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Time Management and Organization Tips for Dental Hygienists

Mar 21, 2017

Author: Jessica Raymond-Allbritten, CRDH, BASDH

Time management and organization are extremely important skills in a dental office. Having good time management skills can increase productivity and encourage a positive work environment. An office that is organized will have better communication and more efficient workdays. Morning huddles, planning ahead, prioritizing organization and having proper tools are ways an office can improve operations.

Hold Meetings

DentistryIQ polled 258 people and discovered that only 40 percent of them hold morning huddles. Morning huddles and monthly meetings are important to achieve high-quality care for patients and increase communication among office staff. Morning huddles should only last about 10 to 15 minutes and all team members should participate. Discussion topics should include:

  • Potential obstacles that could arise throughout the day, such as no-shows.
  • What each patient is coming in for.
  • Pending restorative treatment for patients.
  • Any patients who are overdue for dental hygiene appointments.

Ending the morning huddle with an inspirational and positive quote is a great way to start the workday.

Monthly meetings are a great way to address issues in the office work flow, production and collection goals for the previous and current month, current events in the office, team building exercises and additional training opportunities.

Plan Ahead

Checking patient charts for the next day is important in addressing any potential issues that may arise, or pending treatment that needs to be scheduled. This information should be addressed in the morning huddle so that all team members are on the same page. Making note of any unscheduled treatment and re-care appointments needed for each patient that day is important for all team members to know in case of a cancellation. If there is a change in the schedule and a patient needs treatment, you can save the patient a trip by offering to complete the work while the person is already in the office.

Stocking and assembling setups can be done the day before the patient's appointment or before the morning huddle. Having everything you need at your fingertips will save you time, energy and stress. Not being able to find something or being out of stock of an item can put you behind.

Prioritize Organization

Having an organized office boosts efficiency. For instance, place color-coded and labeled plastic bins in the supply cabinets. Then, assign one color to each department. That way all team members know, by the color and the label, what belongs in each bin. Having everything in bins also keeps track of inventory.

Also, it helps to have all the supplies color-coded and labeled for when a temporary staff member fills in for the day. Temporary staff members will be able to find their way around the office more easily without having to interrupt another staff member for assistance.

Maintain Your Instruments

Having the proper tools in good working order is important for time management. A dental hygienist using short ultrasonic insert tips and/or dull, over-sharpened instruments will not be as efficient or effective as a dental hygienist who has sharp instruments and ultrasonic insert tips in good working order.

Sharpening instruments can be time consuming. The time spent sharpening instruments could be better utilized increasing production, stocking, or getting ready for the next day. Consider investing in sharpen-free instruments. The valuable time you save not sharpening your instruments can be spent improving patient care, efficiency and organization.


  • Plan ahead to have a positive work environment and forge great patient relationships.
  • Get organized and stay organized to remain efficient and effective.
  • Hold morning huddles and monthly office meetings to aid communication and teach time management skills.

Why It's Important

Great time management and organizing skills are key to creating a positive office environment that your coworkers and patients alike will appreciate. The life of a dental hygienist is fast-paced, so anything you and your coworkers can do to keep up an organized workspace will create the stress-free work environment you need to best care for your patients.

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