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to Dental Practice Solutions

Welcome to dentistry’s largest dental hygiene practice management resource center! We are the leading dental hygiene consultant/coaching business.

We will increase your TOTAL dental practice profitability without working more hours or days each year.

- Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS, Speaker, Author. Dental Hygiene Coach & Consultant

Dental Practice Solutions - Debbie Bittke

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

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

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.

TURBULENCE

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?

BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dental Hygienists Role in Maintaining Dental Implants

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

May 10, 2017

Dental Hygienists Role in Treating Implants

Dental Hygienists Role in Treating Implant Patients

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.

Dental Implants

Dental Implant Maintenance

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.

Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS One of Dentistry Today's Top Consultants

Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS One of Dentistry Today’s Top Consultants

 ABOUT DEBBIE SEIDEL-BITTKE, RDH, BS

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. She can be reached at (888) 816-1511. Send an e-mail to info@dentalpracticesolutions.com or go to her website: http://www.dentalpracticesolutions.com

Be sure to check out the live CE Events for FUN, Educational learning and AGD CE Credits.

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

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

April 20, 2017

Rachel Hall Number 1

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 if you aspire to become one of the top emergency dentist in Perth. 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.

Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS One of Dentistry Today's Top Consultants

Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS One of Dentistry Today’s Top Consultants

  ABOUT DEBBIE

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. She can be reached at (888) 816-1511. Send an e-mail to info@dentalpracticesolutions.com or go to her website: http://www.dentalpracticesolutions.com

Check out the Free 3-Part Hygiene Department Training: http://www.dentalhygiene.solutions

 

 

Dental Appointments. Your Patient’s Reason to Return

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

March 29, 2017

Dental Patients Reason to Return

Treatment Planning

How do you know what is valuable to your patient?

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

What is your patient’s reason to return?

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

When will you know what is valuable to your patient?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Patient Discovery 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do you have a special laser whitening offer going on?

YES?! 

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

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

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

Does your office have a special smile makeover process?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

One of Dentistry Today's top dental consultants

Debbie Seidel- Bittke, RDH, BS Dental Hygiene Consultant

           About Debbie

Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS is an international dental consultant, coach, speaker and author. She is also CEO of Dental Hygiene Solutions, powered by Dental Practice Solutions. Debbie is a world-class leader in creating highly profitable hygiene departments. She is a well-known former clinical assistant professor at USC in Los Angeles and a former hygiene department program director. Dentistry Today recognizes Debbie as a Leader in Dental Consulting for the past 12 yrs.

 

Case Acceptance: Reason to Return

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

March 22, 2017

Case Acceptance

Case Acceptance

CLICK LINK TO WATCH VIDEO

What factors help you decide to buy a certain car?

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

And why do you buy your groceries where you do?

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

How did you present treatment diagnosed to your patient?

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

I highly doubt it!

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

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

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

Here are some tips to Keep Your Schedule Full:

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

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

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

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

One of Dentistry Today's top dental consultants

Debbie Seidel- Bittke, RDH, BS Dental Hygiene Consultant

ABOUT DEBBIE SEIDEL-BITTKE

Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS is an international dental consultant, coach, speaker and author. She is also CEO of Dental Hygiene Solutions, powered by Dental Practice Solutions. Debbie is a world-class leader in creating highly profitable hygiene departments. She is a well-known former clinical assistant professor at USC in Los Angeles and a former hygiene department program director. Dentistry Today recognizes Debbie as a Leader in Dental Consulting for the past 12 yrs.

Dental Practice Systems Create Wealth

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

January 5, 2017

Dental Patient Services System

Dental Patient Services System


There are hundreds of dental stories inside the dental jungle.

Dr. Frank Frederickson is the Guide taking dentists through the dental jungle and offering sage advice.

Dr. Carly Carlson is a young, new dental practice owner and she is fired up, ready to rock and roll in her new dental office. Dr. Carlson’s first question to Dr. Frederickson is about growing her retirement account so that she can one day, have a good retirement. Dr. Carlson specifically asks, “How can I maximize my new dental practice so that one day I can have enough money to retire?”

Dental Practice Systemscreate wealth.

Dr. Carlson had not heard of having an 8:00 a.m. start-the-day right goal in addition to a daily goal. She did not understand the value of holding a team meeting so that everyone on the team can “close any gaps”and “be on the same page.”

Dr.Frederickson advised Dr. Carlson that this system is something that needs to be done on Monday. To have the right goals at the start-of-the day is really not too difficult and it would not take a lot of planning. You need to communicate your goal to everyone and make it happen with a lot of effort and desire.

Dr. Frederickson knows a lot about systems that create success for the dental practice and he explained to Dr. Carlson that it’s never too late to create and then start running systems.

It’s All About the Patient Care Systems

Systems create wealth. Ask Henry Ford about his production system. Ask Bill Gates about his operating system. Ask Julia Child about her recipe system. Ask Richard Branson about his entrepreneur system. All will say that their secret to creating wealth was that they created and then followed a system.

Patient Care Systems are a significant part of a $10,000 A Day Dentist’s strategic plan. They include carefully outlined the steps for every procedure performed in the practice. Each system is known and understood by the entire team. There is no creating-it on-the-fly, no winging-it, and no last-minute-planning in a “well-oiled machine” practice.

Examples of a Patient Care System would include:

1. The Dental Emergency Appointment
2. The New Patient Experience
3. The Ultimate Hygiene Patient Experience
4. The VIP Consult (which is a free second opinion consultation)
5. CMO Exam – the craniomandibular orthopedic workup.
6. The Smile Analysis – the Cosmetic Evaluation
7. Periodontal Evaluation: Oral/Systemic Health Connection and Treatment Protocol
8. Dental Implant Exam and Diagnosis Appointment with the cone beam CT scan
9. Full Mouth Reconstruction Pre-planning Appointment
10. Invisalign® Exam and Impression Appointment

Every procedure has a system and every appointment follows a system. Imagine a scenario in which you have a system to diagnose a problem and then you will treatment plan the solution. Next, imagine the business assistants activating a system to get the patient into that treatment and then the clinical assistants implementing a system to actually do that work. All of this is completed without additional time consuming input from you; the dentist.

Now imagine that being done for every procedure, every patient, and every day.

Would the stress in the office be lower, production higher and profits magnified? The answer is always, yes!

Having Patient Care Systems in place all across the practice are like everyone on the team having their own Swiss Army Knife ready to handle anything, anytime, anywhere. Our Team Training combined with the Solstice 5M Mastermind groups examine many systems in-depth within their individual practices. This consistently results in increased production within the practice.

Planning for a good retirement includes examining how you can maximize productivity in your dental practice and making wise decisions to implement the changes. It’s the same when creating Patient Care Systems that are necessary to increase value in your practice.

Dr. Carlson is off to a great start with her new practice. It’s never too late for you as a dental practice owner to travel into the dental jungle and follow your guide.

How are you doing? Are you lost in the dental jungle? Do you believe that a guide will help you create efficient systems to increase your profits in 2017?

Please comment below how you are doing in your dental practice. Which of the above systems do you have in place? How are these systems working for you?

These systems are your key to building wealth.

You may want to ask about our Mastermind Training which begins on Friday January 20, 2017.

Schedule a Call with Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS and Dr. Bill Williams

One of Dentistry Today's top dental consultants

Debbie Seidel- Bittke, RDH, BS Dental Hygiene Consultant

ABOUT DEBBIE SEIDEL-BITTKE, RDH, BS
Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS is a dental hygiene 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. She can be reached at (888) 816-1511. Send an e-mail to info@dentalpracticesolutions.com or go to her website: http://www.dentalpracticesolutions.com

Maximizing Your Capacity Inside the Dental Jungle

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

December 28, 2016

Dental Practice Success

Maximizing Your Dental Practice Capacity

In the dental jungle there are thousands of success stories. Let me introduce you to our guide an elite dentist, a peak performer, in our dental industry. His name is Dr. Frank Frederickson.

DENTAL HYGIENE DEPARTMENT/TEAM EMPOWERMENT – MAXIMIZING YOUR CAPACITY INSIDE THE DENTAL JUNGLE

Dr. Carley Carlson is a dentist of five years. She purchased a dental practice three  years ago from a dentist who basically let his practice die. She was able to get a good deal on the price of this practice because it was run down by the previous dentist.

Dr. Carlson decided that in 2017 she wants to take a big leap forward so she has paid to travel into the dental jungle and she has hired her guide named Dr. Frederickson.

Dr. Carlson’s first goal is to break the two million dollar mark for 2017. She knows that focusing on her dental hygiene department will be one of the best ways to accomplish her big goal for 2017.

Dr. Carlson’s question to Dr. Frederickson is, “How do I break the two million dollar mark in 2017?” Dr. Frederickson’s response: “In all honesty, not many dentists think like this but those who do, they actually do it. Size doesn’t matter. You will only be limited by what lies inside the mind.”

Simply put, dentistry is a series of interactions. The student learns from his or her professors and then they will apply what they learn on their patients. A dentist learns from his advanced General Practice Residency and applies what he or she learns on her patients. An experienced dentist moves up the ladder of success by taking continuing education courses; one symposium at a time, adding to their repertoire to help patients.

The king of dental learning experiences a life of success inside the dental jungle with their guide such as Dr. Frederickson.

In the team training with Dr. Frederickson; an experienced mentor or coach, combined with the “Empowered Hygiene” curriculum, you exactly what your team needs to grow your dental practice. Each member of your team will have a leadership role with specific responsibilities, accountability and support to grow the dental practice.

Dr. Frederickson says that empowering the team, providing leadership and accountability from your guide, aka: your coach, will yield the biggest boost to your dental practice.

I’m not just boasting about being “The Guide” so that others can achieve the same outstanding results that our other doctors who walked through the Dental Jungle have experienced, but I do know that doctors who allow a guide to take them through the dental jungle, they double their practice production.

Because they follow a guide who has traveled through the jungle before them, it’s conceivable that a two million dollar practice for Dr. Carlson is easily within reach.

Within a local study club, you have dentists who are competing for patients. By contrast, your guide and everyone supporting you, take a personal interest in you doing well. That in itself can’t hurt when you have the right mindset.

In our Hygiene Department, Team Training, we ensure success by creating a team driven practice. The team members are empowered to be their very best. This means that your team members are peak performers. Each member of the team has a leadership role with accountability and rewards for their success.

I really enjoy helping doctors walk through the dental jungle to maximize their capacity. The leap to your next million dollars in 2017 is only limited by your mindset.

The Hygiene Empowerment with Team Training, will be the best investment you can make for your success in 2017. There is no other place you can go to deposit one dollar and have a return of ten dollars! And those dollars earn dividends for years to come.

Let me know if you are ready to walk with your guide through the dental jungle in 2017. I’d like to show you the way.

You may want to ask about our Mastermind Training which begins on Friday January 20, 2017. Schedule a Call with Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS and Dr. Bill Williams

One of Dentistry Today's top dental consultants

Debbie Seidel- Bittke, RDH, BS Dental Hygiene Consultant

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. She can be reached at (888) 816-1511. Send an e-mail to info@dentalpracticesolutions.com or go to her website: http://www.dentalpracticesolutions.com