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

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Keep Patients Returning to Their Dental Hygiene Appointments

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

March 26, 2015

Think back to your last visit to Nordstrom. What type of service did they provide?

Did you see value in their services? Do their clothes and the way you are treated make you feel special; like you are fit to be King or Queen?

Personally, I prefer to shop at Nordstrom because I know I receive quality products and great customer service.   The results are that it makes me look and feel great! I especially like the way I am treated and valued as a customer.

Just like customer service is key; value propositions will keep your patients coming back to your office for a lifetime.

What is a value driven proposition?

Simply put, value driven propositions are what keep your patients returning to your dental office for their appointments. And, it especially means they will keep their routine dental hygiene appointments.

Offering your patients value driven propositions:

  • explains how your services will improves their specific dental situation
  • delivers specific benefits (this adds to the value),
  • tells your patients why they should continue returning to your dental office

During this month of March I have been sharing tips to reduce cancellations. Many of you have asked what words will add value.

Below is a list of words and phrases you can use to add value:

  • Optimal Oral Health
  • Preventive Care
  • Periodontal Maintenance
  • Inflammation
  • Disease
  • Bleeding Gums
  • Healthier and Longer Life
  • Loose teeth
  • Jaw pain
  • Eliminate grinding

While the dental hygiene patient is seated upright in the chair, explain what you will be doing (before you recline them back in the chair) during their time in the office and use some of the above words. These words and phrases are suggestions that add value to the patients’ appointment. (This is just a short list with examples.) Talk with your team to gain insight into what other words you can use to add value and benefits to patient appointments.

Here is one example of how benefits for returning to the hygiene appointment is driven by benefits.  Dentist and Patient eye to eye

Hygienist Susan: “Mrs. Jones, today we will complete your periodontal maintenance appointment. As I reivew your medical history, I see that are taking insulin for your Diabetes. Did you take your insulin today? That’s great! I want to commend you for continuing to return for your routine periodontal maintenance appointments. This is what helps maintain optimal oral health and a longer, healthier life.

In a few minutes I will recline you back in the chair and begin the periodontal exam. As you may remember, you will hear me call out those numbers. When you hear me say numbers like 1 thru 3 this means your gums are healthy. If I call out a 4 this is a sign of inflammation. If I call out a 5 or higher, as you may remember, these are numbers that relate to periodontal (gum) disease. If you hear me say bleeding point, this is not good. It means that you have active disease. Healthy gums do not bleed.”

During this communication with the patient, imagine how the hygienist has set up the patient to engage with her during the hygiene periodontal exam. This is an example of “co-diagnosis” between the hygienist and the patient. They are developing a partnership during the patients service today.

Other value driven propositions may sound like this: (Imagine now that it is the end of the dental hygiene appointment. Below is what it may sound like.)

“Mrs. Jones, It was great to see you today and congratulations on an excellent periodontal maintenance appointment today! As recommended by the American Academy of Periodontolgy, patients with diabetes and especially with a diagnosis of periodontal disease, need to return at least every 3 months for a periodontal maintenance appointment. This is where we re-evaluate the health of your gums and provide treatment to create healthy teeth and gums.  The latest science and research says that we can even reverse diabetes. At the very least, routine periodontal maintenance appointments support  status-quo with patients who have a diagnosis of diabetes. sThis means that you can live a long and healthy life. I can see you on Thursday July 16th at 11 am, for your next periodontal maintenance apppointment. Will that work for you?”

Do you see how the hygienist complimented the patient, keeping a positive environment in what can many times be  a stressful environment?

Susan, the hygienist, also gave a valuable reason for her patient  to return for future routine periodontal maintenance appointments. Susan also explained the benefits of why it is important for Mrs. Jones to return in 3 months.

What words to you use in your patient appointments that add value and benefits for patients returning to your office?

Do you want to know more about ways to reduce cancellations? Grab our free eBook here: Reduce Cancellations and Increase Profits