Unit 1: Essential Elements
Unit 1: Essential Elements

Section 2. Key Principles

Determining Dental Clinic Capacity

Even though safety net dental clinic efficiency can be enhanced with good scheduling techniques and other effective management practices, there are limits to what can be accomplished if the clinic is too small or if the program is short staffed. In clinics that are overwhelmed with patients, the only realistic and lasting solution is to combine efficient clinical practices with adequate resources in the form of facility size and dental staff.

If a clinic’s current service population calls for a clinic size and number of dental staff that are well beyond what is currently available, then, in addition to improving efficiency, clinics should pursue all available options for expanding the clinic and staff to levels that better match the population.

See the Dental Clinic Comparison Chart in Unit 2.

It is recommended that no dental clinic contain more than 24 operatories. Larger clinics tend to be inefficient, and they can present access problems for dispersed populations.

Note: Auxiliaries include dental assistants, dental hygienists, receptionists, and clerks.