The Three Levels of Dental Office Manager

Written by: Roger P. Levin, DDS
dental office manager


Office managers play a critical role in the development of successful dental practices. If a practice expects to maintain growth and profitability over an extended period, an effective dental office manager is key. But what makes for a successful dental office manager?

dental office manager

The Three Levels of Dental Office Manager

The good ones excel on the following three levels:

  1. The systems-based office manager

For a practice to experience rapid and predictable growth, it is essential to have a systems-based and systems-focused office manager who can design, improve, and replace systems, as well as train the entire team in implementing them. The office manager is the glue that holds everything together. This individual not only is responsible for designing and implementing the best systems, but also working minute-by-minute with the team.

The systems-based office manager needs to understand where the practice currently stands AND what must happen with the systems to accommodate the growth and development that the practice is seeking in the future.

  1. The people-based office manager

As difficult as it may be to master systems (which is a major key to success for dental practices), it is far more difficult to learn how to manage people. Many dental office managers are catapulted into their positions without any real understanding of people management. People management is becoming increasingly critical, especially considering the new attitudes and behaviors present in the workforce.

In a dental practice, people management is primarily about building the culture around a strong mission and creating a shared understanding of the practice’s core values amongst the team. It is up to the office manager to continually drive the culture and help team members feel that they play a vital role in helping patients and improving people’s lives.

  1. The strategic thinking office manager

A dental practice does not absolutely require a strategic thinking office manager. However, when it does, it is an enormously powerful scenario for growth. The strategic thinking office manager does not sit around all day thinking about strategy. They still must deal with systems and people – the major components of the job of every office manager.

But when all the systems are in place and everyone on the team is working independently with targets and measurements regarding their jobs?

That’s when the office manager can now focus on other activities.

This gives the office manager the opportunity to research new opportunities such as a new software package for the practice, the implementation and marketing plan for a new service, analyzing many critical metrics, and so on. Strategic thinking office managers have time to perform research by meeting with sales representatives, contacting companies, reviewing administrative products that might make the practice more efficient, and ensuring that targets are being met and team members are still receiving the mentoring and coaching that they need.


Roger P. Levin, DDS is the CEO and Founder of Levin Group, a leading practice management consulting firm that has worked with over 30,000 clients to increase production. A recognized expert on dental practice management and marketing, he has written more than 60 books and over 4,000 articles and regularly presents seminars in the United States and around the world.

To contact Dr. Levin or to join the 40,000 dental professionals who receive his Practice Production Tip of the Day, visit or email