Preparing your clinic for holidays

Author: Dr. Aisling Whitaker, CEO Dental Hive

The long weekend is calling and we are all ready to take some time to unwind and forget about teeth for a few days. But not so fast, there are a few recommended protocols to follow to prepare the clinic for your return. Here are Dental Hive’s best practices for long weekend or holiday preparations. 

Download a printable version HERE.

Closing down procedures 

Reception team: 

  • Audit your reopen day for any patient info you need and request it (forms, consents, lab work, insurance info, transfer of records etc.)
  • Confirm all appointments on reopen date (auto confirms may occur after you close depending on your settings)
  • Update your voicemail and turn on email auto-responder
    • “You have reached X. We are closed for the holidays and will reopen on X. In case of an emergency, please contact X. To make a booking or reschedule a current appointment, please X.”
  • Update your business hours on Google Business page
  • Add signage on the door for the mail service to indicate your reopen date
  • Notify your lab delivery or other relevant services of your closure dates

Operatory tear down:

  • Extended purge of your dental unit water lines (air/water, handpieces, ultrasonic/piezo) and suction lines (10 mins)
  • Empty all water from dental chair including the bottle; return to entry/exit position 
  • Restock inventory 
  • Extended clean down of op including base/arms of dental chair, all surfaces, handles and all filters/traps
  • Check what procedures you have on reopen day and ensure you have what you need (lab work, equipment, supplies)
  • Turn off compressor and bleed the air pressure from handpiece lines (with water off and no handpiece attached)

Sterilization room:

  • Reprocess all pending cassettes and instruments
  • Turn off large equipment (washer, ultrasonic bath, autoclave)
  • Drain water from autoclave if closed for more than 3 days
  • Restock sundries

General housekeeping:

  • Clear out the staff room fridge 
  • Empty all trash
  • Remove all food items from counters
  • Turn off the utilities and water
  • Unplug any unwanted machinery such as fans, heaters etc. 
  • Turn off all computers except server

Reopening procedures 

Reception team:

  • Start 1 hour minimum prior to first patient 
  • Turn off / change voicemail and email auto-responder
  • Review all voicemails, emails etc. and prioritize those that change the schedule 
  • Refill and condense the schedule as needed

Operatory setup: 

  • Perform shock treatment to dental unit water lines and perform DUWL testing
  • Flush suction lines with enzymatic solution
  • Extended purge (20 mins) of your dental unit water lines (air/water, handpieces, ultrasonic/piezo)

Please refer to your specific equipment manuals for more details.

Download a printable version HERE.

About the Author: Dr. Aisling Whitaker, BA (Hons) MSc PhD BDS (Hons)
Dr. Aisling Whitaker is a general dentist, owner of multiple dental clinics Bitehaus Dental in Toronto and CEO of Dental Hive. Dr. Whitaker is experienced in starting a dental clinic from scratch, developing marketing campaigns, office systems and building a strong team culture.


The content of this article is provided for general information purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical or other professional advice, or opinions of any kind and may not be used for professional or commercial purposes. No one should act, or refrain from acting, based solely upon the content of this article, any links provided in this article, or other general information without first seeking appropriate professional advice. Nothing in this article should be understood to create any fiduciary or professional service relationship.