Keys To Success With Everyday General Dentistry

Keys To Success With Everyday General Dentistry

In this blog post, I will cover how I use workflows and a sound hygiene system to facilitate success in my general dental practice.

Stable clinical and practice management systems are vital to ensure that your dental team does not feel burned out and the procedures are done accurately.

Importance of Morning Huddles

A quick morning huddle, 5-7 minutes long, helps you build a plan before you begin the day. It is a chance to review your day’s tasks with your team and plan what you can prioritize.

Some examples are opportunities for same-day dentistry, how you can fit in emergencies, who needs help with X-rays, any unscheduled treatments, family members, and patients needing cleanings.

Once you set the foundation at the start of the day, everyone in the team will be on the same page, and it gets easier to understand each other’s roles.

The goal of the huddle is to make the most efficient and productive day possible. 

The Role of Anesthesia

Gameplans help significantly as they put my brain in automatic mode.

They are repeatable, step-by-step workflows.  My anesthesia game plan is the start of and often one of the most important steps in many procedures I do in my everyday general practice.

The endo ice test has been a total game-changer.

Before drilling into a tooth, I spray a cotton swab with cold Endo ice and put it on all surfaces of the tooth to be worked on. If the patient feels cold, you will know instantly that they have not been numbed enough and need more local anesthesia.

They may feel some pressure, but when they don’t feel any cold or pain with the endo ice, then it’s go-time.

It’s better to ensure they are completely numb before you start drilling.

A patient who feels pain is not a happy patient, and that makes for an unhappy dentist.

Composite Restorations

Composite restorations are time-consuming and can take a lot of your energy away.

Especially when doing multiple class 2 restorations. 

I have conquered the stress of these procedures by integrating my back-to-back class 2 workflow.

I will do a #19 MO or #20 DO simultaneously using one wedge, two bands, and one ring. With proper burnishing and placement of the materials, these class 2s are now quicker and have very predictable contacts and contours.


An isolation device can help isolate the area and create nice dry fields.

They also help me reduce physical pain by helping retract the tongue, lips, or cheek. 

Implant Restorations

Implants are a big part of general dentistry.

If you have not yet had sufficient training in restoring implants, you must go out there and get trained.

The restorative portion of implants can be quickly learned for most cases.

I can now efficiently scan and then insert an implant crown with very predictable results.

95% of my implant restorations are full zirconia screw-retained restorations.

I have the lab lute the crown to the abutment and leave a screw access hole, so I don’t need to deal with cement.

Bleaching, Night Guards, Sealants, Fluoride

I would call these procedures the “icing on the cake.”

Many dentists believe that if we work harder, we can be more productive, but you can’t keep that up without burning out.

You need your staff to help you.

Delegate procedures like bleaching, night guards, and sealants to your hygienists and your assistants, and it is always a good idea to track these procedures on a weekly or monthly basis.

These tracking metrics are known as KPIs or Key Performance Indicators, and you can view which staff members are presenting and performing more treatments.

Use this not to keep score as a competition but to find out from the strong performers how they can help the weaker performers improve their case acceptance. 

Importance of a Strong Periodontal and Hygiene System

A general dentist and team must know when a patient needs scaling and root planing when to refer to a periodontist, when a patient needs gum grafts, and your x-ray policies. Most importantly, know that your team can think alike and complete their tasks on time and with minimal supervision.

Review this system regularly, especially if there’s a new team member, so they know all your periodontal policies.

Once your hygiene team buys into the system and is on the same page, it paves the way to having maximum productivity and efficiency in your practice.

Once your hygiene team buys into the system and is on the same page, it paves the way to having maximum productivity and efficiency in your practice.


Your systems and workflows may differ from mine and other dentists’.

The important key to success in general practice is to have repeatable protocols and systems to help you and your team keep firing on all cylinders.

About the Author

Dr Eric Block
Dr. Eric Block is a full-time practicing dentist in Acton, Massachusetts, husband, and father of two kids. He is known as The Stress-Free Dentist and hosts the Stress-Free Dentist Podcast.
He is the author of three non-fiction books and one children’s book. He lectures nationwide, helping dentists become more efficient, productive, and less stressed. He is the co-founder of the International Academy of Dental Life Coaches or, which matches dental professionals with life coaches who understand dentistry.

He is a wellness ambassador for the American Dental Association and former chairman of the Health and Wellness Committee for the Massachusetts Dental Society.