Dentist With Patient

9 benefits of not scheduling the new dental patient in hygiene

Feb. 24, 2014
The dentist can be an excellent first stop for new patients

Influencing patients to accept treatment is arguably the primary concern of most dental providers. So, how new patients are treated and who sees new patients first is a hot topic.

Generally, new patients without an emergency will ask for a cleaning appointment, which to them in most cases means a “check-up exam.” Many times they have been conditioned to enter a dental practice through the dental hygiene department. This method, however, can ultimately cause the patient to say no to comprehensive care.

RELATED:The dental hygiene appointment: Breaking it down

Here are nine benefits for having the doctor see the new patient first:

1. The new patient can be seen sooner.
2. The doctor will have a chance to review the medical and behavioral history of the patient.
3. The doctor can observe the initial condition of the mouth/oral health prior to any treatment being rendered.
4. The doctor and team have a chance to meet the patient and listen to and record the patient’s needs and wants. Determining the patient’s emotional motivators and concerns is central to instilling a sense of confidence and caring, as well as gaining case acceptance.
5. The doctor can ask “we care” questions.
6. The doctor will have an opportunity to explain the recommended treatment to the patient. Often, if the treatment is explained in the hygiene room between the doctor’s scheduled patients, the explanation is less than effective. There is really not enough quality time (in the hygiene room) to give the new patient appropriate consideration and/or to answer questions.
7. If necessary, the doctor will also be able to explain why the patient requires multiple hygiene appointments. Moreover, it allows the hygienist more productivity as the doctor renders a periodontal diagnosis. The hygienist will then have a current set of X-rays, a thorough periodontal analysis and charting, and informed, accepting patients.
8. Fees will be quoted and financial arrangements made in advance of any treatment, thereby avoiding misunderstandings.
9. The team has a chance to explain office policies in a positive manner before the patients experience them.

The importance of the dental hygiene appointment sequence
The most undervalued appointment in a practice: dental hygiene

Kristine Hodsdon, RDH, MSEC, is a consultant and trainer with Pride Institute, and director of RDH eVillage.