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Managing The Dental Team

Managing the Dental Team
Managing The Dental Team
What it is and why it matters
Dental Team Introduction

In many ways, the dentist has responsibilities similar to those of a manager of a successful sports team; both professionals need to consistently demonstrate strong leadership that’s fair and empathetic while also assessing the strengths of each individual and understanding the best way to motivate each team members’ performance. Your patients will see a caring, precise and well-coordinated operation where everyone is highly professional and committed to their oral health.

The Managing the Dental Team module of the American Dental Association’s Guidelines for Practice Success™ (GPS™) details much of what you need to know in order to assemble, and keep, a strong dental team operating in your practice.

Managing the Dental Team is more than hiring the “right” person. This module will help guide you through different aspects of managing the team, including the hiring process, training, coaching, motivating, compensating, and more. Articles will provide information and resources that can help you:

  • Manage the processes of recruiting, screening and hiring staff
  • Design an orientation program that successfully onboards new employees
  • Conduct meaningful performance evaluations
  • Maximize the value and appreciation of the staff compensation package
  • Develop a staff policy manual
  • Decide which benefits to offer your team

The content contained in the Managing the Dental Team module of the American Dental Association’s Guidelines for Practice SuccessTM (GPSTM) provides information on four major topics that offer suggestions for building – and retaining – an efficient and effective team. The module also includes original resources, such as checklists and tip sheets, which were created specifically for this project and designed to help ADA members develop and lead teams that consistently deliver quality patient care.

GPS Original Resources:

Managing the Dental Team/Managing Performance/Managing Employee Performance and Salary Reviews

Managing the Dental Team/Managing Performance – Benefits

Managing the Dental Team/Managing Performance – Managing Employee Performance and Salary Reviews

Managing the Dental Team/Managing Performance – Staff Training Topics

The American Dental Association thanks the following individuals for their contributions to this module:

  • Dr. Andrew B. Brown, Council on Dental Practice 2012-2016, chair 2015-2016
  • Dr. Jean L. Creasey, Council on Dental Practice 2012-2016
  • Dr. Julia Mikell, Council on Dental Practice 2015-2019
  • Dr. Scott Theurer, Council on Dental Practice 2014-2018
  • Ms. Heidi Arndt. RDH, BSDH
  • Ms. Lois Banta
  • Ms. Debbie Castagna
  • Ms. Denise Ciardello
  • Ms. Teresa Duncan, MS
  • Ms. Cynthia C. Durley, M.Ed., MBA
  • Mr. Paul Edwards
  • Ms. Debra Engelhardt-Nash
  • Ms. Ginny Hegarty, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
  • Mr. Gary Kadi
  • Ms. Virginia Moore
  • Ms. Kristen Pelletier
  • Mr. Tim Twigg

In addition to the individuals cited above, principal contributors to this publication include Dr. Pamela M. Porembski, director, Council on Dental Practice, Cynthia Kluck-Nygren, manager, Dental Team Activities and Publications, and Dr. Diane Metrick, senior manager, Special Projects and Emerging Issues. Special thanks to the ADA’s Council on Dental Practice and Council on Ethics, Bylaws, and Judicial Affairs for their review of and contributions to this module.


The American Dental Association created the Guidelines for Practice Success™ (GPS™) on Managing the Dental Team to provide dentists with a resource to help them better navigate the processes involved in hiring, training, coaching and retaining staff, including the many legal and ethical aspects that can impact those efforts. In making these materials available, the ADA does not, nor does it intend to, provide either legal or professional advice. None of the content in this module represents ADA’s legal or professional advice as to any particular situation you might face or any decisions you may need to make regarding staff management. Guidance of that nature is most appropriately provided by a properly qualified professional, such as an attorney and/or human resources consultant, in your jurisdiction.

While some content within the ADA’s Guidelines for Practice Success™ (GPS™) on Managing the Dental Team may discuss certain federal and state laws in very general terms, it does not and cannot address every federal and state law, rule or regulation that could affect programs and activities relating to managing personnel within the dental practice. Each dental practice must be aware of and comply with applicable state and federal laws, rules and regulations. This resource refers to various federal statutes and regulations, including those adopted by agencies such as the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), and others. None of the information in this module has been reviewed or approved by representatives of those or any other federal agencies. The structure and design of each practice’s staff management plans, activities, and programs will be unique to that practice and each practice should appropriately consider, and abide by, the federal and local stipulations regarding them.

We have made every effort to make these materials useful and informative. As a consumer of this information, however, you must understand that laws vary between jurisdictions and that changes to those rulings may occur more frequently than this resource is updated. For that reason, we make no representations or warranties of any kind about the completeness, accuracy, or any other quality of these materials or any updates, and expressly disclaim all warranties, including without limitation all implied warranties (including any warranty as to merchantability and fitness for a particular use).

To the extent that we have included links to any websites, we intend no endorsement of their content and imply no affiliation with the organizations that provide their content. Nor do we make any representations or warranties about the information provided on those sites, which we do not control in any way.

We welcome your comments and suggestions regarding the ADA’s Guidelines for Practice Success™ (GPS™) on Managing the Dental Team.