Welcome

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

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?

Author

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

REGISTER HERE

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.

Conclusion

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

ABOUT 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

Secret Ingredients to Your Dental Practice Success

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

May 25, 2017

The success of a dental practice depends upon doctor “OWNING” their business, taking the lead, building up their team and then implementing all the systems, info, etc., provided to them by the dental practice management consultant.

Dental Practice Solutions can only deliver the ingredients for your dental practice to use. It is up to you to implement and use the knowledge we provide. This is how it all comes together to create HUGE SUCCESS!

I am “Over the Moon” excited to receive this message when I awoke this morning.

This is the message I received from our client:

“Looks like we will do over $45k this week.

We have smashed target for the month of May, thanks to the hygienist packages.”

~Dr. Rachel Hall, Evolve Dental Healing

Secret Ingredients to Your Dental Practice Success:

“Hygienist Packages” refers to our proprietary system for dental hygienists (also the doctor, treatment and financial coordinator) to present patients to increase case acceptance and payment of hygiene services.

If you would like to see how this can work for your dental practice please contact our strategy coach Vanessa Garman for a complimentary strategy session. Vanessa can put together a plan and discuss how this will work for you:

Call her to schedule this time: 949-351-8741 or Email to Schedule: vanessa@dentalpracticesolutions.com

The Dental Hygienist’s Role in Maintaining Dental Implants

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

May 10, 2017

Dental Implants are an expensive alternative to tooth replacement and they must last a lifetime. This is our ultimate goal when placing implants.

If our desire is to keep implants for a lifetime of the patient, it is important for the dental hygienist to understand the morphology of the peri-implant mucosa, the attachment between the mucosa and the titanium implant. This area comprises the junctional epithelium, about 2 mm high, and the connective tissue zone of greater than or equal to 1 mm in height. This is the zone that protects the osseointegrated surface from environmental factors, such as plaque in the oral cavity.

It is this zone where the health and longevity of a dental implant is imperative and it is a major role for dental hygienists is to maintain dental implants.

An important role of the hygienist is to assess if their patient as a potential implant candidate. Many people know about dental implants but choose not to inquire about them and they choose not to consider them for tooth replacement.

It is the open-ended questions, a smile evaluation and communication with a potential implant patient will begin a foundation for case acceptance of dental implants. When you allow the patient to complete a smile evaluation, you allow the patient to be the one asking about the area where a tooth is missing.

Allowing your patient to be the one inquiring about treatment will put them in the drivers seat and you are only there to offer answers to the area the patient has checked off in their smile evaluation that the are not 100% satisfied with.

You can now lead this conversation into a discussion about the consequences of not having an implant. You now have an opportunity to discuss why implant therapy a good option for a particular patient.

Continuing with your conversation you may talk about adjunctive or alternative forms of therapy/treatment that can be utilized.

It is very important for all the auxiliaries to understand why implants work, how well they work, and everyone on the dental team must understand all aspects of implant care so communications and explanations to the patient, that based on the doctor’s diagnosis, is a seamless process. This means that you have had role-play sessions as a team about “what to say,” “Who are the patients that doctor considers a good implant candidate, etc.”

When your patient accepts treatment, it’s the hygienist who will be responsible for educating the patient about oral care during the surgical and prosthetic phases of treatment. It is important for all the clinicians to understand the surgical treatment your patient will undergo and the types of restorations that will be placed. It is imperative that you recommend the appropriate oral hygiene techniques during healing phases.

Clinical hygiene and routine home-care procedures need to be effective but non-invasive so the healing tissues are not disturbed. It is also important for the patient to be aware that gentle debridement will only be effective while tissues are healing. Once healing and restoration are complete, a new hygiene routine will need to be established, learned, and complied with.

It crucial for the hygienist to educate their patients about the need for routine, maintenance. This is not an option if the patient has a desire to keep their implants for the rest of their life. Explain to your patient what can happen when their implants are not properly cared for at home and maintained by their dental hygienist.

Prevention: It’s Not All About the Tooth. It’s About Longer, Healthy Lives.

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

May 4, 2017

On April 21st Jimmy Kimmel’s wife Molly gave birth to a boy and they named him “William.”

He appeared healthy for the first few hours the nurse in the pediatric floor noticed that William had a heart murmur and he was soon after her discovered taken to neonatal floor where with further investigation by numerous doctors they discovered that baby William was born with a heart disease called

The baby’s pulmonary valve was completed blocked. After surgery at the Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles, the surgery was a success. The baby will need another open-heart surgery in about 6 months and then as a teen another non-invasive procedure.

Kimmel was quoted as saying that “No one should have to make a decision to pay for a loved-one’s life. It should not matter how much money you make you should be able to save a person’s life…”

Yes, Mr. Kimmel, you are right! No one should have to end the life of a loved one or not be able to pay for life-saving treatment to save another humans’ life!

“Prevention: It’s not all about the tooth.”

This has me thinking that we, dental professionals, are in a perfect position to help our patients live a longer and healthier life. Oral disease contributes to systemic disease.

The research from our surgeon general and the National Institute of Health have been documenting this scientific research since the late 1900’s.

We are learning in today’s always changing world, that the main reason why our patients will continue to return to their dentist routinely and not constantly switch to a new provider, is when they understand the important role of their dental professional in their total health.

It’s our professional role to help our patients understand that we don’t just treat our patient’s mouth. It’s not about a tooth. What we want to be portrayed as are associates in our patients’ total health. We are partners in preventing disease. Not just oral disease but systemic disease. Today’s world of dentistry is about total health.

Putting a halt to inflammation and infection in the oral cavity is one important way we can help our patients eliminate systemic diseases: heart attacks, various inflammatory diseases, arteriosclerosis, Alzheimer’s and various cancers, etc.

My question to you is, “Are you sharing this important information with all your patients and helping them live a longer and healthier life?”

What words do you use to explain the important role you play in your patient’s life to help them live a long, healthy life?

Do your patients know the important you play in keeping their body healthy? Or contrary, do they think you only care about the tooth and nothing but the tooth?!

Worse yet, are the patients who think you just want to see them because you always “Find” something…i.e. you just want their money.

This is all about the truth and not about a single tooth.

Let’s tell our patients about how they can live a longer and healthier life.

Prevention saves money and saves lives.

It costs less money: Cash and insurance dollars when our patients routinely see their hygienist for preventive services.

Preventing disease is our number 1 role as dental professionals.

Baby Kimmel

The dentist, the hygienist and the dental team that sees the Kimmel family has a very important role. It is imperative that the Kimmels’ dental team speak about prevention and the important role it plays in keeping the whole body healthy.

I sure hope Jimmy Kimmel’s dentist is reading this. Maybe someone can send this information to Jimmy Kimmel.

I wish the Kimmels and their new baby “William,” the very best and I hope they understand how important it is for their baby to have a healthy mouth his entire life. This is key—It’s imperative that baby William have a health mouth his entire life.

Master Your Success Game Plan: Your Team and Your Dental Coach Included

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

April 20, 2017

For the last 14 months I have had the great pleasure to work with the team at Evolve Dental healing; the office of Dr. Rachel Hall.

Dr. Rachel Hall hired Dental Practice Solutions to create systems for her hygiene department.

We had a few hurdles in the beginning because in order to soar, it is important to have the right team players on board. It took a lot of time to find the right fit to lead the hygiene department at Evolve Dental Healing.

They say “Timing is everything” and finally one month ago a new graduate applied for the position and the rest is history!

Starting 2017, Dr. Rachel decided to “Go Big!” The downside, so “I” thought, (lol) was that her year did not begin until January 11th. Dr. Rachel took an extended holiday. One would think that it is not good to begin the year in their business a week into a new year.

But……………not Dr. Rachel! Remember, I mentioned her goal for 2017, was to “Go Big!”This is exactly what happened once the year at Evolve Dental Healing began on January 11, 2017. Doesn’t matter that the office lost about 8 days in January 2017.

Let me share with you how they have mastered their success game plan. You can learn from this situation and master your own success game plan.

Here are a few steps to include in your success game plan:

The Number 1 Fact here is: MINDSET.

Dr. Rachel put her mind in success mode.

Number 2: She created a 90 Day Success Game Plan.

Let me explain that we outlined 6 goals for the practice to achieve and not only doctor but with her team by her side they accomplished these goals in 45 days NOT 90!

Number 3. Team Work

Rachel Hall Commitments

Number 4. Collaboration

You must collaborate with colleagues, study clubs and experts. AKA: A Dental Practice Management Consultant.

Two weeks ago I spent three days with the team continuing with their success plan. On day three I not only worked with the entire team to commit to the next level but in the afternoon I had time to work hands-on with the new graduate-hygienist.

Working hands-on with Elise, the new grad hygienist, proved extremely helpful to her and the future success of the practice.

The diagram below shows you were they are as of April 1, 2017.

I just spoke to Elise and the front office team before writing this. I was told that they had to add two extra days of hygiene this month because Elise and doctor are diagnosing a lot of perio therapy. I was told that 100% of the patients in the last two weeks have accepted treatment for perio therapy.

Below is a chart showing you where they were in 2016 and where they are as of April 1, 2017.

Areas of Improvement Beginning of Consultation Process: 2016    April 1,     2017
Perio Percentage 8% 50%
Days of hygiene 4/week Added 2 days/month
Hygiene Openings 2 daily April 2017 No Openings
New Patients Average 17 Average 27
Office Production Average $93,870 Average $125,252

I feel blessed  to work with this awesome team! I feel honored to do the kind of work I get to do in fact, because I love what I do so much, it is not a J O B but such a pleasure! It’s truly a pleasure to do what I get to do! And…I never have to work a day in my life because I enjoy this so much.

Do you have a success game plan? Do You?! 

Contact our office to schedule a time to discuss your dental success game plan: mail://vanessa@dentalpracticesolutions.com or call: 949-351-8741.

Dentists: How to Choose an SEO Company

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

April 14, 2017

While there may be simple dental SEO factors within a website’s coding that need to be addressed, most competitive areas require ongoing monitoring to ensure no other dental website passes you up.  If SEO is priced at $300/month, they can’t create useful, engaging content.  Especially after half of your money goes to pay the sales force that cold called you in the first place.

#2 Bragging About The Size of Sales Force

A true dental SEO expert doesn’t brag about his sales force.  Rather, you should inquire about the kinds of relationships the SEO expert has with people within the dental industry or other websites they can publish on.

Dr. Seth Lookhart has dental offices in 3 countries and is widely considered an accomplished dentist.  He says “When looking for an SEO consultant, I wasn’t interested in finding the cheapest there is. It’s about ROI, and knowing that everything is running efficiently.”

More and more dental offices are interested in knowing the SEO tactics actually being used, rather than getting sucked into a sales process with fancy buzzwords.  This dentist in Apex, NC found that the key was learning the basics about SEO, in order to gain new patients for his growing practice.

The quality of your SEO expert’s writing skills, or their staff’s ability to produce remarkable content is important.  Does the writing team create stories that people care about?  Does the content consistently rank atop Google?  How does the SEO company handle satisfying searcher intent?  There are many ways to show how successful you are in SEO, but having a boiler room full of salesmen dialing-for-dollars isn’t one of them.

#3 “Secret Sauce” SEO

Transparency in SEO is a great sign.  Being able to cogently identify exactly what’s being done for your SEO is of paramount importance.

Most SEO firms who are transparent in their tactics are much more likely to have an SEO strategy that involves both higher quality content, and relevant inbound links.  While you should only work with an SEO professional you trust, nothing replaces great communication about what’s actually being done.  My general rule of thumb is this: if they can’t explain in plain english what’s being done, it probably isn’t that great.

So what SHOULD you look for?

  1. Look for an SEO expert that teaches about SEO.  Thought leadership is a great sign in a consultant or company that claims to understand Google’s algorithms.
  2. Work with an SEO expert that assesses your unique needs, before pitching a “sale.”  By doing some quick keyword research, you can find out exactly how many people are searching for dental services in your area.  Before you make the upfront investment.
  3.  A firm grasp of the dental industry.  The SEO expert should be able to provide a wide array of dental marketing ideas that help SEO, and new patient flow.  By knowing about the dental industry, SEO works much more seamlessly.  From knowing which types of websites to earn links from, to knowing the kind of dental content Google favors, you can be sure that a dental SEO expert can be superior to a general SEO company.

Justin L. Morgan, known in the dental industry as “The Dental Marketing Guy,” teaches about dental marketing on his blog and YouTube show. Justin has been featured in major media outlets such as Dental Products Report, Dentistry Today, Dentistry IQ, Dental Town, Entrepreneur, and a number of Fortune 500 company blogs. He is the creator of The Invisalinks Method, the first and only SEO course for dental professionals.

The Dental Hygienists’ Role in Patients’ Treatment Plan

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

April 6, 2017

Hygienists’ Role

During the hygiene appointment, it is valuable for the hygienist to discuss what they see in the patient’s mouth.

The blog today is about a topic we are asked about often and it will support the Dental Hygienist’s role in patients’ treatment plan.

In Diagram A you will see our Time Management Formula which outlines where the hygienist should be during the hygiene appointment. This time management formula helps hygienist to find time to discuss what is seen in the patient’s.

The first part of every hygiene appointment will be the data collection. This will include not only the review of medical history but the perio exam, oral cancer exam, radiographs when necessary, a smile evaluation, visual exam, intra-oral photos.

After you collect all the important patient information you will sit the patient upright and knee-to-knee-eye-to-eye to now create a partnership with your patient to show them what you see. Now you are in the Treatment Planning phase of the hygiene patient appointment.

Please note: this time management formula is only a suggestion of time and if you have less than sixty minutes of time with your patient you will adjust the time formula so it meets your schedule. This is an example of time for the sixty minute hygiene appointment.

During this time with your patient you will show them what you see on their perio chart, radiographs and/or intra-oral photos. Let your patients be a part of what you see. Ask them to show you what they see after you show them. Say words like “bleeding, infection, large black area is tooth decay moving very close to the nerve which can cause you a toothache.”

Your patient is possibly hearing this information for the 1st time and all these words are new to their oral condition. It can feel overwhelming for your patient to hear all this information, so break it down into words you believe they will understand.

This means that you will not say words like “Periodontal Treatment” but instead you will say “Gum Treatment.” You do not want to say, “Deep Cleaning” because when a patient has gum disease (AKA: Periodontal Disease) this is not treated with a cleaning but with a special “gum treatment” or “gum therapy.” It also down-plays what is actually happening in their mouth. A periodontal patient is not going to get a cleaning.

Once the doctor enters to do the exam it is the hygienists’ role to connect them with the patient and guide them through what has occurred during the appointment.

The connection is an update your patient; a personal aspect of their life. This is rapport building. It doesn’t need to take but a minute for doctor to be reconnected with a routine patient.

With the hygienist’s guidance, when talking with doctor in front of the patient and doctor, the patient will hear the same words used to describe the patient’s oral condition.

Then when dismissing the patient, the hygienist will again explain to the front desk what was completed, what the patient needs to schedule for (if not scheduled in hygiene room) and the valuable “reason the patient will return.”

Now your patient has heard this topic of discussion, these words which describe their oral condition, at least 3 times and they are beginning to be more familiar plus have a deeper understanding of what is happening in their mouth. They are now understanding why it is important to return sooner than later.

This system is part of what we teach our clients (Our doctors and their team) which is helping to “close the back door.” This is what helps keep our client schedules full and productivity high.

  • Do you know what percentage of your treatment plans come from the hygienist showing the patient hat is happening in their mouth?
  • Do you know the specific words to use that will add a lot of value for your patients to schedule, pay and return to your office?

This is what we spend a lot of time working on with our clients.

Let us know how we can support your team and get you to that next level of success.

Dental Appointments. Your Patient’s Reason to Return

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

March 29, 2017

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

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!