I was chatting with a fellow coaching colleague the other day about the performances of dentists and dental office clients, in general.
In discussing the gross fees per day that various doctors were producing and collecting, it was interesting to discuss the range of figures out there and we postulated as to why indeed there was a range at all.
There are various reasons why some dentists are producing, or collecting low daily amounts, while others are seemingly producing and collecting easily, sometimes three, five and ten times per day the amounts of their colleagues.
*Seeing* the dental work is important.
I know. I’ve employed assistant dentists in the past who for the life of me just haven’t seen the work needing to be completed in the mouths in front of them. When I’ve taken over the care of these patients, I’ve been amazed at the undiagnosed and unpresented treatment just sitting in the patient’s mouth just waiting to be done.
Sometimes the dentists see the work, but pre-judge that the patient may not be able to “afford” all that they see, so the dentist chooses to “select” the dental work he presents to the patient.
In a similar vein, sometimes the dentist sees the work, but the team aren’t on the same page as the dentist. In this instance, the dentist may see the work in the hygiene room but the hygienist may have down played the urgency of the work with incorrect language, like “just a small crack”, rather than up-playing the problem, by saying something like “oh there’s a crack in this tooth….I’ll show that one to Doctor when he comes in…we want to make sure that crack doesn’t spread….”
I recently spent time on the phone with another coaching colleague who works specifically with hygienists training them to see, recognise, and bring to the attention of the doctor, necessary treatment that needs to be presented.
The difference in the practices that this consultant deals with is staggering!
Where hygienists are encouraged to see, and mention what they see to the patients and to the dentists, the practices are scheduling restorative treatment on averages of in excess of $10,000.00 per day.
In contrast, in Dental Offices where the hygienist performs only as a tooth cleaner, and the dentist enters and is required to perform all the examination only, and usually in limited time, in these offices the treatment being scheduled out of the hygiene room is considerably less.
There are many reasons for this disparity.
Primarily, the way I see it is this.
The hygienist spends a lot of time with the patient. While performing the hygiene cleaning, they have plenty of time to see and observe any defects they find, and record these findings. They certainly have time and are in a position to be discussing with the patients what treatment options may be available. When the doctor comes in to provide the examination, it is very helpful for him if he is confirming the observations of the hygienist, as opposed to suddenly having to discover, discuss and explain all things himself.
You see, the patient builds trust with the hygienist, immediately, purely as a reflection of time spent. While the patient is having their teeth cleaned, they are placing the hygienist in that position of trust. They know that the hygienist has their best interests at heart, and they *feel* the hygienists care through the hygienist’s performance of the cleaning. That trust in the hygienist’s actions and deeds transfers to the hygienists observations and sightings and explanations.
A good hygienist and a good dentist know how to “sell” the dental treatment they see, and I use the word “sell” in its literal meaning.
Let’s face it. Dental disease is not static. It’s not like closing the door on an untidy bedroom. It’s there, growing and spreading. Growing, and spreading, all the time.
Dental disease, disease of the gums and the teeth, gets worse with time. Period! A cavity seen today and drilled and filled today will be smaller than if left for a year. Decay advances. Periodontal disease advances.
So it is logical to treat early, to conserve tooth structure.
Watching, waiting? Is wrong.
Watching cracks in teeth is wrong. Cracks spread, teeth break and then we have lose more tooth structure. Valuable tooth structure that we could well have utilized.
I’ve seen dentists write “watch” on dental charts.
I’ve seen more dental charts with more watches than a TAG store! Really!
All these doctors are doing are “watching” necessary treatment walk out their door.
Dentists need to have team members and systems and procedures in place to ensure that all necessary dental conditions are seen, presented, discussed, sold and scheduled. For the patients’ benefit as well as for the dental office. It just doesn’t make any sense to be not diagnosing and treating all the dentistry that we see.
Dental offices that are identifying, scheduling and completing all necessary dental treatment seen are performing their honourable duty to their patients.
And guess what? The dental office stays busy and productive!
This means, a profitable business, with happy, less stressed doctors, happy staff and team in secure employment.
Happy team and happy dentist means happy patients, too!
There’s no question about the benefits to all. Patient, practice and team.
If your team and your systems are not helping to diagnose and schedule all treatment, then it’s time to change your systems, and your offending team members.
Failure to diagnose, properly present, and schedule and complete all the dentistry that we see, is a crime. Leaving undone work out there doesn’t do anyone any favours.
The dentistry needs to be presented, and completed.
For the betterment of your patients, your practice, and your team, and yourself, doctors!!
Everybody’s health depends upon it!!
The Ultimate Patient Experience is a simple easy to implement system I developed that allowed me to build an extraordinary dental office in an ordinary Sydney suburb. If you’d like to know more, ask me about my free special report.
Email me: david@theUPE.com
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