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How AADOM helps office managers be their best


When you meet Office Manager Krista Smith and her mother, Dr. Shelley Shults, it’s clear that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Over the course of the past 15 years working together in dentistry, they’ve become inseparable.

When you meet Office Manager Krista Smith and her mother, Dr. Shelley Shults, it’s clear that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Over the course of the past 15 years working together in dentistry, they’ve become inseparable.

At Powell Dental Group in Powell, Ohio, this mother-daughter team and their staff are fulfilling a mission to incorporate all-over health and wellness care with each patient exam.

The philosophy has worked out well for the practice, which has grown by leaps and bounds through word-of-mouth referrals alone. The practice is averaging 60 new patients a month, requiring the addition of two doctors and four hygienists over the course of the past few years. As the office manager, Smith contributes to the success of the practice by handling all human resources tasks, including managing and training staff. She also completes medical and dental insurance coding and billing, as well as accounts receivable. With a background as a dental assistant, she helps educate patients, and does everything she can to ensure a positive experience for every patient who walks through the door.

More from Amy Bowman: One a mission: How one dentist is educating patients

Smith’s membership to the American Association of Dental Office Managers (AADOM) has been instrumental in helping her gain the skills necessary to lead the practice. After joining AADOM in 2014, she was inspired to begin a Columbus, Ohio, chapter in 2015. With the help of Patterson Representative Chris Sanford she was able to obtain support from Patterson, an AADOM Diamond Sponsor. As Smith’s founding sponsor, Patterson helped her get the chapter off the ground and contributed to its success. “Krista is so generous in helping other people out. I wanted to support her in starting the Columbus chapter knowing that it will be beneficial to her, and that she will be able to share the knowledge she gains with others,” said Sanford.

The continuing education opportunities, support from other office managers, and the organization’s online forum have helped her learn and grow. “Joining AADOM is the best thing an office manager can do for their career,” she said. “Whether you’re brand new or an experienced office manager, you will find the education, support and learning opportunities you need to enhance your dental management career.”

More from Amy Bowman: One dental office manager's philosophy: Set the course and get out of the way

Smith says that AADOM helps her provide guidance to her staff members, too. She recently led a team exercise to prove how important each member of the team is. She gave each of them a puzzle piece with the following question on the back: “What do you contribute to our team?” and then put the outline of the puzzle down and asked the team to put it together. “The office manager is the glue that holds the puzzle together,” she said. “And if one puzzle piece is missing, you can’t get the job done. Every role in the office is essential to what we do.”

For Smith, that role is to be sure that every patient gets the best care possible and that office functions are running smoothly, so that Dr. Shults and the rest of the team can focus on patient care. “I’m thankful to Patterson for their help in paying training and chapter fees as well as allowing our group to use the branch facility for meetings,” said Smith. “It’s clear that Patterson values the role of the office manager as a key component to running a successful dental practice.”



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