I’ve been a hygienist for more than 20 years and a Hygiene Production Consultant to more than 1,718 practices in 12 countries around the world. Hygiene is my passion … and exploding hygiene productivity and profits is my expertise.
When I started, and for many years, I was satisfied with the status quo.
I saw patients, did my job, and never really questioned the system. I was making good money for the practice – but I was nowhere close to my full potential.
But, something else bothered me even more. I had an arsenal of wonderful treatments to help my patients have a healthy mouth, but I wasn’t using much of it.
The dentist I worked for was busy drilling and filling, but every day it was the same basic routine. And, we were using only a fraction of the latest tools available. I knew there had to be a better way.
So I took action and made a list of everything I knew to be true about the practice:
- My dentist had excellent skills
- We hygienists were the frontline of the practice
- We weren’t using 75% of the tools at our disposal
- The dentist haphazardly tried to offer more procedures (he wasn’t comfortable “selling”) with little results
- Our hygiene department procedures and scripting weren’t consistent with every patient
My interest in improving oral health became an obsession. Every day I would brainstorm for a better way by thinking like a business owner and improving bottom-line profits was the only measurement tool I used to rate every idea.
Then one day, I had one of those ah-ha moments.
Since hygienists are on the front line of almost every dental practice, and since hygienists spend the most time with patients, and since hygienists have the most tools available to help patients have healthier, more attractive smiles, I had this million-dollar realization:
Why weren’t we maximizing our strengths to produce amazing profits for the practice?
Since that day, I’ve spent years perfecting a system that can literally transform any hygiene department into a Profit Machine for the practice. First, I tested my ideas on my own at the practice where I worked.
Then, through my inner circle (my network of friends who are working hygienists in practices across the U.S.) we started beta-testing my exact same scripting at the practices where they worked. Bottom line: by approaching hygiene like a business owner, and by consistently asking the same, scripted questions…within the first 30 days…
Hygiene production doubled, tripled even quadrupled in every instance!
Take a look at some of these this result from a hygienist that understood the secrets I’m about to reveal on increasing hygiene production.
You’re probably asking yourself…
“Can my hygienist earn that much in one day? But hygiene is a ‘lost leader’, right? It sounds impossible!”
The reason it sounds impossible is because of the way you’re running your hygiene department.
All it takes is the right training, along with some easy scripting tweaks on how your hygienists talk to the patients and PRESTO…your hygiene profits will skyrocket!
Now I’m not saying every hygienist will earn $4000 every day.
But you’ll find after taking and implementing the secrets I’m about to reveal that ANY hygienist can start having $2000, $3000, and even $4000 days on a regular basis.
So let’s dive right in…
Secret #1: Increase Hygiene Production by Enhancing Patient Care
Our basic job as a hygiene provider should be to advocate for our patient’s dental health by doing the right thing every time for every patient.
For me, production was never the goal.
I discovered during my own journey, that by doing the right thing and advocating for better patient health, we can increase our own hygiene production.
Brian Tracy, a prominent business coach, once said, “What gets measured, gets improved.”
But, how do we measure patient care?
Here are 3 key metrics that I look at:
Metric #1: Get a minimum 80% acceptance of adult fluoride (an 80% acceptance in fluoride = $32,000+ per hygienist over the next year)
Metric #2: Four sealants per day (just four sealants a day at $45 =$34,000 over the next year)
Metric #3: Four teeth treated with desensitizing agents (treating four teeth a day with desensitizing agents =$34,000 over the next year)
What I find fascinating is that we think we are treating our patients with the utmost care, but if that were really the case, we should see these treatments done on more patients. Did you know that the majority of practices have a fluoride acceptance rate of 10%?
We have so many great tools on the menu to help our high-risk patients. And they need all the help they can get. We know that, so we need to make sure we’re embracing the tools that we have to help them so they can succeed.
Never in my career did I have a patient say, “Hey, why do you think today during my visit, I need a higher level of focus on preventive therapy?”
Nobody ever said that, but they said things like bad teeth run in my family. It seems every time I come here, I have more and more cavities. Those comments represent frustration.
Maybe you’re offering these treatments to your patients already, but they aren’t accepting them.
Well, that leads me to secret #2…
(We’ve also put together an in-depth report that shows you how to maximize hygiene production including the scripts I use. You download it here.)
Secret #2: Use Clear Communication For Improved Treatment Acceptance
There’s nothing more frustrating when you know your patient needs treatment and they don’t accept it.
But, it’s not our patient’s fault. More often than not, it has to do with how we’re communicating with our patients.
Here are my tips to improve your communication so that you can improve treatment acceptance and increase your personal hygiene production:
#1: Don’t wait until the end.
Too often we wait until the end of the exam and know what needs to be done. If we do that, we’re out of time
#2: Don’t let insurance dictate your level of hygiene care.
We say things like, “We refuse to allow insurance to dictate the level of care we provide.” But, then every day in the trenches, we often do allow insurance to dictate the level of care we provide. It’s natural, we get into the habit of not wanting to have to overcome the objection when our patient’s insurance doesn’t cover certain treatments and have to pay out of pocket.
But, we have to get over that. We can’t allow insurance to dictate care. I’ve long lived by the approach that if it was my mother, my sister, my daughter, what would I want them to have? I want the same for my patient.
#3: Educate your patients.
I hear things like, “We should probably do a fluoride for that.”
But, if I’m the patient and the hygienist hasn’t educated me on the benefits, I won’t accept the treatment, especially if I’m paying out of pocket.
Helping patients understand not just what we’re wanting them to do, but why they should do is critical in helping your patients accept the treatment recommendations we’re offering.
You don’t need to get into the weeds of science or research. Instead, I like to use the simple phrase, “New research shows”. For example, “New research shows that for patients who consistently have a professionally applied fluoride treatment, we can see up to 75% fewer new cavities. This is huge for patients who are always struggling with decay.”
(Note: This is part of the script I like to use for treatment acceptance. Click here to get my 3 scripts for improving patient acceptance)
#4: Conduct An Emotionally Connected Exam
What is the patient feeling? It’s important to identify the dominant emotion of the patient.
- Are they worried?
- Are they anxious?
- Are they angry?
- Are they uncomfortable?
Once you identify what that dominant emotion is, you need to relate to that.
I see a lot of instances where a new patient will tell a hygienist that they’re scared and the hygienist doesn’t really stop and address that emotion. Or, a patient might say they were upset with their last dentist, and there are no follow-up questions about why.
Your hygiene patients are looking for somebody who cares, who addresses their concerns, and who avoids connection stoppers.
What are connection stoppers?
The 3 biggest connection stoppers are judging, shaming and indifference.
Hygienists are looking into patients’ habits and health and the last thing our patients need is to be judged, shamed, or feel as if we’re indifferent to their experience.
It’s easy to unintentionally use communication stoppers, so it’s important to pay close attention to your words. Always put yourself in their shoes and don’t forget to tell them the good things you see!
Secret #3: Offer Same Day Hygiene
This is essential for maximizing hygiene production.
Let’s take sealants for example…
When our hygiene coaches work with other practices, we talk about what to do, why we should do it, and then we actually get into the nitty gritty and share with them how to do sealants same day.
And, it’s powerful.
Here’s an example of Tanya, a hygienist form of Dr. Ayer’s office after she had done 33 sealants.
None of those have been scheduled ahead of time, all were done same day.
I love seeing hygienist confidence soar when they reach these levels because they are providing better care for their patients and their production doubles or triples as a natural result.
And, it doesn’t take 33 sealants in one day to have an impact.
Let’s say on average four teeth a day are protected per hygienist throughout the course of a year, that’s a $48,000 impact.
That is a huge win for you and your patients.
Below is a hygienist in a single-doctor practice. She had a $1,245 day.
(For reference, the national average of hygiene production per day is around $800-$1000 per day.)
The next week after going through hygiene coaching, she had a $3,009 day.
Some hygiene consultants think that the solution is to shorten the appointment time and cram more people through and you’ll see your production increase. But, the number of encounters didn’t change.
She saw seven adult patients, one child, and one perio-maintenance on her $1,200 a day.
On her $3,300 day, she saw eight adults and one perio-maintenance.
She had the same number of encounters (eight patients served), but look at the difference. She treated her hygiene patients with fluoride, more sealants, more x-rays, more preventative services, but the big game-changer for her was she did 23 same-day sealants and her hygiene production exploded.
Check out this quick video I did where I reveal 10 secrets to start same-day dentistry in hygiene. (Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube Channel here for more great videos!)
As I said earlier, when we do the right thing for every patient every time, higher production will naturally follow, if we are focused on enhancing patient care, become better at communicating to our hygiene patients, and offer same-day dentistry.
If you’d like more detail, we’ve created this free report that goes into even more detail about how you can double or even triple your hygiene production. Click here to get it.