Dental Office Policies and Procedures: The Key Elements of an Effective Employee Handbook

Smiling dentist sitting at dentist's office with her arms crossed and looking at camera, with a staff member treating a patient in the background.

Written by Stephanie Lica, Berxi.

You pride your dental practice on its strong reputation and commitment to excellence. Your talented, passionate employees are responsible for your impressive track record. Their hard work keeps your office running smoothly. They’ll find it easier to fulfill high expectations with the guidance and support of clear protocols, referenced in your employee manual — a key resource for promoting effective office management.

According to Belle DuCharme, a certified dental practice management administrator and dental consultant, strategic office management is critical in light of how “dentistry has become an integrated healthcare system that is important to the total health of the patient.”

When all staff members understand your practice’s mission and their powerful role in promoting patient health and wellbeing, they are more likely to conduct themselves in a way that reflects positively on your office.

The employee manual offers an excellent opportunity for outlining specific expectations and your general philosophies as a dental office. Unfortunately, the comprehensive nature of this document — and its role in maintaining compliance with a variety of federal and local laws — can make the prospect of developing such an extensive resource intimidating. DuCharme mentions that few dentists “have the time or expertise to develop employee policy manuals,” particularly if they expect these to abide by complex legal requirements. Additional resources are often necessary.

To help, we’ve highlighted several topics you might expect to cover in your practice’s manual. We’ll also direct you to templates and samples that demonstrate how policies function at various dental offices.

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