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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 Appointments. Your Patient’s Reason to Return

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

March 29, 2017

Dental Patients Reason to Return

Treatment Planning

How do you know what is valuable to your patient?

What is the benefit to your patient if they complete their dental treatment or return for their dental hygiene appointment routinely?

What is your patient’s reason to return?

Let’s think about when you will learn what is valuable to your patient.

When will you know what is valuable to your patient?

For new patients you will (or should) discover what is valuable to them during that first phone call to your office.

It is important to listen closely to the words your patient is saying and the way they say what they are saying. Do they speak loud or soft? Do they speak fast or slow? What is their tone as they speak?

Do they say things like, “Money is going to be my reason for completing this treatment I know I need.”

BTW: This is a comment from a walk-in new patient for an office (a client office) I was working with today.

Most of the time your patient will make their decision based on their value around time or money. These are the two main factors that come into play when patients are making a decision and it is your job to overcome these objections before they even are a stated objection.

Why many patients will not return to a dental office is due to fear of anxiety from a previous bad dental experience. This is another topic of conversation.

Patient Discovery 

When is the best time to discover what is valuable to your patient?

Answer: The first 2 minutes will be the most valuable time with building rapport and understanding your patients’ needs, what’s important to them and even how their day is going (ex: If they are rushed for time or having a stressful day!).

In fact, the first “Hello” and a handshake can tell you a lot about what kind of day your patient is having. This is where you can first begin to build (or re-establish) rapport.

This conversation can be as simple as “What are you doing this summer?”

If you were to ask me this question, I will tell you that I am going to an important high school reunion.

The topic of my conversation (If I am your patient today) will center around meeting up with old friends and wanting to look my best!

Now, it’s your turn as the clinician to open the door for me to look my best.

Do you have a special laser whitening offer going on?

YES?! 

Now is a great time to ask “Debbie, if there is one thing that we can do to make you look better than ever for you high school reunion, what would that be?”

Great question! And if I am your patient here is what I will tell you:

“I would love to have my teeth look youthful again. I want them whiter and also longer.”

Does your office have a special smile makeover process?

If so, now is a great time to talk about this process and how it can make me look my best for the summer high school reunion.

Complete the scheduled appointment, do an “initial” smile evaluation and then have me back for a 20 minute consultation later this week. At this consultation appointment you will have your treatment (or financial) coordinator discuss the smile makeover and work out the financial arrangements. Now you will schedule the treatment.

This special consult adds value to your patient appointment. The initial patient value you discovered is why this patient wants to return ASAP for the consultation and find out more information about how you can help her meet her needs.

Do you see how simple that can be to have your patient understand “their” important reason to return to your office?

When you think back to the last day of patients in your dental office, can you think about each patient’s personal reason to return to your office?

This is not a reason around what you “found” in their mouth. This important reason to return has to be a reason important to your patient. This is a value to your patient.

In closing today I want to ask you, “Do you know each patient’s important reason to return?”

We teach this system with our clients, their team and it becomes a part of every patient appointment. This is what we call the R2R and it becomes a part of each patients record.

One of Dentistry Today's top dental consultants

Debbie Seidel- Bittke, RDH, BS Dental Hygiene Consultant

           About Debbie

Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS is an international 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 highly profitable hygiene departments. She is a well-known 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 for the past 12 yrs.

 

Dental Appointments. Your Patient’s Reason to Return

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

How do you know what is valuable to your patient?

What is the benefit to your patient if they complete their dental treatment or return for their dental hygiene appointment routinely?

What is your patient’s reason to return?

Let’s think about when you will learn what is valuable to your patient.

When will you know what is valuable to your patient?

For new patients you will (or should) discover what is valuable to them during that first phone call to your office.

It is important to listen closely to the words your patient is saying and the way they say what they are saying. Do they speak loud or soft? Do they speak fast or slow? What is their tone as they speak?

Do they say things like, “Money is going to be my reason for completing this treatment I know I need.”

BTW: This is a comment from a walk-in new patient for an office (a client office) I was working with today.

Most of the time your patient will make their decision based on their value around time or money. These are the two main factors that come into play when patients are making a decision and it is your job to overcome these objections before they even are a stated objection.

Why many patients will not return to a dental office is due to fear of anxiety from a previous bad dental experience. This is another topic of conversation.

Patient Discovery 

When is the best time to discover what is valuable to your patient?

Answer: The first 2 minutes will be the most valuable time with building rapport and understanding your patients’ needs, what’s important to them and even how their day is going (ex: If they are rushed for time or having a stressful day!).

In fact, the first “Hello” and a handshake can tell you a lot about what kind of day your patient is having. This is where you can first begin to build (or re-establish) rapport.

This conversation can be as simple as “What are you doing this summer?”

If you were to ask me this question, I will tell you that I am going to an important high school reunion.

The topic of my conversation (If I am your patient today) will center around meeting up with old friends and wanting to look my best!

Now, it’s your turn as the clinician to open the door for me to look my best.

Do you have a special laser whitening offer going on?

YES?! 

Now is a great time to ask “Debbie, if there is one thing that we can do to make you look better than ever for you high school reunion, what would that be?”

Great question! And if I am your patient here is what I will tell you:

“I would love to have my teeth look youthful again. I want them whiter and also longer.”

Does your office have a special smile makeover process?

If so, now is a great time to talk about this process and how it can make me look my best for the summer high school reunion.

Complete the scheduled appointment, do an “initial” smile evaluation and then have me back for a 20 minute consultation later this week. At this consultation appointment you will have your treatment (or financial) coordinator discuss the smile makeover and work out the financial arrangements. Now you will schedule the treatment.

This special consult adds value to your patient appointment. The initial patient value you discovered is why this patient wants to return ASAP for the consultation and find out more information about how you can help her meet her needs.

Do you see how simple that can be to have your patient understand “their” important reason to return to your office?

When you think back to the last day of patients in your dental office, can you think about each patient’s personal reason to return to your office?

This is not a reason around what you “found” in their mouth. This important reason to return has to be a reason important to your patient. This is a value to your patient.

In closing today I want to ask you, “Do you know each patient’s important reason to return?”

We teach this system with our clients, their team and it becomes a part of every patient appointment. This is what we call the R2R and it becomes a part of each patients record.

Case Acceptance: Reason to Return

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

March 22, 2017

Case Acceptance

Case Acceptance

CLICK LINK TO WATCH VIDEO

What factors help you decide to buy a certain car?

What criteria helped you decide to buy your last washer and dryer?

And why do you buy your groceries where you do?

Think about this and when you last provided a diagnosis for dental implants or even something as simple as tooth whitening?

How did you present treatment diagnosed to your patient?

Did you tell your patient how cool it is that you can easily screw in the implant or did you explain about the high-tech NASA Technology and these Implants are made of titanium and should last the rest of your life if cared for properly?
Did you tell them the implants are inexpensive?

I highly doubt it!

Your patients are making their decision on the expected result and how this will benefit them.

So, they are not buying a washing machine based on how well it is designed but how well it works to clean their clothes, how it functions and it is possibly all that plus the cost to buy it.

Your patients reason to pay, schedule and return for treatment and routine appointments is the same as why the shop at a specific grocery store and why they decided to buy their car, etc.

Here are some tips to Keep Your Schedule Full:

  1. Create a partnership with your patient
    • Help your patient to own their oral condition
    • Show your patients what you see
  • Show your patients what their oral condition is
  • Show your patient what their condition can look like when they choose your care
  • Show them any treatment you have completed in their mouth

“Remember when you had that open space and food was getting trapped there? Look how beautiful it is now? And you don’t have that terrible feeling of food stuck between your teeth anymore, do you? We can do the same thing in your mouth over here.”

  1. We suggest to our clients (Dentists and their team) that if a treatment plan is X dollars or more (Typically $2,000) the patient will return for a special consultation with the office treatment coordinator.
  • This is a separate appointment with someone in your office who can review the value and benefits of why the patient needs to schedule this appointment and keep in mind what is specifically valuable to the patient
    • This is someone on your team who is comfortable talking about dental treatment. They are
    • Someone who is not afraid to talk about how much something costs – ex: comfortable talking about money
  1. Always remember to show-off your beautiful dentistry
  • Take before and after photos
    • Place these photos on the walls of your office
    • Place a photo album of your patients before and after photos on a coffee table in your reception area
    • Be sure your team is comfortable bragging—complimenting doctors amazing clinical skills and the patients’ outcome!
    • Create Your Own “Wall-of-Fame!”

When working with our clients and inside our member-site called “Hygiene Empowerment, we teach you more about Case Acceptance and how you can keep your back door closed!

One of Dentistry Today's top dental consultants

Debbie Seidel- Bittke, RDH, BS Dental Hygiene Consultant

ABOUT DEBBIE SEIDEL-BITTKE

Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS is an international 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 highly profitable hygiene departments. She is a well-known 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 for the past 12 yrs.

Case Acceptance: Reason to Return

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

What factors help you decide to buy a certain car?

What criteria helped you decide to buy your last washer and dryer?

And why do you buy your groceries where you do?

Think about this and when you last provided a diagnosis for dental implants or even something as simple as tooth whitening?

How did you present treatment diagnosed to your patient?

Did you tell your patient how cool it is that you can easily screw in the implant or did you explain about the high-tech NASA Technology and these Implants are made of titanium and should last the rest of your life if cared for properly?
Did you tell them the implants are inexpensive?

I highly doubt it!

Your patients are making their decision on the expected result and how this will benefit them.

So, they are not buying a washing machine based on how well it is designed but how well it works to clean their clothes, how it functions and it is possibly all that plus the cost to buy it.

Your patients reason to pay, schedule and return for treatment and routine appointments is the same as why the shop at a specific grocery store and why they decided to buy their car, etc.

Here are some tips to Keep Your Schedule Full:

  1. Create a partnership with your patient
    • Help your patient to own their oral condition
    • Show your patients what you see
  • Show your patients what their oral condition is
  • Show your patient what their condition can look like when they choose your care
  • Show them any treatment you have completed in their mouth

“Remember when you had that open space and food was getting trapped there? Look how beautiful it is now? And you don’t have that terrible feeling of food stuck between your teeth anymore, do you? We can do the same thing in your mouth over here.”

  1. We suggest to our clients (Dentists and their team) that if a treatment plan is X dollars or more (Typically $2,000) the patient will return for a special consultation with the office treatment coordinator.
  • This is a separate appointment with someone in your office who can review the value and benefits of why the patient needs to schedule this appointment and keep in mind what is specifically valuable to the patient
    • This is someone on your team who is comfortable talking about dental treatment. They are
    • Someone who is not afraid to talk about how much something costs – ex: comfortable talking about money
  1. Always remember to show-off your beautiful dentistry
  • Take before and after photos
    • Place these photos on the walls of your office
    • Place a photo album of your patients before and after photos on a coffee table in your reception area
    • Be sure your team is comfortable bragging—complimenting doctors amazing clinical skills and the patients’ outcome!
    • Create Your Own “Wall-of-Fame!”

When working with our clients and inside our member-site called “Hygiene Empowerment, we teach you more about Case Acceptance and how you can keep your back door closed!

To Charge or Not to Charge. Oral Cancer Screenings

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

March 13, 2017

Oral Cancer Screening

Video: Oral Cancer Screenings. To Charge or Not to Charge

CLICK THIS LINK TO VIEW VIDEO

Years ago, the dilemma that most dental professionals faced was regarding whether to use advanced technology to screen for oral cancer.

Today’s Facts: The occurrence of oral cancer has continued to rise and has begun affecting a younger demographic, due to a staggering increase in the prevalence of human papillomavirus (HPV). Fluorescent technology for early discovery of this growing epidemic has continued to evolve. Adjunctive devices have been simplified and very cost-efficient. My preference is the OralID because of the light weight and small size of the device. This technology makes oral cancer screening a no-brainer.

The questions that continue to repeat in the dental clinicians mind is:  “Should we charge for this or not charge?”

Once the dental team has decided to charge the next questions are:
“How much do we charge our patients for this enhanced oral cancer screening?”
“Do we only bill insurance, or do we screen for free as a service to our patients?”

The great news is: With the latest device having zero cost per patient use, you can incorporate the technology with whichever answer to the question fits your practice best.

Below, I will outline a few examples on ways to incorporate enhanced oral cancer screening into your practice.
To Charge
Charging for services performed is standard in health care. As you invest in your practice, in terms of both time and money, it is natural to assume compensation will allow you to make a return on your investments. Enhanced oral cancer screening is a service you provide, and it is perfectly acceptable to expect an increase in revenue in return for the service.
How to charge for enhanced oral cancer screening can vary from office to office. Here are a few options for charging:
Charge an annual fee: You can simply charge a flat fee for your enhanced oral cancer screening. Set a fee of around $20 (or within a range of $10 to $35) per patient, per year. If you educate your patients properly, you should see fairly high acceptance rates in your office. But if you just hand a patient a consent form and ask for a $65 fee, you will not have any success. So, if you decide to incorporate this method, make sure that the fee is reasonable and that you have educated your patients about the importance of what you are doing. Explain that you have invested in the technology because it could potentially save their lives. OralID offers Lifetime Team Training by our in-house hygienist, so you can get help with ideas on how to best educate your patients and maximize screening acceptance.
Charge one fee for life: In the spirit of the “whitening for life” campaigns that some offices offer, you can charge up-front for participation in an “oral cancer screening for life” program. Charge $35 to $100 at the first visit and then screen the patient at no additional charge during future visits (as long as he or she does not miss any hygiene appointments, of course).
Raise your fees: Increase your exam and/or prophy fees to include the service and do not charge the patient directly for it. This allows you the freedom to screen every patient and compensates you for your time and for your investment.
Not To Charge
Dental practices are always looking for ways to differentiate themselves from competitors. Offering advanced oral cancer screenings is a proven method for increasing marketability and gaining new patients. Performing free oral cancer screenings for every patient is a service that will be appreciated by patients and that will not only get you more loyalty from current patients but also motivate them to refer friends and family-and this is the ultimate marketing goal.
You can hand a card to each patient that reads, “Has your loved one been screened for oral cancer?” or a coupon for a free oral cancer screening. Doing so will certainly differentiate your practice from the others, building value in the practice by maintaining and growing the patient base. The days of “whitening for life” are unfortunately over, but offices can now incorporate “oral cancer screening for life” for their patients due to the latest technology finally being affordable enough to make it possible.

CDT Code to Bill: D0431
A change in thinking
Patient care should be the focus for all offices. Given that, you may eventually change the method you choose in regard to charging or not charging. It’s not uncommon for offices to begin screening by charging for the service, only to decide not to charge after finding a lesion that might not have been discovered without the device. For many practices, a situation like this one is a practice changer that leads to the realization that enhanced oral cancer screening is important for every patient.
So, when you are thinking about the new screening decision, whether “to charge or not to charge,” remember that there is no right or wrong. By making the simple choice to incorporate this technology into your practice, you could be making a life-changing decision for your patients.

For more information on the OralID go to: ORALID MORE INFORMATION

To Charge or Not to Charge. Oral Cancer Screenings

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

Years ago, the dilemma that most dental professionals faced was regarding whether to use advanced technology to screen for oral cancer.

Today’s Facts: The occurrence of oral cancer has continued to rise and has begun affecting a younger demographic, due to a staggering increase in the prevalence of human papillomavirus (HPV). Fluorescent technology for early discovery of this growing epidemic has continued to evolve. Adjunctive devices have been simplified and very cost-efficient. My preference is the OralID because of the light weight and small size of the device. This technology makes oral cancer screening a no-brainer.

The questions that continue to repeat in the dental clinicians mind is:  “Should we charge for this or not charge?”

Once the dental team has decided to charge the next questions are:
“How much do we charge our patients for this enhanced oral cancer screening?”
“Do we only bill insurance, or do we screen for free as a service to our patients?”

The great news is: With the latest device having zero cost per patient use, you can incorporate the technology with whichever answer to the question fits your practice best.

Below, I will outline a few examples on ways to incorporate enhanced oral cancer screening into your practice.
To Charge
Charging for services performed is standard in health care. As you invest in your practice, in terms of both time and money, it is natural to assume compensation will allow you to make a return on your investments. Enhanced oral cancer screening is a service you provide, and it is perfectly acceptable to expect an increase in revenue in return for the service.
How to charge for enhanced oral cancer screening can vary from office to office. Here are a few options for charging:
Charge an annual fee: You can simply charge a flat fee for your enhanced oral cancer screening. Set a fee of around $20 (or within a range of $10 to $35) per patient, per year. If you educate your patients properly, you should see fairly high acceptance rates in your office. But if you just hand a patient a consent form and ask for a $65 fee, you will not have any success. So, if you decide to incorporate this method, make sure that the fee is reasonable and that you have educated your patients about the importance of what you are doing. Explain that you have invested in the technology because it could potentially save their lives. OralID offers Lifetime Team Training by our in-house hygienist, so you can get help with ideas on how to best educate your patients and maximize screening acceptance.
Charge one fee for life: In the spirit of the “whitening for life” campaigns that some offices offer, you can charge up-front for participation in an “oral cancer screening for life” program. Charge $35 to $100 at the first visit and then screen the patient at no additional charge during future visits (as long as he or she does not miss any hygiene appointments, of course).
Raise your fees: Increase your exam and/or prophy fees to include the service and do not charge the patient directly for it. This allows you the freedom to screen every patient and compensates you for your time and for your investment.
Not To Charge
Dental practices are always looking for ways to differentiate themselves from competitors. Offering advanced oral cancer screenings is a proven method for increasing marketability and gaining new patients. Performing free oral cancer screenings for every patient is a service that will be appreciated by patients and that will not only get you more loyalty from current patients but also motivate them to refer friends and family-and this is the ultimate marketing goal.
You can hand a card to each patient that reads, “Has your loved one been screened for oral cancer?” or a coupon for a free oral cancer screening. Doing so will certainly differentiate your practice from the others, building value in the practice by maintaining and growing the patient base. The days of “whitening for life” are unfortunately over, but offices can now incorporate “oral cancer screening for life” for their patients due to the latest technology finally being affordable enough to make it possible.

CDT Code to Bill: D0431
A change in thinking
Patient care should be the focus for all offices. Given that, you may eventually change the method you choose in regard to charging or not charging. It’s not uncommon for offices to begin screening by charging for the service, only to decide not to charge after finding a lesion that might not have been discovered without the device. For many practices, a situation like this one is a practice changer that leads to the realization that enhanced oral cancer screening is important for every patient.
So, when you are thinking about the new screening decision, whether “to charge or not to charge,” remember that there is no right or wrong. By making the simple choice to incorporate this technology into your practice, you could be making a life-changing decision for your patients.

For more information on the OralID go to: ORALID MORE INFORMATION