How to have a successful hygiene exam with your dental patient.

Do you ever walk into your hygiene room with your last patient still on your mind and then wonder what is going on with this patient? Do you think this patient can sense this? Many doctors approach us about improving their case acceptance rate, and this step in the process is key to success. If you don't have a great handoff of information during your hygiene check, you will most likely have a hygiene fumble and not see the outcome you are looking for!

I see too many offices where the doctor and the team aren't quite on the same page regarding clinical diagnosis. Now, we all know that it is only the doctors job to diagnose dentistry, but let's face it, every hygienist is prepping the patient with what the doctor will see. How do you suppose your hygienist feels if she sets you up to tell this patient they need a crown and then you walk in and tell the patient, they don't need it, or you will watch it? The answer is they feel undermined and will probably stop setting you up for success. Not to be malicious, but because they were embarrassed. The key to success is being on the same page.

How to accomplish being on the same page is relatively easy. Have you ever passed around some x-rays and intra oral photos and asked your team what they all think you will diagnose? This is a great exercise and illustration of how much diversity there can be. If they patient hears 3 different diagnosis from 3 different people, it will undermine their confidence in your practice and have them walking out unscheduled and uncertain of what they really need. Do you ever have patients coming to you asking for a second opinion? It is probably because their past dental office did just this and confused them!

It would be best to have some system in place for passing along information before you walk into that operatory for that exam. There are lots of options, but the key is for you and the team to be on the same page in front of the patient. If your hygienist sets you up for success, then all you have to do is come in for a layup (to use March Madness as a metaphor). By the time the patients leaves, if the hygienist, the doctor and the assistant and the front desk all suggest the same treatment, what you do you suppose the outcome will be? A confident patient with an appointment for the treatment you all suggested that will ultimately get them healthy. Try it and see the results, it will be fun to see the patients getting healthy while your case acceptance rate grows along with your profitability.

Watch the video below to learn even more about this process.

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