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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

Dental Hygiene Coach | Five ways to acquire new patients this month

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

September 27, 2017

More than ever, the saying “if you’re not growing, you’re dying” is the truth in the dental industry. Building and maintaining a thriving dental practice in today’s competitive landscape is becoming increasingly difficult.

Acquiring new patients in this environment requires equal parts strategy and persistence. You’ll want to have a plan in place for both digital and traditional marketing while ensuring you’re providing a consistently exceptional customer experience.

Here are some ideas to get you on the path to acquire new patients this month.

#1 – Reviews

I know – asking for reviews can be uncomfortable. However, it’s essential for dental practices to build a foundation of good reviews. Research shows that 91% of consumers read reviews and 84% trust them as much as a personal recommendation (BrightLocal). Additionally, having 50 or more reviews can mean a 4.6% increase in conversion rate (Reevoo).

If you don’t have a system in place to generate reviews from your patients, you’re missing out on a key piece of social proof and losing patients to your dental competitors who are actively building their reputation online.

#2 – Facebook marketing

On average, Facebook sees a jaw-dropping average of 1.13 billion daily active users (Hootsuite). Of the internet users in the United States, 82% of 18-29 year-olds, 79% of 30-49 year-olds and 56% of 65+ year-olds are on facebook (Hootsuite).

Statistically, that means that your practice can reach a good chunk of potential patients directly through the social media platform. Facebook offers tons of unique demographic filters, making it simple and cost-effective to target potential new patients in your area.

Pro tip: Implement real-time, online scheduling and give patients the ability to schedule directly from your Facebook ads. LocalMed closes the loop on the patient acquisition process, giving your marketing ROI a boost.

#3 – Answer your phone

LocalMed surveyed their users asking why they chose to schedule online instead of calling the office. Of those who mentioned they had attempted to call, an astonishing 53.6% of their calls went unanswered.

… Yikes.

Bottom line: Make sure your phone is answered during office hours! Bonus points if you can prevent putting them on hold. If not, you’re losing potential patients.

#4 – Promote your patient referral program

As mentioned earlier, online reviews are incredibly important, but so is good old-fashioned word of mouth. 83% of people in 60 countries trust recommendations from their friends and family, making it the most credible form of advertisement available (Nielsen Company).

Focus on ensuring your patient’s experience is stellar from start-to-finish, then promote your (amazing!) patient referral program.

Not only do referrals increase the effectiveness of your marketing up to 54%, but happy patients’ referrals have a 37% higher retention rate compared to other acquisition channels (Deloitte). Talk about a win-win!
#5 – Implement real-time, online scheduling

It’s 2017, and your patients are texting, Facebooking and Uber-ing. Do you really think they want to call your office and spend 8.1 minutes scheduling an appointment (Accenture 2013 consumer survey)?

Absolutely not.

81% of patients would prefer to schedule their appointment online, and 59% of Millennials would switch healthcare providers for one with better online access (Decipher Research / Intuit Health).

When you sign up for real-time, online scheduling, you provide patients the convenience they’re looking for, while also closing the loop on the patient acquisition process. Potential patients can schedule an appointment instantly, wherever they find you, 24/7.

And there you have it.

Five digital and traditional marketing methods you can try out to win new patients this month and increase your competitiveness in the rapidly-evolving dental industry. Which one will you try?


Mandy Fischer, Marketing Coordinator at Local Med.

Thank you to LocalMed for the guest blog this week! Should you wish for patients to have the ability to schedule appointments without a phone call to your office, LocalMed has a scheduling system you want to check out. Our clients use their widget and get a higher number of new patients scheduling from their website and much more.

Want To Know What’s New in 2018 for ADA CDT Codes?

Join us on November 30th in Los Alamitos

“How Do We Bill it and Get Reimbursed?” From Gingivitis to Peri-Implantitis

Do you have rejected claims?

  • If you have challenges with reimbursement of perio and gingivitis patients; how do you code the service when the patient doesn’t have radiogrpahic bone loss?

  • What is the most efficient process for reimbursement of crowns, implants, fixed or removable prosthetics?

  • We will also address new changes in the ADA CDT Coding coming in 2018.

If you have questions, then you must attend this very informative, Q & A Session with your dental colleagues.

We have put together a fun CE with answers to your billing and coding questions. Light dinner will be served but seating is very limited so you must pre-register. $40 for CE, Food & Drinks

2 CE’s, Food, Drinks, Fun and Lots of Learning.

Check-in and dinner: 6:00 – 6:30

Course: 6:30-8:30

Presented by:

Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS, CEO of Dental Practice


JoAnn Leon, Certified Quality Assurance Procedural Auditor

Member of California Association of Dental Plans

Front Office Procedure Consultant at Dental Practice Solutions


Website: www.dentalpracticesolutions.com

Beyond the Medical History: Questions You Must Ask.

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

September 20, 2017

                               Save Lives! Review Your Patient’s Medical History

During this month of September, I want to dedicate my blogs to my mother Pauline Seidel. In 2002, my mother came in for her hygiene appointment after having her mitral valve replaced.

During my periodontal evaluation I discovered a perio/endo abscess and she later had the tooth extracted and a bridge placed. She soon after completing the dental procedure had a stroke and died from endocarditis.

I really do not know for sure if when she had the extraction, that she took her pre-med. I don’t know if the dental office asked the important questions such as:

  • Do you have any heart conditions?
  • Did you take your pre-med today?

I know that we, as clinicians, and our patients, are in a hurry most days. That’s how life is in todays face-paced world!

Updating Your Medical History Process

The medical history is something I am very passionate about because I have reason to believe that my mother may have not taken her pre-medication which is imperative when you have your mitral-valve replaced. What I observe in offices is patients are seated and the assistants go to bring in doctor. Hygienist’s feel like there is not enough time to do it all so the review of medical history and even taking patients’ blood pressure are forgotten.

  • Do you have a system in place about reviewing the patient medical history?
  • How often to do you and your team members seat a patient in the chair and ask about the patients’ medical history?
  • Do you ask more questions after the patient tells you, “No changes.” ?
  • What is your office protocol for reviewing and updating the medical dental history?

Save a Life

Besides asking, “Do you have any changes in your medical history?” – Let’s create other questions to ask our patients. We are in the business of creating longer and healthier lives; right?!

Questions to Ask

The medical history you have may not be able to answer all the important questions you need to know for example:

  • Do you have any heart problems?
  • Do you take any blood thinners?

Even patients who do have heart problems, in my experience, have forgotten (I know…!) to write this in the medical history and they have even forgotten to let the clinician know about the change(s). Take a step forward in saving a life and ask more questions beyond what your patient has written on their medical history.

Some Examples of Questions You Must Ask (Even if the patient didn’t check these in their medical history):

  • Have you had any recent surgeries?
    • Again, I have had a patient forget to update their medical change and the man forgot, probably didn’t want me to know, he  just had throat surgery (Hard to believe I know; but it’s a true story!)
  • Do you have a dry mouth?
    • Good to know when your patient takes a lot of medications.
      • It’s the number one side-effect with medications
    • Xylitol or Fluoride Varnish and 5% Fluoride Gel can prevent decay
  • Do you drive and text?
    • Oh! You haven’t heard about this question? Refer to the above section “Save a Life” because this is our business

Today’s medical history forms can provide great information such as should you text, call or email your patient?

You can discover some great information that can help keep the perfect connection going beyond  the patient in your dental chair.

Seating Your Patient

We recommend that you seat your patient and then just sit with your patient for few minutes to “connect.” Sit knee-to-knee and eye-to-eye with no patient bib. Use the next 2 minutes to connect, find something outside of dentistry to talk about. Create a human experience, not a dental experience at this point.

After you connect with that person in your chair, now ask the important questions and begin the review of their medical history.

This connection is a key secret to our clients who are highly profitable. Find out something personal or something that will make them light up and feel comfortable in the dental office (You do know most patients don’t want to be at the dentist. sad but it’s true.) Let your patients feel how much you care for them. They are more than a patient in your chair.


As fast as dentistry changes; so must your medical history.

Think about having online forms and accessible on a tablet or desktop in your front office. For new patients it can be an efficient and time-saving process to have your office forms online and accessible through a link you email or a place on your website.

When was the last time your updated your actual form to capture patient’s medical history?

How often does your office want a new medical history form completed?

These are important questions your entire team must know the answers to.

Make sure you have every person who seats the patient take a moment to “connect” with that person in the chair and then never forget to review the medical history before any dental treatment begins. And if you can implement a blood pressure screening annually, you will definitely hear from your patients that you have saved a life (or many for that matter!).

Together, as a team of healthcare professionals we can save many lives. That is what we are all about isn’t it?!

“Help Patients Keep teeth and Save Lives.”

Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

   Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS


Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS founded Dental Practice Solutions in 2000. She is considered a Leader in Dentistry by Dentistry Today. Debbie shares how to optimize your hygiene department with offices globally. The approach to optimize your dental hygiene department is an integrative approach as the entire team learns how to drive efficiencies and profitability in the practice. Teams that have worked with the team at Dental Practice Solutions have now doubled their practice production without working harder.

For optimizing your hygiene department grab our no-cost hygiene department video training series which includes a gingivitis webinar and a gingivitis patient treatment flow chart: enter your name and email here to receive this

During the month of September you can schedule a no-cost Strategic Planning Session to optimize your profit potential in 2018. This is a value of $500. Call or email Kate to get this scheduled today: 949-351-8741 or mail.admin@dentalpracticesolutions.com

Dental Office Schedule: Turbulence or Smooth Landing?

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

September 14, 2017

Dental Schedule

Dental Schedule Chaos or Smooth?

If you are a frequent flyer then you will relate to this but if not and you have been on a rollercoaster, substitute airplane ride for a rollercoaster ride.

It’s not often that you fly on an airplane for a few hours and never experience turbulence. It is just part of flying. With the help of technology and the knowledge of pilots to maneuver the plane any turbulence doesn’t last longer because the pilots can usually find a smooth place in the air.

The air traffic controllers provide great guidance so the planes have safe landings.

As an employee in the dental office you probably experience turbulence throughout the day. Patients call to change appointments, patients call with a toothache or broken tooth and need to be seen asap.


Who is your traffic controller in your office to be certain your day lands smoothly?

What procedures are in place so your patients know they can’t call last minute to change their appointment just because something better just happened to be available; i.e. a hair appointment. Seriously?! Yes, it happens. Patients believe they have more important things to do than come to their dental appointment (that is a topic for another blog).

Let’s get back to the turbulence that happens daily in the dental office.


What happens when the schedule changes? What do you do when 2 patients called in pain and the patient in operatory (Ex: Room #2) is running late because the local anesthetic is not working; the just won’t get numb!

How is your air traffic controller to oversee the schedule is running smoothly with all these changes? Who is in charge of making sure the day ends with a smooth landing?

Where does this process begin when your office hits turbulence?


It is imperative that you begin with the end in mind. Everyone on your team needs to know if you are on track to meet your goals. Everyone needs to know what they may not know when they arrive to the office.

This happens by everyone on the team auditing their schedule. Assistants and hygienists will audit their patients. The front office will audit the production, collections, A/R, the schedule, possible bottle-necks and holes in the schedule.

It is possible that this person who audits the schedule and oversees it runs smoothly and at capacity, is also the person who can be the air traffic controller. This is your key-player who will direct the traffic flow during your day at the office.

They are probably the first person to recognize the changes that occur in your office: Calls from patients who are running late, calls from patients who can’t make their appointment, etc.

If a clinician in the back office is running behind they need to communicate to the air traffic controller at the front office so this person can lead the team in the right direction to overcome roadblocks that will create a bottleneck at the front desk or unnecessary holes in the schedule.

The end result of your day is a smooth landing.

BTW: As I wrote this I was on an airplane and our decent into Los Angeles got a little bumpy. The amazing air traffic controllers did a great job and our plane landed safely thus; I am sending this to you.

What roadblocks and bumps do you experience daily in your office? Who is your office air traffic controller?

Dental Practice Management

Dental Practice Solutions

About Debbie

Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS, is the CEO of Dental Practice Solutions. In 2000, Debbie founded Dental Practice Solutions and since that time continues to support the optimization of hygiene departments globally.

Through her proven systems to communicate oral disease to dental patients she creates highly profitable dental practices around the world. You can reach Debbie at: admin@dentalpracticesolutions.com or: 888-816-1511. Check out her no-cost hygiene department training: www.dentalhygiene.solutions