Skip to main content

Tips for dealing with a dental industry labor shortage

Bergen Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery logo

Many areas around the country are experiencing a tight labor market for dental professionals. If you’re finding it hard to hire the staff you need, here are some potential solutions.

Innovate in your workflows

Now is the perfect time to seek out any inefficiencies in workflows in your practice and to look for opportunities to help your current team do more without putting any extra strain or pressure on staff.

Outsource where you can

There are pros and cons to managing administrative services in house, but if you’re struggling to fill vital front desk roles, outsourcing your billing or your in-house membership program might be worth looking into. Collections in particular can be time consuming and membership program providers often feature fully turnkey solutions including marketing materials and more.

Lean into automation

Automation is a good way to remove routine tasks from your workflow. In a dental practice, two low-hanging opportunities for automation are often ordering supplies and communicating with patients.

Investing in procurement software can reduce your ordering time while reducing errors and waste. Once your purchase history and parameters have been set up, the software can not only automate ordering but search out better pricing without affecting any pre-negotiated discounts you have with suppliers.

For patient communication, automated appointment reminders have now become the industry standard, giving patients the freedom to confirm appointments directly without any involvement required by your front desk team. The same software can help you backfill holes in the schedule, monitor your recall schedule and more.

Cross-train staff

For tasks that cannot be adjusted or automated, consider cross-training staff so they can help out in other departments as necessary. A cross-trained team also helps with staffing issues such as someone getting sick or quitting without notice.

The dental industry labor shortage will likely correct itself in time, but for now, posting more job listings that don’t attract the talent you need might not be the best course of action. Be careful not to overwork your team, but do figure out ways to do more with the employees you already have.