Doctors, Hygienists and Assistants, are you wearing the correct size gloves?
I imagine you are very comfortable in the size glove you wear currently but if you are experiencing carpel tunnel, trigger thumb or even neck pain, keep reading and view this video to see how you know if your glove is the correct size.
When I tell a clinician, they are wearing the wrong size glove they always tell me that the bigger size glove is too big for their fingers.
To hold an instrument or hand piece the most important part of your glove is not the finger fit, it is the palm of your hand.
A glove that allows the palm of your hand to move around freely is one that will never cause the above physical problems mentioned above. A correctly fitting glove will allow you to access a deep pocket, it allows you to angle your probe correctly and for the doctor, this becomes very important when you are prepping a crown and may make it much easier to extract a tooth.
When you wear a glove that fits correctly you will notice less tears, which means it is a lot safer for you, the clinician.
According to Donna Gaidamak, media relations manager for Cardinal Health, wearing a glove that is too small with cause hand fatigue, skin irritation and damage.
After reading this blog and viewing the video, I challenge you to return to your office and check to see, are you wearing the correct size glove?
Debbie is known as one of the top leaders in dental consulting. She speaks, and consults with clients all over the world. She is a well-known author, published in most of the dental journals for over 18 years.
Debbie has a unique way of engaging with doctor and the team, so they have patients who accept treatment, schedule and pay as well as, continue returning to your office indefinitely.
Do you or your team member(s) struggle with the “all saying the same thing to patients?” Do all your hygienists treatment plan and sequence perio and gingivitis the same way?” Not sure how to sequence treatment for gingivitis? We are here to help! Just give our office a call or email to schedule a call so we can explain how we will help you with this bump in the road. We will also provide AGD CE Credits with your training (in-office or web-based). Just ask us how it’s done: email or Call our office: 949-351-8741. You can also schedule your session to find out more about this here.
In Part I, we discussed what to say to this patient.
In Part II I will talk about what our American Academy of Periodontology and the research says about this. You will read about other publications and what the general public has access to regarding treatment of gingivitis and periodontal disease.
The intent of reading this information is to answer this question, “What Do We Say When a Routine Hygiene Patient Has Periodontal Disease Today?”
What Others Say:
The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP)addresses this situation on their website. As dental professionals we know to look at the AAP as the “gold standard” for treating and preventing periodontal disease.
You will see many of the messages about oral health and it’s role in total health in men and women’s magazines.
The National Institute of Health Library, has extensive research on the mouth body connection and how oral disease contributes to various systemic diseases and cancer.
Many dental clinicians today still find it awkward to talk with routine prophy patients about a change in their oral health.
What we have discovered working with many dental offices around the world is that when clinicians have routine prophy patients return with bleeding gums and in many cases, undiagnosed periodontal disease (an ex-employee/clinician missed this diagnosis), the clinician feels uncomfortable delivering the message to their patient about gingivitis and/or periodontal disease.
Patient care in the dental office must be about the patients’ well-being, their total health. Patients are paying for your expertise and you must be open to sharing the true picture of their oral health and how it relates to their total health.
Not Only About the Tooth.
Before you begin assessing your patient, at the beginning of your hygiene appointment, it will be helpful if you tell your patient what you will be looking for. Begin by confirming the services you have planned to complete at the beginning of your appointment.
Before you pick up a probe to assess the health of the patients gums, explain about the “ruler” used to measure the space between their gum and tooth. Let your patient know what the numbers on this ruler mean.
It becomes very valuable to have another team member to chart your numbers in the perio chart or technology such as the “Florida probe” to call out the numbers and record. The hygienist or doctor will call out the numbers during a comprehensive periodontal exam and another person will chart the readings. If you have the Florida Probe (or another software to record the readings) you won’t need something to write the numbers.
In Part I, we shared how to inform your patient about the numbers. Examples of this will be, “ if you hear a 3 or less, your gums are healthy, a 4 means inflammation, 5 or higher means you have infection in your gums. If you hear a number 4 or higher, when I am finished with the exam, we will create a plan to get your gums healthy again.”
Ask your patient to listen for the numbers and at the end of the comprehensive perio exam ask them to tell you the highest and the lowest number they heard you call out.
After your patient hears the numbers, this is where you can begin the partnership and collaboration with your patient.
Engaging your patient in the exam process makes it easier for them to be a part of a treatment plan when you need to talk about something outside of healthy teeth and gums.
Use words that your patient will understand during each appointment and especially when you discover something abnormal such as gum disease.
When you say words like “Periodontal Disease,” you are more likely to see a glazed-over look in their eyes. People will tell you they understand but if you say words like “gum disease” your patients will be a lot more likely to understand what you are talking about.
Next Steps After You Assess
Once you are looking in your patients’ mouth, take pictures of what you see.
Once you have collected all of your information during your assessments, including your intra-oral pictures., sit the patient up-right in the chair to talk with them, knee-to-knee and eye-to-eye.
Now is the time to create a partnership with your patient and help them make the best decision to create a healthy body.
Once a patient has inflammation and infection in their mouth our role is to help the patient understand how this affects their overall health.
Showing your patient pictures about what is happening in their mouth paints a picture and is more descriptive than words can express.
Words You Want to Use:
-Preventive Care vs. Cleaning
-Hygiene Appointment vs. Cleaning
-Gum Treatment vs. Deep Cleaning
-Gum Therapy vs. Periodontal Therapy
-Gum Maintenance vs. Periodontal Maintenance
-Active Disease vs. Periodontal Disease
-Inflammation vs. Periodontal Disease
-Infection vs. Periodontal Disease
-Routine Care vs. Periodontal Maintenance or Cleaning
-Abnormalities vs. Cancer
-Ruler vs. Probe
Treatment Planning Phase
After your patient has heard the number’s you called out during the “assessment of their gums” when you do find abnormalities, inflammation, infection, active disease, etc., you need to seat your patient upright in the chair and show them what you see.
Since you have already explained what the numbers they will hear during the exam mean, they already understand if they have inflammation or infection and you won’t find yourself in a position of objections from your patient. They understood what to listen for and what the numbers mean, so a lot of your hard work explaining has been completed. You have also told your patient at the beginning that if they hear certain numbers you will create a plan for health.
This first conversation before you begin your assessment, ends up saving you time and a lot of effort explaining. Most patients , when they hear the 4, 5’s and higher, will tell you, “That did not sound too good!”
This type of communication makes it much easier to collaborate and create a treatment plan. It will get patients to want what they need, schedule and pay for treatment.
We have a legal and ethical responsibility to let our patients know when they need something different than what they are scheduled for.
If your patient is scheduled for a crown prep and the doctor discovers more decay than originally seen on radiographs or from a visual exam, that doctor will typically stop the planned treatment (Stop the drilling when they see the decay has gone too far into the nerve) and discuss with the patient what they see and how much more decay is in the area. The doctor will let the patient know the treatment plan is more extensive than originally planned.
When a patient comes to their prophy appointment and you discover this is going to be more than a prophy you must do the same thing. You will show the patient what you see and bring them into a partnership to own the disease in their mouth.
Our team runs into many objections from hygienists and dentists who are concerned about “what the patient will think if they are told something different (than planned) needs to be completed. Too many dental professionals are concerned about the patients having a negative response to knowing it is “more than a prophy appointment.”
We must tell our patients what is truly happening in their mouth and their body. The dental appointment must be patient centered and not about what “WE” the clinician thinks our patient can pay for or if they will be upset that we have discovered an abnormality and they need a different treatment plan.
How do you know if you are doing the proper treatment planning with your hygiene patients?
The American Academy of Periodontology estimtes (Back in 2012 was the last documentation) that 62 million American adults have periodontal disease. A typical percentage of adults we see being treated for periodontal disease is about 40% of their adult population over 30 years of age.
We have also noticed that if a hygienist sees eight patients a day they will have about one gingivitis patient each day.
What are your percentages of patients being treated for gingivitis and periodontitis?
We are happy to take a look and use our data collection formula to help you correctly assess and diagnose.
Is your office receiving payment for treating gingivitis patients? Please let us know how we can help you receive payment for treating gingivitis and periodontal patients. We enjoy helping offices like yours, understand how to correctly treatment plan, sequence treatment and then get patients to schedule, pay and return for preventative care.
We can help! Just give us a call or email us and we will share more with you.
About the Author: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS, is one of Dentistry Today’s top dental consultants. She is an international coach, speaker and author. Debbie is the CEO of Dental Practice Solutions.
Debbie is a world-class leader in creating profitable hygiene departments. She is a 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.
The end of the year is near. In today’s blog you will read how to get your dental hygiene patients to return now.
Summer is coming to an end. The kids are going back to school. Parents are busy with work, back-to-school shopping and it seem there is not time to visit the dental office
Many of your dental patients haven’t scheduled necessary dental treatment for themselves or their family.
Most dental benefits will not roll over to the next year and that means you are wasting insurance benefits for your patients.
Now is the time to try and help your patients maximize their dental insurance coverage. Many of your patients are overdue for a routine hygiene appointment.
August is the best time to be looking over your list of overdue hygiene patients and also patients with outstanding treatment.
Every month of each year, plan a day to run a report of overdue hygiene patients. Mark your calendar to run this report the first week of each month.
At this point in the year, it is crucial to focus on contacting your overdue hygiene patients as well as get patients to return who have unscheduled treatment to complete.
How do you contact your patients?
It is important to contact your patients in a way that creates a quick response.
With today’s world of technology, you may notice that most people don’t pick up their phone (of not often), they don’t check their personal emails throughout the day and not many people go to their mailbox to pick up their mail each day.
We suggest that you have the ability to two-way text all of your patients.
To begin the two-way texting, you need to have the technology connected to your practice management software.
We recommend SolutionReach to our clients because not only does this company offer two-way texting, but you can add a link for your patients to click which will allow them to immediately schedule their appointment.
What does your text message say?
You will at the very least want to text all overdue patients with only a sentence that says, please call our office about your dental appointment.
We have found this works very well for patients to call your office and especially when they know they don’t have an appointment.
Once the patient does call they will most likely let you know, “I don’t have an appointment.”
Your response will sound like this:
“Mrs. Smith, please let me check your patient record to find out exactly what is happening here. May I put you on a brief hold? This will take me less than ten seconds to check.”
Most patients will be patient enough to wait a few seconds.
Here is the part that may be new to you.
The team of consultants at Dental Practice Solutions, teaches clients this acronym called, R2R.
What does R2R mean?
R2R means “Reason to Return.”
The R2R is a brief description each clinician writes on the last line of the patients record, each time the patient is seen in the office.
This means that the clinician has discussed, communicated, with their patient the reason why they need to return, and that reason will not only be a clinical reason but a benefit to the patient.
If the patient you just took a call from, has a clinical R2R note that states, Pt has bleeding gums, infection around all the back molars and heavy tartar build-up in lower front teeth. Pt has diabetes and I explained that treating gum disease will put a halt to the life-altering challenges of diabetes that can be prevented when their mouth is healthy.
Using the R2R. What to say to the patient.
Once your team of clinicians begin to use the R2R the person answering the phone call will always put a patient who calls about an appointment on a short hold while they check the R2R.
Now that your patient is on the phone, let them know that doctor (and you can include the hygienists’ who last saw the patient) is concerned about their health. Explain that last time they saw doctor and hygienist they had infection in their gums and this can make their diabetes worse which causes other serious health problems. Let the patient know it is extremely important to complete the gum treatment because now we know this will help improve their diabetes.
What do we do if we have not used the R2R?
If you are reading about the R2R for the first time, when you look at a patients’ record, there will not be an R2R and I suggest that you have each of your team members learn about this.
Please contact our office and a dental consultant on our team will be happy to provide a training for your team. We can offer AGD CE Credits if you like.
Steps to reactivate overdue hygiene patients:
Step 1. Run your reports
Run an overdue hygiene patient report for the past 6 or 12 months.
If you don’t usually run this report monthly you will want to go back at least 12 months when you begin running this report.
Step 2. Send a text message
Use your patient engagement software (Ex. SolutionReach) to contact overdue hygiene patients
Your first text message should only say “Please call our office today about your dental appointment.”
Step 3. In one week for the patients who have not responded to your text message, send them an email.
In your email you can now include your scheduling link, so these patients can easily click the link to schedule their hygiene appointment.
Your email message can be customized with each patients’ name, but the same email goes out to every patient who needs a dental hygiene appointment.
As a dental consultant I have learned that people respond more favorably to this email when you offer them an incentive to return for their appointment.
We know that free tray whitening works well when attempting to get overdue hygiene patients back to your office.
You can also use other special offers to motivate patients to return such as money of Invisalign.
Step 3. Understand the specific type of appointment needed.
When you do have patients calling to schedule their appointment, be sure to look at their patient record to understand what type of appointment they need.
Step 4. Begin using the R2R.
All clinicians must make this part of their patient record.
When a patient calls to schedule or change an appointment, the front office person answering the patient call, will look up the R2R so they know exactly what the patient needs to schedule for (Ex. Prophy, x-rays and doctor exam, etc.) can speak to the patient about the necessary service and value/benefits for scheduling.
This R2R can and should be used every time a patient calls to change a dental appointment. Use the value and benefit to the patient to get them to keep their appointment not change it.
The number 1 focus this month needs to be contacting all patients who need to return this year for a hygiene appointment.
Need help implementing the R2R or any other systems?
We are here to help you! Call us to find out how to get training virtually or in-office. We are here to help! Your team will receive AGD CE Credits with any training we complete for you. Contact us today. Email:firstname.lastname@example.org or call our office: 949-351-8741
Next week I will return with information to contact patients with outstanding treatment. I will also write about how overcome this big challenge of patients leaving without scheduling their important restorative care.
ABOUT DEBBIE SEIDEL-BITTKE, RDH, BS
Debbie Seidel-Bittke is the CEO of Dental Practice Solutions and has over 15 years of business and consulting experience, as well as 30 plus years of working knowledge as a dental professional.
Having the unique ability to understand dentists’ need, Debbie can help each dental practice grow to be efficient and profitable. The growth occurs by optimizing your dental hygiene department. She has a team of experts that will work in the other areas of your dental practice as necessary. Debbie’s insight allows her to effectively communicate and implement success strategies while strategically addressing productivity challenges in the dental practice.
As a dental hygiene business coach, a former clinician and educator, she is adept at collaborating with dentists and their team to incorporate her expertise to see a dental practice grow to levels beyond their imagination. Debbie and her team of experts will increase the profitability of each dental practice. This year, 2018, no client of Dental Practice Solutions will increase production less than $125,000 and without working more days in the office. Ask us how you can be next to do this!
A CRUCIAL ELEMENT of every successful dental practice is your culture.
What type of patients do you want to serve?
How do you want your patients to feel when they are in your office?
One of the first tasks we have our clients complete is to write down the type of culture they want for their dental office. We have a short template the doctors fill in the blanks, so we can “nail” their delivery of culture. We want to help our clients attract and retain their best patients. It also helps enjoy your day when your schedule is filled with patients who enjoy you and you enjoy having them in your chair.
The next step we take with our clients is to support the doctor; our client, to attract their ideal patient. What the office culture represents must be a part of everything the patients see, feel, hear, etc., etc. This must appeal to all of your patients’ senses. This feeling is the real reason why your patients will choose to return to your office.
Patients don’t truly know how great your clinical skills are. All they know is if you made them feel good or bad. And yes, they will remember if you hurt them.
If you want to be a family friendly office, how does your practice reflect this message?
If you want your office to feel like the Ritz Carlton, how do you deliver this message to your patients?
Make Your Culture Delivery A Priority for Your Practice
Many of our clients want to have a family friendly office and if this sounds like an example of what you want in your dental office here are a few suggestions to make your office feel family friendly.
You can also take these suggestions and tweak them to match your office culture:
1. Show off your family by inviting your employees to have pictures of their family around the office.
One of the doctors I worked for many years ago wanted to have a family friendly office. He also enjoyed photography. You can probably imagine what I am going to tell you about this doctor’s office. Yes, you guessed it! This doctor had a lot of beautiful pictures of his family throughout the walls of his office.
2. Make sure you invite the employees to have pictures of their family around the office. For example, in their operatory invite your employees to have pictures of their family, their pets, etc.
3. What type of reading materials do you have in your reception area?
Make sure you have family friendly reading materials for family members of every age.
4. What is playing on your tv if you have one in your reception area and in the operatories?
Make the viewing on your electronics: tv and music, family friendly. No obscenities or inappropriate language in the lyrics or messages/pictures on your TVs.
5. What are you giving patients as a “thank you for choosing our office?”
If this is a child or teenager, what do you hand out to them as a thank you? It is not only the parent you want to provide a “wow” experience for but the child or adolescent as well.
6. Be sure your schedule is blocked for those smaller children who need an early morning appointment and for school-aged children who need afterschool appointments.
We’re Here for You and Your Team!
We’re committed to providing you with almost everything you need to achieve your practice goals, whether you’re working to create a family-friendly environment for your patients or maybe you want to upgrade your hygiene department. If you have any questions about what more you could do in your practice, let us know in the comments below!
If we don’t provide something you need for success, we can direct you to the best expert.
We are here to serve you. Our team is growing so we can cover more of what your practice needs to be successful. Just ask us how we can support you and your dental practice. We can’t wait to hear from you!
Thank you for placing your trust in hiring us!
About the Author: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS
CEO: Dental Practice Solutions DENTISTRY TODAY considers Debbie a top dental consultant for the past 18 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, your dental practice will sustain growth for years to come.
Schedule a no-cost profit boosting call today and discover how you can be your best in 2018: Email to schedule a call with Debbie: email@example.com or Call our office to schedule this today: 949-351-8741.
There have been many cases when patients who need certain expensive cosmetic or restorative dental procedures, cringe at the exorbitant cost and often forgo the expensive treatment completely.
It would seem that dentists are quick to recommend costly dental treatments with little or no regard to how their patients are going to pay for the costs.
The dentist is in a unique position to advise their patient on the best and most affordable dental care ensuring their patient is happy and financially comfortable.
How can your dental practice achieve this and keep or even grow your patient base?
Once a dental diagnosis has been made, use this time to educate the patient on the proposed procedure. The end goal should always be helping patients achieve and maintain their best oral health.
The patient should understand the benefits of the treatment plan and be able to make an informed decision, as opposed to opting out of the treatment because of what they believe is a high cost of dentistry.
The benefits you outline should focus on how the treatment will improve their overall health, comfort and appearance. This will help the patient make an educated choice based on your professional advice.
The patient may fully understand the benefits but still think the treatment is too pricey and not justified, but at least the patient sees you as being upfront and honest. This contributes to building your good reputation.
Be honest about the cost of the proposed treatment plan. This should also include all the dental appointments required and the length of time it takes to complete the treatment.
Being candid from the beginning is important in building a strong relationship, great rapport, between the dentist and patient, based on trust and honesty.
If you are able to offer an alternative treatment plan that takes less time or is less costly, be sure to offer it to your patient. This will leave the patient feeling like you have their best interests at heart rather than just making a quick buck!
It is a good idea to give your patient a written estimate of the treatment plan.
This shows that you are transparent about the costs and are willing to stick to the plan and the fees you’ve discussed; provided there are no “surprises” (aka: changes), during the treatment in the form of unexpected additional costs. Ensure the patient understands that “changes” to a treatment plan are possible.
The patient will also have a record for future reference during or after their treatment.
Some points to include in your written price estimate:
The treatment proposed with the time it will take to complete from start to finish. Ensure that you include a provision that complications may arise due to unforeseen circumstances- this may impact the length of time of the treatment and even the costs.
A breakdown of the fees as discussed with the patient at the initial consultation. This should clearly show what portion is covered by the patient’s dental/medical insurance and a fee the patient will have to cover “out-of-pocket.”
Outline any payment options your dental practice offers. Does your office offer a special patient discount plan? Be clear on the amount that needs to be paid upfront before treatment begins, if there is any.
Explain your dental practice’s billing options- whether you have convenient online payment options or how often invoices are sent out- either via email or postage. This will improve patient payment compliance. Who needs an inconvenience when trying to pay a bill?!
Clarify how any amounts that are in arrears are dealt with. It is expected that some patients will not be able to pay their bills on time. This gives the patient options without impacting the reputation of your dental practice.
When you make an effort to connect with the patient you are able to explore all the available alternatives for his dental treatment but within his budgetary constraints. This builds a strong relationship between the dentist and patient.
A happy patient is one who returns to your practice for all future dental care, brings the whole family and recommends you to friends thus, growing your patient base.
Dr. Nabil Mockbil received his DDS in 2001 from Umea University in Sweden, regarded as having the best dentist programme in Sweden for undergraduates. He’s now the founder of Swedish Dental Clinic in Dubai
Contact your highly trained and experienced dentist
How many times have you heard a patient say: “I hate the dentist.”? Well, they don’t actually mean they hate the dentist. More than likely they have dental anxiety. It has been estimated that 9% to 15% of Americans avoid seeing the dentist because of anxiety and fear.
Fear of the drill, fear of the needle, fear of the cost, fear of the white coat, fear of small spaces, fear of being lectured, fear of bad past experiences, and fear of being embarrassed. These are all fears that can bring on anxiety about going to see a dentist.
There are many options we can offer our patients to help them conquer their anxiety. Some options are: listening to headphones, taking anti-anxiety medication, breathing exercises, etc. One option you may not have heard about is Emotional Freedom Technique, commonly referred to as tapping.
What is Emotional Freedom Technique (Tapping)?
Emotional Freedom Technique, often referred to as tapping, is a form of psychological acupressure that is meant to help your body focus on healing its self. It has been shown to help relieve a wide range of emotional and physical issues such as anxiety, stress, depression, pain and trauma. It can be done anywhere and anytime without any tools, needles or side effects, which makes it very convenient.
Think of it as a form of acupuncture where you use your fingers instead of needles. Using your fingertips to tap on your energy meridians using a sequence which helps release blockages within your energy system.
The Three Parts to Tapping
Part One: The Setup Statement- Have the patient focus on their feelings of anxiety. They should come up with a statement that addresses that anxiety. The more specific they are with the statement, the better. An example is: “Even though I have dental anxiety, I love and accept myself.”
Part Two: The Reminder phase – The reminder phrase should be a very short version of your setup statement that states the issue. An example is: “This dental anxiety” The reminder phrase will be used as they continue through the tapping sequence.
Part Three: The Sequence- Start by having your patient rate their anxiety on a scale of 1-10. Then have them start the sequence by repeating the setup statement three times aloud, while tapping on their first meridian point, the karate chop. Next, have them tap 7-9 times on the reminding eight points in order listed below. As they are tapping on the eight remaining points, have them repeat the reminder phase.
The Nine Meridian Points Used for Tapping
Karate Chop – Located on the fleshy, outside part of the hand between the top of the wrist and the bottom of the pinkie finger
Eyebrow – Located just above the nose where the eyebrow starts, slightly to the side.
Corner of the Eye– Located on the bone alongside the corner of the eye.
Under the Eye – Located an inch under the pupil.
Below the Nose– Located in the area between your nose and upper lip.
Under the Mouth – Located below your bottom lip and above your chin.
Collar Bone – Located where your collarbone and first rib meet.To find it, locate the U-shaped indentation at the top at the bottom of your throat (then move down 1 inch and to the side 1 inch.
Under the Arm – Located about 4 inches below the armpit.
Top of the Head- Located on the top of your skull in the middle of your head.
After they have completed the tapping sequence, have them take a deep breath and concentrate on how they are feeling. Now have them rate their anxiety again on a scale of 1-10. They should feel a sense of relief, but they may want to repeat the sequence for even better results.
Once your patient has perfected this sequence, they can perform this any time during their dental appointment to help ease their anxiety.
We now have several resources to offer our patients when it comes to dental anxiety. Tapping might be the best option as it is proven to be highly effective and does not require any equipment or medication. The patient is totally in control of the tapping and this helps ease their fear and anxiety even more.
Cindy Rogers, RDH, is a dental consultant, coach, speaker, and author for Dental Practice Solutions. Cindy coaches in the areas of front office systems and processes as well as the hygiene department. People love the calm ZEN vibe that comes with Cindy but don’t be surprised at her “Inspiring and Motivating” ability when working with your team! Please contact Cindy for a complimentary Profit Boosting Session:
firstname.lastname@example.org or call 949-351-8741 the website for valuable resources and schedule your complimentary Profit Boosting Session today. Check out more information on our website: https://www.dentalpracticesolutions.com/
Written by: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS, CEO of Dental Practice Solutions
INCREASING FEES IN YOUR DENTAL PRACTICE can be a tricky subject. Patients don’t like to pay more, especially if they’ve been around for a long time and they’re used to the old rates, but it can’t always be avoided. So, what’s the best way to go about raising your fees so that it won’t cause any problems? Increasing Fees, The Right Way
Each year we recommend that our clients take a look at their fee schedule and their PPO insurance fees. We include this for all of our clients, so they know if they are within the range of fees for their community. We also work with clients who are looking to eliminate PPO’s in their dental practice, so we are looking over their current PPO’s.
For our clients, each month we provide a PPO Wizard and review fees of treatment completed. We are constantly inspecting your progress and any inefficiencies that may occur.
We recommend a slight increase in your fees annually, depending upon what your range of fees are for your community.
Managing Patient Responses
When you make a slight annual change to your fees your patients are not likely to notice a change.
When you look at this dessert plate, what words come to mind?
It is the same thing with your patients. How you talk about fees, treatment plans, payment options and anything you say to your patients, it is all in the words you choose and how you say those words that really matters.
Bring Us Your Questions
If there’s more you’d like to know about handling fee increases, give us a call. We’re here to help ensure that your practice gets the success it deserves, and part of that is navigating the tricky waters around patient fees.
We are happy to take a quick look at your fees and PPO’s. Just ask us about the PPO wizard we use.
Keep working hard! You’re doing great!
ABOUT Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS
DENTISTRY TODAY considers Debbie a top dental consultant for the past 18yrs.
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.
Grab You No-Cost Hygiene Department Training:
Free Gingivitis Webinar and Schedule a Strategic Planning Session: Enroll in the webinar and view at your leisure by clicking this link.
You and your team are personally involved in your business daily. This can make it difficult to evaluate the areas of opportunity that are available to you. Even the most well-trained team can have instances of inefficiency or miscommunication, leading to breakdowns in patient care and impacting your workplace environment.
Just as you recommend your patients receive a full examination annually, we recommend the same for your business. Whether we have an ongoing relationship with you or it’s been years since we’ve evaluated your team, we recommend scheduling a checkup of your practice. During this evaluation, we may recommend the following:
· Evaluate current practice goals and benchmarks
· Evaluate team morale and motivation
· Evaluate your systems and protocols
· Evaluate overall patient satisfaction
· Create a success plan for moving forward
All too often, business owners attempt to motivate their team with no outside guidance. In some cases, this approach can have some success. However, as a business owner, it can be difficult to see the patient perspective or to evaluate a team member without being influenced by your personal connection. Having a person outside of your organization reinforce the importance of your systems can be difference between stagnation and the progress you desire.
If you’re looking to make this year even better than the last, schedule your consultation today.
Patient Loyalty: Keep Your Dental Patients Returning
ONE OF THE MOST important things a dental practice can do is earn and keep patients returning. When patients return to your practice again and again, it’s better for their dental health, but it’s also better for your practice!
In today’s environment of consumerism, most dental patients in your dental practice are probably satisfied to be your patient but how many of them are truly loyal?
People in general, have high expectations. Not only are your patient’s insurance driven but they are more price-conscious than ever before.
People have more access to oral health information and comparison shopping in today’s world. Dental patients who are only satisfied will leave your office if or when a “better” offer comes along; especially if their insurance tells them which dental office will pay for their dental care.
Patients judge your dentistry by how you make them feel. The patient loyalty process begins from the first “hello,” and it includes everything that happens even after you leave your office.
What are you doing in your dental practice that sets you apart from the other businesses, other dentists in your community?
Do you know how your patients feel after leaving your office?
Do you know what your patients are saying about your dental office and your team?
Ask your patients to complete a survey and ask them to add this to your online reviews.
The Benefits of Loyal Patients
Why do your patients continue returning to your office?
Having a schedule full of your favorite patients means your dental team doesn’t spend a lot of time calling, texting or emailing patients to fill the schedule. This most likely makes you feel more fulfilled in your career when you see patients you really LOVE!
When you love your patients, you most likely love your job. The day goes by quickly when you enjoy what you do, with the people you enjoy spending time with.
We Can Help You Increase Patient Retention
We are always here to help you find success in your practice. Improving your patient relationships is big part of your success!
Keeping patients returning to your office is the most cost-effective way to build your dental practice.
We have discovered that patients return to their dental office more frequently when the dental office has a WIIFM system. At Dental Practice Solutions, we created a Lifetime Whitening program that promotes your office and keeps your patients returning to your office. This has proven to reduce cancellations and no-shows.
If you have any questions about how you can earn patient loyalty, don’t hesitate to ask!
Check out our customized patient loyalty program. We offer premium whitening gel, customized with your name. your logo and at wholesale.
Debbie Seidel-Bittke, is CEO of Dental Practice Solutions. Dental Practice Solutions focuses on helping dentists around the world to achieve their personal and professional goals by optimizing their hygiene department. Debbie has a team of consultants who optimize your front office processes, insurance reimbursement, credentialing and so much more.
Debbie has amazing insight that will tap into the true profit potential of each practice. When using the systems and strategies created by Dental Practice Solutions, dental practices will dramatically grow their current hygiene productivity.
The experienced team at Dental Practice Solutions can help dentists create their dream practice and enjoy a more fulfilling life.
Give us a call to have Debbie speak at your next national, state or local event, or call for a no-cost practice boosting session: Email:email@example.com. Call us at: 949-351-8741.
It is true – being a dentist is stressful. Most patients dislike coming and are themselves stressed or anxious and this often comes across as rudeness, aggression and irrational behaviour. No one seems to appreciate or understand how hard it is to fix a tooth when you are leaning over, ruining your posture and straining your eyes.
Dentist Various Types of Stress
Many patients do not want to take your advice and simply think they know best despite the level of knowledge, experience and expertise you have.
Many complain about the bill, blow things out of proportion, ask the same question over and over even though you spent forever explaining it and even drew them a picture. And why do the challenging patients all seem to be booked in on the busiest and most demanding of days?
Then there is constantly being pushed for time, dealing with the bickering and team dynamics and their inability to think or organise anything for themselves – which come on doctor you know you’ve had a hand in as you are so controlling and need to micro-manage everything!
Add to that the bills are overdue, stock needs ordering, cash flow is a drip feed and the most vital piece of equipment has just blown up and yes…. It’s not surprising you’re stressed!
What Dentists Were Never Prepared For
Dental school fails to prepare the fresh-faced young and eager dentist to cope with the pressures they will face once graduated and working in dental practice. Instead it puts you under enormous amounts of pressure to learn, to achieve, and to come up to standard, pass exams and see patients on clinic at the same time.
You learn not to complain, to suck it up because you have to be the one to make it work, pay the bills, make the patients happy. You hold it all inside and put your brave face on as you dare not show you are overwhelmed and not handling the workload.
We come to rely on coping mechanisms like sugar, caffeine, alcohol and even drug abuse to handle the demands of daily practice; demands that we vent at our staff, patients, families and friends and then beat ourselves up over. Is a downward spiral!
Eventually we get sick, develop musculoskeletal problems, anxiety and depression, become de-motivated, resent our job, our staff and our patients and suffer from professional burnout and a higher than average rate of divorce, drug and alcohol addiction and suicide.
The statistics speak for themselves; in a study from the British Dental Journal July 2004, 90% of dentists said they drank alcohol regularly (with 1 in 7 dentists having an alcohol problem), 10% smoked and 35% were overweight. 62% suffered from heartburn, wind or indigestion, 60% reported being nervy, tense or depressed, 58% reported headache, 48% reported difficulty in sleeping and 48% reported feeling tired for no apparent reason.
Results also indicated that levels of minor psychiatric symptoms were high at 32%, similar to doctors at 27% and higher than the general population, which has been reported at 18%.
It is obvious from the studies that dentists do encounter numerous sources of professional stress, which can impact negatively on their personal and professional lives. Because of this dentists are prone to professional burnout, anxiety disorders and clinical depression and must be made aware of the importance of maintaining good physical and mental health to enjoy satisfying professional and personal lives.
Anecdotally, health professionals do not seek help for their own stress and personal frailty readily and instead are likely to put on a brave face and pretend they have the situation under control. Many often refuse to seek help for fear they will be stigmatised or lose their job whilst many others remain in denial.
Would it not then be sensible and beneficial to teach dental students and dentists a different way of managing stress and caring for themselves so they would be better equipped to deal with life? What if we could show dentists how to live in a way that supports them to deal with their issues and stresses and thus be able maintain their own health and remain fit and healthy both physically and mentally?
Solving the Dentist Stress Challenge
On a business level it’s important that you have systems and processes and are able to delegate to your team and have a team that is engaged and aligned to your practice values and mission. Sounds like a lot right there. Plus, as well as taking care of the business side of things you must learn to take care of your number one asset – YOU.
Here is a simple common sense approach to health and vitality that encourages you to care for and respect your body. This has worked well for me and many of my clients.
Eat to Support the Body
By assessing how the body reacts to foods (and situations) we can see what is beneficial and what to avoid such as gluten, dairy, sugar, caffeine and alcohol as these can cause stress to the body or may make you feel unwell. It is also a well-known fact that what we eat can affect our mood and wellbeing.
Go to bed early after unwinding from your day to support you to get plenty of good quality sleep. Wake when your body feels to, not when the clock or society says you should, which may be earlier than you are used to. Once you establish a healthy sleep pattern you awake less exhausted and full of energy.
Be in Control of Your Choices
Every choice we make affects and contributes to what happens in our life. These choices can either be self-caring and nurturing or not. The body constantly communicates with us about how those choices impact on it. If we override or ignore those messages instead of addressing them then eventually the body will suffer aches and pains, digestive problems, emotional fluctuations, stress, tension etc and illness can result.
Exercise gently to keep the body fit, strong and supple. This assists us to be physically healthy without over-stressing the body, causing muscle tears or injury and producing excess lactic acid build up which can cause pain and stiffness.
Focusing the Mind
The constant chatter of our mind and thinking about other things and situations instead of the task at hand is draining and stressful. It is like a computer trying to run several programs at once, it uses up a lot of energy and drains the batteries. By remaining more present and focusing the mind to what is occurring in each moment we save energy and reduce stress levels. By switching off the incessant brain chatter it is easier to connect to the body and how we feel and thus remain calm.
The Gentle Breath Meditation can help to calm and de-stress the body and provide a moment to stop and reflect on how we are. Being aware of our breath allows us to feel when we are stressed or holding tension. By breathing gently we can slow the heart rate, reduce our blood pressure and let go of tension. By tuning in with our body we can feel where we are tight and holding tension; e.g. if our jaw is clenched, shoulders are up around our ears, our breath is laboured or whether our movements are rigid, tense and rushed or not; and then choose to let that tension go and allow the body to relax.
Sometimes our issues and the pressures that we face are too much for us to handle alone. It is important that we realise that everyone at some point in their life finds it hard to cope and that it is perfectly acceptable to seek support and ask for help.
Self-care is an integral and essential part of having a long and healthy dental career and should be incorporated into the undergraduate curriculum and be offered as part of our continuing professional development education. By equipping people with the tools of self-care that they can carry throughout their career; ill health and the need to use sugar, caffeine and alcohol or drugs as coping mechanisms could be reduced and avoided. In this way our health care providers including us dentists would be a living example to those that we are caring for, treating and educating on wellbeing.
About the Author
Dr Rachel Hall, business coach and founder of Ascendancy Business Coaching for Dentists, dentist and practice owner. Rachel’s coaching helps you develop tools and skills for a dental office that is less dependent on you, so you can do what you love and focus on being productive and happy through planning, strategy and systems – “without them you don’t own your business it owns you”.
You can learn more about her by going to one of her websites: