The difference between low and high grossing dentists

Yet again this week I’ve been helping a practice determine the profitability of its dentists. Yet again, it seems, however you cut and dice the costs in a dental practice, if you’ve dentists on your team who are on a 40 to 50 per cent deal then in order for your practice to simply break even the dentists have to gross £1000/day (or preferably more).

Many younger dentists seem to find this task enormously difficult and sometimes I am asked to help them achieve these sorts of daily numbers. I tell them they need to have one of the following two skills in order to succeed as a high performing associate.

They either have to be quick at clinical dentistry or be a dentist who can diagnose, prescribe (not overprescribe) and sell high value dentistry.

So, in practice, what does this really mean?

Fast dentists:

  • Have a great nurse who knows what they need next before they’ve asked for it
  • Write their notes up in batches at lunchtime and at the end of the day (I know what the GDC says about this…)
  • Do the dentistry first and talk to the patient second (if there is time)
  • Are focused all day, leaving their mobile phone out of sight and don’t go online during working hours
  • Know that you can spend all day cutting a crown prep if you keep taking the bur off the tooth
  • Work a longer day, starting early or finishing late. No 9-5 for them
  • Are confident of their abilities and skill set including: diagnosis, treatment planning, good basic restorative dentistry, prosthodontics and extractions

High value dentists:

  • Try to avoid single unit dentistry when they can
  • Prescribe long term restorations where appropriate, for example they don’t do big filings, preferring lab made restorations
  • Prescribe for their patients as if they were one of their family, always offering patients the best solutions first
  • Have longer check up times so they can build relationships and offer patients choices
  • Are skilled in high value techniques such as adult orthodontics, implants, endo and digital dentistry
  • Don’t clean teeth or do perio treatments, preferring to use competent hygienists (and they don’t expect a kick-back)
  • Are confident of their abilities and skill set including: diagnosis, treatment planning, basic and advanced restorative dentistry, prosthodontics and cosmetic dentistry

If your dentists are not fast or capable of prescribing and selling high value treatments then you must have slow, single-unit dentists who wander through their clinical day fiddling and faffing about, grossing low. In my experience these sorts of dentists fall into two categories:

  1. Those who want to learn how to increase their gross, ethically and professionally
  2. Those who rush to the moral and ethical high ground as a way of justifying their low productivity

If you have one of the first group, we can help turn them into a high performer. If you have one of the second group, I suggest you start looking for their replacement!

If you would like some help building a high performing clinical team, contact me for a chat:


m. 07770 430576

With all good wishes,



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One Response to The difference between low and high grossing dentists

  1. Absolutely spot on – love the “rush to the moral and ethical high ground”. I had that exact same response from someone who was on 50% and grossing £600 per day – and – you guessed it – doing her own s/p in 5 mins for £13 !!

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