The Work SMART Scheduling System

Implement these and your schedule will be more productive.

Updated 6/30/20

Vince Lombardi, the famous football coach, tells how he built a championship team: “…go back to basics and we’re going to learn, drill and practice the fundamentals until we become better at them than anyone else in the game. If you do this with me, I will make you champions.”

Scheduling is the most complex system in the dental practice. Here are six “Work SMART” fundamentals you can begin working on with your team:

  1. Set up the Appointment Book columns that directly correspond to operatories. Five operatories = five columns. Patients go into the rooms shown on the schedule. (Patients going into just any room creates inefficiency.)
  2. Set SMART daily or hourly production goals. Specific: Create goals for each provider. Measurable: Daily, compare production to your goals. Attainable: Base goals on your past six month performance averages, with a stretch. Realistic: Work to achieve the goal without discouraging yourself and your team. Timely: Reset goals every 3—6 months once you reach the goal consistently.
  3. Use the Dentrix Goal vs Production tracking. Have a morning huddle and share.
  4. Pre-block your schedule to meet at least 75% of your goal with primary care or blocks which are all high production procedures.
  5. DO NOT give away pre-blocks until 24 hours ahead.
  6. Have a scheduling “hawk.” Appoint one person to take ultimate responsibility for a productive schedule. Review the schedule each day, a.m. and p.m. Then, look one day and one week ahead to find opportunities and potential problems. Use the four resources within Dentrix to keep every provider scheduled to goal: ASAP List, Wait/Will Call List, Unscheduled Treatment List, Treatment Manager List.

Learn More

To learn more about setting up the Appointment Book or generating appointment lists, see the Appointment Book Setup and the Appointment Lists Overview in Dentrix Help.

Read Scheduling for Higher Efficiency, Production, and Profit and The Secrets to Stress-Free Scheduling for more ideas about improving your schedule.

By Linda Drevenstedt, RDH, MS

Linda is a wise and insightful speaker, consultant, and author. Her southern “Steel Magnolia” approach is honest and straightforward with a spoonful of sugar. Linda’s experience spans over 20 years and includes “in the trenches” experience as a dental hygienist, a dental assistant, and as a group practice administrator. Linda has a master’s degree in Healthcare Administration and a bachelor’s in business. She and her team of 8 consultants help grow practices and people from coast to coast. Dentistry Today has voted her one of their 2015 “Leaders in Dental Consulting.” Email if you need a good Huddle Agenda and a discount code for her Scheduling Mastery webinar series at

Published as part of a collection of key takeaways from the 2015 Business of Dentistry Conference, along with:

Originally published in Dentrix Magazine, Winter 2015