Non-Clinical Side of Dental Practices

healthcare professional handling non-clinical activities

Dental practices are clinics, but they’re also businesses. As businesses, dental practices are obligated to attend to a host of non-clinical activities just to stay in operation.

The list of non-clinical activities that go on in a dental practice is a very long one. Here’s a rundown of some of the time-consuming ones.


Staying compliant is a big concern for all dentists and healthcare providers. There are so many regulations and rules out there that it’s hard to stay on top of them all.

For dentists trying to run a practice and stay in compliance, it’s a tall order. In fact, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends appointing an entire team to the effort.

Two of the biggest concerns for compliance are the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Staying on top of OSHA and HIPAA are full-time jobs in themselves, and the downside to getting either of them wrong is significant. (Compliance a Big Concern for Dentists.)


Administering and processing payroll is a time-consuming task that takes practice owners away from their primary focus and is something that’s better left to experts.

Payroll isn’t all that straightforward, and there are plenty of rules and regulations that you have to be aware of and comply with correctly. If not, you might end up paying employees late or incorrectly, or you might make mistakes on your taxes. (Avoid Costly Payroll Mistakes.)


Do you keep a spreadsheet of all your bank deposits? Do you keep backup documents? Do you reconcile those deposits with the balance sheet every month?

Accounting requires accuracy, which means dotting a lot of i’s and crossing a lot of t’s – something most dentists don’t have the time or expertise to do. Books with inaccuracies, omissions or even fraud are a big problem.

Tax Preparation

The Internal Revenue Service has literally thousands of pages of complicated regulations, rules and case law. Have you read them all? Probably not.

Preparing taxes is a chore for most of us, one that seems to take too much of our time every month, quarter and year. And we’re always left wondering if we’re paying too much or too little.


It’s too hard to grow a business by word of mouth these days – not with the internet and content marketing. The old ways – putting an ad in the Yellow Pages and hoping for the best – don’t work anymore, and the new ways are myriad and complicated.

Marketing and advertising aren’t really about advertising anymore. They’re more about connecting with customers and potential customers – and doing it through the internet. (Online Communications for Dentistry and Healthcare.)

Even in small towns, competition among dental practices has grown. There are more dentists than there used to be, for one thing. Meanwhile, Americans are going to the dentist less frequently than they used to.

The days of a small-town dentist thriving by word of mouth are over. Today, dentists need to have marketing experts to take care of maintaining and growing their businesses.

Information Technology

Do you know how to set up a multi-computer network, complete with internet and email addresses and a database of all your clients? It’s a very specific skillset and not one that many dentists have.

There are many, many pieces to IT, even for small practices. And any one of them can create a big problem that can make it difficult for your customers to connect with you or shut your network down altogether.

Not only that, but IT is becoming more complicated and more strategic all the time. Customers expect things to be simpler on their end, but that means things are more complicated on your end. (Benefits of Contracting IT Services.)

Human Resources and Risk Management

Do you know the best online job listing boards to recruit dental assistants? Do you know what questions you should or shouldn’t ask during an interview? Do you know how to (or have the time to) execute benefits enrollment?

These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to human resources. Employees are complex people that require proper management. Meanwhile, there are tons of rules and regulations regarding employment. It takes a professional to do HR correctly.

Meanwhile, every business is at risk. Work-related injuries can happen at any time, in any type of work setting – whether construction site or office. Every practice needs to operate in a way that limits risk as much as possible.

Office and Property Management

Every practice is a business with a physical location. Administering the office takes a lot of work, as does managing the property in which the office resides (particularly if your office is in a stand-alone building).

The Business Side of the Business

The non-clinical side of running a dental practice includes a number of tasks that require expertise and time. Lots and lots of time.

Although you didn’t get into dentistry to run a business, you may be spending most of your time doing just that.


By Quinn Dufurrena, DDS