Trait #4 -Rock Star Hygienists Connect the Dots to Increase Treatment Enrollment
Like I’ve shared with you before, being prepared is critical to creating a successful hygiene appointment. It’s a lot of pressure to have to think on your feet when you’re racing the clock; the patient is in your chair and you’re trying to use your risk assessment, communication and time management skills all at once. Knowing as much as you can about your patient before they ever sit in your chair will make your life so much easier.
The next step is putting that information together and formulating how you can talk to this patient so you’re making it personal and relevant to them.
I worked with Philips Sonicare last year to create a DVD all about making a recommendation Personal, Specific and Easy for patients so they will follow through on your recommendation, whether it’s for a power brush or a crown. You can ask your Sonicare rep for a copy.
Let me give you an example:
Just yesterday I was with a new patient. She had several crowns that were very well done and many very large old metal fillings that were cracked and apparent recurrent decay under those fillings. She had a history of Fosamax use and that she is apprehensive when having dental care and that she’d like to have sedation.
We’ve now collected a few pieces of information:
1-She has teeth that are at risk of further decay and breakdown
2-She has a history of Fosamax use and is now on Actonel
3-She is apprehensive and interested in sedation
Now you wouldn’t just be educating her about the need to replace old dentistry but rather you would connecting the dots for her:
“Ms. Jane, you can see in the photo here that you have several teeth are black around these large, old fillings. This usually indicates that there is new decay under the fillings. In these situations, Doctor very often recommends a crown to strengthen this tooth after the decay is removed. Doctor will confirm this when she does the exam and reviews the x-rays.
This is not an emergency situation but if you do nothing, over time the decay will progress inside of the tooth and increase your chances for root canal treatment or even losing the tooth.
Because you have a history of Fosamax use, you are at risk for complications and losing bone in your jaw if you ever need to have a tooth removed. It is a low risk but I think that makes a strong case for being proactive with your care and not waiting until you have pain or the tooth is so decayed that it needs to be removed. And since you’re apprehensive, I believe Doc can take care of this entire upper right section at one time while you’re sedated.“
You’ve now connected the dots so Jane understands WHY you ask her about her medical history. You’ve made it personal to her needs, very specific as to what you think Doctor will recommend and the photos make it easy to see the tooth is not healthy. Of course this would apply to your recommendation for perio therapy as well as homecare products or adult fluoride as well.
Connecting the dots for your patients will make enrollment easier because they will understand how the treatment benefits THEM. And, they will see you as the healthcare professional you are.