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

HOW TO SPOT AN OROFACIAL MYOFUNCTIONAL DISORDER | 5 Sign to Look for that Could Change a Life

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

December 13, 2017

Have you noticed that some patients tend to have more lunch stuck on their teeth then others?

You know the patient that comes in and apologizes for eating on the way to her appointment. You tell her that it is fine, that you are just glad she had lunch. When she opens her mouth, you are shocked.  It appears that the entire bagel is still in her mouth, smashed up against her teeth.  How is that possible?

Then there is the 60-year old man that instantly falls asleep when you lean the chair back and starts snoring just as you are going to give him an injection. How about the cute little six-year old girl that has a speech impediment, or the five-year old boy with an overjet and long skinny face with dark circles under his eyes.

You may have thought that the lady with the bagel mouth was just not kind enough to clean up before her appointment, and left you to do it for her.  Well, it is very likely that she has an ankylosed tongue that does not allow her tongue to reach up high enough to clean food debris off of her teeth.

It may be obvious to you right away that the 60-year old man is suffering from sleep apnea, but did you know that is could be due to his tongue not being able to reach up to the roof of his mouth. It is literally blocking his airway at night because it rests on the floor of this mouth.

That cute little six-year old girl hasn’t been able to develop proper speech patterns due to a tongue thrust.  And you got it, the five-year old boy is a thumb sucker. These are all signs of an Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder (OMD).

HOW TO SCREEN FOR OROFACIAL MYOFUNCTIONAL DISORDERS

Dentists and hygienists are in a prime position to screen for Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders. There are several signs we can screen for to determine if the patient may have a disorder and benefit from seeing a trained therapist. The following are some of the most commons signs:

Upper or Lower Lip Frenum Restriction

Jaw Pain or Clicking/Popping

Mouth Breathing

Sleep Apnea

Snoring

Ankyloglossia (tongue tie)

Forward Head Posture

Neck Pain

Enlarged Tonsils/Adenoids

Acid Reflex

Narrow Palate or Crooked Teeth

ADHD

If you are new to learning about OMT, keep it simple by starting with these five signs and symptoms:

Ankyloglossia

Commonly referred to as “tongue-tie” occurs when the lingual frenulum is too short to allow for normal tongue movements. Best if done with the patient in an upright position. Have the patient open wide and lift his tongue to the roof of his mouth.  Determine is he is able to reach his tongue up to his incisive papilla easily or if he struggles.  Then have him stick his tongue straight out, if the tip appears heart shaped, this is a sign that he is tongue tied. The heart shape apex happens when the frenum is short and pulls down the center of the tongue.

Low tongue rest posture

Think mouth breather.  When nasal breathing is impaired, the jaw drops and the tongue rests low and forward in the mouth in order to open the airway for breathing. It may be that nasal breathing is not impaired, but mouth breathing has become a habit. Watch for your patients resting position. Is the mouth open? Is he breathing out of his mouth or nose?

Tongue Thrust

Tongue thrust is in which the anterior surface of the tongue makes repeated contact with any of the anterior teeth, or protrudes between the arches. Have the patient swallow for you while you are holding his bottom lip. If he has a tongue thrust he may have a very hard time swallowing. He may need to pull the lower lip out of your hand in order to complete the swallow. In a healthy swallow, the tongue rests in the palate, the teeth come together, and then the person swallows. The facial muscle should not move, so any lip puckering or licking of the lips before swallowing should be warning signs of tongue thrust. Another sign will be an anterior open bite.

Sleep Apnea

When you place a patient in the supine position and he immediately falls asleep and starts to snore, this is a sign that he may have sleep apnea or other conditions keeping him up at night. Luckily for us trying to get work done, this does not happen very often. In most cases you will need to question the patient. You will often get the response of “my wife tells me I snore, but I don’t know”.  If nothing else, this is an opportunity for them to become mindful of possible snoring and to question their spouse or use a sleeping app to record their sleeping patterns and sounds. Referring the patient to have a sleep study or consult with his medical doctor is a good place to start.

Digit Sucking

Although there are adults that suck their thumb, odds are that most of your thumb sucking patients will be children. It may be an easy screening if you see the child suck his thumb, but often they will not do it in public and you will have to look for signs and question the parents.  Look for an anterior open bite and a swollen nub on the patients thumb or fingers.  One reason a child may suck his thumb at night is to help open his airway so he can breathe. If he has a tongue tie he may be using a digit to press the tongue down out of the way. Resting the tongue on the incisive papilla area is also soothing and if his habit is hold the tongue down, he is missing out on this natural soothing technique. OMT specialists have ways to help break the child of this habit and can help with underlying causes.

WHAT IS OROFACIAL MYOFUNCTIONAL THERAPY

Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy (OMT) is the neuromuscular re-education or re-patterning of the oral and facial muscles. It is the establishment of correct functional activities of the tongue, lips and jaw, so that normal growth and development may progress in a stable, homeostatic environment. OMT specialists obtain training in this field in order to work with patients to correct disorders that are affecting their well-being. Think physical therapy for the mouth.

HOW TO BECOME A TRAINED OROLFACIAL MYOFUNCTIONAL THERAPIST

Orofacial Myofunctional Therapists include dentists, dental hygienists, speech pathologists and occupational therapists. Although OMT may be in the scope of our license, further training is required in order to properly treat patients. Training opportunities for those interested in learning more about Myofunctional Therapy include private mentoring from a current Myofunctional Therapist, courses through academies or associations, or information learned within the educational curriculum.

CONCLUSION

Proper treatment of OMD’s require a collaboration of dental and medical professionals. By being aware of the signs for these disorders, you are able to provide a screening for potential issues and refer them to seek treatment with a trained OMT. When you become aware of OMD’s you will start to see them everywhere- maybe even in the mirror.

 

References:

International Association of Orofacial Myology- www.iaom.com

Academy of Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy- www.aomtinfo.org

Academy of Applied Myofunctional Sciences- www.aamsinfo.org

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association- www.asha.org

Cindy Rogers, RDH, BS, OMT is the lead hygiene advisor for Dental Practice Solutions. She started in dentistry as the front desk girl in 1998, and has since been a business leader, dental hygienist, writer and untiring advocate of Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy.

Dental Consultant | The Dental Hygienists Role in Keeping Doctor’s Schedule Full

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

December 6, 2017

Every success schedule in the dental office begins with a strategy. Without a strategic plan, you are not able to meet the financial goals to keep your dental practice surviving.

The best plan is to not survive, but thrive.

What is the dental hygienist’s role in keeping doctor’s schedule full?

1st Step to Doctor’s Success Schedule

The first step for hygienists to help keep doctors schedule full is to have a mindset that they are like an associate to doctor; helping the practice to grow.

2nd Step to Successful Scheduling

The next step is actually two-pronged. The hygienist needs to audit all patient records before their day at the office begins. This audit serves many purposes but for this blog we will stick to the topic of what a hygienist’s role is for successful scheduling and helping doctor’s schedule stay full all day.

When auditing the patient’s records look to see what outstanding treatment is necessary. Why does the patient need to schedule this? What is the urgency the hygienist and all the clinicians will speak to this patient about?

For example: Does the patient have a dark spot on their bite-wing x-ray and when you audit the patients record you feel concerned they may very soon have a toothache.

Why did this patient not want to schedule this appointment? It is important to understand the patient’s objection so that when the hygienist has the patient in their chair they can immediately address the patient’s previous objection.

Example: Without even saying; “I know money is a concern,” what you can say is (Have the patient seated upright in the chair with x-rays, and/or intra-oral photos there in front of the patient), “Mrs. Jones, doctor and I are both concerned about this black spot on your x-ray. Let me show you this area. Do you see this black spot? Here is the nerve of your tooth and as you can see this black spot is very close to the nerve which means that once it reaches the nerve it will cause a toothache and also means we probably need to do a root canal and a tooth with a root canal needs a tooth. This means spending a lot more money to keep this tooth.”

Notice how the hygienist in this example address the patients concern before they could even give their objection which they stated at their last appointment and this is the reason the treatment is unscheduled.

It is also very important that hygienists not only think about the gum health of their patients but provide a visual exam.

After the hygienist completes all of their screenings, it is a great time to sit the patient upright in the chair and show them what you see. Look together with the patient. Make the patient part of this process. This means that you look together and ask the patient if they see what you see.

Use words that the patient understands. Saying words like “periodontal disease,” and “tooth decay” probably don’t mean as much to your patient as if the words: gum infection, inflammation, active disease, cavity, black soft spot, etc.”

When you see holes in doctor’s schedule it’s time to take a look at the hygiene patient exam process. It’s a great time to look at patient records who have not scheduled their appointment and discuss as a team what you can do differently so these patients will schedule and pay.

The best way to get patients scheduled and paying for the care you offer is to communicate (your words and actions) in a way that helps the patient to feel and believe they want what they need.

Many of your patients have left your office without committing to schedule and pay for your care. Many of these patients also took very nice vacations this summer, they already plan to buy that new iPhone X, some have spent a lot of money on a really nice car and many have spent thousands of dollars on a sleeve of body of tattoo’s.

Our job? We have a responsibility to help our patients want what they need. Don’t most people want to live a longer and healthier life? This is our overarching message, “Optimal oral health will help you live a longer and healthier life!”

Still have holes in your schedule? Please feel free to reach out to an expert. This is one area that we have created a success strategy around. Our client offices have many patients who now schedule and pay for treatment AND many of their patients pay before their treatment is complete.

Our client offices have a system in place for big cases where patients are currently paying in advance for doctor and hygienist’s services.

Most of the medical cosmetic offices have patients pay in advance and why can’t your patients feel urgency to pay for keeping a healthy mouth?!

It’s all in how you are delivering your message to the patient in your chair.

Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS is a 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 profitable hygiene departments. She is well-known as a 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.

DENTISTRY TODAY considers her a top dental consultant for the past 16 yrs.

The focus of Dental Practice Solutions is to create healthier, longer lives for your patients while supporting the practice to optimize their hygiene department. The team at Dental Practice Solutions, takes an integrative approach with your team to create an increase in your production and collections without working harder. When you continue to use the systems implemented, you will benefit from production that creates dividends year after year, for the life of your dental practice.

Debbie is also a former Hygiene Program Director and clinical assistant professor for the dental hygiene program at USC in Los Angeles.

Debbie is passionate about supporting dental teams to provide a profitable, patient-centered dental practice through improving systems and efficiencies in the dental hygiene department

Dental Hygiene Consultant | Your Dental Practice Profitability Compass

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

November 29, 2017

How much time did you spend planning your last vacation?

Did you map it out?

Or, did you just throw some clothes in a suitcase and take-off in your car headed in what you thought was the quickest path to your destination?

I bet that you took many hours to plan your last vacation and you started packing probably the week before you left.

In today’s world of technology, you pulled up your map using your mobile device and maybe you printed the directions on your laser printer.

How much time do you spent planning your day at the dental office?

Does your team have a practice profitability compass?

Your Compass

The compass we provide our clients is what you probably know as a “team huddle.”

Once you have this system in place, it should take about ten minutes to plan your day.

The entire team will audit their area of expertise.

Here are a few suggestions to organize your team huddle:

  1. Begin with the financial coordinator (Office manager or similar position) reporting on production/ collections: Monthly goal and your current month-to-date production/collections. Talk about what went well the previous day and what did not go well, etc.
  2. Scheduling coordinator reports on open holes in today schedule and in the near future. Let the team know about ER patient availability. Provide doctor with a list of new patients for him/her to call before their 1st (Yes! This is something different and you will stand out among other dentists in your community if you do this one thing!)
  3. Hygienists come to this meeting with an understanding and communicate to the team about which patients need: new medical history, Oral ID™ FMX/BWX, doctor exam, perio charting, outstanding restorative needs, family members who also need a hygiene appointment or restorative care, post-op call update (For all patients who received local anesthesia), etc.
  4. Assistants audit their schedule to share and inquire about patients with special needs, local anesthetic needed, type of impression needed, results of post-op calls from the day before, which patients have family members who need a hygiene or restorative appointment, etc.
  5. Yes, even doctor has a part in the morning team huddle. We suggest that our doctor call all new patients scheduled during the week prior to their 1st appointment. Doctor will report on the outcome of this quick call to welcome the new patient.

When everyone takes time to look at their schedule and review their patient needs as listed above, you will discover adjunctive and necessary services your scheduled patients and their family members need.

When you look at your practice profitability compass you can work together as a team to close various gaps in meeting your goals. You will also be able to serve your patients at a much higher level.

Closing the Gaps

Maybe you are still scratching your head. Some of you think meetings are a waste of time.

What I am suggesting is that everyone let the team know what is needed to make the day profitable, efficient and provides the best care for the patients.

Your morning team huddle will help navigate your day and eliminate any un-necessary bottlenecks which might occur.

This compass is what makes a day that has a smooth landing without turbulence.

 

Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS is a dental consultant, coach, speaker and author. She is also CEO of Dental Practice Solutions. Debbie is a world-class leader in creating profitable hygiene departments. She is well-known as a 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.

Be sure to grab this free 3-part hygiene video department training, webinar on the Gingivitis Code plus flowchart on training the patient with gingivitis and Strategic Planning Session: http://www.dentalhygiene.solutions/

You can reach Dental Practice Solutions to schedule a complimentary strategic planning session by calling 949-351-8741 or you can send an email to: admin@dentalpracticesollutions.com

You can also go to the website: www.dentalpracticesolutions.com

More compliance. Less defiance. Innovative model for case acceptance by patients…the path of least resistance.

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

November 22, 2017

By Steven Ury, DDS, Periodontist
      Randy Nolf, DDS, Periodontist

Dentists and hygienists are using a simple to complete analytical software making discussions with the patients easier…making the progression to treatment compliance easier… and enabling a practice to substantially increase case acceptance for periodontal therapy. This technology makes available a single language, with everyone “on the same page”, to discuss periodontal disease, and the necessary treatment.

The software allows for thoughtful and readily understandable discussions with patients thus improving the progression to treatment acceptance through a path of least resistance.

Implementing innovative technology into the practice, using risk and disease severity health scores as clinical support, will no doubt increase patient compliance.

PreViser™ Corporation www.PreViser.com provides their web enabled Oral Health Information Suite (OHIS) software for free. The use of the technology provides three (3) numbers, or scores, indicating patients’ risk of future periodontal disease, existing disease state and their ongoing oral health stability. With these 3 scores, patients then have a clearer idea of the severity and comprehensiveness of their problems. In other words, they know how things are going.

A nice feature of the OHIS is that it allows practitioners to recalculate the risk scores, just as if the patients had completed the advised treatment. So, a patient can visualize what will happen without treatment compared to what will occur with the recommended care. That’s when the fun begins. These scores predict whether the treatment plan will be working. Outcomes are the key.

Dental practices are utilizing this powerful method to impact a patient’s decision to proceed with care for a lifetime of oral health. Case acceptance is markedly improved providing more treatment for periodontal disease by the dentists and hygienists including any necessary subsequent restorative care.

Why now? Well, there’s a new sheriff in town. Patients and practitioners, as well as insurance companies and employers, are relying less on subjective findings to determine if periodontal care is working.  Welcome the new law of the land – objective findings derived by an analytical software. Practitioners are accurately communicating with patients about their risk of disease and the outcomes of treatment. Everyone’s “on the same page”. We’re talking Evidence Based Practice here; the integration of clinical expertise, patient values, and the best research evidence into the decision-making process for patient care.

Instead of dentists and hygienists potentially disconnecting on a diagnosis, a treatment plan or a prognosis, they can agree and provide an easy to use, objective and reproducible way to measure, understand and communicate patients’ risk and disease level as simple numeric scores.

People relate to scores and knowing their numbers gets them involved. Physicians supply blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes numbers to their patients to follow their progress. Now dental patients will know their periodontal disease scores and look for improvement in the numbers.

More and more dentists in the know are advocating the principles of a medical model of healthcare for dentistry. Less repair and more interception and prevention. Consider the PerioCentric™ practice, defined as a best practice in which treatment revolves around sound periodontal diagnosis and treatment, utilizing metrics to evaluate treatment outcome.  It employs a simple step by step, reproducible, algorithmic approach to care we call the PerioBlueprint™.

When implemented it provides dental professionals the knowledge and tools to discover undiagnosed and untreated periodontal disease in an existing practice. The appropriate care for these conditions will result in improved health for patients as well as production and revenue for the dental practice that may prove to increase exponentially.

Dentistry is adjusting to a new paradigm that is better for patients by shifting focus away from procedures for repair of disease… to a model of interception and prevention of disease.

There is unprecedented demand for increased care for periodontal disease. The most recent data from the Center for Disease Control revealed that 47.2% of adult Americans exhibit periodontal disease and the disease increases to 70.1% of adults over 65 years. Contemporaneous insurance company data reports only about 7% obtain periodontal treatment…Only 7%.

Dentistry has a busyness problem. Nationally, approximately 1 in 3 dentists say they are not busy enough. Imagine the increase in production and revenue when discovering that perhaps 50% of patients require some form of periodontal care. And not just code 1110 “prophy” care – we’re talking anesthetized scaling/root planing, pocket reduction and tissue grafting surgery. LANAP, and more. Of course, when maintenance starts, using the obligatory code 4910 will result in more comprehensive visit than a code 1110 “cleaning” and thus, improve hygiene production.

We are in a time of transformational change in healthcare and tremendous opportunities for enhanced collaboration among healthcare providers exist. Dentists have a chance to fundamentally rethink their role within the healthcare system and take advantage of these new opportunities. It would not only help peck away at dentistry’s busyness problem but would also allow dentists to contribute much more significantly to whole-body health. And really, isn’t that what it’s all about.

 

 

Dr. Steven Ury, Periodontist
Dr. Randy Nolf, Periodontist
PreViser Corporation and AdViser Corporation Co-Founders
Directors, The Synergy Academy (www.TheSynergyAcademy.com)
UryAdViser@gmail.com

 

 

About Dr. Ury

Dr. Steven R. Ury, Periodontist

Academic Faculty Director, The Synergy Academy

An entrepreneur at heart, Steve Ury altered his career from engineering to focus on the potential of the burgeoning dental industry. He earned a degree in dentistry, owned a general practice and then became a periodontist with an office in NY.

During his leadership of dental study groups and as past president of the largest periodontal organization in the northeast United States, Dr. Ury interacted with other dental professionals. He foresaw the changing landscape of periodontal care and referral.

As co-founder of PreViser Corporation, he witnessed the development of analytic software to help expose undiscovered periodontal disease. More disease revealed equates to more treatment rendered resulting in more healthy patients.

Lack of busyness is problematic in dental practices. Realizing periodontal disease concerns approximately 50% of the adult population but only about 7% have related care, he considered the possibilities. Dr. Ury believes that dentists could easily increase production and revenue by administrating in-office, non-surgical and basic surgical periodontal treatment.

 

About Dr. Nolf

Dr. Randy Nolf, Periodontist

Clinical Faculty Director, The Synergy Academy

As a periodontist, Randy Nolf has witnessed the changing dental industry as an opportunity is expanding for general dentists and specialists alike. Dr. Nolf believes that the same is true for dental education which is at the dawn of a major shift to less centralized, more affordable, and rapid practice adoption model of delivery.

He has continually been involved with teaching since he received his advanced certificate in Periodontology from Temple University in 1981. His outstanding credentials include a certificate from the gIDE Master Clinician program and as co-founder of the PreViser Corporation.

Dentistry is adjusting to a new paradigm, better for our patients by focus shifting away from repair to interception of disease. Interception as a treatment model is possible through sensitive artificial intelligence permeating into our practices. Randy is gratified to witness this evolution in part through software he created and now being adopted throughout the Us and UK.

Dr. Nolf has been an advocate of supporting general dentists with in-office training as well as on-site surgical procedures his entire career. 35 years integrated into dentists’ offices has led to a new system of training called “Synchronized Dental Learning™” facilitating rapid adoption of new surgical procedures into general practice.

Dental Consultant | How Do We Bill It and Get Reimbursed?

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

November 3, 2017

 

Please join Founder of Dental Practice Solutions, Debbie Seidel-Bittke and Consultant, JoAnn Leon
for the course
“How Do We Bill It and Get Reimbursed?”

JoAnn Leon will walk attendees through the correct treatment and billing sequence for reimbursement to occur is a timely manner.

Proper sequence must occur for many services so patients insurance will reimburse the service rendered.

The following topics and challenges offices often face will be covered at the upcoming course:

  • Extractions – Routine or Surgical: Why you may not be getting paid.
  • Bone Graft at the Time of Extraction: What is your billing sequence and information submitted to insurance co.?
  • Ortho Extractions: Are you getting paid? JoAnn will share exactly how these need to properly be submitted to insurance for expedited insurance reimbursement.
  • Dry Sockets: Are you getting paid? JoAnn will discuss the proper method for reimbursement.
  • Offices with Invisalign: How are you billing? Steps to expedite reimbursement.
  • Emergency visits: How to use the after hours code.
  • Proper Billing for Occlusal Adjustment.
  • And so much more!

Course Information

Course Date: November 30, 2017
Dinner Begins at 6:00 PM
Course: 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
2 CE Credits

Click Here to Register

**Limited Seats Available**

We ask that those attending bring their billing challenges as JoAnn will take time to personally work with you to ensure these claims are reimbursed.

We look forward to seeing you there.

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?

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