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How to Protect Your Dental Practice from Costly Supply Purchases

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1 min read

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Дек 08 2023

When it comes to ordering supplies, dental practices are often split into two camps: those that are highly organized, accounting for everything down to the last penny, and those that float along with reactionary purchasing and little oversight.

Which category does your dental practice fall into? If you’re in the first group, maybe you know what purchases are going out but you don’t have the most efficient way to approve them. If you’re in the latter group, you may feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of your order flow and not sure where to get started managing your practice’s supply spend.

No matter how big or small your dental practice is, it doesn’t take long to see the benefits of implementing a purchase review and approval process. One orthodontic practice was able to cut their supply costs by 50% in just 3 months. Others can find savings even faster with just a few simple steps.

Get Approval Before You Spend the Money

Is your dental organization approving invoices after the money has already been spent? Too often this is the case at dental offices – the lead dental assistant or office manager places an order, money leaves the practice and supplies and invoices come in. But what happens if the order was unnecessary or incorrect? If you don’t find out until your accounts payable (A/P) staff is reviewing the invoice, by then the money has already been spent and it’s too late to prevent the hit to your bottom line.

A more proactive approach to dental spend management calls for a diligent review and approval process, down to every order and prior to a purchase ever being made. This gives decision makers the ability to prevent negligent overspending, as purchase orders and approvals provide complete transparency into all the dental products that are coming into the dental practice. By bringing more visibility to your supply chain, purchase approvals can help dental practices see exactly what they’re buying and: 

  • Stay on formulary to get the dental products that are best value for your practice every time
  • Stay under budget by preventing unnecessary purchases from occurring
  • Keep everyone informed ensuring that no offices are “flying dark” within your organization

This is why a review and approval process is a crucial step toward building an efficient dental procurement lifecycle designed to eliminate wasteful costs in the source-to-pay process. 

Create Automated Review Workflows

Even though the cost-saving benefits are easily realized by dental practices, a formal review and approval workflow for supply purchases is often lacking in execution at dental organizations. 

Many dental practices still rely on manual tasks and dental supply reps for ordering supplies, leading them to come up with unique, jerry-rigged solutions for reviewing and approving supply purchases. Some offices use a central whiteboard where any staff member can write down a needed item. Others create a binder with a list of frequently ordered supplies. And on and on.

Despite their best efforts, dental practices using analog solutions continue to find the ordering process to be laborious, time-intensive, and unreliable. And while there are online marketplaces that specialize in providing dental supplies, in most cases these systems fail to provide safeguards for reviewing and approving orders.

But that’s not the case with dental procurement software. Now, it’s possible to build automated review and approval workflows that speed up the ordering process while ensuring that no purchase goes unchecked. Today’s dental practices can go on the offensive with proactive tools like custom order rules and budget alerts to automatically notify procurement managers for high-risk purchases. And reviewing office purchases is no longer impossible or a drag on your staff’s time due to automated approval workflows that bring relief to the drudgery of having to manually review each and every order.


Order rules allow managers to customize which criteria brings purchase orders to their attention.


Dental-specific procurement software gives managers the ability to tailor a review and approval process that fits their unique needs – tracking purchase orders by office, region, user, vendor, budget, formulary, or quantity and automatically triggering approvals or denials depending on if the order meets desired criteria. Regional managers can approve orders on the go, and can actually limit the need to review every single order once they have more transparency into order volume and budget performance.

If You Can’t Measure It, You Can’t Manage It

Ultimately, the bigger your dental organization gets, the more purchases you have to make and the more important it is to review purchases before they leave your wallet. These days, with dental practices selling for many multiples of their earnings, it’s imperative to control overhead expenses in order to boost EBITDA and increase your dental practice’s valuation

What was once “the Wild West” of purchasing is quickly becoming a competitive advantage for forward-thinking dental practices that use technology to make intelligent spending decisions that reduce dental supply costs. By reviewing and approving supply expenses, you can begin to establish a framework or guidelines for smarter purchasing that prevents wasteful, unnecessary expenses for your dental practice.

Don’t let overspending hurt your business goals – switch to a review and approval system that does more to help you spend less.

Interested in learning more about CureMint’s purchase order software for dental practices? Sign up today for a free demo.

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