I also focus on proficiency in any and all endo in phase one.
Phase two would consist of training in more advanced skill sets like cosmetics, Invisalign, and airway. More leadership and communication.

Phase three education would be simple implant placement, IV sedation, and finally extraction of impacted third molars. Always leadership and communication.
Phase four training consists of advanced surgical training, for instance, immediately placed implants, vertical and horizontal sinus augmentation, and full arch implant surgery. You could also go with advanced orthodontics, advanced occlusion, full mouth rehab, soft tissue surgeries, etc. Focus on specialty-level procedures and, yep, you guessed it—leadership and communication.

This is quite a bit of learning, and I do provide a CE allowance for associates. I also will make contractual agreements with associates to pay for CE above their allowance. This can be made in a number of ways. Just to name a few, you could loan the associate the money and deduct a portion of each paycheck to repay the loan. You could pay for a portion of the course and forgive the loan in exchange for some amount of completed procedures learned from the course. You could give a scholarship that is tied to work contract time commitment. There are many, many ways to approach this. The point I want to make is that if you have an associate that you want to retain, helping them with CE is a great way to create a long-lasting relationship.

Until next time,

Dr. Ben Kacos
Dental Success Blackbelt Coach
Owner, Peak Dental Resources

On June 13th, I am hosting the PDR Associate and Leadership Workshop designed to guide dental professionals in enhancing their practices through strategic associate integration and leadership development. Participants will learn to evaluate the right time to bring on an associate, employ effective marketing and search strategies to find the right candidate, and prepare their teams and systems for seamless integration. The workshop will cover associate calibration and training, with insights into a clinical curriculum that led to significant production success. Furthermore, strategies for nurturing new patient flow, developing accountability, and fostering leadership within associates will be explored, ensuring a comprehensive approach to practice growth and management.