Every dental practice is looking for ways to streamline, improve efficiency and ultimately increase profitability. Every dental practice employee has an important role to play in achieving these things. The dental hygiene department, in particular, may hold an important key to increasing dental practice profitability. What many practices see is patients that turn down expensive treatments or don’t show up for procedures or dental care for fear of pain or other discomfort. But, many patients do not mind getting their annual dental cleaning with their hygienist. For this reason, dental hygiene is a great way to draw in repeat patients.
The role of the dental hygienist is not just to clean a patient’s teeth but to educate them on healthy oral hygiene and this is where increasing profitability comes in. In the past, a patient may have rejected a treatment because they could not afford it, didn’t think it was necessary, or feared the pain. But, if they repeatedly come in for cleanings it is a great time to remind them of suggested and necessary procedures. The dental hygienist should be encouraged to remind patients of treatment plans and suggested treatments. This is a great opportunity to remind the patient of the importance of timely treatment to prevent worsening damage to oral health. And, because they are comfortable in receiving their cleaning with a dental hygienist, they may feel more inclined to agree to treatment. Additionally, some patients may be slow decision makers but if they repeatedly receive encouragement to get the treatments they need, over time, they may be persuaded to do so.
One way to encourage repeat patients for dental hygiene appointments is to train hygienists in scheduling. Though it may not seem like the job of a dental hygienist, the dental hygienist should ensure that a patient is schedule for their next cleaning before the patient leaves their appointment. This helps prevent prolonged lapses in dental care and encourages a patient to follow through on suggested treatment plans. Further, if your dental practice sells home care products for a profit, a dental hygienist is the ideal person to sell to patients. Patients trust the experience and knowledge of their dental hygienist and are more likely to purchase home care products if the dental hygienist explains why they would be beneficial to use. If you are not utilizing your dental hygienist in these ways, you may be missing out on a significant avenue of profit for your dental practice and should train hygienists so that you can see increased profit.