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

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What Secrets Are You Keeping from Your Dental Patients?

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

September 10, 2019

As you read the title of this weeks blog you may wonder, “Debbie, what I mean by secrets?”

What I over hear in a dental office happens too often

For most of my dental career about 35 yrs now,  I STILL hear comments like, “He (“He” is referring to a patient) just got kicked out of his house! He is going through a very hard time in life and the last thing he needs to hear is that he has gum disease!”

Ok!

It’s not always that exact line but NOT telling patients what they need to have a healthy mouth is something I have heard for too long.

I hear so many excuses from dental professionals who don’t want to tell their patients they have a “hole” in their tooth. These dental professionals are hesitant to tell their patient that bleeding gums mean gingivitis or gum disease. 

Many dental professionals around the world are more comfortable waiting to tell the patient the truth about dental disease.

What secrets are you keeping from your dental patients?

These secrets began when I had my first position as an employed dental hygienist.

I had no idea that working in a capitation dental office meant we were not allowed to tell patients they had gum disease, that they needed to schedule for scaling and root planing, aka: “Gum treatment.”

That position as dental hygienist was quickly put to a halt when I was not willing to NOT tell patients the truth about the health of their gums!

Now as a dental hygiene coach and consultant I hear dental hygienists say they can’t tell patients they have gum disease. It’s time to put this elephant in the room to rest!

Supervised Neglect

Dating back to 1984, my first position as a dental hygienist (As I write about above), I was not willing to NOT tell the patients they have a healthy mouth when in fact, the truth was, most of these patients had serious advanced gum disease with radiographic bone loss.

The doctors/owners of this dental practice literally laughed when I mentioned NOT telling patients they have periodontitis is called supervised neglect

I was quickly dismissed from my position as a hygienist and as you know, I have moved on in life to be an advocate.

Since this time 35 yrs ago I have been an advocate for dental professionals to share the message with their patients that “optimal oral health will lead to a healthy and longer life.”

As you search the internet and your state board of dentistry for the definition of supervised neglect, you will discover that not providing treatment greatly outweighs overtreating your patient.

Telling the Truth

A prudent goal for dental professionals should sbe to save patients from pain & suffering, spending a lot of money treating disease and time in the dental/medical office.

What makes the difference in your dental practice and your patients will be engaging your patient during the exam and allowing your patient to know the following:

  1. “What you are doing” before you begin your exam
    1. For example, Hygienists will say something like this to patients” “ Mr. Smith, today I will be looking for any abnormalities inside your mouth. I will look at the hard and soft tissues with my special light (AKA: OralID® ) and next I will look at the the health of your gums. Susan is our dental assistant who will be in here shortly. I will call out some numbers and Susan will type them into our computer.”

      “I want you to listen to the numbers because at the end of the exam I will ask you what was the highest and what was the lowest number I called out.”
  2. Talk to your patient about “what you see.”
  3. Next, have a conversation with your patient about what you both “see” during the exam.
  4. Create a partnership with your patient.
    • Let your patient tell you what they heard you say during the exam.
    • Become the patient advocate.
  5. Take pictures of what you “see.”
    • Use your intraoral camera to take pictures of your periodontal probe (aka: “ruler.” Hint. We probe aliens not human patients. lol) in a deep pocket, take a picture of supra-calculus and bleeding gums. Take pictures of discolored teeth, holes in your patients teeth, crowns and areas where they have missing teeth. Also take pictures of chipped teeth, discolored teeth and malocclusion.
  6. Proxemics Matter.
    • When you are talking with your patients always have them seating upright and positioned knee-to-knee and eye-to-eye.
    • It’s scientifically proven (called Proxemics) that sitting your patient upright and within arms distance will help your patient to make a better decision.
  7. Take away any discrimination when talking to your patients.
    • Tell your patient what you “see” in their mouth
    1. Eliminate the thoughts that you “think” they can’t afford what they need.
    2. Eliminate the thought that you will NOT tell your patient what you “see” in their mouth because you know they are having a difficult time in their life personally (ex: going through a divorce or lost their job, etc.).
    3. Eliminate the fear of telling your patient they have gum disease or gingivitis because they have been coming in religiously every six months since 1980 (and suddenly today their mouth does not look healthy).
    4. STOP the desire to NOT tell your patient they have gum disease, gingivitis or need restorative treatment because “You think” their insurance may not pay for what they need.
  8. Bottom-line: “TELL YOUR PATIENTS THE TRUTH.”
    1. If you feel uncomfortable and don’t have a solid plan to communicate necessary treatment to your patients, I do want to suggest you contact an expert who can offer support for you and your team.
    2. Your patients will be happy. 
      1. Your patients will live a longer and healthier life.
    3. When you are able to effectively and elegantly communicate what your patients need in a way they will “want what they need” its very possible you will have raving fans.
      1. RAVING FANS REFER THEIR FRIENDS AND FAMILY!

Take a look at your case acceptance rate.

Do you have 80% of your patients accepting treatment?

Take a look at your percentage of adults who have completed periodontal treatment.

  • Are 30%  and more of your adult patients enrolled in periodontal maintenance and periodontal treatment?




IMPORTANT FACT. The CDC states that over 42.7% of Adult Americans (30 yrs of age and older. Research found here) have some form of periodontal disease.

How often do you treat patients (young: under 20 yrs old) and adults for gingivitis?

We know that treating disease early will put a halt for your patients spending money and time treating disease.

Please reach out to an expert if you do not currently treat patients for gingivitis and even cavity prevention (We are happy to share the most recent CAMBRA protocols with you), etc.

How can we help support you and your team to elegantly communicate to your patients “what they need?”

We are happy to help you and your team! Just drop us a line for a FREE Coffee chat.

 

ABOUT DEBBIE SEIDEL-BITTKE, RDH, BS

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.

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

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

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 Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

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

Please be sure to “Subscribe to our blogs and YouTube channel.

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.

Your Dental Patient Treatment Plan:  Triage and get Paid

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

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.

hap

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

 

Dental Consulting | When Do We Begin Screening for Gum Disease?

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

July 19, 2018

Dental Coach Oregon

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

One of the big controversies working with dental hygienists is “When do we begin screening for gum disease?

It is a common question and each office we work with has a different answer.

What is the correct answer to this question?

 

In 2011, the American Academy of Periodontology published the Comprehensive Periodontal Therapy Statement, which recommends that all adults receive an annual comprehensive evaluation of their periodontal health.

The periodontal exam begins for all adults.

 

Who is considered an adult?

As a former dental assistant and then clinical dental hygienist, I have learned from experience, over years seeing teens and watching them grow to be mature adults, that periodontal disease begins at a very young age.

The description of adult for a dental patient begins when the patient has all twenty-eight of their adult dentition. This is the best time to begin screening for gum disease.

The conversation about gum health should begin with a patient at a very young age. You may notice that during orthodontic treatment, young patients have gingivitis. This is a great time to begin treatment for gingivitis and this conversation about the benefits of oral health.

Start educating your patients about gum health at a young age.

As dental professionals, our goal needs to be not only optimal oral health but optimal health. We are in a great position to help our patients understand that a healthy mouth can lead to a longer and healthier life. This needs to be our overarching message as a dental healthcare provider.

What does a periodontal comprehensive exam include?

The American Academy of Periodontology has a checklist that you can download. You can download this checklist here.

Your periodontal exam will begin with an overview of the patients’ total health. This will include recent surgeries, medications; herbs are included with medications because some herbs will cause more bleeding.

Here is a list of medications and herbs that may cause more bleeding then expected during a hygiene appointment or dental procedure.

What do we say when the CPE is not a good report for the patient?

It is very helpful when the clinician providing the CPE explains what is happening before they lie the patient back in the chair.

Next week I will walk you through the process on exactly what you should say before you begin the screening.

If you can explain what you are about to do for example, “I am going to use this ruler to take some measurements and these numbers mean X, Y & Z. When I am finished calling out these numbers, I will ask you “What is the highest and what is the lowest number you hear me call?”

When you explain this to your patients before you begin your screening, you will notice that patients tell you they have disease before you ask them what numbers they heard called out.

 

Your message

In conclusion, our goal is to help our patients live a longer and heathier life. When your patient has gingivitis, periodontitis or any type of infection in their mouth, it is a chance to sit with your patient and talk about the mouth-body connection.

We are in the business of helping people live a longer and healthier life.

When this is your message, you will have patients who schedule and pay for treatment. When this is your message you will have a dental practice of patients who return for routine care. This message shows how much you really care!

For more information about treating the patient with gingivitis and/or periodontitis download our free resource with a Hygiene Patient Flow Chart.

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

 

 

 


Does your dental practice run your life? If you want to change the way you currently live your life in our world of dentistry check out our Live CE Event

Dentistry: Get a Grip on Your Practice and Grow Your Business

September 21, 2018   6AGD Credits

Early-bird special until August 21, 2018.

$97 Tuition which includes Food all day, Your Customized Success Blueprint, Prizes valued at $50-1,500.00 plus 6 AGD Credits.

More Info Here Click Here.

Dental Consultant in Oregon | Converting Leads into Patients

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

March 22, 2018

Marketing is an essential part of attracting new business. Strong print and internet marketing materials can help introduce your practice to potential new patients. Glowing reviews and testimonials tell people that you have a trustworthy team and offer quality care. However, even the best marketing efforts won’t contribute anything to your business if you fail to convert leads into patients. There are a variety of reasons outside of your control that might stop someone from scheduling an appointment at your practice, but it’s important to make sure you do all you can to help motivate people to seek treatment with you. Below are some tips to help your team more effectively sell the value of your service to potential new patients.

Be responsive and available. As a dental professional, you know what it’s like to be busy. Often, your patients have busy lives of their own. Make sure your team is available to take calls as they come and try to offer flexible appointment times to help people work within their limited free time.

 

Don’t be too pushy. While it’s helpful to be clear about all the treatments offered at your practice, patients are often turned off by overly “salesy” approaches. Take the time to get to know a patient and their needs, goals, and budget before trying to sell them on dental solutions. This will make them feel valued and understood, increasing the likelihood of treatment plan acceptance.

 

Offer a friendly and welcoming environment. There are a number of people who absolutely dread going to the dentist. Because of that, some potential patients may already have a negative feeling towards you and your team despite no fault of your own. Work to overcome this discomfort quickly by offering a personable and kind environment. Make sure your team greets patients by name and gets to know a bit about them. A little can go a long way.

 

Don’t lose track of people. Repetition is one of the easiest techniques for cementing something into memory. If a potential new patient contacts your office, be sure to follow up if you don’t hear from them again. You never know the reason they didn’t call back, so taking that step for them can offer a second chance to make a connection and help your practice stand out more in their mind.

 

Many dentists find it difficult to think about their practice as a business. It is likely that you chose dentistry due to a passion for service and healing, not bookkeeping or sales. Yet nearly any successful retailer will say that the only way to gain business is to give customers what they want, when they want it. Contact us for more strategies on boosting new patient numbers and patient retention!

Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

 

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

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

Dental Consultant in Clackamas | Give your dental marketing a boost in 2018

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

February 14, 2018

Guest Blog By: Mandy Fischer of LocalMed.

Was one of your New Year resolutions for 2018 to improve your marketing strategy and bring in record numbers of new patients?

If it was, but you’re not entirely sure where to begin – we have some suggestions for you! These 5 action points can help you decide where to focus your time and effort this year in order to take your marketing to the next level.

  1. Take advantage of peer-sharing groups.

If you’re looking for a sure-fire way to expand your marketing toolkit this year that requires nothing but your time and effort, check out and get involved in the groups that already exist for your benefit on social media.

There are dozens of groups and forums out there where dentists, office managers, consultants and marketing professionals are discussing best practices, what works and what doesn’t. Make it your mission to find at least one group that you can contribute and ask questions in this year!

 

2. Audit your digital presence.

Google yourself, and check out the first few pages of results. Make sure that your practice’s name, phone number, address, email address, web address and doctor’s name are all correct on every listing. If it isn’t – make a note of it, and fix it ASAP. If there’s differing information, you’re doing significant harm to your brand and likely losing potential patients.

Your digital presence is there to build trust with potential patients, and if you’re providing conflicting information, they’re just going to choose a different dentist.

 

3. Be strategically social with your patients.

Take a critical look at your social media strategy. Are your posts engaging people, or is nobody looking? Make it your mission to post relevant, fun, personable information that will make people WANT to come to your office! One of your most valuable assets is your branding – and that includes your social voice!

Post authentic photos of you and your staff having fun in the office, or happy patients (make sure to comply with HIPAA law) – and stay away from posting anything clinical that will scare away patients (i.e. a before and after of teeth whitening is fine, but a patient being prepped for implants is not!).

 

  1. Diagnose your overall brand health.

Your brand includes your visual assets, your brand voice and your customer experience. Evaluate your office’s current efforts, and come up with a specific plan for improvement.

Some questions you can ask to diagnose how you’re doing:

  • What are your reviews saying? Do you have any reviews? Are they old or negative?
  • What is your social media interaction like? Is your social brand voice unique and engaging?
  • What’syour marketing materials look like? Do you have a library of mismatched assets that could be attributed to any dental practice? Do you have a brand guide that establishes standard fonts, colors and voice?
  • What are the common complaints or comments patients have made in regards to your calls, procedures or marketing? Ask your staff. What can you do to make their experience even better!

 

  1. Close the loop on your marketing.

In addition to the tasks above, make sure you have a comprehensive marketing strategy in place. Facebook ads, direct mailers, referrals and ground marketing are all great ways of getting the word about your practice out.

But how do you convert leads into patients? If it’s by phone call only, or an “online request”, it’s time to upgrade to a better system.

Real-time online scheduling is the missing piece that closes the loop on your patient acquisition process. Enable patients to schedule an appointment with your office from wherever they find you, like your website, Google, Facebook, HealthGrades, Yelp, etc.

By giving patients the option of booking their appointment on the their own time, you can significantly increase your conversion rate on your current marketing efforts, meaning more patients in your door without needing to add any additional marketing strategies.

 

 AUTHOR: Mandy Fischer
Marketing Coordinator for Local Med

Thank you to our guest blogger this month! We had a wonderful response a few months ago when Mandy wrote for us. We appreciate LocalMed and all they do to get patients scheduled even when you are not there to answer the phone call.

Dental Hygienists Role in Maintaining Dental Implants

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

May 10, 2017

Dental Hygienists Role in Treating Implants

Dental Hygienists Role in Treating Implant Patients

Dental Implants are an expensive alternative to tooth replacement and they must last a lifetime. This is our ultimate goal when placing implants.

If our desire is to keep implants for a lifetime of the patient, it is important for the dental hygienist to understand the morphology of the peri-implant mucosa, the attachment between the mucosa and the titanium implant. This area comprises the junctional epithelium, about 2 mm high, and the connective tissue zone of greater than or equal to 1 mm in height. This is the zone that protects the osseointegrated surface from environmental factors, such as plaque in the oral cavity.

It is this zone where the health and longevity of a dental implant is imperative and it is a major role for dental hygienists is to maintain dental implants.

Dental Implants

Dental Implant Maintenance

An important role of the hygienist is to assess if their patient as a potential implant candidate. Many people know about dental implants but choose not to inquire about them and they choose not to consider them for tooth replacement.

It is the open-ended questions, a smile evaluation and communication with a potential implant patient will begin a foundation for case acceptance of dental implants. When you allow the patient to complete a smile evaluation, you allow the patient to be the one asking about the area where a tooth is missing.

Allowing your patient to be the one inquiring about treatment will put them in the drivers seat and you are only there to offer answers to the area the patient has checked off in their smile evaluation that the are not 100% satisfied with.

You can now lead this conversation into a discussion about the consequences of not having an implant. You now have an opportunity to discuss why  implant therapy a good option for a particular patient.

Continuing with your conversation you may talk about adjunctive or alternative forms of therapy/treatment that can be utilized.

It is very important for all the auxiliaries to understand why implants work, how well they work, and everyone on the dental team must understand all aspects of implant care so communications and explanations to the patient, that based on the doctor’s diagnosis, is a seamless process. This means that you have had role-play sessions as a team about “what to say,” “Who are the patients that doctor considers a good implant candidate, etc.”

When your patient accepts treatment, it’s the hygienist who will be responsible for educating the patient about oral care during the surgical and prosthetic phases of treatment. It is important for all the clinicians to understand the surgical treatment your patient will undergo and the types of restorations that will be placed. It is imperative that you recommend the appropriate oral hygiene techniques during healing phases.

Clinical hygiene and routine home-care procedures need to be effective but non-invasive so the healing tissues are not disturbed. It is also important for the patient to be aware that gentle debridement will only be effective while tissues are healing. Once healing and restoration are complete, a new hygiene routine will need to be established, learned, and complied with.

It crucial for the hygienist to educate their patients about the need for routine, maintenance. This is not an option if the patient has a desire to keep their implants for the rest of their life. Explain to your patient what can happen when their implants are not properly cared for at home and maintained by their dental hygienist.

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

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

 ABOUT DEBBIE SEIDEL-BITTKE, RDH, BS

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

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

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

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

May 4, 2017

Jimmy Kemmel video total health

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prevention saves money and saves lives.

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

Preventing disease is our number 1 role as dental professionals.

Baby Kimmel

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

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

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

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

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

ABOUT DEBBIE

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

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

 

The Dental Hygienists’ Role in Patients’ Treatment Plan

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

April 6, 2017

Hygienists Role in Treatment Planning

Hygienists Role in Treatment Planning

                                                                                   Video & Blog Explains Hygienists’ Role

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

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

Time Management Formula

Time Management Formula

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About Debbie

Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS is an international dental consultant, coach, speaker and author. She is also CEO of Dental Hygiene Solutions, powered by Dental Practice Solutions. Debbie is a world-class leader in creating highly profitable hygiene departments. She is a well-known former clinical assistant professor at USC in Los Angeles and a former hygiene department program director. Dentistry Today recognizes Debbie as a Leader in Dental Consulting for the past 12 yrs.  No Cost Hygiene Dept Training Video Series. Grab it here Now. REGISTER FOR TRAINING