Have you decided to open a walk in dental center? If so, you may be looking for tips about how to properly care for and operate your dental practice. Even those who have been operating this type of business for a while may benefit from learning tips from experienced dental clinic owners. Thinking about how your practice will look and operate can often help you to be sure of success.
What Services Will You Provide?
A well-run and profitable business begins with research and planning.
The decisions will center on two important aspects: clinical and service decisions; and planning and maintaining the building that will be used for the practice. One group of decisions will center on which dental services your walk in dental center will provide. You’ll also need to plan how many dentists you want to employ.
What skills are you bringing to your business? Will you work only as the manager, or will the clinic be the setting for your dental practice? These considerations will be a good beginning when planning what kinds of services your walk-in dental clinic will provide.
A walk-in clinic, by its nature, often provides emergency dental services or offers dental care for those who don’t have a personal dentist. However, some walk in dental centers primarily provide specialty services such as providing dentures, teeth whitening, or other dental cosmetic procedures.
Do You Want a Specialized Clinic?
Specialties you may want to consider can include general dentistry, children’s dentistry, and dental surgery. Walk-in clinics don’t normally provide dental services that require planning, such as orthodontics (for dentists who make braces and assist with tooth alignment), periodontists (dentists who work with your gums) endodontists (perform root canals), or dental implant specialists.
You may decide you’d want to open a walk in dental center that provides a multi-specialty practice. This means there will be several dentists available at the clinic, and they will each offer clients their own specialty. This means people with different dental needs can find what all of them need at your clinic.
Many people fear or avoid going to the dentist, because of the pain involved with dental procedures. Because of this, some walk in dental centers promote their services as offering less-painful dental procedures. For people who struggle with chronic dental pain, some offices are known as dental pain relief clinics.
Helping People Who Need Dental Alignment
Another popular specialty now being offered at some walk in dental centers involves services for clients who want straight teeth. Past interventions for these patients involved the use of braces. A more modern approach to achieving proper dental alignment is with a treatment called Invisalign. This service is gaining in popularity.
Invisalign applies clear thermoplastic aligners over your teeth. These exert pressure on the teeth to bring your teeth into correct alignment. The patient receives a tighter set of aligners every few weeks; in order to continue and complete the alignment process. Some practices also offer a version of Invisalign that includes whitening of the teeth.
Setting the Prices for Your Practice
Once you’ve decided on the services your practice will provide, you can make plans for what your services will cost. You can begin by researching prices charged by dentists in your area. If you are inviting experienced dentists to work at the clinic, you should also ask them the usual prices charged for their services. This may give you a general guide to how much your clinic’s services will cost.
Once your set of prices has been set, you can write them up. You’ll want to keep this list included in a practice manual, which should be kept in the office. If clients want to see a list of procedures or what your procedures will cost, they will feel reassured to see this information in the manual. The manual can be revised as your services or their costs change in the future.
Which Type of Building Will You Need?
After you plan the number and type of dentists you will employ, you can then begin to decide how much space your clinic will need to have. Your new colleagues’ personal experience may help you decide how large each dentist’s treatment room should be. In addition to the treatment rooms, you need to have space for dental X-ray machines and to develop dental X-rays. You’ll need a few offices for the staff dentists to meet with clients and do their paperwork.
You’ll need space for your receptionists and office workers. You’ll also need sufficient space for medical records.
There should be space to store spare equipment and supplies. It’s also important to provide a waiting room and some bathrooms which can be used by clients.
After you consider these factors, you will have a guide to the type of building you are seeking. You should next decide the location where your walk in dental center will be located. Find a commercial real estate sales agency and give them these specifications to guide the search for your new practice facility. It’s a good idea to look at several possible buildings before making your final choice.
How to Make Your Clinic Inviting
Once you’ve chosen your building, you can begin making decorating plans. You might tour some established walk-in dental clinics to get some decorating ideas.
To attract clients to the clinic, find some local sign companies to make a large sign on the outside of your clinic – as well as some signs to post in the parking lot, or on nearby streets to advertise the business.
Before you begin decorating, decide whether you may want to include custom window treatments as part of decorating your office. A window providing a pleasant view can add to the atmosphere of your office. It can also provide a needed distraction to your dental patients.
Once you have your office’s theme in mind, you should carefully choose your colors. Since many clinical fixtures tend to be black, white, or metallic, interspersing those basic colors with restful shades like blue and turquoise will allow your customers to feel more comfortable. Adding some artwork plus some plants or flowers will create a welcoming atmosphere for your clients.
Maintain the Welcoming Atmosphere
Think of the things you’ll want your clients to have – like comfortable seats and relaxing dental chairs. Your dental specialty may determine your decoration choices. For example, a pediatric dentist may want cartoons or other child-oriented themes of decoration. An orthodontist may want to post pictures of their successfully corrected smiles.
To further emphasize that atmosphere of comfort for your clients, you’ll need to make plans to maintain that comforting experience. You’ll need to make arrangements with a carpet cleaning business. In addition, you should find a good plumbing contractor and make arrangements with a company that does local hvac repairs. A landscaping or lawn care service is also a good investment in the overall appearance of your clinic facility.
A walk in dental centerprovides a service that helps a person’s overall health. Because of this, your future clients will be looking at your office and expecting it to be clean, and to have a pleasant smell. You will need a contract with a local cleaning service to ensure a high level of cleanliness in your office. Check your state regulations and standards to find out how often- and by which methods – your fixtures and instruments must be cleaned or sterilized.
Plan to Have an Efficient Dental Office
Once all the planning has been done and your business opens, a smart clinic manager knows the most stress-free businesses are the ones that run efficiently. Here are some tips from business experts to help you run an efficient office:
Base Your Office Schedule on Procedure Times
As patients begin to make appointments, your office staff needs to know how long each appointment should take. This should be done in collaboration with all the dentists on your staff. It will greatly enhance the patients’ satisfaction to have enough time for their appointments to be completed comfortably. Include the time the patients will spend with the hygienist or the x-ray technician. A well-planned schedule will result in client satisfaction.
Other matters of scheduling that will add to the satisfaction of your customer can include automated appointment reminders and appointment confirmations. By sending an automated text reminder to a client a few days before a scheduled appointment, they can quickly text a confirmation or cancellation. This will spare your staff from making calls to confirm appointments. Be sure you have your client’s permission to text them.
Schedule Upcoming Appointments at Check-Out
By making the client’s next appointment as they check out you can be sure when they are coming back. A busy dental practice may not have time to prioritize future scheduling, especially for routine cleanings. By having the client make the appointment, they will feel the implications of taking accountability for making dental appointments.
Make Efforts to Reduce Waiting Time
A study by Software Advice, a business expert, estimates the average patient waiting time at the office of healthcare practice is 18 minutes. Waiting times are affected by many factors, and a study of these may help you cut down on your clients’ waiting times. Some of these practices appear below. These will add to the efficiency of your office routine in your walk in dental center.
1 Automated Billing Communications
Although client billing is a necessity, it can take an effort to do it correctly. By automating the process, you will find the process more efficient and less cumbersome. You may be able to reduce the number of staff members needed. The automation of billing can also help you develop a realistic budget that is based on future revenue.
2 Is Your Front Staff Efficient
Hiring experienced medical assistants for your office is a good idea, since they will have obtained information about how to plan an efficient office. By cross training all office staff in every office job, you won’t have to worry when someone calls out sick. Training them to perform dental triage for each walk-in client will help the staff immediately realize what the patient needs – and how much time that procedure should take. By establishing excellent inter-office communication, a dentist’s schedule might be quickly adjusted in order to accommodate a dental emergency.
What Should an Experienced Business Do?
Once your dental practice has been underway for a while, you may want to take advantage of some measures that experienced clinic managers have found can accelerate business growth. Just as you began your beginnings in the dental clinic with planning, you will make a new set of plans for your future. You can make goals to increase patient numbers, or to offer new services. You should make these goals measurable and share them with your staff.
Establishing specific performance goals for your business will serve as a benchmark for future business goals. Your focus might be on your marketing, including the layout of your company’s website. You should check your progress toward your goals on a regular basis.
Staff Development and Training
Dental services will change in the future, as all businesses and services do. You and your staff will need to be sure to keep up to date on any new dental practices and any new equipment. Some states require proof of a certain number of educational hours in order to renew your professional license. You can invite experienced dentists from other areas to provide programs with demonstrations.
You have every reason to be excited about opening your walk in dental center. By using this guide and its tips, you’ll have a great foundation to use when you plan and open your walk in dental center.