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

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The 60 Minute Prophylaxis Appointment: Time Management Phase 2

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

May 14, 2015

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As a hygienist I know first-hand how stressful it can feel to always stay on time with your hygiene patient appointments.

I have created a four-phase series during the month of May to help hygienists stay on time with their patients during the 60 minute prophylaxis appointment.

Last week I talked about Data Collection and how important this is to treating your patients total health. This week I will talk about another phase of the routine hygiene appointment which I call Determine Treatment.

It is possible that your patients data collection took longer than expected. Typically, when this happens your patient is more than just a prophy so you will need to adjust the other phases during this dental hygiene appointment. Remember that we are in the business of creating optimal oral health so our patients live a longer and healthier life. As hygienists, our focus should not be on “cleaning” a patients teeth.

Rather than feel stressed about running behind or not completing the patients treatment which they were scheduled for, focus on what is in the patients best interest so that you are supporting them to live a longer, healthier life!

Here are some tips to stay patient focused on optimal oral health, patient total health and not run behind: No Hygienist and patient eye to eye

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  • Sit the patient upright in the chair: Knee-to-knee and eye-to-eye
  • Use intra-oral photos, x-rays (especially great if you have digital x-rays, brochures. models of teeth, etc.
  • Discuss the patients chief complaint (If there is one) first
  • Nix the word “find” and replace this with words such as “see” “look” “show”, etc.
  • Review restorative exam and/or discuss outstanding restorative treatment not completed or if there are new areas of restorative work, discuss these areas
  • Discuss the perio exam results after restorative concerns. Even if you are only spot probing let the patient know if things are status-quo or if there are new areas of “disease” (Show them where these areas of improvement or disease are located in their mouth)
  • Ask patient if they have any questions about the information discussed
  • Attempt a “trial close” before the doctor exam. Make these open-ended questions. Not a “Yes” or “No” type of response question to patients. Example: “What questions do you have about – XYZ for me?”


How are your hygiene appointments going? What keeps you and/or your hygiene team from running on time?

Please comment below.

Be sure to keep reading each week because on May 28th, I will put all this information together into a Free Resource that you can download and use with your hygiene team.

You may want to enroll in our no-charge 7 Day Dental Hygiene Profits Program which will automatically give you access to our weekly videos and blog.


Lead Pages picABOUT DEBBIE

In 2000, Debbie founded Dental Practice Solutions, a dental practice management business focused on creating profitable dental hygiene departments, as well as improving the total bottom line of the dental practice. She has been named as one of Dentistry Today’s Top Consultants for 10 years in  row!

Debbie is a former clinical assistant professor at University of Southern California where to taught the senior dental hygiene students skills to treat periodontal patients. She also co-taught the practice management course  at USC from 200o-2002. (Until the school start PBL – Problem Based Learning)

Debbie has a team of experts to guide teams throughout the world to provide quality, patient centered practices that sustain profits for the life of their dental practice.