How & Why to Encourage Your Dental Team to Embrace Change

Luca Tizzano
February 13, 2024

Heraclitus, the Greek Pre-Socratic philosopher, said, “Change is the only constant in life.”

Similarly in business, change leads to many positive aspects. As the global pandemic reminds us, the world is changing every day. And as cliché as it may sound, change is good.

Without change, your practice would likely still rely on primitive forceps for extractions and store X-ray films in patient file folders.

Consider this: Dentistry has undergone significant advancements. Technology has revolutionised the industry, leading to remarkable progress in gum treatment and a wide array of solutions that seamlessly enhance patients' smiles, blending in naturally with their teeth.

Dental composite resins and cements are able to strengthen teeth better. Root canal techniques are vastly more effective than they were some decades ago. Some orthodontic procedures can be done with invisible braces instead of traditional braces made from metal.

Although dentistry has advanced so much over the last decades, many Australian dental practices are still reluctant to infuse healthy habits into their workflow (just think of some practices that are still using pen-and-paper appointment books!)

That's understandable. Change often induces anxiety and fear in people. It can make individuals feel uneasy as they let go of long-standing habits and embrace new ways of working. In a high-stress environment like dentistry, team members are typically more focused on delivering excellent oral health rather than disrupting old routines by digitising the practice.

Nevertheless, practices that don’t change can quickly stagnate. According to StartUs Magazine, the “business as usual” mindset is killing innovation. Dental practices need to change (like any other business) in order to grow.

Let's explore the significance of embracing change in a dental practice to propel forward, uncover the benefits it can offer, and outline actionable steps to effectively embrace change.

1. Why Embracing Change is Essential to Growing Your Dental Practice

As we've discussed earlier, although implementing change can present challenges, it can also yield significant benefits for dental practices.

It might seem obvious, or perhaps it doesn't, but practices that resist change are prone to falling behind, while staff members risk stagnating in a stale work environment.

Here is why it is so important for dental practices to roll with the punches:

  • Change is essential for improvement

The primary purpose of every dental practice is to deliver great oral health and disease prevention and create treatment plans that are able to maintain or restore their patients’ smiles.

By embracing change, you will improve the quality of oral health care and, ultimately, improve your patients’ quality of life.

  • Keep up with technological advancements

The rate at which technology trends evolve can be daunting for any dental practice - not to mention that technology has taken an even more significant role in our everyday lives as the world has been turned upside down due to the pandemic.

Think, for example, of teledentistry - the practice of using information technology and telecommunication for dental care, consultation, and education. Teledentistry was unimaginable decades ago, while now it has become immensely popular.

Practices that fail to keep up with technological advances are likely to find themselves floundering, unable to stay ahead of the competition.  

  • Create a competitive advantage

Embracing change and finding new ways to reach out to patients helps you gain advantage over your competitors.

Implementing change enables you to improve patient experience (e.g., shorter appointments, more comfortable and less invasive procedures, etc.), which will catapult you ahead of your competitors.

  • Increase the efficiency of your practice

Implementing change helps you build a high-performance practice and increase efficiency (which also improves time management).

Higher levels of efficiency not only optimise your patient experience, but also streamline team members’ schedules and reduce stress.

Doing something in less time does not mean not spending enough time with patients but focusing on core activities rather than running around like a blue-arsed fly (let’s admit it; multitasking is still fairly common in dental practices.)  

  • Increased revenues and bottom line

If change is all about improving patient experience and efficiency, it’s no surprise that higher revenues and increased bottom line come with the territory.

For example, modern equipment and technology allow you to achieve higher levels of efficiency in your practice, make doctors and team members feel gratified and happy, and improve patient satisfaction rates.

All these positive outcomes will directly impact your practice’s bottom line by maximising profitability.