Data bite: Survey finds improving dental hygiene recall rates a primary growth opportunity for practices in 2017

Dental hygiene departments are the unsung heroes of successful dental practices. In this article, Dr. Levin looks at current dental hygiene recall (reappointment) rates and four strategies to increase them.

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Dental hygiene departments are the unsung heroes of successful dental practices. In this article, Dr. Levin looks at current dental hygiene recall (reappointment) rates and strategies to increase them.

Money On Trees Dental Hygiene Reappointment Recall Rates

Dental hygiene recall (reappointment) rates make or break dental practices. The more hygiene patients dental practices see, the more opportunities there are to identify patient needs (or wants) and present treatment. A full hygiene schedule should always be the goal.

Keeping patients active is one of the biggest challenges faced by practices. Today, people are busier than ever, and fewer of them have dental insurance. Patients will frequently refuse to schedule their next hygiene appointment while in the office, and if they do schedule, they cancel or fail to show.

This new reality is reflected by a rather telling statistic—only 17% of dentists said most of their active patients receive hygiene treatment every six months, according to a recent dental hygiene study by the Levin Group Data Center. Without a steady influx of active patients, it can be nearly impossible to meet growth targets.

What can practices do to make sure hygiene patients are seen every six months? Here are four strategies we teach our clients:

Strategy 1: Build greater value for the hygiene appointment by emphasizing all the care provided, including prophylaxis and screening for oral cancer.

Strategy 2:Don’t refer to the appointment as a “cleaning”—it devalues what you do.

Strategy 3: Make a concerted effort to schedule the next hygiene appointment while patients are still in the office. This will require updated scripts for most practices.

Strategy 4: Confirm appointments 48 hours in advance using calls to cell phones, texting, and emails.

I consider hygiene to be the unsung hero of dental practices. It doesn’t get as much attention as cosmetic dentistry or dental implants, but without a robust hygiene recall system in place, offices will always struggle to increase production.


AUTHOR’S NOTE

Need CE for 2017?Attend one of Dr. Levin’s upcoming “Building the Ultimate Practice” seminars in Tampa, Chicago, Austin, or Columbia (Maryland). Visit levingroup.com/gpseminars for more information.


Roger Levin Headshot 2016 ThumbnailRoger P. Levin, DDS, is the founder and CEO of Levin Group Inc., a leading dental consulting firm. A nationally recognized speaker, Dr. Levin presents practice management seminars throughout the country.


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"Data Bites" is a monthly column in the Apex360 e-newsletter. "Data Bites" presents information from the Levin Data Center and analysis by the Levin Group, a leading dental consulting firm.

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Editor's note: This article first appeared in the Apex360 e-newsletter. Apex360 is a DentistryIQ partner publication for dental practitioners and members of the dental industry. Its goal is to provide timely dental information and present it in meaningful context, empowering those in the dental space to make better business decisions. Subscribe to the Apex360 e-newsletter here.


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