36831594 © Tyler Olson | Dreamstime.com
Rdh Talk To Patients

5 ways to increase dental hygiene production

Dec. 15, 2022
Your hygienist could be your most valuable asset when it comes to encouraging patients to accept treatment. Why are hygienists so underutilized?

Balancing doctor production, hygiene production, and a culture of teamwork is not easy. In many cases, hygienists are underutilized regarding production. We’ve found that they can increase production by 20% within 60 days and maintain that increase on a permanent basis. 

To effectively increase dental hygiene production, a new series of strategies must be put in place. The hygienist must be part of this process, or the practice will likely run into resistance. Simply directing someone to do something without their input often creates animosity. Furthermore, it’s human nature to resist change even when the change is better. If you want the hygienists to be on board with increasing production, be sure to include them in the strategy planning and implementation.   

Figure out which patients have incomplete treatment

Hygienists can be brilliant motivators when encouraging patients to complete treatment. They can even discuss the availability of patient financing and interest-free financing. Hygienists have great relationships with their patients and when they talk to them about completing treatment with compassion and caring, many patients will schedule those appointments. At every morning huddle, discuss who has incomplete treatment.

More by Dr. Roger Levin

Why you need to raise your fees
The economy and your practice: 4 stats to watch

Determine if hygiene patients are on schedule for x-rays and fluoride

Many dentists believe their patients are on schedule, when actually as many as 20% are overdue for a specific hygiene service. By identifying these patients in the huddle every day, hygienists can catch up with x-rays and fluoride and then maintain that pace going forward. This can add tens of thousands of dollars to practice production. 

Recommend adult fluoride and sealants for elderly patients

Taking time to educate elderly patients about how fluoride and sealants can help them avoid caries is beneficial for both patients and practice production. Work with the hygienists to determine which patients would be the best recipients of these services so they can present the recommendation at the appointment. 

Encourage hygienists to contact patients

Hygienists are the office’s most influential professionals for reaching out to overdue patients, which they can do in their downtime. We’ve found that a combination of calling and texting is the most powerful way to encourage patients to make appointments. When the hygienist leaves a voicemail, the patient is much more likely to respond because patients view the hygienist as an authority and take a call or text from them seriously. 

Encourage hygienists to identify treatment

Although this is not direct hygiene production, dental hygienists have an amazing ability to identify potential treatment. Esthetics, implants, night guards, and other services are often under their production potential and the best person to educate patients about these services is the dental hygienist. The hygienist can talk with patients about specific clinical needs or elective options and then brief the doctor before they see the patient. This will lead to significant increases in doctor production and, therefore, practice production.

Sponsored Recommendations

Clinical Study: OraCare Reduced Probing Depths 4450% Better than Brushing Alone

Good oral hygiene is essential to preserving gum health. In this study the improvements seen were statistically superior at reducing pocket depth than brushing alone (control ...

Clincial Study: OraCare Proven to Improve Gingival Health by 604% in just a 6 Week Period

A new clinical study reveals how OraCare showed improvement in the whole mouth as bleeding, plaque reduction, interproximal sites, and probing depths were all evaluated. All areas...

Chlorine Dioxide Efficacy Against Pathogens and How it Compares to Chlorhexidine

Explore our library of studies to learn about the historical application of chlorine dioxide, efficacy against pathogens, how it compares to chlorhexidine and more.

Enhancing Your Practice Growth with Chairside Milling

When practice growth and predictability matter...Get more output with less input discover chairside milling.