Creating Systems for Excellent Pediatric Dentistry Practice Management with Tonya Burns

It can be challenging to balance all of the aspects of pediatric dentistry practices. Patients, employees, industry trends, insurance requirements, and countless other areas all demand your full attention. That’s why people like Tonya Burns, owner of Complete Dental Practice Consulting are such assets in the pediatric dentistry industry. In this episode of Talking with the Toothcop, I ask Tonya to share her knowledge of pediatric dentistry management systems. She covers four main areas of focus: the key systems for running an efficient practice, how to be a high-volume practice without feeling like a clinic, the art of putting patients at ease starting with the first phone call, and how to take Medicaid insurance and still have a productive practice. Your practice will benefit greatly from hearing her insights, so don’t miss this episode!

The key systems for running an efficient, fast-paced practice

Identifying systems to implement in your practice to ensure positive workflow is essential. The clinical and business sides of your practice must be balanced, and systems are critical in order for patients to be taken care of quickly while still making them feel valued. Tonya explains that some of the major system categories include: the new patient process, treatment plans, financial plans, appointment scheduling, and everything involving insurance companies. She walks you through each of these categories in an engaging, informative manner and her advice should be heard, so give this episode your full attention.

How to be a high-volume practice without feeling like a clinic

In order to be the most efficient practice possible, you need to start by asking yourself and your employees the following questions. Do we have the appropriate number of staff? Are we training our staff effectively and giving them the tools they need to succeed? Are we appropriately utilizing each employee’s skill sets and talents within our practice? Are our scheduling methods up-to-date and effective? And are we consistent in our management systems and in our communications with parents? By addressing these questions, your practice will be better equipped to handle large amounts of patients while still providing top-notch care.

The art of putting parents at ease starting with the first phone call

Unfortunately, many parents have a fear of the dentist that they inadvertently pass onto their children. Tonya explains that pediatric dentistry professionals need to be highly skilled in putting parents (and their young patients) at ease starting from the very first interaction. This starts with having consistent verbiage that is used by all employees in all forms of communication (phone calls, emails, and at the check-in desk). Your team members also need to be able to convey treatment plans, describe financial details, and answer all questions in a prompt, clear manner. Be sure to catch all of Tonya’s insightful information on this episode of Talking with the Toothcop.

How to take Medicaid insurance and still have a productive practice

Your pediatric dentistry practice CAN overcome the Medicaid stigma! All of the systems and processes that Tonya discussed in the first three sections apply to Medicaid patients as well, and all of these details need to be tracked in order to be effective. To combat the “see hole, fill hole” scheduling mentality, she recommends scheduling Medicaid patients in low-demand time frames, but not creating exclusive Medicaid days. She also suggests not immediately focusing on what type of insurance a family has during the first few minutes of a new phone call. For the rest of Tonya’s suggestions on handling Medicaid in your practice, be sure to listen to this episode.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:35] I introduce my guest for this episode, Tonya Burns, owner of Complete Dental Practice Consulting
  • [3:33] Why pediatric dentistry is Tonya’s greatest passion and the 4 main topics covered in this episode
  • [4:50] Why the best way to describe pediatric dental practice management is organized chaos
  • [7:11] Systematizing the new patient process
  • [13:09] The treatment plan and financial details phase in pediatric dentistry
  • [17:06] Insurance and financial expectations – don’t get caught in absolutes
  • [20:38] Overcoming scheduling challenges in a pediatric dental practice
  • [26:11] How to handle unscheduled treatments in your system
  • [28:47] Suggestions for your account statement and insurance update systems
  • [30:26] How to be a high-volume practice without feeling like a clinic
  • [37:41] Putting patients and parents at ease starting with the first phone call
  • [44:30] How to be productive while still taking Medicaid insurance
  • [49:31] I ask Tonya general questions surrounding pediatric dental practice management processes

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