Make Your Practice More Efficient with a Dental Office Checklist

Creating checklists for your dental practice offers many benefits rather than just reminding your team what needs to be done every day. A dental office checklist allows your team to complete all tasks successfully and helps to:

  • Keep your appointments on schedule
  • Ensure patient safety
  • Reduce errors and stress
  • Improve dental practice management

The idea of healthcare checklists became popular ten years ago when surgeon, Dr. Atul Gawande wrote The Checklist Manifesto. He found that a practice checklist can increase patient outcomes dramatically. You can create a dental office checklist for your dental practice to increase its productivity and make it more efficient.

dental office checklist

Dental Practice Checklists

The type and number of dental practice checklists vary depending on your practice’s requirements. You can create checklists for patients:

  • In the chair before the procedure
  • In the waiting room
  • During the procedure
  • At the end of the procedure
  • Post-appointment

You can also create dental office checklists for specific procedures, different types of patients such as pediatric patients, new patients, and senior patients, or different areas of your practice such as your lab, treatment areas, reception, and billing.

Creating Your Dental Office Checklist

You can customize your dental practice checklists, depending on your practice’s requirements. Here are some tips that help you make sure your dental office checklists cover the basic needs:

  • Keep It Short –  Including many details in the dental office checklists may create confusion, so make sure to include only the key steps and keep it precise. You should list each task using two to five words, such as ‘check stock inventory supplies’ or ‘administering anesthesia.’
  • Get Input from the Team Involved in the Procedures - Consult your team before creating dental office checklists. They know the essential steps to be included for each procedure. For example, your dental hygienists can recommend the steps for a dental cleaning checklist.

Rather than relying on one person, get two or three people involved when creating and reviewing a checklist.

  • Scheduling – You can create a dental office checklist for patient scheduling, which may include registering the patient, sending appointment reminders, and following up after their first visit. Also, you can analyze patient attendance, generate a list of patients who are overdue in payment and monitor each workstation’s productivity.
  • Sterilization – Create a dental practice checklist to prevent employee and patient infection and include key points such as tool sterilization, routine hand-washing, personal protective equipment, disinfecting surfaces, and sharps waste processing or disposal.
  • End-of-Day – Your end-of-day dental office checklist may include tasks like cleaning, garbage disposal, and powering off all electronics. Insist that your team submit the completed checklist before leaving the office.
  • Automate When You Can – You can use software programs that can automatically send reminders to patients through a text or email. This will ease the workload of your front desk employees.

Using Your Dental Office Checklists

Make sure to use your dental office checklists every day. Using a checklist helps your team be aware and efficient which helps avoid making mistakes. Gathering, submitting, and monitoring checklist data will help you analyze your practice’s efficiency and productivity.


You may also like to read:

What Steps Should You Consider When Patients Cancel Their Appointments?

How I Started My Dental Practice in Iowa

Dental Appointment Reminders: Which Method Works the Best?


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Steffany Mohan, DDS

Dr. Steffany Mohan, DDS is a highly accomplished dentist, speaker, and coach in dentistry and has been practicing for around 22 years in West Des Moines, IA. She is renowned for her achievements in implant practice management and has established Plaza Dental Group as among the busiest and most thriving dental offices in Iowa