Three Expenses to Track in Your Dental Practice

It’s great that you have settled into a routine and practicing seems more comfortable. You know that when you meet with your accountant this year the news may not be great, but you can change that NOW if you want to.

Expenses throughout the office have risen post COVID shutdown. Industry norms for these expenses won’t be adjusted, these expenses can swallow up your bottom line if you don’t find a way to increase your production. I don’t want to be negative, I am encouraging you though, to keep track of three different expenses in your dental practice and see how you need to change production to accommodate the increase in the expense.

Team Salaries

Your team salaries have likely gone up as you have had to hire extra team members to help check in patients, change over rooms and sterilize. The industry norm for salaries is between 25% and 27% of overall expenses. It’s okay that you have added more team members, but you will now need to calculate how you can increase your production to make up for the new salaries or any salary increases you have given. With all of these new tasks I have found that some of the basic needs of the practice are getting lost, most importantly follow up on major treatment that has been diagnosed. Keeping your chair full, is just as important as keeping your office safe, finding that balance for your team with their tasks is important. Ensure that there is some accountability for your treatment follow up whether it is once a week, twice a month or once a month, your team needs to know that they still have responsibility in that way.


Undoubtedly, the cost of sundries has increased due to the addition of PPE to your daily routine. Even though the cost of them has come down a bit since May 2020 it is still an expense that we weren’t previously experiencing. It isn’t that you can cut out another expense to make up for PPE. Previously, you may have not always had a team member assigned to following up on basic treatment as most patients would book and keep their appointments. I am finding more patients are hesitating to book their basic treatment initially or they are booking and then cancelling before the appointment occurs. My suggestion is that you have a specific team member assigned to follow up on any basic treatment and along with your outstanding hygiene patients.

Lab Fees

The last expense that will have an impact on your practice is your lab fees. I realize that you may consider this to be an “in and out” expense. Lab expense is a good measuring stick for what else is going on in your practice. Industry norm for lab expense should be at least 8% and depending on the demographic of your practice it could be up to 10% of your practice.

If your current lab expense has declined since you have returned to work, then there are some good questions you can ask yourself. Firstly, are you diagnosing the same way you were previously and are you connecting with your patients in a way that is educating them about the treatment that they need, despite all of the PPE that you are wearing? Are the hygienists educating patients about diagnosed treatment or have they stopped doing that because of all of the PPE? Are chart audits being done in advance so that the entire team is aware of any outstanding treatment that can be addressed when the patient comes in for their appointment? If don’t know that the answer is yes to all of these questions, then I suggest you re-think how patient treatment presentation is currently being completed in your office.

If your lab expenses were below industry norm prior to COVID then I suggest you look at your patient education and follow up systems in your office to bring your lab expenses to industry norm of 8% of overall production.

If you would like help calculating these expenses, then feel free to connect with me and I will be happy to help you.

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