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Prerequisite for success of a dental practice

Updated: Jan 7, 2022

In this post I provide an overview of the elements necessary for a dental clinic to provide professional, financial and personal satisfaction for its owner, employees and patients.

Family time - mother and son

In the coming weeks, I will go into more detail about each of the elements I describe today. It is important for me to emphasise that there is no one right path to success. Just as success depends on each individual's own definition of success. For some people, a large clinic with a large financial profit is associated with success. For others, the ability to spend time with family and friends is associated with success.

The definition of success

According to my dictionary, success is defined as "the fact of getting or achieving wealth, respect, or fame"

In a dental clinic, a number of elements are elementary to achieving success, whatever that may look like. I will try to illustrate this in what follows.

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The 5 basic elements

My model for a successful clinic consists of 5 elements:

  1. Baseline - the level of knowledge we have when we leave dental school.

  2. The clinical skills we build during our careers as dentists. Partly through courses and partly through practical experience.

  3. The ability of the dentist and the team to communicate with patients in a way that makes them want to invest in the dental treatment they objectively need.

  4. The management skills needed to run a dental clinic optimally.

  5. Branding and marketing, which are essential to grow the dental clinic.

Each of the 5 elements consists of a number of levels, which I will discuss in the following weeks' blog posts.

Hatt foundation for success - illustrative model for ideal dental practice management

Clinical skills

As the clinical skills are not the focus of the content of this blog, I will not go into detail about them. However, I will point out that most dentists rightly start focusing on building up their clinical skills when they start their professional career after graduation.

The more we educate ourselves into treating complex cases, in implantology, functional occlusion, orthodontics or periodontics for example, the more our triangle of "clinical skills" grows. Notice that I have placed the triangle upside down. It illustrates how our professional skills alone, are an unstable element on which to build a dental practice.

Dental professionalism cannot stand alone

Hatt consulting - illustrative model of instability when clinical skills stand alone

If we don't support our professional competencies, it will be easy to tip the triangle and thus ruin the clinic. A tilted triangle takes us away from success - however that may be defined. A tilted triangle simply creates more challenges.

The more complex treatments we manage to solve, the more unstable the triangle becomes without support.

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How to support the dental skills in the practice

To be successful as clinic owners, we need to support our clinical skills with management and patient communication. If we fail to make patients want to invest in the care they objectively need, we will never get the chance to use our clinical skills to help our patients.

If we don't have clear direction and systems in place in the clinic to support efficient operations, we won't be able to realise our full potential.


In the pictures of the model you can see that there are different level divisions of the triangles that support the clinical skills. This is because each element contains a number of levels to help us find out where we currently stand. This provides an overview and helps us to see what we can focus on next to improve the level we are currently at. Assuming we want to improve the clinic.

Please note that there is no one right path that embraces all clinics. On the contrary, it is my opinion that each clinic owner's path to success is individual.

Basis for the dentist's success

Hatt Consulting illustration - Basis for the success of dental practices. Communication, clinical skills and management

Common to all clinics, however, is that the elements I describe, and the levels of each element, are of basic and essential importance for the clinic to provide the clinic owner with the success the clinic owner has defined for himself. Simply put, every business (private dental clinics included) needs to have some basic needs met in order to thrive and grow.

When we have a strong foundation based on strong clinical skills, supported by good communication skills with patients and clear and good management, the clinic is ready to grow. It is only at this point that the clinic is truly ready for growth.

If you want to know more about how your clinic can achieve a stronger foundation that leads you faster towards your success, feel free to contact me for a no-obligation chat. You can also read more about how we can help you on these pages.

When things go wrong

All too often we see colleagues who have spent oceans of time and resources becoming extremely skilled practitioners. They have a perception that patients should seek them out to solve the problems that these dentists are obviously best at professionally. The problem is that patients usually don't come and ask for treatment on their own. This may tempt dentists to start marketing their clinics in the hope that a lot of patients will then come and demand the treatment that the dentists have trained themselves to provide.

Hatt Consulting illustration of the most unstable practice management model for dentists

The challenge of marketing without first having built and implemented strong patient communication and management skills is that marketing comes to rest on an extremely unstable foundation. Often this means that the whole thing falls apart = the dental skills do not come into play and the dentist blames the marketing for not being effective.

In these cases it is rare that the marketing does not work. It is usually a sign that some of the elements that create a strong foundation for marketing are missing.

Dentists' foundation for growth and personal success

Clinics with the strongest foundations rarely need to spend a lot of money on external marketing. Instead, they can focus on building their brand stronger so that, with relatively limited resources, they can grow the clinic at the pace they want.

Clinics with a strong foundation of clinical skills, patient communication and applied management have built the foundation for explosive growth... Or to realize all the other things that can define success for the individual dentist.

Next week, it's going to be about the individual levels of the communication triangle.

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Photo of dentist Jesper Hatt DDS

Thanks for tuning in.

Many kind regards

Jesper Hatt DDS

P: +41782680078



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