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?

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Dental Practice Solutions - Debbie Bittke

The Healthcare Reform: 5 Things You Should Do to Keep Profits in Your Practice

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

October 9, 2013


As a Dental Practice Management Consultant my job is to research and analyze systems and various areas of practice profitability.

Recently, I wrote about the Healthcare Reform (aka: Obama Care) and what that may mean for your dental practice. The National Dental Association recently reported that pediatric patient numbers may be increased for dental offices.

On October 1, 2013, the new reform began and I want to update you on what we know to be true at this time. Of course, since this is all new, expect more changes to occur.

Read on for information about the healthcare reform and 5 Things you should do to keep profits in your practice.


The New Healthcare Reform now requires that everyone who resides in the USA have health insurance. What does that mean for parents and their children?

If you have children, you must buy or sign up for your children to be covered by the Healthcare Plan now available in the United States. It was originally thought that parents would need to purchase oral care for their children and thus, pediatric dental patient numbers would increase.

This didn’t not take place. What did take place is that the final documentation states that all children must have healthcare and optic coverage. The document neglected to make oral care madatory.

If you are in a specific population and made over $45,000.00 last year, you may not be happy when you see the rates at which your healthcare will cost you. AND imagine for many people this insurance plan will not cover oral care. That will be an additional cost.

I know for my husband and I we plan to pay just under $1,000.00 each month for our health insurance under this new Healthcare Reform! OUCH! This of course does not include dental insurance.

What we do is maybe not the norm for most Americans but I believe that we can, if we begin to talk to our patients, create this paradigm shift.

What is that shift?

The shift begins with your mindset that without optimal oral health other systemic health problems will occur. This also means that for those who believe this statement will have a higher level of self care and also believe that routine preventive oral care is important.

We need to be the messengers of this important information. It will not happen overnight if you are only now giving your patients this important message.

BTW: My husband and I have never paid for dental insurance because of course, being married to a hygienist means this message of routine preventive oral care is high priority and we have our own bank account for oral care!

Do you believe that people buy what they want? I believe this is true! If you can educate your patients about their oral health and how this is very important to support total health, will they sit up and listen? Will they take your advice seriously?!

Maybe not all of your patients will change their thoughts about routine preventive oral care but if you can continue to deliver this message over a period of time they will get the message.

How can you deliver this message consistently?

I will list a few tips that are sure to make a change in many of your patients today:

  1. Create a patient reactivation system that sends a message to your patients that they need to return for preventive care to support not only their oral health but that this is what creates insurance for a longer health status
    1. Send a letter to patients who you can’t reach with a phone call to schedule their overdue hygiene appointment. Provide information about the science of the oral and systemic link
    2. Do you know of any patients who choose NOT to live a longer healthy life? NO! I have not either!
  1. The oral/systemic link message needs to begin now – -today while all patients are in your office. Let them know how much you really care about their total health!
  1. Use visuals: Brochures in your reception area, in the treatment rooms, (To explain when they are in your char) take photographs of their mouth, use the intra-oral camera
  1. Send text messages, newsletters and post on your social media accounts information that relates to patients oral and systemic health
  1. Offer incentives for patients who do return for routine care in your office and do not cancel without appropriate notification

These are only a few ideas that come to mind to keep your patients returning to your dental office for your care. The best thing you can be doing today is COMMUNICATE with your patients.

Most people today are very confused about this new Healthcare System that all of use are instructed to “buy into”. What do people do when they feel confused?

NOTHING! Usually a confused mind is paralyzed so I recommend that you reach out and speak to your patients: while they are in your office, if you have electronic communication, use this to create valuable information to keep your patients coming back to your office.

Let them know how much you care and they are sure to care about returning to your office sooner than later!