What does a Dental Office Manager do?

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  • Written By: D. Jeffress
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 10 November 2019
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A dental office manager performs administrative and human resources duties at a private dentist's office, joint practice, or clinic. He or she oversees many aspects of operation, including payroll, scheduling, accounting, and patient case management. Depending on the size of a practice, a manager may act primarily as a supervisor or actually perform the majority of clerical duties. A dental office manager is usually not involved with actual patient care, but it is still very important for a professional to have extensive knowledge of medical terminology and the types of procedures offered at his or her clinic to ensure quality service.

Large clinics often have many people on staff, including hygienists, dental assistants, cashiers, medical billers and coders, and of course practicing dentists. It is normally the responsibility of the office manager to set employee work schedules, maintain their benefits packages, and administer paychecks. When additional help is needed in the office, the manager typically advertises job openings and hires new staff members. He or she might also develop training materials and conduct regular performance reviews to help the office run more efficiently.


A dental office manager may also manage general finances for the practice. He or she might pay utility and rent or mortgage bills, buy office supplies, and restock common products that dentists use, such as gauze and gloves. When dentists determine the need for new equipment, such as a state-of-the-art x-ray machine, they typically consult with the office manager to decide whether or not the budget can accommodate such a large purchase.

It is common for managers at smaller practices to answer phone calls, address patient concerns, set appointments, and handle billing duties. A dental office manager needs to possess excellent communication and organizational skills to ensure patients receive quality customer service. Managers may code and submit forms to insurance companies and help patients set up payment plans. Computer proficiency is also essential, as most modern offices keep electronic patient files.

The requirements to become a dental office manager vary between employers. Most managers hold associate's or bachelor's degrees in business administration, and many professionals have previous experience in secretarial or dentist assistant positions. Some hopeful managers enroll in vocational training programs dedicated to the profession in order to improve their credentials and their understanding of the job. In large clinics, it is common for workers to receive internal promotions to managerial jobs after gaining several years of experience and demonstrating strong leadership potential.


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Post 2

@Kat919 - Good luck with your job search and move! You might already know about this, but you can get a lot of good information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics website. You can look up salary info for dental office managers and just about any other job you can think of. Not sure if it's broken down by location or not, but it's a great place to look when you're getting ready to negotiate salary. It has not just average, but median and high and low numbers.

Post 1

I've never worked dental, but my office manager duties included something a little more subtle than what the article gets out. I did everything it mentions to keep the office running smoothly, but in my experience, you often wind up running interference between different staff members, especially at different levels. I tended to be a liaison between the assistants and the executives and I would also take over difficult phone calls if I could sense that someone on the other end was harassing one of them. (I worked in a university office with student assistants and tended to be very protective of them.)

You really need to be able to keep your cool and have a lot of tact

and diplomacy. I worked in a day care center before I became an office manager and that was a real advantage.

I'm looking for a job in a dental or medical office as my husband is taking a job in a new city and there's no university there. Wish me luck!

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