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Reactivate Your Overdue Hygiene Patients

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

August 27, 2019

Summer in North America is coming to a close.

The kids are going back to school and family vacations are over.

2019 is more than half-way over and that means you have less months in 2019 to meet your dental practice goals.

What are you doing this month to reactivate your overdue hygiene patients?

In today’s blog I will list a few things you must do today to get your patients on your schedule before December 31st of 2019.

Your To Do List:

  1. Run your overdue hygiene patient report.
    1. If you need an easy way to run this report please do reach out to our office. Let’s schedule 15 minutes so I can show you a few easy ways to get this information right now and also each month moving forward. Send us an email to schedule this.
  2. Schedule a time on your daily schedule to make a personal call to the patients who are currently overdue.
    1. When calling use words that show you care about your patient.
    2. Use words that add value and benefits to scheduling the appointment.
    3. Try to think “outside the box” of calling to say, “You are overdue for your appointment.”
      1. Explain the reason they really need to return to see the hygienist.
        1. Use words like, “Overall health, Preventive Care, Your Wellness Exam with Mollie your hygienist and Dr. Smith, Cavity Detecting x-rays to prevent unnecessary money on root canals, toothloss and abnormalities, etc.”
        2. Be creative when you use words to encourage, motivate and move patients to schedule this valuable, life-saving appointment.
  3. Schedule email and text campaigns.
    1. This is your most efficient use of your time and you can reach hundreds of patients with the click of a button.
    2. Again, if you are not familiar with how to do this please do reach out to our office so I can spend 15 minutes with you and explain a simple way to do this NOW and moving forward, you will do this each week. Send an email to our office to schedule 15 minutes.
  4. WIIFM

This is most important!

People will make many excuses to not schedule their dental appointments. Many years ago I created a system called “Forever White” which allows dental patients to receive tooth whitening for FREE.

It’s human nature for people to ask, “What’s in it for me?” This is especially true with dental appointments so when your patients are overdue know that you must have a very good reason to break your patients away from something they “think” it more important…..i.e. A Dental Appointment.

When patients are in the dental chair you have a captive audience to share the value and benefits of scheduling and paying for treatment. Once patients are not in your dental office, it becomes more important to get your patients attention and “want” to schedule a dental appointment.

Our Forever White program is proprietary. We buy the hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide gel from a well-known dental supply company. We are then able to add the gel (you choose which type of peroxide you wish and the percentage) to a customized syringe.

The syringes are 3.1 ml of gel and they are laser imprinted with your office name, website address and office phone number. We add your logo and the laser imprinting is in the color of your choice.

Again, contact our office if you want to learn more about implementing this service for your patients. We will show you how to grow your practice and keep patients returning for the appointments……..on time!

  1. Send an email to our office to schedule 15 minutes.

5. THE FREE OFFER

Your free offer, whitening or anything you decide is best for your office to give the patient as a reward for scheduling is communicated in your email/text campaign.

6. Video Engages

We have learned that in today’s world, video is a type of message you provide your patients makes it more likely that patients will actually open/read your email or text.

7. Dental Practice University

I invite you to enroll in our Dental Practice University because the first 14 days are FREE. 

Included in the first 14 days is a video training with scripts to send the email/text campaigns.

We will also provide you with our Ebook during the first 14 days to reactivate your overdue hygiene patients.

Get started HERE.

It’s imperative that you work your overdue hygiene recare system every week.

Appoint one person who is your implementer for this dental hygiene patient reactivation system.

Dental hygienists should also be a part of this system. Dental Hygienists are a big help when reactivating overdue dental hygiene patients.

Conclusion

The best way to not work so hard on reactivating your overdue hygiene patients is for the hygienists to always schedule the patients’ next visit.

When talking to patients about scheduling their next visit: Hygiene appointments or restorative, etc., always let patients know the value and benefits for them to schedule the appointment.

Example:

“Mr. Jones, today we treated you for the gingivitis because as you know, we are concerned about your bleeding gums and the inflammation in your mouth today. We know that your diabetes will improve as the health of your gums improves. I want to see you again for preventive care and re-evaluate your gum health in four weeks. I have Tuesday September 24th at 10am available, does this day and time work for you?”

Notice how in this example above, I used the words that were used in conversation during the patients’ appointment.

During the medical history review, I discussed the diabetes condition, medications, etc. We evaluated his gum health (Comprehensive Periodontal Exam. CPE) before determining the type of cleaning Mr. Jones would receive.

The results of the gum exam (CPE) determined that Mr. Jones needed gingivitis treatment today (see our FREE RESOURCE about Treating the Gingivitis Patient here.)

We know that if a patient has bleeding, inflammation and infection, we will do a post-op, re-evaluation visit in the next 2-6 weeks. In this situation above, we want to see Mr. Jones in approximately four weeks to be sure his gums have responded to the gingivitis treatment we provided.

At this next appointment if the re-evaluation of his gums (CPE) shows healthy gums, you will now complete a prophylaxis appointment and determine if he should return in three, four, six or another interval for his next hygiene appointment.

When handing-off your patient to the front desk and whenever you are scheduling a next visit always state the reason for your patient to return.

Now is the time to reactivate your overdue hygiene patients. Do not delay. Time is moving so quickly this year of 2019!

ABOUT DEBBIE SEIDEL-BITTKE, RDH, BS

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Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS is founder and CEO of Dental Practice Solutions. Debbie 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

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