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

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Create a Successful and a Very Profitable Dental Hygiene Department: Part 2

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

January 15, 2015

In the last blog I wrote about what it takes to create a successful and very profitable hygiene department. This week I will continue with Part 2 of this blog.

Success in the dental hygiene department today, involves both research and technology, within the legal scope of practice for a dental hygienist. These are the changes which have created a huge opportunity to achieve ideal preventive care for all of your patients.

Success and profitability for every dental practice means you will merge clinical excellence with solid business strategies.

In part 2 of this blog I will continue to discuss the goals, and roadblocks that you need to look at in order to make the department hygiene department productive and profitable. And please make note that today’s world of dentistry also means less is more. You should not feel that you are working harder or more hours but working the same hours or less but achieving more success and profits as well.

If you wish to have a productive and profitable hygiene department that will create success for your dental practice indefinitely, you must be dedicated to leadership, education and not think this process is “hit or miss.”


Part 1 focused on these 2 areas necessary for success and profitability:

  1. Your Vision
  2. Create a Team Approach

To learn more about 1 and 2 refer to Part 1 of this blog here PART 1

This week we will focus on two more areas of profitability in your dental hygiene department

3.     Tap Into Your Recare Goldmine

As I initially analyze the current clients of Dental Practice Solutions most offices have not seen over 30% of their perio patients (Patients who have completed Scaling and Root Planing. Phase I Perio Therapy) in the past 18 months. This does not include patients who are due for routine preventive care.

98% of your hygiene patients should never leave without a next hygiene appointment. For more than 15 years we have known that you will work much harder to bring a patient back to your office if they do not preschedule their next hygiene appointment.

Let us know if you want to know your hygiene recare efficiency because this is one of the easiest areas in your dental practice to see profits soar!

If you want to know more information about how our clients have flipped this recare challenge and not only had hundreds of overdue hygiene patients return to their office but their new patients numbers improved alongside of this simple implementation. You can contact Carla@solutionreach.com to show you how this is done.

4.     Your Cancellation Policy

What is your cancellation policy? It is imperative that all new patients read and acknowledge your office cancellation policy.

Here are a few tips to make sure you implement and it is more likely that you will see your cancellations decrease:

a)      Have a written policy for all patients to read, sign and include with their patient file

b)      Do not allow patients to leave messages of cancellation on your answer machine

c)       Request all cancellations be made within 72 hrs. notice of their scheduled appointment

d)      Offer a benefit for those patients who do keep their appointment. Consider free whitening for patients who do keep their appointments

e)      Charge a cancellation fee that is appropriate to the time scheduled.


What should your hygiene department numbers look like?

The hygiene department should bring in 30% of the total production. YES! Shocking? This is true!

Look at typical numbers our clients see after utilizing our services:

A Day in the Life of a Dental Practice Solutions Hygiene Department

4 Prophylaxis Appointments (4 X $95)                                         $  95

2 Scale and root planing Appointments (2 X $265)                 $ 265

Arestin® (6 Sites X $40/site)                                                       $ 240

2 Periodontal Maintenance (2 X $110)                                       $ 220

6 Fluoride Varnish Treatments (6 X $30)                                 $ 180

4 Identifi® Oral Cancer Screenings (4 X $60)                          $ 240

4 Patients X-rays (4 X $65)                                                          $ 260

Daily Production Total:                                                               $1,500

The fees used in this example are not a guide for you to use in your dental practice but are used only to show an example of what a typical dental hygiene day can look like for your dental practice.


Most successful dental businesses have implemented these systems. When you implement these systems into your dental practice no longer will you hear that the dental hygiene department is a “loss leader.” Begin implementing just these 4 tips to get on the path to where you want to be.

Let us know about your dental practice in the comment section below. What are your current practice challenges? Do you know where you hygiene recare efficiency stands today? Let us know by sending an email if you want us to look over this number. Also, if there is a topic you want to know more about please do share in the comments below.