Why you might not fully understand your practice

Dr. Roger P. Levin.
Dr. Roger P. Levin.

Dental practices are businesses and as such, they must be understood at numerous levels and angles. Fortunately, there is one statistic that is more important than all others in gaining a complete understanding of your practice. This statistic is production.

Strong production is the guarantor of success for dental practices. If your practice has growing production every year, you will be successful, but you must understand how to truly evaluate production. 

Knowing your numbers

We read a lot about why you must know your numbers. For dentists, the statistics you absolutely need to know all relate to practice production. Understanding production-related statistics quickly allows any dentist or office manager to fully understand why the practice is successful and to identify what areas need to be addressed if they are underperforming. 

Below is a list of five statistics that are important to track consistently. When these statistics are moving in the right direction, then you will know you are on a pathway toward ongoing success. We suggest that you use a red light/green light/yellow light concept, where you mark green on statistics that are growing, red on statistics that are declining, and yellow on statistics with no change. 

1. Production: As mentioned above, no statistic is more important than practice production. Practice production tells you how the practice is doing in a macro sense. If production continues to grow over time, you will be successful. 

2. Production per day: Once you know your annual production and have set a goal, you can then break that down into daily increments. Levin Group refers to this as the daily goal, and it must truly be part of practice management in every dental practice. At every morning meeting, you should review yesterday's production relative to the daily goal and the goal for the current day to ensure that the scheduled production will achieve it. The front desk staff should understand that a major part of their job is to work with the schedule throughout the day to ensure that the practice comes as close as possible to hitting or exceeding the daily production goal. If you hit or exceed the daily production goal 90% of the time, you are virtually guaranteed to achieve the annual production goal. 

3. Production per patient: When we meet practices that are struggling to improve practice production and performance, they frequently do not understand that the core issue is low production per patient. When analyzing your production per patient, you begin to see whether your practice is on track to increase this statistic to increase overall practice production. If it is not, then case acceptance, new patient onboarding, scripting, and hygiene productivity all need to be addressed to avoid stagnation or decline. 

4. Production per new patient: In their first 12 months with your practice, the average new patient should produce 200% to 300% more production over a current active patient. Given the impact of this statistic, new patients are not only essential, but they contribute heavily to increasing practice production. By blocking out time in the schedule to ensure that enough new patients are seen monthly, the practice can establish and hit its annual production goal as described above. 

5. Production per provider: When practices contact us to talk about their situations, they often talk only in totals. For example, they discuss the annual practice production or hourly production. The problem with focusing on totals is that they don't show the whole picture. Ask yourself: How many doctors and hygienists are in your practice? You are not a "$3 million practice" but a practice where doctor A contributes a certain amount and doctor B contributes another amount. Then you must assess each provider individually.  Is doctor A a new doctor increasing her production each year while doctor B is slowing down as he approaches planned retirement? Is each hygienist tracking to increase her production so that the practice goal of increasing total hygiene production by 20% each year is attainable? There are specific strategies to make this happen and they can be put into place once production per hygienist is evaluated properly and compared to where it should be. 

Tracking these five statistics, understanding their meaning, and taking needed actions ensures short-term and long-term practice success. 


Practice production determines the pathway, trends, and ultimate success of a dental practice. In an era where dental practice competition is growing and dental insurance reimbursements aren't increasing, dental practice business can be more overwhelming. Monitoring these five statistics is a fast and proven way for every doctor or office manager to truly understand their practice, what is contributing to success or lack of success, and what steps to take moving forward.

Dr. Roger P. Levin is CEO of Levin Group, a leading practice management and marketing consulting firm. To contact him or to join the 40,000 dental professionals who receive his Practice Production Tip of the Day, visit LevinGroup.com or email [email protected].

The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of DrBicuspid.com, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.

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