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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

3 Steps Dental Hygienists Can Take to Get Off the Treadmill and Create Profits Plus Much More

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

August 27, 2014

treadmill-boredom1

There are many services and systems a dental hygienist can provide to make the dental practice more profitable.

This week I will write about just 3 steps dental hygienists can take to get off the treadmill and create profits plus so much more.

One week ago I received one of the nicest, most touching emails from the hygienist of a client.

The hygienists name is Marlene at Westover Smiles. Marlene is a recent graduate from a dental hygiene program in Virginia. I will post her letter sent to me below. Providing care in a dental office as a dental hygienist is very different from learning about dental hygiene in a college or university program. She knew how to be a dental hygienist but lacked the experience of working in a dental office, talking to patients about disease, treatment plans and then keeping on time during the day with her patients. Dr. Sadeddin, her employer enrolled in one of our programs to support Marlene in getting to her next level of success. It was also a fun experience for me to work with not only Marlene but doctor and the team!

This reminds me of what my mother told me about “Marriage.” My mom always told me “You never really know what it is like to be with your husband or significant other, until you live with them.” This is similar to becoming a dental hygienist. You never really understand what it’s like until you are in the trenches of the dental office.

This is exactly what Marlene experienced. Marlene knew what to do as a hygienist but lacked the ability to actually communicate using words that add value to the patient’s appointment, enroll them into future care at the office and her timing to completing hygiene services was still not there.

I remember how difficult it was for me to get into the real world as a clinical hygienist. Thirty years ago most hygienists were given 45 minutes for a patient appointment and in the hygiene program we had 3 hours of patient time! All of a sudden, when I arrived as a dental hygienist in the real world of dentistry, it felt like the treadmill was really going fast and I had to run as fast as I could to keep up! It was not fun. I felt stressed and very lost, just like Marlene.

For nearly 15 years as a practice management consultant, I have enjoyed creating ways to support hygienists who feel stressed, burned-out, overwhelmed and just ready to quit what can be a great career. I love serving dentists as my clients and their team. Let me share with you a few ways (there are so many more) to help hygienists work more efficiently, add improved profits and patient care. These three will create harmony within the team and a sustainable dental practice for the doctor.

First of all, the dental hygiene department can be profitable. Back thirty years ago and even when I was just dreaming of a dental hygiene career, the dental hygiene department was thought of as a loss leader. This is no longer true!

These 3 steps are a small part of what Marlene and the team at Westover Smiles has implemented.

3 Steps to Less Stress and More Profits in the Dental Hygiene Department:

1.    Create and share your philosophy for treating perio patients

This means the doctor and hygienists agree on what is considered a perio patient. (This means you all agree on radiographic type of calculus, radiographic bone loss and even without the presence of calculus, what areas are probed and at what intervals, etc.,m etc.) Next is when to intervene with non-surgical periodontal therapy (Phase I Therapy) and how you will treat each individual perio patient.

2.    Communication to add value and get a commitment from your patient

Doctor, hygienist and the entire team need to know what words to use with their various patients to add value to patients’ appointments, show empathy and communicate in language each different patient will understand

Learn about the various personality types and how to talk to each patient’s different personality type. The DISC profile is a good place to start. Tone and your posture (Proxemics) are also important when speaking to patients about their overall health and dental concerns, etc.

Write it down, (Keep scripts for future employees to understand what is expected) the words each team member will use when speaking to patients. When you know what you will say, role-play the patient situations practicing your communication with the various patient personality types. Practice on each other not your patients and get your communication down to a science.

3.    Monitor, Monitor, Monitor

In real estate they say “Location.” “Location.” “Location.” In dentistry it is important to monitor anything and everything that you want to see a result in.

Know what the acceptable key metrics are for a dental hygiene department. Do you know what percentage of your adult patients have received periodontal therapy? What is the norm for treatment of perio in the nation?

Do your hygienists know what their production numbers?

Each employee needs accountability and to be a part of the total process, financial aspects included; will create valuable employees. If your hygienist is not interested in the production numbers, ask yourself if you are ok with employing a hygienist who only cares about a pay check?

Dentistry, even the dental hygiene department is a business. The dental hygiene department should produce 25% to 30% of the total office production.

There are many other areas in a dental practice that create profitable dental hygiene departments, but I share just three today.

Do you implement all three of these? If not, choose one today to begin implementing. Schedule a team meeting and write down what you what you need to create to get to your next level of success and profitability, discuss it and practice doing what you talk about implementing. Set up some accountability so you know that what you say and what you practice does get implemented.

Employing committed team members will make or break the success of your dental practice. It is what creates a great reason to come to the office every day.

When the entire team takes responsibility for their part and when you have accountability measures in place, you will not only create a team-driven practice which makes a happier, more pleasant work environment but also create systems so everyone knows what is expected. Think of this as a choreographed dance routine.

When everyone on your team works in harmony your dental practice will see a payment in dividends returned for the life of your dental practice.

Marlene’s Letter to Debbie

“I cannot thank Debbie enough for helping me through this journey. I started off as a new graduate – no experience out of school. After I got my license, I worked with the temp agency for months. During this time, I worked with multiple doctors, all with different views on things. I did not have a firm system for myself as a hygienist. Back in hygiene school our teachers did their best to get students prepared for the real world; but in reality, it is just not the same. Unless one has experienced it themselves, one can easily get lost, confused, and/or run late with the patients.

When I first got my permanent job I was excited because I knew I would be the only hygienist in the practice. As a couple of months went by, I realized my communication with patients was not to the standard it should be. I lacked the best words to use with my patients and/or my explanations to the patients just did not “make the mark.”

I was not firm enough to make patients realize the consequences of diseases and their overall health if the perio disease was not treated. That is when I started taking Debbie’s program. She guided me to have my own system as a hygienist. Debbie gave me scripts on what to say to patients on certain topics. I made those scripts my own. I used the words that felt comfortable to me but as least I had something set in stone to learn best from.

I now feel more comfortable and confident. Patients are listening and learning about their total health. They are saying “Yes” to my care as well as doctors excellent dentistry he provides. Everyone in the office can tell a difference. Not only has Debbie helped me but has helped the office as a whole. As a team my office and I have better communication. I will keep working on this program to become an exceptional hygienist for my patients. Thank you Debbie!”

Marlene Quispe, RDH

Office of Hazim Sadeddin, DDS

http://www.westoversmiles.com/

 ABOUT DEBBIE

ME not too high jpeg

Debbie is Founder of Dental Practice Solutions since 2000. She serves dental practices globally through her dental hygiene systems and online products. Debbie is known for creating sustainable and profitable dental practices through her vast knowledge of what makes a dental practice successful. She is also known as one of Dentistry Today’s Top Dental Consultants. She has a no-charge 7 Day Dental Hygiene Department Profitability Program that you can get a glimpse of what working with her is like. Grab your 7 Day Program here: 7 DAY DENTAL HYGIENE PROGRAM

3 Steps Dental Hygienists Can Take to Get Off the Treadmill and Create Profits Plus Much More

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

There are many services and systems a dental hygienist can provide to make the dental practice more profitable.

This week I will write about just 3 steps dental hygienists can take to get off the treadmill and create profits plus so much more.

One week ago I received one of the nicest, most touching emails from the hygienist of a client.

The hygienists name is Marlene at Westover Smiles. Marlene is a recent graduate from a dental hygiene program in Virginia. I will post her letter sent to me below. Providing care in a dental office as a dental hygienist is very different from learning about dental hygiene in a college or university program. She knew how to be a dental hygienist but lacked the experience of working in a dental office, talking to patients about disease, treatment plans and then keeping on time during the day with her patients. Dr. Sadeddin, her employer enrolled in one of our programs to support Marlene in getting to her next level of success. It was also a fun experience for me to work with not only Marlene but doctor and the team!

This reminds me of what my mother told me about “Marriage.” My mom always told me “You never really know what it is like to be with your husband or significant other, until you live with them.” This is similar to becoming a dental hygienist. You never really understand what it’s like until you are in the trenches of the dental office.

This is exactly what Marlene experienced. Marlene knew what to do as a hygienist but lacked the ability to actually communicate using words that add value to the patient’s appointment, enroll them into future care at the office and her timing to completing hygiene services was still not there.

I remember how difficult it was for me to get into the real world as a clinical hygienist. Thirty years ago most hygienists were given 45 minutes for a patient appointment and in the hygiene program we had 3 hours of patient time! All of a sudden, when I arrived as a dental hygienist in the real world of dentistry, it felt like the treadmill was really going fast and I had to run as fast as I could to keep up! It was not fun. I felt stressed and very lost, just like Marlene.

For nearly 15 years as a practice management consultant, I have enjoyed creating ways to support hygienists who feel stressed, burned-out, overwhelmed and just ready to quit what can be a great career. I love serving dentists as my clients and their team. Let me share with you a few ways (there are so many more) to help hygienists work more efficiently, add improved profits and patient care. These three will create harmony within the team and a sustainable dental practice for the doctor.

First of all, the dental hygiene department can be profitable. Back thirty years ago and even when I was just dreaming of a dental hygiene career, the dental hygiene department was thought of as a loss leader. This is no longer true!

These 3 steps are a small part of what Marlene and the team at Westover Smiles has implemented.

3 Steps to Less Stress and More Profits in the Dental Hygiene Department:

1.    Create and share your philosophy for treating perio patients

This means the doctor and hygienists agree on what is considered a perio patient. (This means you all agree on radiographic type of calculus, radiographic bone loss and even without the presence of calculus, what areas are probed and at what intervals, etc.,m etc.) Next is when to intervene with non-surgical periodontal therapy (Phase I Therapy) and how you will treat each individual perio patient.

2.    Communication to add value and get a commitment from your patient

Doctor, hygienist and the entire team need to know what words to use with their various patients to add value to patients’ appointments, show empathy and communicate in language each different patient will understand

Learn about the various personality types and how to talk to each patient’s different personality type. The DISC profile is a good place to start. Tone and your posture (Proxemics) are also important when speaking to patients about their overall health and dental concerns, etc.

Write it down, (Keep scripts for future employees to understand what is expected) the words each team member will use when speaking to patients. When you know what you will say, role-play the patient situations practicing your communication with the various patient personality types. Practice on each other not your patients and get your communication down to a science.

3.    Monitor, Monitor, Monitor

In real estate they say “Location.” “Location.” “Location.” In dentistry it is important to monitor anything and everything that you want to see a result in.

Know what the acceptable key metrics are for a dental hygiene department. Do you know what percentage of your adult patients have received periodontal therapy? What is the norm for treatment of perio in the nation?

Do your hygienists know what their production numbers?

Each employee needs accountability and to be a part of the total process, financial aspects included; will create valuable employees. If your hygienist is not interested in the production numbers, ask yourself if you are ok with employing a hygienist who only cares about a pay check?

Dentistry, even the dental hygiene department is a business. The dental hygiene department should produce 25% to 30% of the total office production.

There are many other areas in a dental practice that create profitable dental hygiene departments, but I share just three today.

Do you implement all three of these? If not, choose one today to begin implementing. Schedule a team meeting and write down what you what you need to create to get to your next level of success and profitability, discuss it and practice doing what you talk about implementing. Set up some accountability so you know that what you say and what you practice does get implemented.

Employing committed team members will make or break the success of your dental practice. It is what creates a great reason to come to the office every day.

When the entire team takes responsibility for their part and when you have accountability measures in place, you will not only create a team-driven practice which makes a happier, more pleasant work environment but also create systems so everyone knows what is expected. Think of this as a choreographed dance routine.

When everyone on your team works in harmony your dental practice will see a payment in dividends returned for the life of your dental practice.

Marlene’s Letter to Debbie

“I cannot thank Debbie enough for helping me through this journey. I started off as a new graduate – no experience out of school. After I got my license, I worked with the temp agency for months. During this time, I worked with multiple doctors, all with different views on things. I did not have a firm system for myself as a hygienist. Back in hygiene school our teachers did their best to get students prepared for the real world; but in reality, it is just not the same. Unless one has experienced it themselves, one can easily get lost, confused, and/or run late with the patients.

When I first got my permanent job I was excited because I knew I would be the only hygienist in the practice. As a couple of months went by, I realized my communication with patients was not to the standard it should be. I lacked the best words to use with my patients and/or my explanations to the patients just did not “make the mark.”

I was not firm enough to make patients realize the consequences of diseases and their overall health if the perio disease was not treated. That is when I started taking Debbie’s program. She guided me to have my own system as a hygienist. Debbie gave me scripts on what to say to patients on certain topics. I made those scripts my own. I used the words that felt comfortable to me but as least I had something set in stone to learn best from.

I now feel more comfortable and confident. Patients are listening and learning about their total health. They are saying “Yes” to my care as well as doctors excellent dentistry he provides. Everyone in the office can tell a difference. Not only has Debbie helped me but has helped the office as a whole. As a team my office and I have better communication. I will keep working on this program to become an exceptional hygienist for my patients. Thank you Debbie!”

Marlene Quispe, RDH

Office of Hazim Sadeddin, DDS

http://www.westoversmiles.com/

A 5 Tip Checklist To Create Value in the Dental Hygiene Appointment

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

August 7, 2014

Do you ever feel like you are leading an army but no one is behind you following your direction? Have you ever wondered: “Why doesn’t anyone else on my team care as much as I do about my practice?!”

Is it possible they don’t know what your vision for the practice is? Have you communicated with your team what you dream of for your dental practice?

I believe in the CANI attitude. CANI means “Constant And Never-ending Improvement. This means that you have an open mind to always wanting to be better than you are today.

In today’s blog I want to share with you some ideas to get you on your way to “Creating More Value in the Dental Hygiene Appointment.” When you can empower your dental hygienist to have a CANI attitude, you will also discover the hygiene appointment becomes more valuable to the patients, the doctor and hygienist enjoy more satisfaction in what they do and patients become aware of the outstanding services you provide them. Profits in your practice will improve when the hygienist takes ownership of their important position in your dental office. Doctor will discover they can come to the office and provide the quality dental care they enjoy and not have to manage a dysfunctional team.

Utilizing some or all of these suggestions means that you will also begin to see your production rise as well as develop raving fans from improved quality patient services provided in your dental office.

Your 5 Tip Checklist to Create Value in the Dental Hygiene Appointment

Team Huddle

1.    Morning Team Huddle

Before the morning team huddle begins the dental hygienist needs to audit his or her charts. This means they will be looking for outstanding patient treatment and necessary services to complete at todays dental hygiene appointment. Examples of this are: appropriate x-rays, blood pressure, fluoride, periodic or even a comprehensive exam (Completed every 3-5 yrs.), outstanding restorative treatment, and any family members who are due for a dental appointment (hygiene or restorative). A lot of this information can be found on the routing slips. No flipping through charts during the team huddle. This needs to be a smooth and succinct process which if you don’t do this today, may take 20 minutes when you first begin. When done properly (Baring no more than 2 dentists and 6 team members reporting), a team huddle should take approximately 10 minutes of team time. For a template of what a morning team huddle looks like, send our office an email: dentalpracticesolutions@gmail.com

 

2.    The Hygienist should  schedule patients’ next visit for hygiene

It works best if the hygienist can always schedule the patient’s next hygiene appointments. Dental Hygienist’s may wondering “Why me?! I am on a treadmill as is and I don’t have time for this!” The reason they are the best person to pre-schedule future hygiene appointments is because they have just looked in the patient’s mouth over the past 45-55 minutes and they are the best person to explain to the patient “WHY” they need to return and what will be completed at the next hygiene appointment.

The hygienist never asks the patient “Would you like to schedule your next appointment?” And the hygienist will not ask the patient “Why can you return for your next hygiene appointment?” The hygienist (and anyone making a patient appointment), needs to take charge of the appointment schedule and not ask patients when they want to return.

Have a goal to schedule at least 90% of all future dental hygiene appointments.

 

Treatment Planning Creates Your Own Economy

3.    The Hygienist should always tour the patients mouth with the intra-oral camera

“Pictures paint a thousand words.” This is very true with dental patients as well. Tell patients what you see and then show them exactly what you see in their mouth. This means the patients are more likely to take ownership of their mouth. Sit the patient’s upright in the dental chair. Face them knee-to-knee and eye-to-eye to discuss what you see in their mouth. This positioning with the patient is called “proxemics.”  Proxemics builds trust and rapport with your patients.

This sets the stage for a more effective doctor hygiene exam and means the patient will hear about what you see more than one time (from not only the dentists’ perspective but they previously heard it from the hygienist). It can also mean less time for doctor in the hygiene room talking to the patient. Good news for hygienists that feel doctor makes them run behind.

 

Microsoft Word - TiME MANAGEMENT.doc

4.    Doctor Hygiene Exam

There is no need for doctor to wait until the end of the hygiene appointment to complete the hygiene patient exam. This can be done after the patient information has been completed. The hygienist will collect all of the patient data and explains this to the patient. This usually takes no longer than 25 minutes at the beginning of the hygiene appointment. Doctor should always be notified by their assistant when there is a break with their patient treatment (possibly waiting for impressions or when the assistant is preparing temporaries, etc.), and now leaves their patient to enter the hygiene treatment room to complete the hygiene patient exam.

The hygienist stops their procedure and introduces doctor or says something about the patient to doctor (If doctor already knows the patient there is no need for a formal introduction. The hygienist will always use the patient and doctors name upon doctor entering the hygiene room), and then the doctor will have a very light and simple conversation. Next the hygienist will gently interrupt doctor in the rapport building phase– relationship continuation conversation  (the small chit-chat), with the patient (should not last longer than 90 seconds – no more than 2 mins MAX!).

The hygienist will now proceed reporting to doctor about the services completed and what the patient and hygienist see in the patients’ mouth. The hygienist will report on future x-rays and the necessary appointments (if there are restorative needs, etc.) which include future dental hygiene appointments  The hygienist needs to have x-rays and intra-oral photos available for doctor to easily view.

 

5.    Hygiene Hand-off

How the patient is handed off at the front office is very important. This will build more trust with the patient and the end goal of this system is for the patient to again, understand that they will be returning to your dental office.

Too often, patients are left to walk alone to the front office. All patients need to be escorted to the front office by the dental hygienist preferably. The hygienist will speak to the front office team member using the patients name and explaining all the services the patient received today. She or he will explain to the front office auxiliary what services are of primary concern which areas of treatment need to be scheduled – while the patient is at the front desk. Best case scenario, the hygienist has scheduled the patients’ next hygiene visit, and the hygienist will also report – in front of the patient – when the next appointment date and time are. She or he will also state what the appointment is scheduled for.

One quick tip: NIX the word “Cleaning” and tell all the team members to stop saying this word as well. Choose to speak to your patients using words that add value. “Dental Hygienists in today’s world – are preventive care specialists.”

Try using some of these words when speaking to patients about a dental hygiene appointment: Dental Hygiene Appointment, Preventive Care, Periodontal Therapy, Scaling and Root Planing, Periodontal Maintenance.

CONCLUSION

When the dental hygienist is open to the CANI attitude and serving patients at the highest level, your job as the CEO of your dental practice becomes much easier, and more satisfying.

It is possible that you can check off this entire list saying that you are doing all of the above. For some offices, they are only completing a few of these tips and I want to suggest that you just choose one of these to implement this next week. Once you feel comfortable implementing this new system or patient service, go to the next tip and try to implement this one.

Slowly implement them one at a time. Only implement the next tip after you feel that you have the one new service or system “down to a science.” Be patient with yourself and take baby steps to get to your next level of success.

Track and monitor your results to watch your profits improve as you provide that next level of service and patient care. You will also develop patients who are your raving fans!

A 5 Tip Checklist To Create Value in the Dental Hygiene Appointment

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

 

Dental Hygienist working on patient

 

Do you ever feel like you are leading an army but no one is behind you following your direction? Have you ever wondered: “Why doesn’t anyone else on my team care as much as I do about my practice?!”

Is it possible they don’t know what your vision for the practice is? Have you communicated with your team what you dream of for your dental practice?

I believe in the CANI attitude. CANI means “Constant And Never-ending Improvement. This means that you have an open mind to always wanting to be better than you are today.

In today’s blog I want to share with you some ideas to get you on your way to “Creating More Value in the Dental Hygiene Appointment.” When you can empower your dental hygienist to have a CANI attitude, you will also discover the hygiene appointment becomes more valuable to the patients, the doctor and hygienist enjoy more satisfaction in what they do and patients become aware of the outstanding services you provide them. Profits in your practice will improve when the hygienist takes ownership of their important position in your dental office. Doctor will discover they can come to the office and provide the quality dental care they enjoy and not have to manage a dysfunctional team.

Utilizing some or all of these suggestions means that you will also begin to see your production rise as well as develop raving fans from improved quality patient services provided in your dental office.

Your 5 Tip Checklist to Create Value in the Dental Hygiene Appointment

Team Huddle

1.    Morning Team Huddle

Before the morning team huddle begins the dental hygienist needs to audit his or her charts. This means they will be looking for outstanding patient treatment and necessary services to complete at todays dental hygiene appointment. Examples of this are: appropriate x-rays, blood pressure, fluoride, periodic or even a comprehensive exam (Completed every 3-5 yrs.), outstanding restorative treatment, and any family members who are due for a dental appointment (hygiene or restorative). A lot of this information can be found on the routing slips. No flipping through charts during the team huddle. This needs to be a smooth and succinct process which if you don’t do this today, may take 20 minutes when you first begin. When done properly (Baring no more than 2 dentists and 6 team members reporting), a team huddle should take approximately 10 minutes of team time. For a template of what a morning team huddle looks like, send our office an email: dentalpracticesolutions@gmail.com

 

2.    The Hygienist should  schedule patients’ next visit for hygiene

It works best if the hygienist can always schedule the patient’s next hygiene appointments. Dental Hygienist’s may wondering “Why me?! I am on a treadmill as is and I don’t have time for this!” The reason they are the best person to pre-schedule future hygiene appointments is because they have just looked in the patient’s mouth over the past 45-55 minutes and they are the best person to explain to the patient “WHY” they need to return and what will be completed at the next hygiene appointment.

The hygienist never asks the patient “Would you like to schedule your next appointment?” And the hygienist will not ask the patient “Why can you return for your next hygiene appointment?” The hygienist (and anyone making a patient appointment), needs to take charge of the appointment schedule and not ask patients when they want to return.

Have a goal to schedule at least 90% of all future dental hygiene appointments.

 

Treatment Planning Creates Your Own Economy

3.    The Hygienist should always tour the patients mouth with the intra-oral camera

“Pictures paint a thousand words.” This is very true with dental patients as well. Tell patients what you see and then show them exactly what you see in their mouth. This means the patients are more likely to take ownership of their mouth. Sit the patient’s upright in the dental chair. Face them knee-to-knee and eye-to-eye to discuss what you see in their mouth. This positioning with the patient is called “proxemics.”  Proxemics builds trust and rapport with your patients.

This sets the stage for a more effective doctor hygiene exam and means the patient will hear about what you see more than one time (from not only the dentists’ perspective but they previously heard it from the hygienist). It can also mean less time for doctor in the hygiene room talking to the patient. Good news for hygienists that feel doctor makes them run behind.

 

Microsoft Word - TiME MANAGEMENT.doc

4.    Doctor Hygiene Exam

There is no need for doctor to wait until the end of the hygiene appointment to complete the hygiene patient exam. This can be done after the patient information has been completed. The hygienist will collect all of the patient data and explains this to the patient. This usually takes no longer than 25 minutes at the beginning of the hygiene appointment. Doctor should always be notified by their assistant when there is a break with their patient treatment (possibly waiting for impressions or when the assistant is preparing temporaries, etc.), and now leaves their patient to enter the hygiene treatment room to complete the hygiene patient exam.

The hygienist stops their procedure and introduces doctor or says something about the patient to doctor (If doctor already knows the patient there is no need for a formal introduction. The hygienist will always use the patient and doctors name upon doctor entering the hygiene room), and then the doctor will have a very light and simple conversation. Next the hygienist will gently interrupt doctor in the rapport building phase– relationship continuation conversation  (the small chit-chat), with the patient (should not last longer than 90 seconds – no more than 2 mins MAX!).

The hygienist will now proceed reporting to doctor about the services completed and what the patient and hygienist see in the patients’ mouth. The hygienist will report on future x-rays and the necessary appointments (if there are restorative needs, etc.) which include future dental hygiene appointments  The hygienist needs to have x-rays and intra-oral photos available for doctor to easily view.

 

5.    Hygiene Hand-off

How the patient is handed off at the front office is very important. This will build more trust with the patient and the end goal of this system is for the patient to again, understand that they will be returning to your dental office.

Too often, patients are left to walk alone to the front office. All patients need to be escorted to the front office by the dental hygienist preferably. The hygienist will speak to the front office team member using the patients name and explaining all the services the patient received today. She or he will explain to the front office auxiliary what services are of primary concern which areas of treatment need to be scheduled – while the patient is at the front desk. Best case scenario, the hygienist has scheduled the patients’ next hygiene visit, and the hygienist will also report – in front of the patient – when the next appointment date and time are. She or he will also state what the appointment is scheduled for.

One quick tip: NIX the word “Cleaning” and tell all the team members to stop saying this word as well. Choose to speak to your patients using words that add value. “Dental Hygienists in today’s world – are preventive care specialists.”

Try using some of these words when speaking to patients about a dental hygiene appointment: Dental Hygiene Appointment, Preventive Care, Periodontal Therapy, Scaling and Root Planing, Periodontal Maintenance.

CONCLUSION

When the dental hygienist is open to the CANI attitude and serving patients at the highest level, your job as the CEO of your dental practice becomes much easier, and more satisfying.

It is possible that you can check off this entire list saying that you are doing all of the above. For some offices, they are only completing a few of these tips and I want to suggest that you just choose one of these to implement this next week. Once you feel comfortable implementing this new system or patient service, go to the next tip and try to implement this one.

Slowly implement them one at a time. Only implement the next tip after you feel that you have the one new service or system “down to a science.” Be patient with yourself and take baby steps to get to your next level of success.

Track and monitor your results to watch your profits improve as you provide that next level of service and patient care. You will also develop patients who are your raving fans!

ABOUT DEBBIE

ME not too high jpeg

Debbie is Founder of Dental Practice Solutions since 2000. She serves dental practices globally through her dental hygiene systems and online products. Debbie is known for creating sustainable and profitable dental practices through her vast knowledge of what makes a dental practice successful. She is also known as one of Dentistry Today’s Top Dental Consultants. She has a no-charge 7 Day Dental Hygiene Department Profitability Program that you can get a glimpse of what working with her is like. Grab your 7 Day Program here: 7 DAY DENTAL HYGIENE PROGRAM