Good Dental Hygienists Do So Much More Than Just Clean Teeth

Sep 19, 2013

shutterstock_111817187A hygienist can make or break a dental practice. A good hygienist will have great people skills and have a high “likeable” factor. In addition, a hygienist should also be partnering with the doctor for ways to increase services. For example, a vast majority of patients indicate an interest in teeth whitening on their information forms, yet only about 25% of the time is that form looked at after the initial visit and therefore the service is overlooked. Hygienists should meet with doctor regularly to review and project future opportunities for growth within the department.

Scheduling for the dentist really depends upon their speed and how many hygienists they can manage at one time – a procedure might take one dentist 20 minutes to do, and another 30 minutes. Some dentists have trouble managing more than 2 hygienists at a time with still being able to maintain their own operative schedule.

For hygiene, consider using a 40 minute recall schedule with appointments booked back to back. At 40 minutes per recall, hygienists working 8 hours can see 12 patients per day. Assume 1 or 2 no-shows that inevitably happen and they still end up seeing at least 10 patients per day. This will allow them to cover their own overhead, and still generate a profit. The hygiene department should be a profit center. Many hygienists want a one hour recall schedule, and after no-shows, they are now down to 6 or 7 patients per day. Allowing the hygienist to increase the appointment slot just 5 minutes, results in 2 less patients seen per day. Many hygienists who take care of their own schedule tend to avoid booking the first slot of the day or the last slot of the day, this further decreases hygiene profitability. A good rule of thumb is 30% of practice production should come from hygiene and 30% of hygiene production should be hygiene compensation.

Lastly, all patients should have another appointment scheduled when leaving the office. It can be for any needed restorative treatment or at a minimum their next hygiene visit. Don’t forget appointment reminder calls!

Categories: Healthcare & Dentistry