During the hygiene appointment, it is valuable for the hygienist to discuss what they see in the patient’s mouth.
The blog today is about a topic we are asked about often and it will support the Dental Hygienist’s role in patients’ treatment plan.
In Diagram A you will see our Time Management Formula which outlines where the hygienist should be during the hygiene appointment. This time management formula helps hygienist to find time to discuss what is seen in the patient’s.
The first part of every hygiene appointment will be the data collection. This will include not only the review of medical history but the perio exam, oral cancer exam, radiographs when necessary, a smile evaluation, visual exam, intra-oral photos.
After you collect all the important patient information you will sit the patient upright and knee-to-knee-eye-to-eye to now create a partnership with your patient to show them what you see. Now you are in the Treatment Planning phase of the hygiene patient appointment.
Please note: this time management formula is only a suggestion of time and if you have less than sixty minutes of time with your patient you will adjust the time formula so it meets your schedule. This is an example of time for the sixty minute hygiene appointment.
During this time with your patient you will show them what you see on their perio chart, radiographs and/or intra-oral photos. Let your patients be a part of what you see. Ask them to show you what they see after you show them. Say words like “bleeding, infection, large black area is tooth decay moving very close to the nerve which can cause you a toothache.”
Your patient is possibly hearing this information for the 1st time and all these words are new to their oral condition. It can feel overwhelming for your patient to hear all this information, so break it down into words you believe they will understand.
This means that you will not say words like “Periodontal Treatment” but instead you will say “Gum Treatment.” You do not want to say, “Deep Cleaning” because when a patient has gum disease (AKA: Periodontal Disease) this is not treated with a cleaning but with a special “gum treatment” or “gum therapy.” It also down-plays what is actually happening in their mouth. A periodontal patient is not going to get a cleaning.
Once the doctor enters to do the exam it is the hygienists’ role to connect them with the patient and guide them through what has occurred during the appointment.
The connection is an update your patient; a personal aspect of their life. This is rapport building. It doesn’t need to take but a minute for doctor to be reconnected with a routine patient.
With the hygienist’s guidance, when talking with doctor in front of the patient and doctor, the patient will hear the same words used to describe the patient’s oral condition.
Then when dismissing the patient, the hygienist will again explain to the front desk what was completed, what the patient needs to schedule for (if not scheduled in hygiene room) and the valuable “reason the patient will return.”
Now your patient has heard this topic of discussion, these words which describe their oral condition, at least 3 times and they are beginning to be more familiar plus have a deeper understanding of what is happening in their mouth. They are now understanding why it is important to return sooner than later.
This system is part of what we teach our clients (Our doctors and their team) which is helping to “close the back door.” This is what helps keep our client schedules full and productivity high.
- Do you know what percentage of your treatment plans come from the hygienist showing the patient hat is happening in their mouth?
- Do you know the specific words to use that will add a lot of value for your patients to schedule, pay and return to your office?
This is what we spend a lot of time working on with our clients.
Let us know how we can support your team and get you to that next level of success.