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to Dental Practice Solutions

Welcome to dentistry’s largest dental hygiene practice management resource center! We are the leading dental hygiene consultant/coaching business.

We will increase your TOTAL dental practice profitability without working more hours or days each year.

- Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS, Speaker, Author. Dental Hygiene Coach & Consultant

Dental Practice Solutions - Debbie Bittke

Dental Coach | Sleep Apnea and the Elderly Population

By: admin

February 15, 2018

Written by: Cindy Rogers, RDH, BS

Why is it that the older we get, the less we sleep? It is well known that the elderly in general do not sleep well at night. Many stay up late, sleep in their recliner, and get up in the morning before the crack of dawn. Yet, they are tired during the day and plan social activities around their naps. As people age, they tend to have a harder time falling asleep and more trouble staying asleep. It is a misconception that sleep needs decline with age. In fact, research shows that our sleep needs remain the same during adulthood.

So then, why do people sleep less as they age? One very possible reason is that they may be suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a chronic condition characterized by frequent episodes of upper airway collapse during sleep. OSA is comprised of two types of events. Apnea, in which there is 100% flow limitation for at least 10 seconds. And, Hypopnea in which there is at least a 30% decrease in airflow lasting 10 seconds or greater with oxygen desaturations greater than or equal to 4%.

 

How Common is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

According to the National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine- September 2014, 40% of adults over 40 snore (approximately 87 million Americans).  18% of men and 8 % of women between 30-70 suffer from some form of OSA. Less than 10% o OSA sufferers have been diagnosed. Of those 10%, less than 25% have been successfully treated.

The risks of untreated sleep apnea include cardiovascular disease, memory loss, depression, lack of energy, sleepiness, mood changes, social implications, irritability and more. Does this sound like anyone you know?

 

Should Dentures and Partials Be Worn at Night

We have been trained to advise our patients to remove their dentures and partials at night so that the gums and tissues can rest. However, without the dentures and partials in place, there is less support for the lips and cheeks. When a person lays down without this support for his lips and cheeks, they collapse further into the mouth cavity adding to the obstruction of the airway. Perhaps we should recommend that our elderly patients wear their dentures and partials to bed and let them soak during the day.

 

Screening Signs and Symptoms of OSA

Does your patient snores?  Do they suffer from acid reflex or G.E.R.D? Do they get headaches such as migraines, cluster headaches, or dull morning headaches? Do they urinate frequently at night? Do they have enlarged tonsils? Do they suffer from excessive sleepiness and fatigue? Do they have high blood pressure? Do they have diabetes? Do they have a scalloped tongue? Do they show signs of clinching and bruxing? What is their Malampatti class?

 

OSA, High Blood Pressure, Heart Attack, and Stroke

There is a sympathetic response in the body every time an apnea or hypopnea occurs.  This causes the heart rate and blood pressure to increase.  People with OSA have hundreds of events per night, thus the body remains in a constant state of elevated blood pressure.  The body does not get sufficient oxygen, because of this it is not converting enough into nitric oxide. Without enough nitric oxide, the blood vessels narrow and the

endothelial lining of the arteries break down making them more susceptible to plaque building up. Narrow arteries, with risk of blockage equal high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke.

 

OSA Diagnostics and Treatment

If you suspect a that a patient of any age may suffer from OSA, they should be referred to their physician or a sleep MD to have a sleep study done. Once diagnosed with OSA, there are several options for treatment. The standard of care and best option is still a CPAP machine. However, it only works if the patient wears it, which can be difficult for some patients.  Another great option is a sleep appliance that Dentists can provide with proper training and a written prescription from the MD.  I would also encourage Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy in conjunction with any of these options.

 

References

1. American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine web site. http:/www.aadsm.org/

2. Sleep Group Solutions- Dental Sleep Medicine Seminar

3. Somnomed web site. http:www.somnomed.com/

 

 

Cindy Rogers, RDH, BS, is a dental consultant, coach, speaker, and author. She is office and hygiene coach with Dental Practice Solutions. Please contact Cindy for a complimentary Profit Boosting Session at no cost: cindy@dentalpracticesolutions.com or Call to schedule: 949-351-8741.

 

 

Dental Consultant | Give Your Dental Marketing A Boost in 2018

By: admin

February 8, 2018

Guest Blog By: Mandy Fischer of LocalMed.

Was one of your New Year resolutions for 2018 to improve your marketing strategy and bring in record numbers of new patients?

If it was, but you’re not entirely sure where to begin – we have some suggestions for you! These 5 action points can help you decide where to focus your time and effort this year in order to take your marketing to the next level.

1. Take advantage of peer-sharing groups.

If you’re looking for a sure-fire way to expand your marketing toolkit this year that requires nothing but your time and effort, check out and get involved in the groups that already exist fo

r your benefit on social media.

There are dozens of groups and forums out there where dentists, office managers, consultants and marketing professionals are discussing best practices, what works and what doesn’t. Make it your mission to find at least one group that you can contribute and ask questions in this year!

  1. Audit your digital presence.

Google yourself, and check out the first few pages of results. Make sure that your practice’s name, phone number, address, email address, web address and doctor’s name are all correct on every listing. If it isn’t – make a note of it, and fix it ASAP. If there’s differing information, you’re doing significant harm to your brand and likely losing potential patients.

Your digital presence is there to build trust with potential patients, and if you’re providing conflicting information, they’re just going to choose a different dentist.

 

  1. Be strategically social with your patients.

Take a critical look at your social media strategy. Are your posts engaging people, or is nobody looking? Make it your mission to post relevant, fun, personable information that will make people WANT to come to your office! One of your most valuable assets is your branding – and that includes your social voice!

Post authentic photos of you and your staff having fun in the office, or happy patients (make sure to comply with HIPAA law) – and stay away from posting anything clinical that will scare away patients (i.e. a before and after of teeth whitening is fine, but a patient being prepped for implants is not!).

 

  1. Diagnose your overall brand health.

Your brand includes your visual assets, your brand voice and your customer experience. Evaluate your office’s current efforts, and come up with a specific plan for improvement.

Some questions you can ask to diagnose how you’re doing:

  • What are your reviews saying? Do you have any reviews? Are they old or negative?
  • What is your social media interaction like? Is your social brand voice unique and engaging?
  • What’s your marketing materials look like? Do you have a library of mismatched assets that could be attributed to any dental practice? Do you have a brand guide that establishes standard fonts, colors and voice?
  • What are the common complaints or comments patients have made in regards to your calls, procedures or marketing? Ask your staff. What can you do to make their experience even better!

  1. Close the loop on your marketing.

In addition to the tasks above, make sure you have a comprehensive marketing strategy in place. Facebook ads, direct mailers, referrals and ground marketing are all great ways of getting the word about your practice out.

But how do you convert leads into patients? If it’s by phone call only, or an “online request”, it’s time to upgrade to a better system.

Real-time online scheduling is the missing piece that closes the loop on your patient acquisition process. Enable patients to schedule an appointment with your office from wherever they find you, like your website, Google, Facebook, HealthGrades, Yelp, etc.

By giving patients the option of booking their appointment on the their own time, you can significantly increase your conversion rate on your current marketing efforts, meaning more patients in your door without needing to add any additional marketing strategies.

 

 AUTHOR: Mandy Fischer
Marketing Coordinator for Local Med

Thank you to our guest blogger this month! We had a wonderful response a few months ago when Mandy wrote for us. We appreciate LocalMed and all they do to get patients scheduled even when you are not there to answer the phone call.

 

Consultant Near Me | 4 Tips for More Productive Employees

By: admin

January 18, 2018

Research has shown time and again that happiness plays a large role in the productivity of employees. For example, a study conducted by Google saw a 37% increase in productivity as a result of initiatives focused on improving employee morale. Financial incentives alone are often not enough to boost employee performance, as our brains are hardwired to respond to positivity.

Here are 5 simple tips you can follow to help improve happiness in your team. For more solutions for running a more productive practice, contact our firm today!

  1. Give recognition where it’s due. Employees that feel valued are more likely feel happy about their work. Take time to recognize positive contributions of the team. Not only will this make the recognized employee feel proud of their work, it can also incentivize others to work harder to achieve the same praise.
  2. Get them invested. It’s most likely the case that financial gain was not your sole reason for starting your business. Maybe you’ve had a lifelong passion for helping others. Maybe you’ve always been fascinated with the science of dentistry. Whatever those reasons were, share them with your team! Knowing that they’re contributing to something bigger can help employees take pride in the work they do, no matter their role.
  3. Set clearer goals. When your employees don’t have a clear expectation of their role, it can be difficult for them to recognize whether or not they are performing well and lead to increased stress about their work. By setting clearer expectations of your employees and goals for your business as a whole, your employees will have a standard to judge their work against, and therefore be able to feel better about good performance.
  4. Promote from within when possible. A common concern of employees is a fear that they won’t be able to grow in their current jobs. By establishing a culture of development and promotion from within the company, you’re clearly communicating to your employees that you want them to see your office as a long-term home, not just another job.

Studies indicate that US companies lose about $500 billion annually due to loss of productivity caused by unhappiness at work. Don’t let your team be a part of this problem. If you’re looking for additional strategies for running a happier, more productive office, contact our firm today!

What is your BIG Audacious Goal for 2018?

By: Dental Practice Solutions

January 5, 2018

It’s that time of year…again! The gym was packed tonight. I could barely find a parking spot! Even my chiropractor was running 20 minutes behind schedule. He told me this month of January is very busy with people wanting to take care of their health.

I started seeing a chiropractor in August 2017 (After someone ran into my car and then ran off! Another story, another time) and no one else was even scheduled at the same time as my appointment.

If you think this blog is a bit trite, let me explain…. The Dow Jones was at an all high record today January 4, 2018!

What does this mean for you?

It means that people are spending money.

So, what will you do differently in 2018?

What is your BIG audacious goal?

Are you thinking you are ready to retire?

Are you thinking 2017 was good enough?

If you said “yes” to the last two questions above I want to suggest you step outside your comfort zone.

Want to retire in the next five years?

Yes?

I suggest you make a commitment. Call it a resolution to for example: improve your treatment planning and case acceptance skills.

Check out the numerous classes available at the dental conferences with your team and especially your hygienist, in 2018. Your hygienist should be the number one team member who gets your patients “set-up” to accept treatment before you, doctor, walk in that hygiene room, to begin your exam.

Are you satisfied with your production and collections in 2017?

Yes?

My suggestion is that you run some reports such as unscheduled hygiene appointments and unscheduled treatment. These are two great areas to begin taking a look at.

It is important to look and assess now because you want to tap into the abundance occurring in our world. It is happening NOW.

Whether you want to retire this year, in five years, or in twenty-five years; today is the day to write down your BIG audacious goals.

YOUR AUDACIOUS GOAL

Why an audacious goal?

I say BIG audacious goal because if you don’t step outside of your comfort zone, things will remain the same for you.

Comfort Zone. Definition: a place or situation where one feels safe or at ease and without stress.

Or put another way: “To remain the same.”

How will you accomplish your audacious goal?

Number 1: Create a new habit.

Second: You need to write down your goal and,

Third: Have the confidence that you can achieve this goal.

What is the #1 habit I have now accomplished?

I wrote it down and I also have confidence that I absolutely can achieve my BIG audacious goal.

It is one VERY simple goal. What is it????

I have started to make my bed every day.

Ok. SO, it’s day 5 in 2018, and I am telling you that I created a goal so simple that I have achieved it. The point here is that I have achieved just one goal for 2018. I took the first step.

Honestly, I have much bigger goals but you need to wait and watch what happens with Team DPS in 2018.

Your audacious goal needs to be a simple one. It needs to be something that you absolutely, without a doubt, can accomplish.

You must write this down.

I also want to suggest that you write these goals down as a team.

If you want to have your own personal goals, that is fine but if you have business goals, in order to accomplish them, you will need 100% team participation.

YOUR WHY

Now that you have decided to write down at least one goal you will accomplish in 2018 (Love my optimism? lol), I want to ask that you think about WHY you want to _____ _______________.

The reason you must get clear on this is because Doctor, if you make $100,000 more in 2018 from accomplishing your goal, your front office employee(s) still make $12/hr. (Maybe more. Maybe less) and your goal means nothing to them. Yes, I am talking about the good ‘ole WIIFM syndrome. It exists everywhere.

Your “Why” can be to spend more time with your family. In this case maybe you want to work three days and not four each week. If this is an example of your goal in 2018, I suggest that you allow your employees to also work on this goal. Let them know they can earn the same salary in three days. Let them know the WIIFM.

When you create your goal, it needs to be shared with your team. Remember, they are there to support your vision for the practice, so you must find a way to involve your entire team if you want to accomplish your dream.

TIPS TO PRIORITIZE THE PLAN OF ACTION

Remember, I told you that you will need to write down your goal? Next is to prioritize a list of what you will need to accomplish your goal. When working with our client’s, we always work with a plan of action. Here is what goes on your plan of action besides the date that you create your plan:

  1. Identify what needs to be done to accomplish your goal(s).

For example: If you want to improve the number of New Patients who come to your office in 2018, write down your number accomplished in 2017.

  1. Write down the systems, the processes needed to achieve your audacious goal(s).
  2. Write down who needs to do what and when to accomplish your goal(s). Give deadlines.
  3. Accountability is key so have one person who will report on your progress.
  4. Look at your progress the end of each month and each quarter to readjust your “sails.”
  5. Finally, this step is to look at your goal(s) daily and do at least one task that will move you towards accomplishing your goal(s) each day.

Whatever you do, enjoy accomplishing your BIG audacious goal(s). Life is too short to be stressed every day.

Remember to do something small every day to achieve your goal. Create one habit that will get you to your goal(s) in 2018.

Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

ABOUT THE AUTHOR DEBBIE SEIDEL-BITTKE, RDH, BS

Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS is a dental consultant, coach, speaker and author. She is also CEO of Dental Practice Solutions. Debbie is a world-class leader in creating profitable hygiene departments. She is well-known as a former clinical assistant professor at USC in Los Angeles and a former hygiene department program director. Dentistry Today recognizes Debbie as a Leader in Dental Consulting. She can be reached at (888) 816-1511. Send an e-mail to info@dentalpracticesolutions.com or go to her website: http://www.dentalpracticesolutions.com

Check out the Free 3-Part Hygiene Department Training: http://www.dentalhygiene.solutions

 

 

 

 

 

Dental Consultant | Don’t Discredit Your Value

By: admin

January 4, 2018

Many people may not recognize the value that their dental provider brings to their lives. From the improved confidence that comes with a straighter, brighter smile to the life-saving benefits of regular dental care, you have the opportunity to make a profound difference in the lives of your patients. Finding ways to help patients recognize the value you offer will also help them recognize the importance of dental care and can turn your patients into raving fans. Below are some tips that can help patients better understand your value.

Build awareness of the dental solutions you offer.

Often, the reason patients fail to seek treatment from their dentist is simply a lack of information about available options. For example, if they don’t know you treat sleep apnea, they’ll never think to ask you about it. Make it easier for patients to learn about your offered services. Whether you do this through your website, printed materials, or simply by talking to them, this will be the most effective first step in opening the door to growth.

Be proud of your credentials.

People often fail to realize just how much work goes into becoming a dentist. From undergrad and dental school to continuing education, you should showcase your expertise. You can do this by hanging your diploma on the wall or by posting videos online about continuing education.

Build a connection.

Get to know your patients and what’s going on in their lives. This will show that you don’t just see them as another mouth to treat. These relationships will make your practice stand out in your patients’ minds and keep them coming back with referrals.

If you are having trouble maintaining patients or have low new patient numbers, an undervaluing of your service could be the problem. A simple way to begin resolving this is through building relationships with your patients and clearly explaining the expertise and solutions you offer.

For more guidance on how to share your value with current and potential patients, contact us today!

HOW TO SPOT AN OROFACIAL MYOFUNCTIONAL DISORDER | 5 Signs to Look for that Could Change a Life

By: Dental Practice Solutions

December 13, 2017

Oromyofacial Paine

Have you noticed that some patients tend to have more lunch stuck on their teeth then others?

You know the patient that comes in and apologizes for eating on the way to her appointment. You tell her that it is fine, that you are just glad she had lunch. When she opens her mouth, you are shocked.  It appears that the entire bagel is still in her mouth, smashed up against her teeth.  How is that possible?

Then there is the 60-year old man that instantly falls asleep when you lean the chair back and starts snoring just as you are going to give him an injection. How about the cute little six-year old girl that has a speech impediment, or the five-year old boy with an overjet and long skinny face with dark circles under his eyes.

You may have thought that the lady with the bagel mouth was just not kind enough to clean up before her appointment, and left you to do it for her.  Well, it is very likely that she has an ankylosed tongue that does not allow her tongue to reach up high enough to clean food debris off of her teeth.

It may be obvious to you right away that the 60-year old man is suffering from sleep apnea, but did you know that is could be due to his tongue not being able to reach up to the roof of his mouth. It is literally blocking his airway at night because it rests on the floor of this mouth.

That cute little six-year old girl hasn’t been able to develop proper speech patterns due to a tongue thrust.  And you got it, the five-year old boy is a thumb sucker. These are all signs of an Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder (OMD).

HOW TO SCREEN FOR OROFACIAL MYOFUNCTIONAL DISORDERS

Dentists and hygienists are in a prime position to screen for Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders. There are several signs we can screen for to determine if the patient may have a disorder and benefit from seeing a trained therapist. The following are some of the most commons signs:

Upper or Lower Lip Frenum Restriction

Jaw Pain or Clicking/Popping

Mouth Breathing

Sleep Apnea

Snoring

Ankyloglossia (tongue tie)

Forward Head Posture

Neck Pain

Enlarged Tonsils/Adenoids

Acid Reflex

Narrow Palate or Crooked Teeth

ADHD

If you are new to learning about OMT, keep it simple by starting with these five signs and symptoms:

Ankyloglossia

Commonly referred to as “tongue-tie” occurs when the lingual frenulum is too short to allow for normal tongue movements. Best if done with the patient in an upright position. Have the patient open wide and lift his tongue to the roof of his mouth.  Determine is he is able to reach his tongue up to his incisive papilla easily or if he struggles.  Then have him stick his tongue straight out, if the tip appears heart shaped, this is a sign that he is tongue tied. The heart shape apex happens when the frenum is short and pulls down the center of the tongue.

Low tongue rest posture

Think mouth breather.  When nasal breathing is impaired, the jaw drops and the tongue rests low and forward in the mouth in order to open the airway for breathing. It may be that nasal breathing is not impaired, but mouth breathing has become a habit. Watch for your patients resting position. Is the mouth open? Is he breathing out of his mouth or nose?

  1. Tongue Thrust

Tongue thrust is in which the anterior surface of the tongue makes repeated contact with any of the anterior teeth, or protrudes between the arches. Have the patient swallow for you while you are holding his bottom lip. If he has a tongue thrust he may have a very hard time swallowing. He may need to pull the lower lip out of your hand in order to complete the swallow. In a healthy swallow, the tongue rests in the palate, the teeth come together, and then the person swallows. The facial muscle should not move, so any lip puckering or licking of the lips before swallowing should be warning signs of tongue thrust. Another sign will be an anterior open bite.

Sleep Apnea

When you place a patient in the supine position and he immediately falls asleep and starts to snore, this is a sign that he may have sleep apnea or other conditions keeping him up at night. Luckily for us trying to get work done, this does not happen very often. In most cases you will need to question the patient. You will often get the response of “my wife tells me I snore, but I don’t know”.  If nothing else, this is an opportunity for them to become mindful of possible snoring and to question their spouse or use a sleeping app to record their sleeping patterns and sounds. Referring the patient to have a sleep study or consult with his medical doctor is a good place to start.

Digit Sucking

Although there are adults that suck their thumb, odds are that most of your thumb sucking patients will be children. It may be an easy screening if you see the child suck his thumb, but often they will not do it in public and you will have to look for signs and question the parents.  Look for an anterior open bite and a swollen nub on the patients thumb or fingers.  One reason a child may suck his thumb at night is to help open his airway so he can breathe. If he has a tongue tie he may be using a digit to press the tongue down out of the way. Resting the tongue on the incisive papilla area is also soothing and if his habit is hold the tongue down, he is missing out on this natural soothing technique. OMT specialists have ways to help break the child of this habit and can help with underlying causes.

WHAT IS OROFACIAL MYOFUNCTIONAL THERAPY

Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy (OMT) is the neuromuscular re-education or re-patterning of the oral and facial muscles. It is the establishment of correct functional activities of the tongue, lips and jaw, so that normal growth and development may progress in a stable, homeostatic environment. OMT specialists obtain training in this field in order to work with patients to correct disorders that are affecting their well-being. Think physical therapy for the mouth.

HOW TO BECOME A TRAINED OROLFACIAL MYOFUNCTIONAL THERAPIST

Orofacial Myofunctional Therapists include dentists, dental hygienists, speech pathologists and occupational therapists. Although OMT may be in the scope of our license, further training is required in order to properly treat patients. Training opportunities for those interested in learning more about Myofunctional Therapy include private mentoring from a current Myofunctional Therapist, courses through academies or associations, or information learned within the educational curriculum.

CONCLUSION

Proper treatment of OMD’s require a collaboration of dental and medical professionals. By being aware of the signs for these disorders, you are able to provide a screening for potential issues and refer them to seek treatment with a trained OMT. When you become aware of OMD’s you will start to see them everywhere- maybe even in the mirror.

 

References:

International Association of Orofacial Myology- www.iaom.com

Academy of Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy- www.aomtinfo.org

Academy of Applied Myofunctional Sciences- www.aamsinfo.org

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association- www.asha.org

Cindy Rogers, RDH, BS, OMT is the lead hygiene advisor for Dental Practice Solutions. She started in dentistry as the front desk girl in 1998, and has since been a business leader, dental hygienist, writer and untiring advocate of Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy.

Dental Consultant | The Dental Hygienists Role in Keeping Doctor’s Schedule Full

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

December 6, 2017

Blocked Schedule

    Pre-Blocked Dental Office Schedule

Every success schedule in the dental office begins with a strategy. Without a strategic plan, you are not able to meet the financial goals to keep your dental practice surviving.

The best plan is to not survive, but thrive.

What is the dental hygienist’s role in keeping doctor’s schedule full?

1st Step to Doctor’s Success Schedule

The first step for hygienists to help keep doctors schedule full is to have a mindset that they are like an associate to doctor; helping the practice to grow.

2nd Step to Successful Scheduling

The next step is actually two-pronged. The hygienist needs to audit all patient records before their day at the office begins. This audit serves many purposes but for this blog we will stick to the topic of what a hygienist’s role is for successful scheduling and helping doctor’s schedule stay full all day.

When auditing the patient’s records look to see what outstanding treatment is necessary. Why does the patient need to schedule this? What is the urgency the hygienist and all the clinicians will speak to this patient about?

For example: Does the patient have a dark spot on their bite-wing x-ray and when you audit the patients record you feel concerned they may very soon have a toothache.

Why did this patient not want to schedule this appointment? It is important to understand the patient’s objection so that when the hygienist has the patient in their chair they can immediately address the patient’s previous objection.

Example: Without even saying; “I know money is a concern,” what you can say is (Have the patient seated upright in the chair with x-rays, and/or intra-oral photos there in front of the patient), “Mrs. Jones, doctor and I are both concerned about this black spot on your x-ray. Let me show you this area. Do you see this black spot? Here is the nerve of your tooth and as you can see this black spot is very close to the nerve which means that once it reaches the nerve it will cause a toothache and also means we probably need to do a root canal and a tooth with a root canal needs a tooth. This means spending a lot more money to keep this tooth.”

Notice how the hygienist in this example address the patients concern before they could even give their objection which they stated at their last appointment and this is the reason the treatment is unscheduled.

It is also very important that hygienists not only think about the gum health of their patients but provide a visual exam.

After the hygienist completes all of their screenings, it is a great time to sit the patient upright in the chair and show them what you see. Look together with the patient. Make the patient part of this process. This means that you look together and ask the patient if they see what you see.

Use words that the patient understands. Saying words like “periodontal disease,” and “tooth decay” probably don’t mean as much to your patient as if the words: gum infection, inflammation, active disease, cavity, black soft spot, etc.”

When you see holes in doctor’s schedule it’s time to take a look at the hygiene patient exam process. It’s a great time to look at patient records who have not scheduled their appointment and discuss as a team what you can do differently so these patients will schedule and pay.

The best way to get patients scheduled and paying for the care you offer is to communicate (your words and actions) in a way that helps the patient to feel and believe they want what they need.

Many of your patients have left your office without committing to schedule and pay for your care. Many of these patients also took very nice vacations this summer, they already plan to buy that new iPhone X, some have spent a lot of money on a really nice car and many have spent thousands of dollars on a sleeve of body of tattoo’s.

Our job? We have a responsibility to help our patients want what they need. Don’t most people want to live a longer and healthier life? This is our overarching message, “Optimal oral health will help you live a longer and healthier life!”

Still have holes in your schedule? Please feel free to reach out to an expert. This is one area that we have created a success strategy around. Our client offices have many patients who now schedule and pay for treatment AND many of their patients pay before their treatment is complete.

Our client offices have a system in place for big cases where patients are currently paying in advance for doctor and hygienist’s services.

Most of the medical cosmetic offices have patients pay in advance and why can’t your patients feel urgency to pay for keeping a healthy mouth?!

It’s all in how you are delivering your message to the patient in your chair.

Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS is a dental consultant, coach, speaker and author. She is also CEO of Dental Hygiene Solutions, powered by Dental Practice Solutions. Debbie is a world-class leader in creating profitable hygiene departments. She is well-known as a former clinical assistant professor at USC in Los Angeles and a former hygiene department program director. Dentistry Today recognizes Debbie as a Leader in Dental Consulting.

DENTISTRY TODAY considers her a top dental consultant for the past 16 yrs.

The focus of Dental Practice Solutions is to create healthier, longer lives for your patients while supporting the practice to optimize their hygiene department. The team at Dental Practice Solutions, takes an integrative approach with your team to create an increase in your production and collections without working harder. When you continue to use the systems implemented, you will benefit from production that creates dividends year after year, for the life of your dental practice.

Debbie is also a former Hygiene Program Director and clinical assistant professor for the dental hygiene program at USC in Los Angeles.

Debbie is passionate about supporting dental teams to provide a profitable, patient-centered dental practice through improving systems and efficiencies in the dental hygiene department

Dental Hygiene Consultant | Your Dental Practice Profitability Compass

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

November 29, 2017

How much time did you spend planning your last vacation?

Did you map it out?

Or, did you just throw some clothes in a suitcase and take-off in your car headed in what you thought was the quickest path to your destination?

I bet that you took many hours to plan your last vacation and you started packing probably the week before you left.

In today’s world of technology, you pulled up your map using your mobile device and maybe you printed the directions on your laser printer.

How much time do you spent planning your day at the dental office?

Does your team have a practice profitability compass?

Your Compass

The compass we provide our clients is what you probably know as a “team huddle.”

Once you have this system in place, it should take about ten minutes to plan your day.

The entire team will audit their area of expertise.

Here are a few suggestions to organize your team huddle:

  1. Begin with the financial coordinator (Office manager or similar position) reporting on production/ collections: Monthly goal and your current month-to-date production/collections. Talk about what went well the previous day and what did not go well, etc.
  2. Scheduling coordinator reports on open holes in today schedule and in the near future. Let the team know about ER patient availability. Provide doctor with a list of new patients for him/her to call before their 1st (Yes! This is something different and you will stand out among other dentists in your community if you do this one thing!)
  3. Hygienists come to this meeting with an understanding and communicate to the team about which patients need: new medical history, Oral ID™ FMX/BWX, doctor exam, perio charting, outstanding restorative needs, family members who also need a hygiene appointment or restorative care, post-op call update (For all patients who received local anesthesia), etc.
  4. Assistants audit their schedule to share and inquire about patients with special needs, local anesthetic needed, type of impression needed, results of post-op calls from the day before, which patients have family members who need a hygiene or restorative appointment, etc.
  5. Yes, even doctor has a part in the morning team huddle. We suggest that our doctor call all new patients scheduled during the week prior to their 1st appointment. Doctor will report on the outcome of this quick call to welcome the new patient.

When everyone takes time to look at their schedule and review their patient needs as listed above, you will discover adjunctive and necessary services your scheduled patients and their family members need.

When you look at your practice profitability compass you can work together as a team to close various gaps in meeting your goals. You will also be able to serve your patients at a much higher level.

Closing the Gaps

Maybe you are still scratching your head. Some of you think meetings are a waste of time.

What I am suggesting is that everyone let the team know what is needed to make the day profitable, efficient and provides the best care for the patients.

Your morning team huddle will help navigate your day and eliminate any un-necessary bottlenecks which might occur.

This compass is what makes a day that has a smooth landing without turbulence.

 

Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS is a dental consultant, coach, speaker and author. She is also CEO of Dental Practice Solutions. Debbie is a world-class leader in creating profitable hygiene departments. She is well-known as a former clinical assistant professor at USC in Los Angeles and a former hygiene department program director. Dentistry Today recognizes Debbie as a Leader in Dental Consulting.

Be sure to grab this free 3-part hygiene video department training, webinar on the Gingivitis Code plus flowchart on training the patient with gingivitis and Strategic Planning Session: http://www.dentalhygiene.solutions/

You can reach Dental Practice Solutions to schedule a complimentary strategic planning session by calling 949-351-8741 or you can send an email to: admin@dentalpracticesollutions.com

You can also go to the website: www.dentalpracticesolutions.com

More compliance. Less defiance. Innovative model for case acceptance by patients…the path of least resistance.

By: Dental Practice Solutions

November 22, 2017

By Steven Ury, DDS, Periodontist
      Randy Nolf, DDS, Periodontist

Dentists and hygienists are using a simple to complete analytical software making discussions with the patients easier…making the progression to treatment compliance easier… and enabling a practice to substantially increase case acceptance for periodontal therapy. This technology makes available a single language, with everyone “on the same page”, to discuss periodontal disease, and the necessary treatment.

The software allows for thoughtful and readily understandable discussions with patients thus improving the progression to treatment acceptance through a path of least resistance.

Implementing innovative technology into the practice, using risk and disease severity health scores as clinical support, will no doubt increase patient compliance.

PreViser™ Corporation www.PreViser.com provides their web enabled Oral Health Information Suite (OHIS) software for free. The use of the technology provides three (3) numbers, or scores, indicating patients’ risk of future periodontal disease, existing disease state and their ongoing oral health stability. With these 3 scores, patients then have a clearer idea of the severity and comprehensiveness of their problems. In other words, they know how things are going.

A nice feature of the OHIS is that it allows practitioners to recalculate the risk scores, just as if the patients had completed the advised treatment. So, a patient can visualize what will happen without treatment compared to what will occur with the recommended care. That’s when the fun begins. These scores predict whether the treatment plan will be working. Outcomes are the key.

Dental practices are utilizing this powerful method to impact a patient’s decision to proceed with care for a lifetime of oral health. Case acceptance is markedly improved providing more treatment for periodontal disease by the dentists and hygienists including any necessary subsequent restorative care.

Why now? Well, there’s a new sheriff in town. Patients and practitioners, as well as insurance companies and employers, are relying less on subjective findings to determine if periodontal care is working.  Welcome the new law of the land – objective findings derived by an analytical software. Practitioners are accurately communicating with patients about their risk of disease and the outcomes of treatment. Everyone’s “on the same page”. We’re talking Evidence Based Practice here; the integration of clinical expertise, patient values, and the best research evidence into the decision-making process for patient care.

Instead of dentists and hygienists potentially disconnecting on a diagnosis, a treatment plan or a prognosis, they can agree and provide an easy to use, objective and reproducible way to measure, understand and communicate patients’ risk and disease level as simple numeric scores.

People relate to scores and knowing their numbers gets them involved. Physicians supply blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes numbers to their patients to follow their progress. Now dental patients will know their periodontal disease scores and look for improvement in the numbers.

More and more dentists in the know are advocating the principles of a medical model of healthcare for dentistry. Less repair and more interception and prevention. Consider the PerioCentric™ practice, defined as a best practice in which treatment revolves around sound periodontal diagnosis and treatment, utilizing metrics to evaluate treatment outcome.  It employs a simple step by step, reproducible, algorithmic approach to care we call the PerioBlueprint™.

When implemented it provides dental professionals the knowledge and tools to discover undiagnosed and untreated periodontal disease in an existing practice. The appropriate care for these conditions will result in improved health for patients as well as production and revenue for the dental practice that may prove to increase exponentially.

Dentistry is adjusting to a new paradigm that is better for patients by shifting focus away from procedures for repair of disease… to a model of interception and prevention of disease.

There is unprecedented demand for increased care for periodontal disease. The most recent data from the Center for Disease Control revealed that 47.2% of adult Americans exhibit periodontal disease and the disease increases to 70.1% of adults over 65 years. Contemporaneous insurance company data reports only about 7% obtain periodontal treatment…Only 7%.

Dentistry has a busyness problem. Nationally, approximately 1 in 3 dentists say they are not busy enough. Imagine the increase in production and revenue when discovering that perhaps 50% of patients require some form of periodontal care. And not just code 1110 “prophy” care – we’re talking anesthetized scaling/root planing, pocket reduction and tissue grafting surgery. LANAP, and more. Of course, when maintenance starts, using the obligatory code 4910 will result in more comprehensive visit than a code 1110 “cleaning” and thus, improve hygiene production.

We are in a time of transformational change in healthcare and tremendous opportunities for enhanced collaboration among healthcare providers exist. Dentists have a chance to fundamentally rethink their role within the healthcare system and take advantage of these new opportunities. It would not only help peck away at dentistry’s busyness problem but would also allow dentists to contribute much more significantly to whole-body health. And really, isn’t that what it’s all about.

 

 

Dr. Steven Ury, Periodontist
Dr. Randy Nolf, Periodontist
PreViser Corporation and AdViser Corporation Co-Founders
Directors, The Synergy Academy (www.TheSynergyAcademy.com)
UryAdViser@gmail.com

 

 

About Dr. Ury

Dr. Steven R. Ury, Periodontist

Academic Faculty Director, The Synergy Academy

An entrepreneur at heart, Steve Ury altered his career from engineering to focus on the potential of the burgeoning dental industry. He earned a degree in dentistry, owned a general practice and then became a periodontist with an office in NY.

During his leadership of dental study groups and as past president of the largest periodontal organization in the northeast United States, Dr. Ury interacted with other dental professionals. He foresaw the changing landscape of periodontal care and referral.

As co-founder of PreViser Corporation, he witnessed the development of analytic software to help expose undiscovered periodontal disease. More disease revealed equates to more treatment rendered resulting in more healthy patients.

Lack of busyness is problematic in dental practices. Realizing periodontal disease concerns approximately 50% of the adult population but only about 7% have related care, he considered the possibilities. Dr. Ury believes that dentists could easily increase production and revenue by administrating in-office, non-surgical and basic surgical periodontal treatment.

 

About Dr. Nolf

Dr. Randy Nolf, Periodontist

Clinical Faculty Director, The Synergy Academy

As a periodontist, Randy Nolf has witnessed the changing dental industry as an opportunity is expanding for general dentists and specialists alike. Dr. Nolf believes that the same is true for dental education which is at the dawn of a major shift to less centralized, more affordable, and rapid practice adoption model of delivery.

He has continually been involved with teaching since he received his advanced certificate in Periodontology from Temple University in 1981. His outstanding credentials include a certificate from the gIDE Master Clinician program and as co-founder of the PreViser Corporation.

Dentistry is adjusting to a new paradigm, better for our patients by focus shifting away from repair to interception of disease. Interception as a treatment model is possible through sensitive artificial intelligence permeating into our practices. Randy is gratified to witness this evolution in part through software he created and now being adopted throughout the Us and UK.

Dr. Nolf has been an advocate of supporting general dentists with in-office training as well as on-site surgical procedures his entire career. 35 years integrated into dentists’ offices has led to a new system of training called “Synchronized Dental Learning™” facilitating rapid adoption of new surgical procedures into general practice.

In-Office Dental Training | Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease: A Team Approach

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

November 13, 2017

November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, the number of people with the disease has soared to nearly 5.5 million.

Lifestyle changes can make a difference and as healthcare providers we are on the forefront of educating our patients.

We also have much research that states inflammation in the mouth causes inflammation in the body.

A team approach to prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease is how we can conquer disease in our world today. Our team approach includes a discussion with our patients about the mouth-body connection.

Studies are very encouraging as they have shown that it is easier than you think to prevent the disease. It is much easier in today’s world to keep your mind sharp and engaged as you age.

Although currently there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, here are some simple strategies that may help reducing your risk:

Be Active

It’s important to include 150 minutes of moderate exercise each. This is the single most important thing you can do for prevention. The Alzheimer’s Research & Prevention Foundation suggests that regular exercise can reduce your risk of developing the disease by as much as 50 percent. While cardio is an important aspect of overall health, including weight training to increase muscle mass works towards maintaining healthy brain functions.

Share a Cup of Tea

 

Encourage your patients, family and friends to socially engage with others. It’s too difficult in today’s world of technology to sit and text our family and friends let alone, play around on social media. Time passes quickly when you are pre-occupied with technology so put exercise on your calendar. If you want to sustain healthy cognitive functions you must get out there and be with people who can stimulate your senses. When you remain socially active it becomes your defense against Alzheimer’s even later in life. And while you’re at it, make a pot of green tea to share. 2-4 cups of green tea a day has been proven to sharpen memory and slow the brain’s aging.

Healthy Eating

You can adopt simple eating habits that will improve your brain’s overall health. Put a halt to eating foods loaded with trans fats and refined sugar as much as possible. Both of these lead to brain inflammation. Be sure to include foods high in Omega-3 fats. Salmon and Omega-3 rich foods contain DHA. Omega-3 fats and DHA prevent Alzheimer’s. Increase your intake of fruits and vegetables, especially berries and leafy greens, which contain antioxidants that protect your brain.

Challenge Your Brain

The more obscure and unfamiliar the challenge, the better it is for your brain health. Learning something new causes your brain to create new pathways. Try reading a new book, solve a puzzle, learn to play an unusual instrument or learn a foreign language. Mental stimulation and continued learning throughout life have shown promising results in preventing Alzheimer’s.

Get Your ZZZZZZZ’s

A routine sleep schedule can help reduce memory problems in more than a few ways. Research shows that lack of sleep may actually be a risk factor in developing Alzheimer’s Disease. Sleep loss slows your ability to think, creating a negative effect on your mood, two factors that contribute to developing Alzheimer’s later in life.

Humor. LOL

Humor is one of the best ways to curb stressful situations and avoiding chronic stress is essential to Alzheimer’s prevention. Daily stress causes shrinkage in areas of the brain that cause memory loss. Stress also inhibits the growth of nerve cells. Laugh, smiles a lot and don’t take yourself so seriously.

We live in a time of expanding research and recent studies give promise to a potential cure for Alzheimer’s. Prevention is the most significant step you can take in controlling the future of your mental health. Let’s not wait until there is a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease.

As healthcare professionals, let’s work together as a team and educate our patients, our family and friends about the mouth-body connection.

PROFESSIONAL PHOTO HERE ABOUT Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS is an international dental consultant, coach, speaker and author. She is also CEO of Dental Practice Solutions. Debbie is a world-class leader in creating profitable hygiene departments. She is well-known as a former clinical assistant professor at USC in Los Angeles and a former hygiene department program director. Dentistry Today recognizes Debbie as a Leader in Dental Consulting.