Dental Practice Solutions

Optimize your dental hygiene department by taking an integrated, team approach

  • Do you feel like you are working hard and your production is not increasing?
  • Do you feel like your hygiene department is under performing?
  • Is your hygiene department producing 25-30% of your total production?
  • Are hygienists in your office treating bloody prophys?
  • Does your hygiene department help enroll implant cases and high-end treatment?
  • Do you have one or more holes in your schedule daily?

I am so happy that you are here because we have answers and solutions to your challenges.

Dental Practice Solutions - Debbie Bittke

Dental Hygienist’s Patient Scheduled for a Prophy but NOT a Prophy!

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

December 30, 2019

I want to talk about the elephant in the room. Let’s take for example Ronda who is a twenty-year patient of Dr. Curry. Susan is her hygienist of ten years, but Ronda is out sick today. On this particular day the dental hygienists’ patient is schedule for a Prophy but Ronda, the patient, is NOT a Prophy!

To set the stage for the first challenge, Sally is the temp hygienist.

Sally is an amazing clinician. She is good with patient’s; knows how to build rapport and she definitely has excellent clinical skills.

Sally completes all the necessary clinical exams and discovers that Ronda is more than a prophy patient.

The next thing Sally does is talk to Ronda about the change in her oral condition and explains she needs more than a “cleaning” at today’s dental hygiene appointment.

Sally begins treating Ronda for gingivitis and Dr. Curry enters to complete the hygiene patient exam and everything seems fine with Rona.

Everything seemed fine until Ronda got to the front desk and was asked to make a 2nd hygiene appointment in two weeks PLUS, Ronda was told that only one of these two hygiene appointment would be covered by her insurance.

WOW! Now we have a problem!

Ronda complained about all this to the lady at the front desk!

Ronda was NOT happy! She says, “No one ever told me I have gum problems until today!”

I do NOT like this hygienist I just saw!”

Ronda continues, “That hygienist does not know what she is doing!”

Oh my!

The lady at the front desk is rather new and she did not know what to say.

Ronda left without a next appointment.


How can this situation which turned sour become like lemonade at your next party?

Well, a dental hygiene appointment (to most) doesn’t feel like a party but how can we overcome this overwhelm and confusion.

Let me outline a few steps that can make a positive change:

  1. When possible, for the long-term patients of your hygienist, let the know you have a temp hygienist
    1. This may take out some of the shock of a different hygienist
  2. Always explain what your patient is there for
    1. Ex: Routine preventive care, x-rays, “abnormality exams (oral cancer and “gum exam”., Comprehensive perio exam), doctor exam, etc.
  3. Before you complete the Comprehensive Periodontal Exam (CPE. To the patient it is called “Gum exam), let your patient know you will check the health of their gums with a ruler. Explain what the numbers mean. Ex: 1 through 3 is healthy. If you hear a 4, that means there is inflammation and if you hear a 5 or higher, that most likely means you have infection and active gum disease.
  4. Ask your patient to listen for the numbers because at the end of your exam you will ask them, “What was the highest and what was the lowest number you heard me call out?”
    1. The purpose of having your patient listen is because when they do hear a number that is more than 3, they will TELL YOU. Rarely, does the hygienist need to ask the patient, “What was the highest number your heard and what was the lowest number you heard?”
    2. I can almost guarantee you that when your patient hears a 4 or 5, they WILL be letting their hygienist know, “that did not sound good!”
    3. If your patient hears you call out “Bleeding on Tooth #3, etc.,” your patient will also be very likely to let you know,
      that did not sound good!”
  5. Whenever you see something that is abnormal, always take this opportunity to “show” your patient.
    1. Use the intra-oral camera
    2. Take pictures of heavy supra build-up on lower lingual of lower anterior, take pictures of BOP and holes, discolored teeth in your patients mouth. When you see areas of papillary and marginal inflammation, take a picture of the area with your intra-oral camera. Use the intra-oral camera for stains on their teeth and old composite stains and discoloration.
  6. When showing your patient, the intra-oral pictures, ask your patients to tell you what “they see.”
    1. Interestingly, many patients will not be able to tell you they see anything out of the ordinary so at this point in the conversation, you will want to compare health to the disease in their mouth.
    1. Be sure to show them the heavy supra calculus especially if they don’t recognize anything abnormal on the picture you will show them.
  7. Be sure you sit your patient up-right in the chair as you discuss what you “see.”
  8. Explain what you see, using words your patient will understand and yet, use words that add value to the hygiene service.
    1. For ex: Deep cleaning is not going to be value enough to return and pay more money.
    2. Use words like Gingivitis, gum disease, inflammation, infection, bleeding, disease.
  9. Explain the change in today’s appointment after your initial exam of abnormalities.
  10. Explain what future appointments are necessary to treat the abnormality today and what is necessary to prevent disease in the future.
  11. Always follow the system and process of each dental practice.
    1. Many offices find it valuable to quote a fee to the patient when there is a change in the service.
      1. Be aware that it is not “best-practice” to have a patient lying or sitting in a dental chair and then give financial estimates.
      2. Patients should always be in a place that feels “Safe” and “confidential” when discussing private matters such as “finances, etc.”
  12. What do you do when a patient is angry like Ronda became?
    1. This is where a written office- hygiene department system is super important!
    2. When you have a new hygienist and especially when you have a temp hygienist, you should have a guide, a blueprint written for when you treat a prophy and when it is not a prophy.
      1. When does a prophy patient receive treatment for gingivitis?
      2. When does a gingivitis patient return for their next hygiene appointment?
      3. When does a prophy patient become a perio patient?
      4. What happens after scaling and root planing is completed? When does that patient return for a hygiene appointment?
      5. The list of processes for the hygiene appointment is long. It must be written out so everyone on your team knows what is expected……and especially when you have a new or temp hygienist.


Not every dental office has a system where the doctor will complete a hygiene-patient exam in the hygiene room.

It is very helpful to have doctor and hygienist together for the hygiene patient exam. This provides effective communication, and nothing should be missed.

When doctor and hygienist complete the patient exam together, the hygienist can bring doctor into the loop on what has transpired during the hygiene appointment, up-to-this point.

In the situation with Ronda being new to Sally the hygienist, Dr. Curry can also build up Ronda’s confidence about the temp hygienist and let her know how great Ronda is even though she is the temp hygienist today.

At the end of the doctor exam, instead of asking the patient, “Do you have any questions,” change this question and ask, “What questions do you have for me today?”

This is an open-ended question and gets the patient thinking.

When asked a yes or no type of question, patient will usually tell the doctor,
“No, I don’t have any questions.”

But as you can see in this situation, Ronda had a lot of questions. She never felt comfortable asking.

I could provide a one-two hour course on this topic.

It’s a hot topic in today’s world of dental hygiene. It’s a big-reason, dentists have been calling our office for support.

Dentists and dental hygienists want to know, what to say to a patient who has always been a prophy but is now “more than a prophy patient.”

I recently wrote a course called, “What’s Blood Got to Do With it?” and I highly recommend you enroll because I will review in two video training modules how to handle patients who are more than a prophy patient.

In this training you will have numerous resources to support reimbursement and so much more. This is not only for the knowledge of the dental hygienist but will support the front office with patients who will pay for more than a prophy appointment.

Also remember, we are here to provide optimal oral health for our patients. It is not the standard-of-care to treat a patient with a specific service because you know a specific service is what their insurance will or will not pay for.

When you are able to help patients “own” their disease, they will be most likely to schedule and pay for treatment.

These patients will continue to return for their appointments at your office.

These are your patients who will tell their friends and family about your dental office!


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.

Checkout our latest training about treating the gingivitis patient. Each paid registration will receive 2 CE Credits once the complete the course.


By: Dr. David Black, DDS, FICD, FACD

May 30, 2019


I retired from private practice four years ago.  I had a successful 40+ year run doing general restorative and cosmetic dentistry.  The dental practice had dentist-associates, while I worked as a solo practitioner.

In the end, a couple of young entrepreneurs, new grad dentists, bought my dental practice and I worked as an associate for four years before stepping away from the chair.



Retirment, done right.

It is not just the act of stepping away from clinical dentistry. There are many things that need to be considered before leaving your dental practice.

  1. Can I get full value at the sale?
  2. Can I even sell the practice?
  3. Do I have adequate funds to be able to live well for the next 20-30 years?
  4. What will I do in retirement?

Let’s continue this discussion of retirement done right and your retirement plan.

Can I get full value at the time of the sale?

This is also tied to the question, do you have enough saved to retire?  I worked with practice management consultants about ten years before I sold to analyze my situation.  I discovered I needed to increase the value of the practice by increasing the production and collections in the practice.

Most dental practice sales are based on one of several evaluations, but mostly a three- year average of your collections.  What that meant for me was the need to get another practice management consultant to help me improve my systems, train my staff to be more productive, and save a large portion of my increases.

Values and production have changed in the ten years since I did this, but back then the magic number was to get production/collections above one million dollars.  I am sure the ideal number is higher than that now. The proposition is that you have to create an asset that someone finds valuable.

To get top dollar, you must create something that is something of value, but also something the buyer sees as having growth potential.  This sometimes means improving the physical plant or doing cosmetic things to increase value. The biggest thing you have to do is increase the total collections.

Can I even sell the dental practice?

I bought the records of a practice for $5000 when the aging doctor decided to retire.  Unfortunately, he had ridden the practice down to next to nothing. His physical plant was old and the equipment was ancient.

I have seen several doctors just walk away from their dental practice.  For that reason, I intentionally positioned myself to sell at the peak of production and I made my office attractive and functional.  

Some small rural areas may have the same problem as this dentist I bought out because it is hard to find doctors who want to live in the area.  You can discuss what you have with a broker or a consultant that helps with transitions to see if you have a problem practice you want to sell.



Do you have adequate funds to be able to live well for the next 20-30 years?

We are living longer.  My financial planner told me we have to plan to survive until age 93.  The good news is that we are enjoying a longer life.

The bad news is that we need more money and other assets to support us for more years.  This is something I did not have the skill to project, so I found another dental expert to help me plan.  Hopefully you will have a paid-for home and other cash producing assets in addition to your retirement funds to help.  

You also have to figure what your standard of living is and how much it will cost you to have a lasting income.   The answer to this is to start early, defer as much gratification as you possibly can, so that you can survive your extra years in comfort.  

My reality was that I did not have enough and I wasn’t on the correct financial trajectory at first, but with planning and execution, I finally made it.  At the rate I am going, I should spend my last dollar at age 93.

What will I do when I retire?

Some people are lucky enough to feel good just laying back, resting, playing golf every day and generally just taking it easy.  

Unfortunately, I was not wired that way.  I wanted to do something that fulfilled my need to create a legacy and create more income to do extra things around the house or for my family.  

I work part-time in an FQHC clinic, teach, coach and consult, along with lecturing and writing.  I call that being “REPURPOSED”, not retired. That is me.

What about YOU?  As long as you have a plan that makes you feel good and cares for whatever your needs are, go for it.

All of us will retire or die first.  The sad news is that our bodies cannot continue to do the hard work of dentistry forever.  

Plan, Save, Enjoy!  



If I can help you in your Retirement planning, contact me at and grab my e-book, “Transition Now!”



Dr. Black is currently an associate dental coach and consultant, for Dental Practice Solutions, one of the leading consulting firms for nearly twenty years. As a seasoned dental practitioner, Dr. Black adds to the proven dental hygiene profitability coaching that Dental Practice Solutions is well-known for providing, to dental practices around the world.

Dr. Black’s expertise as an EQ and DISC trainer, makes him the best person to help more patients to say “YES!” to your patient care, as well as to enjoy working together as a team and loving what you do for your patients!

You can contact him for a FREE Coffee Chat HERE.






How to Become a Great Leader as a Dental Practice Owner

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

December 17, 2018

In today’s Live Interview Debbie Seidel Bittke, RDH, BS, talks to Dr. Racheal Hall and being a dentist and why leadership skills are key to your success as a dental practice owner.

Dr. Rachel Hall is a dentist for Evolve Dental Healing and has a passion for helping dentists create systems that build fortunes and have fun while doing this.

Most dentists did not begin their career thinking about leadership skills. They went to dental school to provide clinical dentistry. Some dentists saw a great fit for themselves, combing art with science.

As a dentist leading your dental practice success means you must learn how to become a great leader, whether you like it or not.

What Rachel shares about how she became a great leader was the ability to always be open to learning. When you learn something new you need to practice, practice, practice to be your very best at the new skill or dental practice system, etc.

We also talk about Trust and how you must have trust in your team.

During our chat we also talk about:

  • The importance of everyone on the team to work towards one goal
  • Delegation of responsibilities
  • The importance of consistency (You will hear an example of what needs to be consistent)
  • Defining your values and self-worth
  • Importance of the team in helping to make changes

There is so much more that we talked about for thirty-five minutes.

If you are a dentist or dental practice owner, this is a short interview you must check out. Take a few minutes to listen and learn how you too can achieve and exceed your goals. You will understand how important it is for your team to drive your dental practice systems!

Every week we have a special guest interview and it is live on our Business FB Page. Please like and follow the FB Page to receive daily inspiration, tips to grow your hygiene department and hear from other dental influencers, dentists and your colleagues.


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

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

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.


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: 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.

Dental Consultant | Get a Grip on Your Business & Grow Your Dental Practice!

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

August 28, 2018

Doctor, everything has changed again…

As we wrap up 2018 it is very clear that dentistry and your potential to break your “ceiling” is BIGGER than ever!

Our team at Dental Practice Solutions is on a mission to help you tap into your greatest success and decrease the stress you feel as a professional who is running in a lot of directions every day.

As we come-to-a close this year, plan to attend this all-day, live-event with your team.

GET A GRIP ON YOUR BUSINESS AND GROW YOUR PRACTICE, will support not only the dentist but the team. We believe a successful dental practice has a motivated team that will drive the systems in the practice. This will allow doctor to focus on what they do best….clinical dentistry!


One way that will break through your ceiling of huge potential is to learn what your patients want. This begins with a motivated and committed team.

Many dentists are still using the same tactics to attract and retain patients in their practice that they used before 2014. It’s possible that you don’t even know you are doing this!

Only a few years later and our economy, our way of thinking and doing things in the world have changed. You need to understand how you must change the way you deliver your message to patients if you want to break your ceiling!

As 2018 comes to an end, it is now clear that the way you present treatment and finances, the way you attract patients to your office, has changed. Things are very different than they were only a few years ago.

Corporate dentistry is here to stay, and insurance has a big impact on what your patients will choose: your office or another and even IF they will say “YES “to your care.

People are spending money and that means your patients will accept high-end treatment plans. They will in fact, pay for this on the day they schedule for the treatment.

You must understand how this works and we are bringing these secrets to you on September 21st. They should no longer be kept a secret and that is why you must attend. Debbie will spill the beans and show you how it works.

You will have an opportunity to put this into action for yourself during the afternoon session.

You need to have REAL and up-to-the minute SUCCESS information not in your back-pocket but in your hands to use immediately.

This is exactly what you will receive when you register (below) with your team.

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


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


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, less a $50 non-refundable fee.


Dental Consulting | Dental Hygiene Patients: Keep the Back Door Closed

By: admin

August 1, 2018


Written by: JoAnn Leon, Front Office, Insurance Credential / Reimbursement Coach

We hear this question all the time, “Can you help me get more new patients to my office?

The answer is, “Doctor, do you realize that you have 1,560 patients and 300 of these patients have not returned to your office in the last eighteen months?”

How to keep the back door closed when new dental patients come to your office.

The most effective plan you can have in place is to reactivate your over-due hygiene patients. If you have a program such as SolutionReach, you can very easily reactivate these 300 over-due hygiene patients.



Step 1. Know Your Numbers.

The team at Dental Practice Solutions, recommends that you run a hygiene report, so you know how needs to return for a hygiene appointment in the last eighteen months.

Step 2. Send a Special “We Miss You Letter.”

Send this e-newsletter to over-due hygiene patients. SolutionReach has great template to send patients an eye-grabbing e-newsletter.

Step 3. Offer an Incentive to patients who receive your e-Newsletter.

We have created a system around reactivation of your overdue hygiene patients. Without a doubt it works well to offer patients a gift for returning. This is the WIIFM syndrome. You know what I mean by WIIFM? I mean the “What’s in it for me” syndrome.

What has worked well for numerous years is offering your patients free tooth whitening when they do complete their hygiene appointment, pay for the prophy or necessary treatment, along with appropriate x-rays (BWX, FMX, etc.) and doctor exam. At the end of the hygiene appointment the hygienist or a clinician will take impressions and the patient returns in a day or two to pick. Up their whitening trays and two syringes of gel.


You can also have your whitening gel syringes customized here.



Step 4. Call Your Overdue Hygiene Patients.


Each day someone in your office should be working on calling overdue hygiene patients. Not too many people actually answer their phone these days so if you don’t get ahold of your patient, your next step is to text your patient.


Step 5. Texting Overdue Hygiene Patients.


What do you text a patient, so they want to call your office and schedule their hygiene appointment?

First of all, let me say that it is important that you have two-way texting set up if you do have the ability to text your patients. In today’s fast-paced and technologically oriented world, it is important that you can text two-ways with patients of record.

Your text should only say this: Please give our office a call about your appointment.

“They don’t have an appointment,” you say!

That is correct, the don’t have an appointment and you do want them to call about an appointment………one they need to schedule.

This one sentence works in a phone message or text and…. btw, it works very well when you are calling to collect money. That is

another blog, another day.



Step 6. What You Must Say When You Do Talk to the Patient?

Before you pick up the phone to call a patient and even if a patient calls about an appointment, it is important to look at the patients record, if you have electronic patient charts.

You need to look at the patient’s ledger to see if they owe money, etc. Very important is to look at the patient’s clinical notes and read about the reason WHY they need to return.

Ask yourself before you call the patient:

  • When was the last time there were in our office?
  • What do they need to return for?
    • Is it only (Not just lol) a hygiene appointment?
    • Do they have outstanding/unscheduled treatment?
  • What do you know if valuable to the patient?
    • For example, is money a possible concern and maybe a reason they have not returned?
      • Be prepared to overcome money objections by offering solutions and changing the loss of money into this appointment will help them save money
        • For example: Patients who have diabetes or high blood pressure, this is the perfect opportunity to talk about the mouth-body connection. Let them know that a healthy mouth means less money on medications and doctor/hospital visits


Step 7. Try Something Different Than You Have Been Doing.

You know what they say about insanity?

Doing the same thing over and over does not typically yield a good outcome. Take one or all of these steps and begin today implementing one. Just try one of these.

Go to your calendar and on today’s date write “Begin Reactivation.” Write down how many overdue patients you have on this day. Next turn to your calendar six months out and write a reminder to check the number of overdue hygiene patients.

The goal is for this number to be less than it is today.

And do remember to be patient with yourself (And the team) as you implement these new steps.

Each month you must run a hygiene report and reach out to your overdue hygiene patients. It still surprises me, the number of offices we work with. When we investigate a new clients reactivation process, it happens too often, that there is no reactivation system hence, hundreds, thousands of overdue hygiene patients.

Do you have an over-abundance of overdue hygiene patients? Does reactivating them seem like a daunting task? Reach out to use. Let’s create your strategy and close the back door for new patients as well as your current patients of record. Schedule a no-cost Profit Boosting Session Here.

You can also email us or call: 949-351-8741 to get this scheduled now.



Oregon Dental Consultant







For many decades, Joann Leon, has worked alongside various doctors from international backgrounds she has obtained extensive knowledge in management, insurance contracting and clinical aspects of various types of dental practices. Joann is able to provide unbiased, objective advice on selecting the right insurance plans, maximizing fee schedules, and streamlining accounts receivable collections.

– Certified Procedural Quality Assurance Consultant Eagle Soft Setup
– Insurance Credentialing & Contracting Dentrix Software Setup
– Human Resources/Legal Compliance Easy Dental Software Setup
– Filing Grievances Insurance/Patient New Practice Startup/Established Practice Analysis
– Fee Schedule Analysis Loss Prevention/Staff Accountability
– Digital/Hard Copy Filing Front Desk Employee Training
– Purchase/Sale of Practice Audit Preparation of Charts

In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her sons and grandchildren; serving her spiritual community as a lector and Eucharistic minister. She enjoys spiritual retreats at least twice a year, the beach, dancing, and going out on scenic drives.

Contact JoAnn:




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.





How the Dentists Can Estimate Their Potential ROI from SEO Services

By: admin

July 20, 2018

As a dentist, your e-mail is probably bombarded every day with various online marketing pitches. Everything from web design to e-mail marketing and copywriting—you name it, it’s there.

However, did you notice that neither of these sales letters tells you the most important thing, which is what your return on investment (ROI) will be, or how much money you can make if you invest in their services? They don’t, because in most cases, this is difficult to calculate. These online-marketing firms are not willing to go for such a commitment, and even if they do, the ROI doesn’t look that good.

On the other hand, there are services like search engine optimization (SEO), which delivers quite predictable results, and we can easily tell what your potential is if you invest in that. Furthermore, SEO is a long-term strategy. This means the ROI doesn’t fluctuate month by month. In fact, most of the time, the ROI increases every other month, even if you put the campaign on hold.

This is exactly what we’re going to teach you here. We’re here to help you form an easy way to estimate how much money you could make as a dentist practitioner if you invest in an SEO service.

Click the link below to read more on how you can estimate your ROI from search engine optimization.

3 Ways to Increase Production by 100K in the Next Twelve Months

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

July 12, 2018

Insurance reimbursement is not more but less, and insurance companies are getting very particular about what you submit as a narrative and what codes you can and can’t use.

On a positive note, our clients this year, 2018, are seeing bigger production numbers than seen in the past five plus years.

Why is this good news?

It is good news because people are spending money.

It shows that the economic decline is no longer an excuse you can use if you practice production and collections are still down.

What can you do?

Let me outline 3 steps you must take if you want to see at least 100k come in to your dental office (your bank account) in the next twelve months.

1. Leadership

The offices we work with who do the best are the offices that have a dentist, a practice owner who is a great leader!

What does this mean, “Be a leader”?

Being a leader includes a variety of characteristics so let me just name two here:

  • A person who can make wise decisions in a timely manner.
    • This means that when an important decision is in front of you, you must be able to make a decision within the next day or at least a week. Many dentists take weeks, months to make a decision and by the time they have made the important decision, their practice has suffered even more.

2. Morning Team Huddle.

This is where you make or break your day. The morning team huddle must occur on a daily basis.

We teach our clients; large and small offices, how to do this in less than 20 minutes each morning.

This is effectively completed when the team members have adited their patients for the day. The front office must know the goals and provide a report about where the office is in reaching the daily and monthly goals.

Once the front office reports on the financial goals, the rest of the team can fill in the blanks, so the office will meet the monthly goals.

Once the front office reports on the financial goals, the rest of the team can fill in the blanks, so the office will meet the monthly goals.

We have a specific template; a written format and you can email our office to receive this template. Email

3. Hygiene Appointment: Preventive Care and Periodontal Therapy

Maximizing your hygiene recare is the biggest and fastest area to grow your practice.

This includes running a report to notify (phone call and specific text message) patients who are overdue for their hygiene appointment. I have written a lot about reactivating and retaining your hygiene patients. Check out the eBooks (bonus additional info included) about reactivating and retaining your patients: Click to Learn More.

It is very important that the hygienist and doctor examine every new patient and routine hygiene patients for healthy gums. Identify either health or disease. When you identify that there is no bone loss, now identify if they patient has gingivitis.

For patients with no bone loss but 30% or more of their gingiva presents with inflammation, you must treat this patient with the new gingivitis code. I have a free webinar with a wealth of information about this new service. You can download the free gingivitis information when you click here.

The hygienist is also the one clinician that sees patients (The goal if you follow this plan is to have routine hygiene patients.) and spends about one hour looking in the patient’s mouth, so they become the best clinician to recommend restorative and elective treatment.

80% of doctors schedule should come from the hygienist recommending restorative care and helping patients dream about the beautiful smile they want.

Want is a key word. When patients want what they need, case acceptance will be at an all-time high. Set a goal to have 85% case acceptance and 80% of your case acceptance come from hygiene appointments.


The economic climate in 2018 is a lot different than you may be thinking. People are visiting their dentist and when they do visit their dentist, they are saying “YES” to accepting restorative and even elective services.

It takes a leader to inspire their team to engage in the success strategies for their dental practice. If the leader can inspire and they understand how to get the team to do what needs to be done, the team can drive the practice systems.

Pick one of these three suggestions and start to implement. Once you have implemented, monitor the progress of this system.

Another choice is to reach out to an expert who can be a guide to take you on the shortest path to the 100k (or even more) in the next twelve months.

It is now time to take the fastest path to gain the highest level of success possible. It is within reach.

You need to decide how you will get there and the path that you choose to take, should allow you a way to get here and not work more days or hours.

Dream it. Believe it. Live it!

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 recognized Debbie as a Leader in Dental Consulting. She can be reached at (888) 816-1511. Send an e-mail to or go to her website:




Be sure to check out our live CE Event:
Dentistry: Get a Grip on Your Practice and Grow Your Business
September 21, 2018  6AGD Credits
More Info Here Click Here.


How Do You Deliver Your Practice Culture to Your Patients?

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

June 21, 2018

Written by: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

A CRUCIAL ELEMENT of every successful dental practice is your culture.

  • What type of patients do you want to serve?
  • How do you want your patients to feel when they are in your office?

One of the first tasks we have our clients complete is to write down the type of culture they want for their dental office. We have a short template the doctors fill in the blanks, so we can “nail” their delivery of culture. We want to help our clients attract and retain their best patients. It also helps enjoy your day when your schedule is filled with patients who enjoy you and you enjoy having them in your chair.

The next step we take with our clients is to support the doctor; our client, to attract their ideal patient. What the office culture represents must be a part of everything the patients see, feel, hear, etc., etc. This must appeal to all of your patients’ senses. This feeling is the real reason why your patients will choose to return to your office.

Patients don’t truly know how great your clinical skills are. All they know is if you made them feel good or bad. And yes, they will remember if you hurt them.

If you want to be a family friendly office, how does your practice reflect this message?

If you want your office to feel like the Ritz Carlton, how do you deliver this message to your patients?

Make Your Culture Delivery A Priority for Your Practice

Many of our clients want to have a family friendly office and if this sounds like an example of what you want in your dental office here are a few suggestions to make your office feel family friendly.

You can also take these suggestions and tweak them to match your office culture:

1. Show off your family by inviting your employees to have pictures of their family around the office.

One of the doctors I worked for many years ago wanted to have a family friendly office. He also enjoyed photography. You can probably imagine what I am going to tell you about this doctor’s office. Yes, you guessed it! This doctor had a lot of beautiful pictures of his family throughout the walls of his office.

2. Make sure you invite the employees to have pictures of their family around the office. For example, in their operatory invite your employees to have pictures of their family, their pets, etc.

3. What type of reading materials do you have in your reception area?

Make sure you have family friendly reading materials for family members of every age.

4. What is playing on your tv if you have one in your reception area and in the operatories?

Make the viewing on your electronics: tv and music, family friendly. No obscenities or inappropriate language in the lyrics or messages/pictures on your TVs.

5. What are you giving patients as a “thank you for choosing our office?”

If this is a child or teenager, what do you hand out to them as a thank you? It is not only the parent you want to provide a “wow” experience for but the child or adolescent as well.

6. Be sure your schedule is blocked for those smaller children who need an early morning appointment and for school-aged children who need afterschool appointments.

We’re Here for You and Your Team!
We’re committed to providing you with almost everything you need to achieve your practice goals, whether you’re working to create a family-friendly environment for your patients or maybe you want to upgrade your hygiene department. If you have any questions about what more you could do in your practice, let us know in the comments below!

If we don’t provide something you need for success, we can direct you to the best expert.

We are here to serve you. Our team is growing so we can cover more of what your practice needs to be successful. Just ask us how we can support you and your dental practice. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Thank you for placing your trust in hiring us!

About the Author: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

CEO: Dental Practice Solutions
DENTISTRY TODAY considers Debbie a top dental consultant for the past 18 yrs.
The focus of Dental Practice Solutions is to create healthier, longer lives for your patients while supporting the practice to optimize their hygiene department. The team at Dental Practice Solutions, takes an integrative approach with your team to create an increase in your production and collections without working harder.

When you continue to use the systems implemented, your dental practice will sustain growth for years to come.

Schedule a no-cost profit boosting call today and discover how you can be your best in 2018: Email to schedule a call with Debbie: or Call our office to schedule this today: 949-351-8741.

How Dentists can Improve Loyalty

By: admin

June 14, 2018

How dentists can improve patient loyalty.

Our Guest Blog Written By: Dr. Nabil Mockbil

There have been many cases when patients who need certain expensive cosmetic or restorative dental procedures, cringe at the exorbitant cost and often forgo the expensive treatment completely.

It would seem that dentists are quick to recommend costly dental treatments with little or no regard to how their patients are going to pay for the costs.

The dentist is in a unique position to advise their patient on the best and most affordable dental care ensuring their patient is happy and financially comfortable.

How can your dental practice achieve this and keep or even grow your patient base?

  • Once a dental diagnosis has been made, use this time to educate the patient on the proposed procedure. The end goal should always be helping patients achieve and maintain their best oral health.

The patient should understand the benefits of the treatment plan and be able to make an informed decision, as opposed to opting out of the treatment because of what they believe is a high cost of dentistry.

The benefits you outline should focus on how the treatment will improve their overall health, comfort and appearance. This will help the patient make an educated choice based on your professional advice.

The patient may fully understand the benefits but still think the treatment is too pricey and not justified, but at least the patient sees you as being upfront and honest. This contributes to building your good reputation.

  • Be honest about the cost of the proposed treatment plan. This should also include all the dental appointments required and the length of time it takes to complete the treatment.

Being candid from the beginning is important in building a strong relationship, great rapport, between the dentist and patient, based on trust and honesty.

If you are able to offer an alternative treatment plan that takes less time or is less costly, be sure to offer it to your patient. This will leave the patient feeling like you have their best interests at heart rather than just making a quick buck!

  • It is a good idea to give your patient a written estimate of the treatment plan.

This shows that you are transparent about the costs and are willing to stick to the plan and the fees you’ve discussed; provided there are no “surprises” (aka: changes), during the treatment in the form of unexpected additional costs. Ensure the patient understands that “changes” to a treatment plan are possible.

The patient will also have a record for future reference during or after their treatment.

Some points to include in your written price estimate:

  1. The treatment proposed with the time it will take to complete from start to finish. Ensure that you include a provision that complications may arise due to unforeseen circumstances- this may impact the length of time of the treatment and even the costs.
  1. A breakdown of the fees as discussed with the patient at the initial consultation. This should clearly show what portion is covered by the patient’s dental/medical insurance and a fee the patient will have to cover “out-of-pocket.”
  1. Outline any payment options your dental practice offers. Does your office offer a special patient discount plan? Be clear on the amount that needs to be paid upfront before treatment begins, if there is any.


  1. Explain your dental practice’s billing options- whether you have convenient online payment options or how often invoices are sent out- either via email or postage. This will improve patient payment compliance. Who needs an inconvenience when trying to pay a bill?!
  1. Clarify how any amounts that are in arrears are dealt with. It is expected that some patients will not be able to pay their bills on time. This gives the patient options without impacting the reputation of your dental practice.

When you make an effort to connect with the patient you are able to explore all the available alternatives for his dental treatment but within his budgetary constraints.  This builds a strong relationship between the dentist and patient.

A happy patient is one who returns to your practice for all future dental care, brings the whole family and recommends you to friends thus, growing your patient base.

Author bio:

Dr. Nabil Mockbil received his DDS in 2001 from Umea University in Sweden, regarded as having the best dentist programme in Sweden for undergraduates. He’s now the founder of Swedish Dental Clinic in Dubai

Contact your highly trained and experienced dentist