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One of the most important factors that a dental practice owner must consider when hiring and retaining a new staff member is the individual’s level of experience and knowledge. The staff members of a dental office are composed of a variety of individuals who work together to provide the best possible care. There are many positions that a dental practice must fill, and finding the right person for each role is critical to ensure the effective and efficient treatment of patients.

Practice Owner & Dentist

Typically, the dental practice owner is referred to as the senior dentist. They have the power to hire and fire the employees of the facility. Aside from being doctors, dentists also have the necessary skills and knowledge to diagnose and treat various oral diseases and injuries. The senior dentist has a lot of responsibility when it come to overseeing the practice and providing patient care. There are various types of dentists that specialize in different fields. Some of these include endodontists, prosthodontists, and orthodontist who are involved in the treatment of complex oral diseases. Most dentists require at least four years of undergraduate education and four years of dental school to become a licensed doctor.

Associate Dentist

An associate dentist does not own the practice, but they have the same education and training as the senior dentist; they still provide the same level of care and services. Usually, people who are not interested in maintaining their own practice decide to work for another company for a couple of years to gain more experience. An associate dentist can perform various tasks and responsibilities at the facility, such as providing the necessary equipment and services. They can also be viewed as the main dentist depending on the frequency at which they interact with staff and see patients. Having a dedicated associate dentist helps the owner find the right balance between their goals and the needs of the patients.

Dental Hygienist

The level of care a dental hygienist can provide is similar to that of a nurse working with a doctor. However, they don’t have the same level of education and training. They typically will have an associate’s degree or higher. A dental hygienist’s primary focus is on preventative care. They are often the people you see before the regular dental examination. The duties of a dental hygienist include various tasks such as cleaning and examining the teeth, performing x-rays, and training patients on proper oral hygiene.

Office Manager

An office manager is responsible for overseeing the various operations of a dental facility, such as the hiring and training of staff members, the distribution of supplies, and the overall management of the facility. This individual doesn’t have to have a degree to be successful; being organized and focused is a very important skill for an office manager. A dental office manager also handles various administrative tasks such as taking payments, setting up appointments, and maintaining the facility’s records. This individual is responsible for ensuring that the other staff members are focused on providing the best possible care to the patients.


The first contact point for patients is the receptionist. This individual is responsible for coordinating with patients and doctors as well as answering patient questions a patient. Although a degree isn’t required for a receptionist, someone capable of doing the job well should be able to fit the role. Having the necessary skills and knowledge to carry out this role’s various tasks and responsibilities is essential to a smooth-running office. A receptionist will also handle phone calls, scheduling, and checking in patients before patients see the dentist.

Spending time making an informed decision regarding the hiring and retaining of staff members will create an effective work environment. Working with the right companies and people can help improve the efficiency of the dental practice.