Whether you have been practicing for 30 years or about to open your first set of doors, a bad habit is a bad habit. They may start early, but it’s never too late to change! Maybe you’re producing $10k an operatory per month or dream of it. It is possible to produce 2 and even 3 times that amount. When you opened your doors 10 years ago, you thought everything was A-OK. Then you underestimated your math of growth. Before (more) chaos ensues, let’s talk about a couple things.

There is no better time than now to work as efficiently as possible. Smart business owners are addressing Ergonomics – Implementing ways to increase productivity, lower overhead and sustain a growing business.

I’m gonna let you in on a little secret and tell you five systems you can implement now that will improve your efficiency almost immediately without exuberant costs of a remodel or downtime.

#1. Consolidate – You’ve been listening to me talk about this “90% profile”. Here is where we get it done. There’s no lead time required to consolidate. It’s taking what you have now and consolidating it. This is harder than it sounds, especially if more than one doctor has a say in it – but it’s absolutely worth the effort.  So how do we consolidate. First, you’ve got some decisions to make – and your whole team is going to have to get together and work through it. For instance, if each uses a different bonding agent, you will have to come up with one. We are not going to go price shopping at this point – pick the best in class.  Gordon Christensen’s Clinicians Report can do all the work for you.

“Then what, Angie?”

Get everything out of drawers and cabinets in your ops and put them in one place. Use modular/removable tubs (like the Ergonomic Products Megatub and Consumables Bin) because consolidation is not just about what materials you use, but where they are placed; you’ve got to reduce your range of motion as well. If I can eliminate bending and reaching times, I can likely help you shave off a few minutes for every procedure you do, and over the course of a day those minutes can add up – allowing you to see more patients.

#2. Visual Resupply- I know you’ve heard me talk about it. You’ve probably seen several pictures. Maybe you’ve said, “I need this now, I can’t wait for a contractor to do anything. Is this possible?” The answer is “YES!” Remove the doors on existing cabinetry.

#3. Special Procedure Modular Supply – Remember back in opportunity #1 when I talked about consolidation and your 90% profile? You may have asked yourself, “What about the other 10%?” Well I’m gonna tell you. The other 10% needs to be located in a central place – likely your sterilization and resupply area. We need this modular tub to have one weeks worth of the materials used for the 10% procedures, like endo and denture related appointments.

#4. Bur blocks – Making a universal bur block is easy. You just have to get that little voice out of your head saying, “I use a lot of burs or I have bur blocks for every procedure.”  You’ll thank me for it later. Remember your 90% profile? There’s a pattern here, and it continues with bur blocks. Take a look at the procedures you do 90% of the time.  What are they? Bur blocks are part of a system – a much bigger system – a simplified, standardized dental practice.

#5. FIX Sterilization Get rid of that (how did one doctor put it?) “lukewarm bacterial cesspool” called an ultrasonic. Just because it makes noise doesn’t mean anything. If I ask you to make a small investment in anything before Reboot Training, it is in this space!  Things you’ll need:



Double Sink


Large Capacity Autoclave


The sterilization conversation deserves its own blog. When you fix sterilization, you can eliminate those trays and bags. You can avoid those plastic trays piling up after lunch full of dirty instruments. You can avoid injuries and broken instruments. Everyone will breathe, not to mention improved hearing once the ultrasonic is removed.

I’ll say it again. “Dentists tend to over complicate things, especially processes.” Most of the time, I come across docs who just want to be more efficient. They want to spend less money on supplies. They want to spend less time waiting and wish to become more productive by doing more with less. The 5 systems I mentioned above can be implemented now with little to no downtime and low cost. You will be amazed at what happens in your practice. Please stop fact – finding this stuff to death. It’s your turn to make a move. If you need help, I’ll be standing by with a Reboot. Go get ‘em! I’ll be rooting you on.  

Author Angie Bachman