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

Does Your Dental Hygiene Schedule Include a Black Hole?

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

June 20, 2019

Holes in the dental appointment schedule are a huge challenge in today’s world of dentistry.

How much does one hole in your schedule each day cost your dental practice over the next year?

The truth is that is costs your dental practice hundreds-of-thousands-of-dollars over a year, if you have just one hole in your schedule.

Does your dental hygiene schedule include a black hole?

Does your dental hygiene appointment include a black hole?

How many times does a dental patient call your office to change their appointment and they tell you they will “Call you back when they have more time?”

In the video I share today, you may think, “this is not our office!.” Your’e saying to yourself we never let patients leave or change an appointment without scheduling their next appointment!

We hear this statement all the time.


Our team of consultants and dental coaches currently evaluates dental practice key performance indicators (important measurements of success in a dental practice) and I can tell you that it is all too common that we see a huge, long list of patients who left the office without scheduling a next appointment.

Until you look at your numbers, it may appear that you are scheduling every patient with a next dental appointment.

The administrative team is responsible for most of the patient schedule. It’s important that every team member who will schedule a patient appointment understands the dental practice system for scheduling patients.

Working together as a team to have strategic systems and protocols are a key component of every successful dental practice.

The best way a dental hygienist can help reduce the holes in your dental practice schedule is to create value around what is completed at a dental hygiene appointment.

● What does your scheduling system look like?

● Does your team know what is included in your scheduling system?

● What do you say when a patient does need to change their dental appointment?

● How can you reduce the number of patients who call to change a dental appointment?

Much of this relies on your verbal skills, the words you use to add value to the dental services your provide.

Words like “teeth cleaning,” scaling and root planing and even the word decay,” do not add the same value as words such as, “preventive care appointment, gum therapy or gum treatment and cavities or hole in your tooth.” Try using Portland Pothole or just the word “Pothole” next time you see a cavity.

Patients can relate to these words.

One important point to make is this, until your patients say, “Do NOT call me anymore,” continue to follow-up.

Let your patients know you miss them, that you care about them and that a healthy mouth more likely means a healthy body.

No one I know has ever complained because I told them I cared about them.

I must ask, what is your scheduling and change of appointment system?

Does a dental hygiene appointment ever go into a black hole?!


Debbie Seidel-Bittke



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.







Check out the Dental Practice University intended for dentists and the entire team.

The university has training video modules, forms and scripts for each department in your dental practice.

The video modules are created for doctor(s) and include information to create a culture to bring in new patients, keep your dental team (employees) the life-time of your dental practice, as well as re-create or create your vision and mission. Doctors receive a 90-Day goal setting journal.

The hygienists have their own training video modules that cover time management, caries risk, treating the gingivitis and perio-patient.

The front office has video modules on phone calls, new patient calls, we provide job descriptions and a lot of information for hiring and keeping employees long-term.

You receive 24 AGD CE Credits. Try the University for FREE the first 2 weeks. Then you pay $97.00 a month indefinitely. You are locked in at $97/month!

The training includes 24 AGD CE Credits over a 12 month time for one person. You can use the training for your entire team but for individual log-ins and the additional AGD CE Credits you pay $20/month for each additional employee.

Learn more about the Dental Practice University here.