September is Dental Office Manager Appreciation Month — the perfect time to recognize dental office managers for all they do to support the dental practice, team and patients. “It’s a really important position,” says Elizabeth C., MAADOM, who recently earned Mastership in the American Association of Dental Office Management (AADOM).

Teresa D., FAADOM, agrees: “Dental office managers are professionals. We are bright. We are the beating heart of the dental practice.”

It’s true: Dental office managers have many traits worth celebrating, including supreme organizational skills and attention to detail, among other attributes. Below are three key reasons why dental office managers deserve recognition, this month and year-round.

1. Cross-Trained for Success

Dental office managers often come to the role with a background in dental assisting; as such, they usually are fully cross-trained to work in the dental office in both front-desk and chairside assisting capacities.

Wearing these dual hats ultimately increases the dental office manager’s overall value to their team. Kevin Henry, co-founder of IgniteDA and editor-in-chief at, applauds dental assistants who have taken the steps to learn new skills and expand their careers into the dental practice management area.

“I believe having front-desk training is one of the best opportunities for growth for any dental assistant,” Kevin comments.

Debbie E., MAADOM, agrees that any dental assistant interested in learning about dental office management should consider opportunities for cross-training. “With the knowledge that assistants have on the clinical side, if they also learn about the business side of dentistry, those skill sets truly are a fabulous combination for a great office manager,” she believes.

In fact, Debbie E., a practice administrator of more than 25 years, is happy to connect job applicants with dental assisting experience to the open business administration positions where she works. Debbie recalls one new hire in particular who brought not only dental assisting knowledge but also communications expertise to her now-dual role in dental office management and social media marketing. “It was a perfect fit,” Debbie describes. “Like a marriage. It’s perfect. She’s been here for 3.5 years. Six months after she started the job, she came to me and said, ‘This was the perfect decision! You were completely right!’”

2. Committed to Continuing Education

Many dental office managers are passionate about investing in continuing education (CE). And many choose to seek educational opportunities through AADOM and achieve Fellowship and Mastership status with AADOM. As part of the AADOM Fellowship process in particular, candidates complete the DALE Foundation’s dental office management online courses, among other requirements.

“Through pursuing AADOM Fellowship, I received additional resources and knowledge to help me do a better job for the doctors who trust me with their livelihood,” shares Greg P., FAADOM, who earned AADOM Fellowship in 2018. “To put ‘FAADOM’ behind your name is a way to say, ‘I’m engaged in this community and in the business that I’m leading.’”

Terri L., CDPMA, FAADOM, also embraces educational opportunities to support her practice management career. “I love to learn,” she says. “I’m always wanting to learn something to help the practice and help my patients.”

Completing CE is so important, agrees Debbie E. “You can never know enough,” she adds. “Keep learning, keep growing, don’t ever be satisfied. AADOM membership has been a big thing for me and my education. Plus, I’ve done every webinar possible. You name it, I’ve done it! I just have a passion for education and learning.”

3. Dedicated to Infection Prevention and Control

Dental office managers are eager to seek CE on the topic of practice administration and are among the dental team members who are dedicated to keeping themselves, their colleagues and their patients safe through honing their knowledge of dental infection prevention and control.

Dental office managers are among the more than 600 oral healthcare professionals who, as of July 24, 2020, had earned the OSAP-DALE Foundation Dental Infection Prevention and Control Certificate™.

Learn more about the OSAP-DALE Foundation Dental Infection Prevention and Control Certificate Program.

Through its professional development and distinction programs, AADOM connects dental office managers to this particular rigorous educational program. To earn Mastership, dental practice managers must successfully finish this three-step education program.

Valarie C., MAADOM, completed the OSAP-DALE Foundation Certificate Program as one requirement to earning AADOM Mastership. “It’s imperative that office managers and the entire clinical team go through this infection prevention and control program,” Valarie believes. “Infection control knowledge and protocols are ever-changing. We always have to be up-to-date on the latest information, for our protection and obviously for the protection of our patients, our No. 1 responsibility.”


Dental office managers, we appreciate you. And we want to know: What do you enjoy most about your dental office management role? Let us know!