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

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

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

Dental Practice Solutions - Debbie Bittke

Dental 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.

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

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

May 4, 2017

Jimmy Kemmel video total health

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prevention saves money and saves lives.

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

Preventing disease is our number 1 role as dental professionals.

Baby Kimmel

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

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

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

 

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

Be sure to check out our AGD Accredited courses. NEXT COURSE: Business of Dentistry: Your Game Plan for Success

 

 

 

The Dental Hygienists’ Role in Patients’ Treatment Plan

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

April 6, 2017

Hygienists Role in Treatment Planning

Hygienists Role in Treatment Planning

                                                                                   Video & Blog Explains Hygienists’ Role

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

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

Time Management Formula

Time Management Formula

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contact Vanessa our VP of Client Relations to discover what your true potential is for 2017. Email: mail://vanessa@dentalpracticesolutions.com or O: 949-351-8741

We also have live CE Events that may help support your team to get to the next level.

See our events page: www.events.dentalpracticesolutions.com

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 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.  No Cost Hygiene Dept Training Video Series. Grab it here Now. REGISTER FOR TRAINING

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.