The most familiar people patients know and interact with at the dental office are the primary care staff members: dentists and dental hygienists.
Dentists have acquired years of training to be able to diagnose and treat oral conditions and issues. Dental hygienists have also undergone several years of preparation in the field to do their jobs. Both dentists and dental hygienists must meet strict licensing requirements in order to treat patients.
The back-office staff team mainly consists of dental assistants and dental laboratory technicians. Dental assistants may work alongside primary care staff members delivering patient care. They also work with back-office staff doing a variety of tasks related to the dental lab.
Dental lab technicians usually do not work directly with patients. Instead, they typically work in the dental lab restoring dental appliances, constructing bridges and dentures, fabricating crowns, and assembling orthodontics.
The administrative staff for a large practice may feature a big team of office workers. Administrative staff members for a dental office do not participate in the treatment or care patients get.
Receptionist: They often answer phones and take messages for dental providers. In the office, they may also greet patients and direct them to fill out paperwork.Administrative Assistant: Dental office administrative assistants generally are responsible for communication and office tasks for specific providers. They may also help with organizing patient files, data entry, and other essential administrative tasks.Office Manager: Most dental practices have an office manager who supervises the administrative staff and tasks for the entire practice. This key position may also be responsible for recruiting staff, hiring team members, and training new employees.
Another staff member that patients may communicate with in a dental office is the billing specialist. As part of the front-office team, this role manages billing matters for dental treatments. They are generally the person for which patients can speak with about treatment options and payment plans.
Billing specialists may be responsible for taking payments from patients, forwarding paperwork to the insurance company, and calling patients who have past-due balances. When there is a need for extensive dental treatment, the billing coordinator helps price out the treatment plan.
Patients may encounter a dental office treatment coordinator. This position works with patients to give an overview for extensive dental care, such as crowns, dentures, dental implants, or bridges. Coordinators help plan out the series of appointments and give patients a financial estimate of the cost for the treatment plan. They also work with the provider to determine the optimal course of treatment for patients.
WebMD suggests that patients needing a new dental provider can start by asking friends and family members for recommendations. They should learn about the dental office's hours and the education and training of the dental providers. Then, they can check out the staff members and their approach to patient care when finding a new provider.
The supervisor overseeing the dental practice is typically the office manager. If patients have a question or concern about the practice, they should ask to contact the office manager. In some practices, the dentists may also be part of the supervisory team.
Patients can schedule their next visit by calling the office. The office administrative staff can help patients find an appointment time with their preferred provider. The administrative office staff may also assist patients with canceling or rescheduling appointments.
At the first visit, the administrative staff may ask the patient to fill out medical history and insurance forms. Then, primary care staff members such as a dental hygienist and dentist may perform an examination. At the end of the visit, patients usually check out with a billing coordinator or administrative office staff member.
Patients who have questions about billing or their account should contact the administrative staff. The office staff may refer these questions to the billing coordinator. Some dental administrative assistants may also be able to answer your questions.