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Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS is known as a top dental consultant by Dentistry Today.

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Dental Hygienists, What Does Your Cheat Sheet Have on It?

By: Debbie

October 16, 2018

Dental Hygienists have so many tasks to complete every day at the office and with every patient they see. My question is this, Dental Hygienists, what does your cheat sheet have on it?

As our team of consultants works with dental teams and dental hygienists around the world what we notice is that important tasks, valuable parts of a dental hygiene appointment go “untouched.”

Here are some examples:

• Patient rapport

Patients are greeted but immediately seated in the dental chair. A patient bib goes on and back they recline in the dental chair.

How do you connect or reconnect with your patient in your chair?
What do you know makes your patient feel like they are more than a tooth and more than a way for doctor to pay for their next vacation?

A quick reconnect or connection with your patient means a lot and it takes about 2 minutes, maximum.

Ideas for quick rapport building are:

Patients of record
• How is your son doing at University of ABC?
• Did you see that new movie 123ABC?
• Are you planning any new vacations?

New Patients
• I see you are new to ABC City, what brings you to ABC City?
• Looks like you work for Amazon, what do you enjoy most about working there?

When speaking to a new patient use ice-breaker type of questions as listed above. Make the conversations light-hearted and easy-to-answer.

The Most Valuable Cheat Sheet

After you have seated and greeted your patients, you have a lot of task and services to complete so what type of cheat sheets do you have available in your treatment room to remember everything you need to do during your dental hygiene appointment?

We have created laminated cheat sheets for the dental hygiene teams we work with.

Please contact our office for your own cheat sheet and you can laminate to use during your day with patients.

One cheat sheet we have found hygienists like is the Comprehensive Periodontal Exam. Many hygienists we meet do not know all eight areas to annually evaluate to determine if your patient has a healthy mouth, active disease or gingivitis.

The areas listed on the Comprehensive Periodontal Exam Cheat Sheet are:

1. Six-point pocket depths
2. Recession
3. Mobility
4. Furcation
5. BOP (Bleeding upon probing)
6. Mucogingival Involvement
7. Suppuration/Pus
8. Occlusal Issues

Another Valuable Cheat Sheet Lists “Areas a Dental Hygienist Needs to Report on During the Doctor/Hygiene Exam.”

We teach a specific system for all team members to transition (Dismiss) a patient from back office to the front office. This is a five-step program.

Let us know if you use a “Cheat Sheet” and if you believe this can be helpful to your team, please email us to share some of our cheat sheets with you and your team.

Need help implementing these areas in your dental practice? Do you have a system to support each of these areas listed above?

We can help! Contact us today to find out how we can help create these systems and find out how to Implement the systems that create success without working so hard.

About the Author

Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS is founder and CEO of Dental Practice Solutions. She is also a former dental hygiene program director. Her expertise is optimizing the hygiene department by taking a total team approach; including the doctor as the leader.

Dental Practice Solutions is able to support your dental practice with supporting your front office admin skills, insurance billing, reimbursement as well as credentialing and increasing your PPO fees.
Schedule your no-cost Profit Boosting Session Here Today. You can also call our office to schedule: 949-35-8741 or email.

Dental Professionals: Are You Wearing the Correct Size Gloves?

By: Debbie

October 9, 2018

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?

are-you-using-the-right-size-gloves

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

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.

What Do We Say When a Routine Hygiene Patient Has Periodontal Disease Today? (Part Two)

By: Debbie

October 5, 2018

Part II

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.

Your Message

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.

Our Responsibility

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.

What Do We Say When a Routine Hygiene Patient Has Periodontal Disease Today?

By: Debbie

September 25, 2018

Part I:

Most hygienists see approximately eight patients in an eight-hour day.

Not all of those patients will be healthy.

Most hygienists will report daily one patient (Some days more) with gingivitis and at least one patient will be diagnosed with periodontal disease or they are returning for scaling and root planing.

The question and challenge many dental practices face is when a routine hygiene patient returns six months later and now they have gingivitis or worse, periodontitis.

What do we say when a routine patient has periodontal disease?

In Part I, we will discuss what to say to this patient.

What we must tell our patients whenever they have an abnormal condition in their mouth is…the truth.

How we say this is a different story.

This is where clinicians feel challenged.

What will make this challenge much easier is bringing the patient into a partnership to help make the diagnosis.

How you will bring your patient into the partnership:

Step 1: Rapport

The first 90 seconds of your patient appointment must focus ON your patient.

Get to know your patient and if you do know your patient get re-acquainted.

Ask about their weekend or what they are going to be doing this summer, Christmas, etc., etc.

The purpose is to make your patient feel like a valued human not a mouth.

Your appointment is not about making money it is about helping your patient live a longer and healthier life.

“We are in the business of saving lives.”

Step 2: Inform

Before you put a bib on your patient or lay them back in the chair, inform your patient about what services you will complete.

Explain what you will be looking for and what they can expect to see, feel and/or hear you say.

What will you say to your patient?

Here is a short example:

“Mr. Smith, today you are here for your routine preventive care appointment. Doctor has also asked me to take x-rays of your teeth. After I take a few x-rays I will look for any abnormalities. I will check your tongue, cheeks, floor of your mouth (continue explaining about the oral exams you check at hygiene appointments) and I will use this ruler with millimeter markings to check the health of your gums. If you hear me call out 1,2 or 3, this means your gums are healthy. If you hear me call out a 4 or higher that means you have inflammation and infection in your gums. If you hear these higher numbers, we will create a plan to get your gums healthy. I want you to listen to these numbers closely because when I am finished measuring I will ask you, what is the highest and what is the lowest number I called out?”

I have been hearing clinicians say, “I will poke your gums.” True story. And I also hear, “This may hurt a little.

”Of course, it will hurt if you tell them they may feel pain!

The message here is; don’t set your patient up to feel pain.

After you explain what you will be doing during the hygiene appointment, now you put the patient bib on and lay them back in the chair to begin your exam and assessments.

Step 3: Create a partnership with your patient

Once you are finished with your assessments and you have gathered all of your information, sit your patient up in the chair.

Have your periodontal chart, x-rays and digital photos in front of the patient so you can show them what you saw in their mouth during your exam.

With pictures in front of the patient, ask them about the numbers you heard you call out. Remember, you asked your patient to tell you the lowest and highest number you called out?

Usually when patients hear numbers that they know are not good, they will let you know they the numbers did not sound good.

Once your patient is able to tell you what they heard, your job becomes much easier when you need to tell them what you saw in their mouth.

This is where it takes away any negative challenges you may have with telling your patient they have periodontal disease.

Why is it that if we have a mammogram, the doctor will tell the patient if they see an abnormal area on the x-ray?

What does a doctor tell their patient they have a polyp during a colonoscopy?

Does a dentist tell patients when they have a cavity?

I believe you said “Yes,” to all of the above questions so my question now is this, “Why are you uncomfortable telling your patient they have periodontal disease or maybe you don’t want your patient to know they have gingivitis today?”

Let’s reverse these above scenarios.

You have a mammogram and the doctor is concerned you won’t return because they told you about the abnormality on your x-ray.

You had a colonoscopy and the doctor found a polyp, so they left it there concerned you would not be happy if this is present inside your colon.

You see tooth decay and don’t want your patient to be concerned it will cost them a lot of money to fix this or you think their insurance benefits are maxed out and the patient would have to pay for the restoration.

How does this make you feel?

Are you cringing?

I think you are reading this and not in agreement that the doctor would not tell the patients about the abnormalities, the polyps and areas of decay.

It is the same exact thing with periodontal disease and gingivitis.

If we do see this for the first time or maybe it is not the first time, but we must tell our patients what we see.

We must create a partnership with our patients and bring them into the decision-making process.

Who are we as dental professionals to choose if our patients can afford treatment for gum disease?

Who are we to withhold this valuable information?!

Let’s remember, we are in the business to help our patients live a longer and healthier life.

It is not up to us to decide which treatment our patients may not want to schedule and pay for.

Let’s leave the final decision up to our patients.

Our role is to understand how to best deliver this message.

Step 4: What to say when you discover disease?

When you are completing the comprehensive periodontal exam (CPE) if you have told your patient what to listen for and if you ask your patient to tell you the numbers they heard you call out, it takes away a lot of the explaining what is needed.

Most patients will know what is happening in their mouth if you have prepared them.

When you are explaining what you see with your patient, make sure to sit near your patient.

Notice that I write the word, “sit.”

If you patient is lying back in the chair and you are talking to them, know that their brain is jumbled.

If the patient is seated upright in the chair, they are thinking clearly, and you can effectively communicate.

Use words your patient will understand for example, gums not periodontal.

Say words like “infection, inflammation, bleeding, pus, swelling, preventive care, gum therapy, gum treatment, routine maintenance of your gums, etc.

Conclusion

Today’s world of dentistry provides great knowledge about the mouth-body connection.

As we evolve and grow our dental practice understanding what will keep our patients returning to our office is key to our future success.

If you share the truth with your patients showing them what you see, it will most likely come across as “caring.”

Most patients will believe what they see.

Never be afraid to speak the truth.

If you don’t feel comfortable telling your patient what you see, when they do choose another dental office and find out that you did not tell them the truth about their oral disease, how will they feel about you?

Sure, you were not comfortable telling your patient they have infection and disease, etc., but how will you look if another dentist does tell them and your patient of the past ten years learns you never told them the truth about their oral condition?

What will your patient think now?

Return to our blog site next week for Part 2 when I share more of the research, the science and what the American Academy of Periodontology says about gum disease.

Do you or your team member(s) struggle with the “what to say when a routine hygiene patient has gum disease or gingivitis? 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: admin@dentalpracticesolutions.com or Call our office: 949-351-8741. You can also schedule your session to find out more about this here.

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. D

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.

Objections to Scheduling Dental Treatment: How Do You Overcome Objections and Get Those Patients Back in Your Chair Today!

By: Cindy Rogers

September 20, 2018

Oh, the excuses we hear from patients on why they do not want to schedule treatment. If you were to take two weeks and write down every excuse you were to hear about why someone did not want to schedule their treatment, I bet that you would find a pattern of the same excuses over and over again.

Excuses are objections and objections are often just requests for help or more information.  The following are common excuses we hear and how you can help your patients overcome them and get them back in your chair.

Objections to scheduling dental treatment will occur. The question is, “How do you overcome objections and get those patients back in your chair; today?”

“I am not in pain, so I don’t think it is really necessary” 

Let the patient know that you understand how they feel. Most people are surprised to learn that pain is the last symptom they will experience with gum disease. This is why over 50% of adults over the age of fifty lose their teeth to gum disease, not decay.  Also, when the patient is in the chair, show them the x-ray and point out where the decay is now and how close to the nerve it is. Show them how it may travel toward the nerve and cause extreme pain that may lead to a root canal and crown instead of the small filling you are recommending now. Creating urgency is important in this situation. You do not want your patient to ever be in pain, and you do not want to get a call on Saturday afternoon.

Let the patient know that that you are so sorry to hear that they have been ill. Send the patient a get-well card if the patient lets on that the illness is much more than a man cold. Put the patient on your call back in two weeks’ list. Give the patient time to heal, but do not forget to get back in contact with them. Chances are, you are not the only appointment they had to cancel due to being ill. Having a fuzzy head, they most likely won’t remember to call you back. Consider this exceptional customer service, to help keep track of their health needs.

“My tooth still hurts from the last time I was there”

Let the patient know that you are sorry to hear that and ask them to please share with you how they were hurt. Explain that It may be that she simply needs an adjustment on that small filling your doctor just placed. Explain the techniques that your office can provide to ensure this does not happen again.  Then, be sure to put a note in the patient’s chart so that the clinicians will take extra care at her next appointment. Let her know that the doctor would like to see her right away to determine what is causing her discomfort.

“I can’t get out of work”

Remind the patient that most of your other patients have jobs as well. That is why you offer early morning and/or later appointment times. Let them know that you can schedule in advance so that they can request the time off of work.  The patient must first understand the value of the appointment. Then they can verbalize to their employer that taking a couple hours off for a preventative appointment may save them missed days in the future. 

“I cannot afford to pay for treatment”

Remind the patient that they can’t afford to not have the treatment done. Educate them on the risks they are taking by not having the treatment done. Then explain to them how you have been able to help other patients with this same concern. Review your payment options with them and be sure to give them a couple of options that they are comfortable with. 

“My insurance does not cover it”

Explain to them how insurance is not meant to dictate treatment and even though their insurance does not cover it, the treatment is necessary in order to save their tooth or get rid of an infection. Show them the value of having the treatment done. Also explain to them that their insurance benefit not used for this procedure can be used for other treatment that is covered so they will not lose it. Do your best to explain insurance benefits to your patients. It is confusing for us professionals, imagine how confusing it is to your patients.

Remember, an excuse is most likely a request for more information, a way of asking for help. Next time you hear one of these excuses, remember this and see what you can do to help.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Coach Cindy Rogers, RDH, BS, OMT

For many years Cindy has been an integral part of successfully building dental practices from the group up. Cindy is known for creating a harmonious work environment where the whole team looks forward to coming to work every day. The result of this has been massive growth for the practice.

Her passion is to share her success and knowledge with other practices so that they can experience a great team working environment while watching their profitably explode. What you will experience with coaching by Cindy, is somebody that can bring your team together to create your ultimate dental practice, and the ultimate patient experience.

It is through her years of experience in the dental field and the methodologies of Dental Practice Solutions that Cindy creates the next level of success for each dental practice she touches. When not focusing of dentistry, Cindy spend her time with her family exploring the outdoors in beautiful Pacific Northwest. Schedule a profit boosting session today and find out how you can optimize your dental schedule. Contact Cindy: admin@dentalpracticesolutions.com

Your Dental Patient Treatment Plan:  Triage and get Paid

By: Debbie

September 5, 2018

dental-patient-in-chairDear Dental Professional,

Did you run your end of year reports?

How many dollars walked out your door in 2018 without scheduling for treatment?

How many of your patients are overdue for a hygiene appointment?

During the month of August 2018, our team created training videos and blogs for you to feel inspired, motivated and we provided steps to reactivate overdue hygiene patients and get those patients with outstanding treatment back on your schedule.

spreadsheets

What is your plan for 2019 to keep your back-door closed?

Today I will share steps to create your dental treatment plan with a triage to get paid.

triage-word-cloud

Triage Background

 Triage is a word we typically hear used in the medical field.

What does Triage mean?

 This word comes from the French word trier, meaning to sort.

It was first used in World War I.

The work triage (noun) means:

  1. (in medical use) the assignment of degrees of urgency to wounds or illnesses to decide the order of treatment of a large number of patients or casualties.

verb

  1. assign degrees of urgency to (wounded or ill patients).

Many of our client offices have patients who come in for a limited exam because of the toothache or a complication with their oral health.

How many of these patients who have a complication tell you that they can’t afford to pay for the necessary treatment?

It happens quite often; right?

What can you do when patients have a disease condition with their oral health?

The first step is to help your patient understand what is happening in their mouth.

Your patient may come in because of pain and then when they hear the cost to (at the very least!) have the tooth extracted; they say they can’t afford $100 or $200.

You are thinking, WHAT? You have pain and won’t pay to have this tooth extracted?

This boils down to a miscommunication.

Does your patient understand that if there is an infection in their mouth there is most likely infection brewing in their body?

Does the patient see what this challenging oral condition looks like?

And….do you know what your patient “can” afford to pay; today?

Now, your patient came in to your office and they know it is not free to have something done to stop the pain, so what did they expect to pay?

I have witnessed patients coming in for a limited exam due to a toothache and when they find out it will cost $100 they decide to leave without scheduling for any treatment?

live-your-best-life

Where have we gone wrong?

Steps to Overcome the “I can’t afford it” Challenge:

 

  1. Connection and Rapport
    1. This happens when the patient calls saying they have a challenging oral condition.
    2. What was said on the first phone call to schedule for this limited exam?
    3. How did you make the patient feel when they came into your office front door?
    4. How well did the team and doctor connect with the patient?
  2. Diagnosis
    1. Is the patients’ condition urgent?
    2. Show the patient what you see and assign a level of urgency
    3. Explain while looking at the pictures you have which show the patients oral condition, what is happening and address the benefits of completing treatment according to their level of urgency
    4. Explain the risks for not completing treatment in a special timeframe (According to how you have triaged your patient)
  3. Patient Accepts Treatment Plan
    1. When you have a patient with a limited exam they will be triaged with a priority of urgency
    2. Most limited exam patients will be triaged to have at the very least, palliative treatment completed the day of their limited exam
  4. Discuss Financial Arrangements
    1. When money is an objection, ask your patient, “What can you afford today?”
    2. Break down your questions into small bite-size pieces.
      1. Surely if your patients scheduled to see you because they have a toothache, they know this is not going to be free, so find out what they did plan to pay today.
      2. If there will be a larger treatment plan needed, as your patient what type of payment will feel comfortable every two weeks?
        1. If your patient says they can afford $100 every two weeks, ask if $200 a month is a comfortable payment to arrange

show-me-the-money 

How to Get Patients to Pay                     

Urgency is key. This means that your patient must understand what is in it for them. This is the WIIFM Syndrome. The What’s in It for Me Syndrome.

No pun intended but find a way around their pain point; their reason to not accept treatment.

Most of the time patients object to paying for treatment. Spending money on their teeth is the biggest objection you will hear.

Dentistry is not expensive, but neglect is. Help your patients understand that waiting for the tooth to become a worse condition than it is today, costs everyone more money.

We want you to also learn about this other flexible in-house payment option you can offer your patients. Just click this link to find out how it works. This link takes you to a calendar to schedule 20 minutes and you will walk away with a new option to help your patients pay for oral health challenges and also—what may be music to your ears is that this information will help you enroll more patients into high-end treatment.

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Do you want to learn how to enroll more patients into high-end treatment and get them to pay at the time they schedule for treatment?

Plan to attend our Live AGD CE Event in Portland, Oregon on September 21st, 2018.

During this event we will have a break-out session, so you will feel confident in enrolling more patients into high-end treatment plans and you will learn how to get them to pay at the time they schedule for treatment,

Can’t attend the live event? Give our office a call or email us because we can bring this to your office virtually or we will come deliver to your team in the office. Just ask us how it is done, and we will also give you and the team AGD CE Credits when we do a training for you. Email: admin@dentalpracticesolutions.com or Call: 949-351-8741.

break-your-ceiling

BREAK THROUGH YOUR CEILING BEFORE 2018 ENDS!

Here is one way that will break through your ceiling of huge potential and learn what your patients want.

Step 1: This begins with a motivated and committed team.

Step 2: You must have specific systems in place; systems that match your vision and the culture in your dental practice

Step 3: Your team must drive the systems in your dental practice

Step 4: Once the team drives the systems doctor will focus solely on their excellent clinical skills

Step 5: Experience Freedom!

If you follow these steps you will experience freedom to live the life you want.

The business of dentistry no longer needs to dictate how you live life—how you spend your time becomes your choice because you have more free time.

REGISTER HERE TODAY. SEATING IS LIMITED! $147 ONLY TODAY. If you are reading this, you must call or email our office for the SPECIAL TUITION RATE: Office – 949-351-8741 or Email-admin@dentalpracticesoluiions.com

What can you expect when you attend with your team? 

  • Business success strategies from people who have traveled the road ahead of you
  • Radically increase production with REAL solutions from this course
  • Rapid growth with PPO and managed care insurance
  • Learn how to STOP the fear of corporate dentistry
  • Strategies that are 100% BULLETPROOF to Catapult your production no matter what the economy is!
  • Increase your current patient appointment value
  • Schedule more high-end treatment plans and get patients to pay when they schedule!
  • Improve case acceptance during hygiene appointments

Morning Session:

How to Run Your Business (Your Practice!) and Create a Culture of Success

Learning Objectives:

  • Proven strategies to effectively communicate with and motivate your team
  • How to deal with a “Bad Apple” on your team in a way that will make you a hero
  • Present treatment that your patients “want” and need
  • Putting it all together during the hygiene appointment

Afternoon Session:

The Business Side of Dentistry: What Every Dentist Should Know

Breakout Session: Work with your team to create a high-end, large production case. You will learn how to create a treatment plan with specific strategies that help your patient pay for the “Care” they want and need. You will be provided a patient treatment plan to put what you learn into action right away…. before you leave the course!

Learning Objectives:

  • Identify the critical building blocks of every successful practice
  • Enroll patients into the “care” they want and need (during their hygiene appointment)
  • Create flexible financial arrangements that your patients will want to say “YES” to and pay in advance
  • Leave with your blueprint, a written plan, to improve your practice and your life

Schedule:

Breakfast & Check-In – 8:00 AM to 9:00 M

Morning Session – 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM

Lunch – 12:00 PM to 1:15 PM

Afternoon Session – 1:15 PM to 4:15 PM

Closing Remarks & Questions – 4:15 PM to 4:30 PM

Always fresh and up-to-date information! You will feel empowered to take immediate action!

“Debbie and Doug are so good together on stage. Our team attended their San Diego event and walked away with great ideas and systems to implement on Monday morning. We learned a lot and had a great time. The food was delish, and we left with lots of great gifts from the sponsors.”

– Denise Calhoun, Office Manager

For Hotel Reservations, please contact Embassy Suites by Hilton Portland Airport.

7900 NE 82ND AVE, PORTLAND, OR 97220
PHONE # (503) 460-3000 / (800) 774-1500 – CODE: DPS DENTAL CONFERENCE

REGISTER ONLINE: HTTP://BIT.LY/EMBASSY92118RESERVATIONS

The Dental Practice Solutions is designated as an Approved PACE Program Provider by the Academy of General Dentistry. The formal continuing dental education programs of this program provider are accepted by AGD for Fellowship, Mastership and membership maintenance credit. Approval does not imply acceptance by a state or provincial board of dentistry or any other applicable regulatory authority, or AGD endorsement. The current term of approval extends from 04/30/2017 to 04/30/2019. Provider ID 376088

**Refund Policy:  Refunds may be eligible up to August 1, 2018.

REGISTER HERE TODAY. SEATING IS LIMITED! $147 ONLY TODAY. If you are reading this, you must call or email our office for the SPECIAL TUITION RATE: Office – 949-351-8741 or Email-admin@dentalpracticesoluiions.com

 

Stop Treating Your Schedule Like a Video Game; How to quit messing around and schedule your day for success

By: Debbie

August 21, 2018

Written by: Cindy Rogers, RDH, BS, OMT, Lead Hygiene and Business Coach.

I admit that while I was a scheduling coordinator, I was treating the schedule as if it were a video game.  I would squish and stretch appointments to make them into pretty colored boxes that all fit nice and tightly together.  I thought to create a productive day meant to have all the blocks filled in

It did not occur to me that these pretty little boxes basically controlled how the clinical teams’ day would run. Yes, they did often come up and kindly tell me to stop treating the schedule like a video game.  I was told that they needed more time for this or that and that they could not possibly do a root canal at the same time as an extraction. I did not really understand what they meant. All I knew is that my pretty boxes needed to match up and their demands were messing that up.

After being reminded a few hundred times and working with some great consultants, I got better at this, but still did not truly understand why my boxes couldn’t just fit together nicely.

Now that I am a hygienist, I totally understand and often apologize to my previous team for all of the agony I must have caused them. I figure the reason they supported my transition into hygiene was so that I would get my payback.

Five main points to consider when planning your day

I would like to now share five points to consider when planning your day.  These steps will help make your day successful both in production and in keeping your team mates on your side:

  1. How much time does each procedure require?

Make a list of how much time each doctor needs for treatment procedures. (i.e., 60 minutes for one crown, 90 minutes for two)

  1. What hygiene visits do NOT require an exam?

Typically, gum treatment appointments do not always require an exam. This is where you will be matching up time for the doctor to perform procedures that are hard to   break away from.

  1. What time of day do the providers prefer to perform longer procedures?

Let’s face it, some of us are morning people, and some of us aren’t. Why not do your patients a favor and find out.

  1. What is a good time to save for new and emergency patients?

You should have time set aside for emergencies and new patients. You want to be able   to offer these patients an opportunity to come in within 72 hours of them calling. Often, offices will block out time right before lunch. This way they have time to perform palliative treatment if needed, and a longer lunch if not.

  1. What is your daily production goal for each provider?

Each provider should have a daily production goal. When you mix and match these procedures during the day, they should add up to reach this goal.

 

Now you want to match up the hygiene appointments that do not require an exam with the longer treatment appointments. These will be your rocks for the day and time where the providers can work uninterrupted.

Next, schedule treatment such as composites, and preventative hygiene. These will be your pebbles. After the foundation of rocks and pebbles are set in place, you can sprinkle some sand around them. Sand will be your crown seats, limited exams, and hygiene re-evaluations.

Each day should be balanced this way to assure your goals are met and that you are not running around crazy seating crowns and doing limited exams one day and sitting for 8 hours straight the next. Everyone on your team will be much happier and more productive. Remember that the daily schedule is your plan for the day. If you plan poorly, chances are your day will run poorly.

 

Written By: Coach Cindy Rogers, RDH

For many years Cindy has been an integral part of successfully building dental practices from the group up. Cindy is known for creating a harmonious work environment where the whole team looks forward to coming to work every day. The result of this has been massive growth for the practice.

Her passion is to share her success and knowledge with other practices so that they can experience a great team working environment while watching their profitably explode. What you will experience with coaching by Cindy, is somebody that can bring your team together to create your ultimate dental practice, and the ultimate patient experience.

It is through her years of experience in the dental field and the methodologies of Dental Practice Solutions that Cindy creates the next level of success for each dental practice she touches

When not focusing of dentistry, Cindy spend her time with her family exploring the outdoors in beautiful Pacific Northwest.

Contact Cindy: admin@dentalpracticesolutions.com

Dental Practice Consultant | Use it or Lose it!

By: Debbie

August 14, 2018


It’s hard to believe but the end of 2018 is near.

This is the best time of year to contact your patients about their unscheduled dental treatment and/or dental hygiene appointment.

Your message to your patients’ needs to say, “Use it, or lose it!”

 

Why now?

I am certain if you work in the front office of your dental practice, you have a long list of “to-dos’” every day and this only compounds your work!

The reason August is an important month to send out this message is because your patients will possibly not be able to schedule their appointment until September.

Calling overdue hygiene patients can mean there is a lot of work for them to schedule and time is running out!

For your patients who do have insurance benefits, these benefits typically run out on December 31st. This means if they can’t get their treatment completed by December 31st they will lose their benefits this year.

Last week our I wrote in the blog about texting your overdue hygiene patients to come in for their appointment.

You may want to refer back to this blog for more information about this topic.

As a dental consultant, it is my goal to bring out clients and the dental profession, new and up-to-date information.

I wrote about a system I created called the R2R.

 

What is R2R?

R2R means Reason to Return.

Why did your patient leave the office without scheduling their important restorative care?

Now that you have run your report of patients with outstanding treatment, I recommend that you send a text message.

Your Text Message.

Your 1st text message must only say, “Please call our office about your dental appointment.”

When you only text this message it does peak a patients’ curiosity. Most patients will call your office and they will be curious about this message since they know they don’t have a dental appointment.

What to do when the patient calls your office.

  1. Once you answer the phone and you identify this is a patient responding to your text message, place the patient on a very short hold (maybe 10 seconds) letting them know you want to check their patient record.
  2. Check what happened at their last appointment and what they need to schedule an appointment for.
    1. It is possible the patient not only needs restorative care but also, they now need a hygiene appointment.
      1. In this scenario schedule the patient for a hygiene appointment with x-rays and exam as appropriate.
      2. It is possible this patient needs a new exam because the area of concern (area that needs restorative care) may need more extensive care than when first diagnosed.
  • Explain this to the patient so they understand, it’s been too long to schedule for the same treatment they need X months ago. At this point, you don’t know exactly what is needed until the hygienist and doctor re-examine this area in need of care.
  1. Once these patients do return begin to write your R2R.
    1. Ex: Mr. Williams had large decay (MOB) on the upper left first molar (Tooth #14) at his appointment eight months ago.
    2. He comes in for his hygiene appointment and the hygienist completes new x-rays (Last x-rays were over 12 mos. ago) and doctor completes an exam.
      1. The x-rays show this upper left first molar (Tooth #14) needs an onlay and the hygienist completed a gingivitis treatment today.
      2. The patient also has high blood pressure.
  • In the R2R the hygienist writes in the notes (Last line of the notes) R2R: Pt now has high blood pressure and he also has gingivitis today. Doctor and I are concerned about this inflammation in his mouth creating the inflammation in his body—i.e. high blood pressure. Very important to have pt return in two to four weeks to re-evaluate the oral inflammation and if this is improved I will complete a prophy appointment. Pt wants to preserve his teeth, so doctor recommended he schedule for the tooth to be prepped for the onlay at the time of the next hygiene appointment in about two to four weeks.

 

Value of using the R2R.

This R2R serves numerous purposes. It supports a conversation that will need to be addressed when patient schedules his next appointments and needs to know his financial obligations. Should Mr. Williams not want to “NOW” spend the money to reduce the oral inflammation and preserve his teeth, the financial coordinator will refer to these notes as discussed with the hygienist and doctor.

Most offices we talk to have at least one patient call each day to cancel their appointment and unfortunately, this is a patient calling last minute to change their appointment on the day of their appointment.

Whenever a patient does call about an appointment: Making an appointment or changing an appointment, once your clinicians are documenting the R2R, the person answering these calls will always refer to these notes to understand exactly why the patient needs to schedule.

If the patient is calling to change their appointment, referring to the R2R is very helpful when you refer to these notes and address the value of completing treatment sooner than later and when you know what is valuable to your patient (money, time or fear), you can turn this patient objection into a reason to keep their appointment.

Ex. Of turning around their objection to spending money would be that Mr. Williams would save money if he doesn’t wait to restore a filing. Currently, he can no longer have a filling but will need an onlay, if he waits longer this could mean an infection in his tooth. An infection in his tooth also means this infection goes into his bloodstream causing other health-systemic challenges beyond the high blood pressure.

Talk about how treatment now will save money (and improve their health) now when they complete they keep their appointment.

Mr. Williams is an example of someone who did not understand how keeping his original appointment for a filling would cost less than waiting and in the meantime the decay (Words patient may be more likely to relate to: cavity, hole in the tooth, etc.), became larger and needed more extensive treatment, which costs a lot more money.

 

Your Words.

When speaking to patients always break-down the dental words into works that your patients can easily understand.

For example:

Periodontal disease say, gum disease

Tooth decay say cavity or actually show the patient the black hole in their mouth and/or on an x-ray

Scaling and root planing say gum treatment

Recall or recare say preventive care or hygiene appointment

Also use pictures as much as possible. If you have the opportunity to take intra-oral pictures, take the pictures. Sit your patient upright in the chair and show them. Ask your patient if they see what you see. Engage them and make them part of this decision-making process.

Your Plan.

When patients do leave your office without scheduling a next appointment, always let them know that you will be contacting them to scheduling later that week.

Urgency is key when scheduling dental appointments.

We should all care enough about our patient’s total health, reducing inflammation and infection in their mouth and body, that we will not allow our patients to not schedule preventive care.

What you are all saying as a team with your patients, while they are in your office, will make or break, the opportunity for patients to pay and schedule before they leave their current dental appointment.

Would you like to learn more about the value of using the R2R for your office? This has been a huge benefit to our clients who use this system.

Let us know how we can help your team to improve your case acceptance and reduce those last-minute changes to your patient appointments.

Drop us a line or email/call our office to schedule a training for your entire team! We offer AGD CE Credits for Virtual or in-office training.

This year all of our clients will make not less than $125,000 more in production and without working harder or more days.

Let us help you be the next dental practice get this type of success.

To schedule a call, it costs doctor nothing except 30 minutes of your time.

How can we help you be the next success story in 2018?

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: admin@dentalpracticesolutions.com or call our office: 949-351-8741

 

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: admin@dentalpracticesolutions.com or call our office: 949-351-8741

 

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!

 

Call or email our office to schedule for your Free Profit Boosting Session:

Email: admin@dentalpracticesolutions.com or call our office: 949-351-8741

Dental Consultant | The End of Year is Near. How to Get Dental Hygiene Patients to Return Now.

By: Debbie

August 8, 2018

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

    1. Run an overdue hygiene patient report for the past 6 or 12 months.
      1. 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

  1. Use your patient engagement software (Ex. SolutionReach) to contact overdue hygiene patients
  2. 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.

  1. In your email you can now include your scheduling link, so these patients can easily click the link to schedule their hygiene appointment.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  1. We know that free tray whitening works well when attempting to get overdue hygiene patients back to your office.
      1. 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.

    1. All clinicians must make this part of their patient record.
    2. 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.
    3. 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: admin@dentalpracticesolutions.com 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!

 

Call or email our office to schedule for your Free Profit Boosting Session:

 

Email: admin@dentalpracticesolutions.com or call our office: 949-351-8741

 

Dental Coach | Are Dental Professionals Aliens?

By: Debbie

July 26, 2018


Written by: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS,

CEO, Dental Practice Solutions

 

 

Do your dental patients see you as an alien?

Do we alienate our patients by the words we use when we speak to them about treatment needs?

In this blog I will discuss a simplified way to evaluate patients for gum disease.

Are you probing your dental patients or are you probing aliens?

Doesn’t it really depend upon how we talk to our patients?

Do your dental patients consider the dental team like a bunch of aliens?

Here is an answer: We probe aliens not our patients.

Dental professionals use a ruler to measure between the gums and teeth.

All jokes, puns and play with words aside, we must break through the language barrier and bring the “dental talk,” our words down to a place where our patients really understand what we are talking about.

We need to bring them “into the loop,” so to speak. Let’s help our patients imagine what is happening in their mouth. Let’s help them engage in the decision-making process about what they need. This is one important step to case acceptance and getting patients to return indefinitely.

Case acceptance improves when you use words that help them understand what they need. Your descriptive words will make or break the opportunity for your patients to schedule, pay and return indefinitely to your office.

Patients may tell you they understand what the word periodontal means but if you were to do a case study, you will discover patients are more likely to schedule and pay for treatment when you speak their language.

 

 

What words do your patients understand?

  1. Say measure not probe
  2. Say see not found
  3. Say bleeding not BOP
  4. Say gum disease not periodontal disease
  5. Say gum treatment not SRP or scaling and root planing
  6. Say preventive care not recall
  7. Say gum maintenance not periodontal maintenance
  8. Say oral abnormality not oral cancer
  9. Say hole in your tooth not decay
  10. Say change of appointment not cancellation

Our goal is to have patients change (in a timely manner, 48 days prior) not forever cancel future appointments. Contracts are canceled, and appointments are changed.

 

 

How do you get patients to own their disease?

Once you have communicated with your patient what you will be completing at today’s appointment and you have explained that you will check for oral abnormalities, show the patients your periodontal “ruler” and explain that you will measure the space between their tooth and gums.

Explain what the numbers you read on the ruler mean. It will sound something like this:

“Jodie, today we will check for oral abnormalities. I will shine this light (if using fluorescent light) and check for any abnormalities on your tongue, cheek, floor of your mouth and throat, etc. After this, I will use this ruler (show your periodontal probe so they understand what your ruler is) and check for inflammation, infection or bleeding in your gums. You will hear me call our numbers one through three and this means you have healthy gums. If you hear me call out a four, this means there is inflammation and if you hear me say a five or higher this means you have infection in your gums. Not to worry if you hear me call out a four or higher because if there is inflammation or infection, you and I will create a plan, so you have healthy gums in the future. Once I am finished calling out these numbers, I will ask you, what is the highest and what is the lowest number I called out?”

 

Patient Takes Ownership of Their Disease

In most situations, when the hygienist is calling out these numbers and when the patient has been told they need to listen for these number because they need to say what was the lowest and what was the highest number they heard, it creates ownership if there is inflammation and/or infection.

Most hygienists who do use this communication technique when completing a comprehensive periodontal exam (CPE) have patients who are immediately engaged in conversation about what they just heard. It really does save a lot of time explaining what is going on in your patients mouth when you educate them about what you are doing and what you want them to listen for.

It also helps to have visual aids available. If your patients do have bleeding gums, do your best to take pictures (intra-oral) of the area where there is bleeding. Same thing when you see a lot of calculus, supra-gingival. Take pictures and your patients will more easily understand what is happening in their mouth.

When patients can see what is happening and when you can break the conversation down into words they are most likely to understand, it becomes much easier for patients to want what they need.

If you have never tried this technique for communication, I invited you to try this because I am certain you will notice more patients schedule and pay for treatment. They will continue returning to your office for routine preventive care, when they take ownership of their disease.

Do you want more training to boost your patient care? What is your case acceptance? The standard is 85% of your patients scheduling for treatment after you have presented a plan for them. If you are not aware of your case acceptance percentage and/or if you want to see this percentage increase schedule a no-cost Case Acceptance Profit Session with Debbie HERE. You can also schedule 30 minutes by emailing or calling our office: Email: admin@dentalpracticesolutions.com or call: 949-351-8741.

 

Do you want more training for your office? Plan to join us in Portland Oregon on September 21st for a live CE Event called: Dentistry: Get a Grip on Your Practice and Grow Your Business

Click here for more information about this all- day live event.

ABOUT DEBBIE SEIDEL-BITTKE, RDH, BS

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS is a dental consultant, coach, speaker and author. She is also CEO of Dental Practice Solutions. Debbie is a world-class leader in creating profitable hygiene departments. She is well-known as a former clinical assistant professor at USC in Los Angeles and a former hygiene department program director. Dentistry Today recognizes Debbie as a Leader in Dental Consulting. She can be reached at (888) 816-1511. Send an e-mail to info@dentalpracticesolutions.com or go to her website: https://www.dentalpracticesolutions.com.

TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

 

 

Do you feel like your dental practice runs your life? Do you wish that you did not have to concern yourself with running the business of dentistry? Do you want to not worry about the marketing, deal with payroll, worry about open holes in your schedule and a bank account that does not grow?

I feel your pain and I have created an all-day live CE Event in Portland, Oregon. Plan to join Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS, CEO of Dental Practice Solutions, along with Doug Fettig of Aldrich Advisors.

We have planned a life-changing event so you don’t need to worry about your dental business but you can focus on your clinical dentistry.

Plan to bring your team so they can learn and begin implementing what they learn. This will leave you feeling like you have a new lease on life!

You get 6 AGD Credits, breakfast, lunch, snacks, coffee, tea, soft-drinks plus we will give away prizes all throughout the day: valued at $50-$1,500. You will walk away with your customized blueprint.

More information and Register Now. Early-bird Pricing Expires August 21, 2018.