What does it take to create a successful, productive, and profitable hygiene department within a dental practice?
Over the past years, research and technology in periodontics have created exciting changes in the responsibilities of dental hygienists and the scope of technology available for the dental practice to implement. With these changes there is also an opportunity to achieve optimal preventive care for our patients.
Dental hygienists should be considered a co-partner to the dentist—someone there to help enroll more patients into high-end dentistry and restorative care. Dental hygienists should consider themselves as a patient advocate and preventive specialist. As dental professionals, we are in the business of helping our patients live a longer, healthier life!
Dentistry is NO Longer about “Cleaning Teeth” or “Treating a Tooth”!
To create a profitable hygiene department in your dental practice, you must merge effective clinical skills with sound business strategies. In the past few years, the cost of running a dental practice with excellent patient care and a healthy net production has become more challenging than ever before.
Creating a successful, productive, and profitable hygiene department within a dental practice requires a combination of clinical expertise and effective leadership with strategic business systems.
Dental practice success in 2023 requires a “Can-Do” attitude and an open mind to always learning the best strategies to save time and yield an increase in net-profits. It’s time to end that old phrase, “We’ve always done it this way!”
Think about this saying, “Less is More.”
It’s true that creating goals with strategic systems in place will save time and yield a profitable hygiene department. A profitable dental hygiene department can create joy for everyone: patients, doctor and the entire team.
Key Steps to Consider:
- Define your hygiene department goals and expectations: As a dental practice owner, it’s important to establish clear goals and expectations for your hygiene department. This includes outlining the scope of services offered, the level of care expected, and the desired outcomes for your patients. Having clear expectations will help guide your team and ensure everyone is working toward the same objectives. Most importantly, write your goals and discuss them as a team.
- Hire and train the right team: Building a successful hygiene department starts with hiring the right team members. Look for hygienists who are not only clinically skilled but also have strong communication skills and a patient-centric approach. Provide ongoing training to ensure that your team stays up to date with the latest clinical techniques and technologies.
- Invest in technology: The field of periodontics has seen significant technological advancements in recent years, and investing in the latest tools and equipment can help your hygiene department provide the best possible care to your patients. This includes investing in tools for early detection of oral cancer, soft-tissue diode lasers, and intraoral cameras to help patients better understand their oral health needs.
- Implement effective patient communication strategies: Patient communication is key in every successful hygiene department. Develop strategies for communicating with patients about their oral health needs, treatment options, the mouth-body connection, and the importance of preventive care. Consider using patient education materials such as videos and interactive tools to help educate patients and engage them in their own care. Share informative videos on your social media pages and in videos that you can email (or text) to patients about various services and technology offered in your office.
- Focus on practice management: Running a profitable hygiene department requires effective practice management strategies. This includes setting fees that are appropriate for the level of care provided and appropriate for your zip code, reviewing all insurance contracts, and managing your patient schedule (consider blocked scheduling) and your patient flow to maximize productivity. Track key performance indicators to ensure that your hygiene department is meeting its goals.
Investing in your hygiene department is crucial for the long-term success of your dental practice. Patients are more likely to return to a practice where they feel they are receiving high-quality care, and a well-run hygiene department can help attract new patients through positive word-of-mouth referrals.
Additionally, a profitable hygiene department can help offset the costs of running your dental practice and ensure its financial stability. By prioritizing clinical excellence, effective practice management, and sound business strategies, you will create a hygiene department that benefits both your patients and your practice.
P.S. Speaking of returning patients, have you run a report of patients who are overdue for a hygiene appointment? Consider inviting them back with an invitation to join your Smile Club.
Celebrity Smile Club offers your patients a free whitening pen at hygiene appointments when they keep their scheduled appointments. This patient reward system has also proven to increase your new patient numbers.
Learn more about The Club here.