The Magic Number Most Dental Offices Are Not Measuring That You Need to Use to Create Massive Growth In Your Dental Office.

There’s been a lot of talk this week about measuring and metrics and numbers that are used and needed in the dental office.

But there’s one key number that I’ve used for years that a lot of dental offices either don’t measure or aren’t measuring that by its absence is stopping or inhibiting your dental office growth.

Peter Drucker is quoted as saying:

“What gets measured gets done.”

And he is also quoted as saying:

“What gets measured gets managed.”

From this I’ve heard it said:

“What gets measured gets repeated”

And following that:

“What gets repeated gets rewarded”….

So there’s some food for thought.

On a daily basis, what numbers are you tracking and following in your dental office?

Do you have daily goals?

Daily New Patient numbers?
Daily Cancellation and Reschedule numbers?
Daily lists of patients leaving without appointments?

These are interesting numbers….

Do you have a daily production and collection target that you aim for and reach with consistency?

And if you don’t reach your daily target, do you analyse why you don’t?

On a daily basis you need to know what constitutes a good day, and a required day, and then you need to template your appointment book so that the mix of dentistry required to achieve that daily goal is easily scheduled, and not just haphazardly achieved.

A week of well-balanced days of treatment is far more comfortable and far more satisfying for the team than a week with unbalanced days.

For a doctor following numbers, for example, the number of units of crown and bridge being seated each day should be equal to the number of units being prepared each day. That’s a no brainer!!

And the number of units being prepared each day is important in daily financial goals because those units go a long way towards making sure that your office reaches its desired numbers.

I’ve written and blogged before about setting this goal based on dental office expenses and costs, as opposed to just winging it and hoping that you cover your office costs.

Winging and hoping, and hoping that there’s some money over at the end of the month, at the end of the year, at the end of your life, is a sure fire way to lead a dissatisfied dental career.

Once you have a daily goal, as I’ve mentioned in previous writings, you need to divide that goal to arrive at an hourly goal, and then apportion your clinical time proportionally, keeping in mind that required per hour rate.

Because loss of focus on that hourly rate will see your dental office spiral away into the poor house, as your costs and expenses move in one direction while your collections move in the opposite direction.

Once you know your daily production goal, then the crucial number that you need to be measuring that most dental offices *ARE NOT* measuring is the amount of treatment diagnosed on a daily basis.

It is absolutely imperative that you know and are achieving the amount of treatment that you need to be seeing in your patients’ mouths, because this treatment needs to be appointed and scheduled to replace the treatment that you are completing each day.

Does that make sense?

Because if your daily production of dentistry is $10,000.00 per day, as mine was, then you need to at least be diagnosing and scheduling that same amount of new dentistry each day as well.

Otherwise, you’ll be out of business, Chapter Eleven, if you don’t. Period.

So your office needs to be recording, on a daily per person per patient basis, the amount of dental treatment each patient that is seen is needing.

Then, on a daily basis, we can break it down as to prioritizing and following up and appointing all of those patients with this diagnosed treatment.

Because, as clinicians, that is our responsibility to our patients.

It is our responsibility to our dental patients to make sure that all our patients receive the dentistry that is needed to make sure they have a disease free mouth that functions to its best ability.

Having patients roaming the streets with unhealthy mouths is tantamount to medical negligence.

Now, for one reason or another, not every patient will complete every piece of diagnosed dentistry that we see in their mouths.

And it’s from this that we then establish our case acceptance rate or percentage.

And it’s important to be mindful of this ratio, obviously, for a couple of reasons.

This ratio affects the amount of incomplete dentistry sitting in your filing cabinets. So if you’re not diagnosing much, then there’s a good chance that your ratio is one hundred percent or close to it, because there’s more chance your patients are accepting the very little amount of dentistry that you bother to present.

And if you’re diagnosing and treatment planning comprehensively, then the ratio may be down around the fifty percent mark, as patients take time to complete, or delay, stagger and think about their treatment…

So the ratio is important to know, for your office.

In my dental office we used to like to know that at the end of each day we had diagnosed and presented treatment to the patients in an amount equal to or higher than our daily production target which we had completed for those patients.

In short terms that meant that treatment done walking out the door was being replaced with treatment needed walking in the door.

And that’s just a principle of retail.

Of retail survival.

Because you can’t just hope that the work is there.

You have to measure it.

And you have to manage it.

From this, the really successful dental offices that I see as I travel the world have dental hygienists and therapists who are co-diagnosing significant amounts of dental treatment in their hygiene rooms with their doctors.

And measuring that number.

And repeating it.


And doesn’t that make sense?

You see the dentist is already diagnosing treatment in his operatories….

He’s doing emergency endos, fixing broken teeth and presenting TMJ and cosmetic treatment down there.

And that’s hard.

Because along the way, he’s got to stop some presenting and start doing some producing.

Because while he’s presenting, he ain’t producing.

And while he’s producing, he ain’t presenting….

And that’s the difficulty.

So knowing that he’s got a focused hygiene department that is productively co-diagnosing and closing dental treatment before the dentist comes to complete the exam is a huge weight off the shoulders of the doctor.

And why shouldn’t it be that way?

We’ve discussed this before. In previous blogs. A dental hygienist is in a position of huge trust with the patient, and is working with them for a considerable amount of time prior to the doctor’s arrival to do the examination.

And a dental hygienist knows good dentistry from bad dentistry, and they know disease from health. And they know broken teeth from not broken teeth.

So why shouldn’t they help the doctor by providing a thorough co-diagnosis?

You see, the dental office s that I see that are powering through the GFC, recession and depression are doing so because they have a committed team and crew that are mindful of their daily “diagnosed and presented treatment” number.

As I did…

And that’s the difference…


Knowing and measuring the correct dental metrics is just one of the important modules that I teach alongside The Ultimate Patient Experience. The Ultimate Patient Experience is a simple easy to implement system I developed that allowed me to build an extraordinary dental office in an ordinary Sydney suburb.  If you’d like to know more, ask me about my free special report.

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