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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

Periodontal Therapy: 5 Steps to Get Patients to Say “YES”

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

September 24, 2013

    • Preventive CareEverywhere I go, whether it is working with a dental team in-office or speaking at a dental conference, the question always comes up: “How can we tell our patients that they have periodontal disease?” Dentists are asking “Debbie, how can we hear more patients say “YES” to our treatment plan?” How will you get your dental hygiene patients to easily say “YES” to periodontal therapy?

Last week I addressed a statement from a long time patient of a dentist who attended my conference. When doctor informed the patient that she needed to schedule for scaling and root planing, this woman was insistent that she would wait for the New Healthcare Reform to pay for her treatment. (“Obama Care” would pay for this)

Today I will cover 5 steps to bring your patients into a partnership with you so they can be positive part of this discovery process and then active treatment – Phase I Therapy.

This article will provide steps for patients to say “YES” to accepting periodontal therapy.

If you want to simplify your treatment planning process, increase case acceptance and hear your patients to say “YES” to your care, this information is a must read.

 

1. Communication with your patient

Does not matter if this is a new patient or a patient of record, but before you begin your periodontal screening exam, inform your patient what you will be doing. Your conversation will sound something like this:

Hygienist: (Patient is seated upright in the dental chair. Hygienist and patient are knee to knee and eye to eye) “Mr. Goodman, I am going to do a periodontal screening exam. This is where I will take this tool which is like a rule. I will slip it between your tooth and gums. The purpose is to check the health of your tooth, gums and bone. You may hear me say things like bleeding, furcation, mobility, recession and I will call out numbers. The numbers you want to hear are 1-3. If you hear my call out a 4 that means you have the start of a gum problem. Anything higher than 4 tells us that you have periodontal disease. I will explain all of this more once we are complete with this exam. Healthy gums don’t bleed so again if you hear me say bleeding then you will know this is not a sign of health gums. I want you to listen to the numbers and remember the lowest number I call out and then the highest number you hear me call out. I will ask you at the end of my exam. Here is a mirror for you to watch and you can see if there is bleeding – where this is located.”

2. Once the periodontal exam is completed you will bring you patient to the upright position (Hygienist and patient are knee to knee and eye to eye) Your conversation will sound something like this:

Hygienist: “Mr. Goodman, what is the lowest and highest number you heard me call out?”

Mr. Goodman: “I heard you call out a lot of 3’s but I also heard a few 6’s.”

Hygienist: “Did you see any bleeding or anything unusual?”

Mr. Goodman: “Yes, I heard you say bleeding a lot.”

Hygienist: “That is correct but the good news is that since we have not seen you in 2 years, you have returned at a time that we can treat your disease and there is a good possibility that with treatment now we can reverse this disease process. As you know I didn’t call out any of those other words such as mobility or furcation which are signs of more advanced disease. I believe that we can treat the disease with only 2 appointments of what we call scaling and root planing. Have you heard of this before or do you know anyone who has had this treatment?”

At this point you will begin to answer any questions your patient may have.

3. Use visual aids to explain what is happening in your patients’ mouth.

  • This is a great time to take intra-oral photos of heavy plaque, calculus, bleeding and anything else that is not normal. Have this up on your monitor to show the patient and ready for doctor to see during his/her exam.
  • Print out the periodontal exam and highlight areas of concern with a yellow highlighter. I like to draw a map of the mouth which means I will write on their printed exam, the upper lower, and left, right of their mouth.                                                – This keeps you patient engaged in their mouth and many patients will use this to make sure they spend extra time in these areas when they brush and floss at home.

4. The hygienist needs to explain about the cyclic-episodic process of periodontal disease and patients need to understand what their responsibility is for maintaining optimal oral and total health.

  • Explain to your patient homecare recommendations. Do they need to use a power toothbrush? What will you recommend for interproximal cleaning if your patient refuses to floss?
  • Explain about the 4-6 week (Re-evaluation) 1st periodontal maintenance.
  • Tell them why this is so important and why this doesn’t mean they may need to have periodontal therapy in the future.
  • Stress routine hygiene visits to prevent future permanent and irreversible loss of their teeth, gums and bone.

5. The trial close

  • Now you are ready for a trial close. This will sound something like this:

Hygienist: “Mr. Goodman, do you have any more questions?” If you patient has more questions this is a great time to address them if doctor has not been in to complete the exam. If you patient does not have any further questions you will ask:

“Are you ready to schedule for the scaling and root planing?”

By the time you have asked about scheduling treatment, you should have answered your patients’ questions. If your patient has objections, these are usually because their questions have not been answered.

If your patient has financial questions you will respond with something like this:

Hygienist: “Mary, our financial coordinator will discuss your payment options and if you have insurance, she will explain how the therapy is covered.”

Do you have patients who still have outstanding treatment for periodontal therapy? Please write your comments and questions or patient challenges to accepting treatment in the comments section below.

As healthcare providers we really need to work together as a team to conquer this disease process. There is so much research and science to support WHY we should always treat disease sooner than later. A healthier mouth means your patients will live a longer “health” status.

 ABOUT DEBBIE

ME not too high jpeg

Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS is founder of Dental Practice Solutions, and has successfully designed efficient dental hygiene departments that result in high performance dental teams for over 13 years. Her focus is providing optimal patient health while consistently increasing profits for the dental practice.

Debbie is an accomplished author who also speaks internationally about her signature systems and services for the dental hygiene department. She utilizes the most recent science and research to prevent disease while increasing the teams’ enthusiasm and guiding the dental team to consistently increase profits. She is known as one of Dentistry Today’s TOP consultants. Her eagle eye observations, years of research and development as well as her customized programs are what make her known as one of the best!

Debbie has a more extensive article in Dentistry Today September 2013 Issue on Page 102: http://dentistrytoday.com/articles/hygiene-today

Debbie works with dental practices throughout the world implementing her signature dental hygiene systems as well as customized solutions for efficiency in your front and back office. She can be reached at: www.dentalpracticesolutions.comsupport@dentalpracticesolutions.com or call: 888-816-1511.

 

 

 

 

Dental Patients Refusing Treatment Leads To Patient Pain and Lost Dollars To The Practice

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

September 12, 2013

obama-ObamaCare-Time

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I spoke at a dental meeting the other night a dentist shared that his patient refused treatment for scaling and root planing.  Their reasoning was that they were going to wait for Obama Care to pay for it.

I have also heard from many other offices that patients are refusing to accept their treatment plans.

It is our responsibility to educate our patients about WHY treatment is necessary and to have treatment now.

There are systems and programs to help you and your staff deal with these issues.

Here are a few steps to keep your patients coming back:

  1.    There are several programs available to you from us to understand what this means for your dental practice: online consultations, phone conference calls, on-site visits, etc

From the important financial side, here is the reality for your dental practice:

If you have 1 patient a week over the last 14 weeks of the year, turn down their treatment plan and the lost revenue is $1,000 per treatment plan, this is $14,000 of lost revenue to your dental practice.

If this information hits a nerve, then you need to contact our office. We are here to support you with products and consulting services. Call us today to find the right solution for your dental practice needs. Call Toll-free: 888-816-1511

Have your patients asked you about the Healthcare Reform -Obama Care? Are you patients hesitant to accept treatment? Comment below and let us know what is going on in your office in the comments section below.

About Debbie

ME not too high jpeg

Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS is founder of Dental Practice Solutions, and has successfully designed efficient dental hygiene departments that result in high performance dental teams for over 13 years. Her focus is providing optimal patient health while consistently increasing profits for the dental practice.

Debbie is an accomplished author who also speaks internationally about her signature systems and services for the dental hygiene department. She utilizes the most recent science and research to prevent disease while increasing the teams’ enthusiasm and guiding the dental team to consistently increase profits. She is known as one of Dentistry Today’s TOP consultants. Her eagle eye observations, years of research and development as well as her customized programs are what make her known as one of the best!

Debbie works with dental practices throughout the world implementing her signature dental hygiene systems as well as customized solutions for efficiency in your front and back office. She can be reached at: www.dentalpracticesolutions.comsupport@dentalpracticesolutions.com or call: 888-816-1511.

 

Dental Practice Profits: What Does Obama Care Have in Our Future?

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

September 6, 2013

Hint: YOU can create your own economy!

Calendar and Time

Dental offices have felt an economic decline for over 3 years. How can a dental practice owner create their own economy in what looks like a gloomy crisis in our economy today?

Should you really blame it on the economy? AND what is in your future as a dental practice owner with Obama Care around the corner? It begins in January 2014. This article outlines what you can expect and a few suggestions from a top dental practice management consultant (According to Dentistry Today) about what you can do to create your own economy.

It is the 4th quarter of 2013 so let’s plan to finish out with a profitable year!

How can you secure success and profits in the 1st week of 2014?

If you have never had a plan that is ok – -But you can no longer go without a plan. You must now track and evaluate everything from this point on.

The good news is – –In the US there will be more children with dental benefits than ever before and more potential for dentists, and especially those who are affiliated with dental plans (i.e. PPO dentists).

It is expected that 5.3 million additional children will have dental coverage – — primarily through public programs.

But now the bad news—many adults will be drop their dental coverage (for financial reasons) in order to obtain mandated pediatric dental benefits. This is an estimate from the National Association of Dental Plans survey.

So here is WHY you need to promote your dental services and talk to your patients about WHY they need to continue preventive care.

Patients will tell you they can’t afford to come back in 3 mos or 6 mos.

I hear this all the time soI need to ask you: “What you are saying to your patients when they refuse or casually tell you they can’t schedule their next appointment?”

Do you allow your patients to dictate their preventive care intervals?

Here are just a few suggestions that may shift what is currently happening in your office and how you can change this pattern with your patients.

What can a dental hygiene appointment do to create patients who return for routine care?

  1. Use Visual Aids
  2. Pre-book 98% (this is a good goal) of hygiene patients next visit
  3. Talk Prevention
  4. Stop saying “You are coming in for a cleaning!”
  5. What else can you do? (If you need more suggestions  – -let’s talk!)

Visual tools to Paint A Picture and Educate Patients

  • Intraoral camera
  • Videos (in treatment room and reception area)
  • Laminated posters to use for explanation
  • Brochures to highlight and educate (Patients leave with these)

When the hygienist uses the Dental Practice Solutions down to a science schedule there is a dedicated time to share this information with your patients. This is how it is not overlooked.

Offices who are not on board with educating their patients about the “WHY” for their important treatment are missing out on healthy patients and a profitable practice.

Speak to your patients in a language they understand – speak at their level.

“People don’t care how much you know but care about how much you care”

It is the dental professional’s ethical responsibility to be proactive and talk to patients about their health. This is not a sales conversation but a care conversation.

Make this paradigm shift today!

When patients understand you care it is what makes you stand out among others in your community. Show patients how they can pay for their care. People will always buy what they want so make certain they want total health and the valuable services you offer.

Be prepared to monitor and track your #s to stop the financial hemorrhaging and improve your business flow.

You have 3 months to prepare and create your own economy. There is no one else to blame.

When you don’t follow the plan to maintain your current patient flow, patients will begin to come in for emergency visits only.

When you don’t have your plan patients misinterpret the importance of consistent dental preventative care.

Tell your patients that you want them to be proactive to insure their total health. Educate your patients about the value of creating a health bank account. They are going to buy coffee at Starbucks, (probably every day)they are walking around with expensive cell phones, they pay for cable tv, the drive the best car even if they can afford it — – so why not have a personal health bank account that each day adds money to pay for preventive care – aka: dental hygiene appts.

  • How do you stop the financial hemorrhaging in your dental practice?
  • What is your plan?

If you don’t have a plan — you have seriously planed to fail!

  • I would like to hear what your plans are for a successful year end.
  • What types of visuals do you use to educate your patients?
  • Tell me your success plan for 2014. What does that look like?
  • What does your financial monitor include? What are you measuring for success?

Please tell me about this in the comments section below.

 ABOUT DEBBIE

ME not too high jpegDebbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS, is founder of Dental Practice Solutions and for over 20 years she has been committed to creating a dental hygiene departments that work in harmony

to create a team that works like a well-oiled machine and is consistently profitable.

In 1984 Debbie graduated from the University of Southern California with a bachelors degree in Dental Hygiene. She then worked in clinical dental hygiene and also as a clinical assistant professor at USC teaching the dental hygiene students. She also co-taught practice management to the senior dental students at USC prior to the school began Problem Based Learning.

In 2007 she wrote the accreditation for a new dental hygiene program in Portland, Oregon where she managed a 2 Million Dollar budget –  which included building the school and hiring the instructors.

Debbie now works with dental offices throughout the world creating sustainable dental practices that consistently increase profits. She is named for the 8th year in a row, one of Dentistrys Top Consultants by Dentistry Today.

You can download her latest 7 day Dental Hygiene Department Profits Program at no-charge here: 7 Day DH Profits Program