What are some challenges in the hygiene department? One is how do we keep the patients scheduled for their hygiene appointments! Doing hygiene role-play in the office will help your team prepare new ways to keep patients on the books!


Ideally we’d like to see at least 80% of patients pre-scheduled! How many of your patients are pre-scheduled? Most patients give excuses of why they don’t schedule. Some say they didn’t bring their calendar and others say they don’t know what they will be doing in 6 months. Basically, patients don’t schedule or cancel because they just don’t see the importance of the hygiene visit.

Often we hear clinicians saying, “it’s just a cleaning” to the patients. The challenge with using that terminology, the value of the appointment is lessened. We need to change the psychology around how the appointment is labeled. We need to add more value to the terminology. You are competing with other discretionary spending and competing with other time resources!

The right verbiage and education will go a long way to patients keeping their hygiene appointments with you!

Why does it appear that most consumers are not getting the message about the importance of dental health during their appointments? How many of your patients think that it’s ok for their gums to bleed? Next time you are working on them and this happens, inquire if they’d be worried if they woke up and their eyes or ear was bleeding, would they be worried? Of course they will say, “YES”! So, contrast that with the lack of health with their bleeding gums! We need to change definitions and explanations of health during the dental appointment!

Maybe try to explanation about the importance of their hygiene visit differently than you have. For instance, use an analogy of an iceberg. Ask them, “What percentage of an iceberg is above the water?” It’s about 20% and the rest is under the water and can’t be seen. In the same way, when they clean at home, they only clean the top 20% of the tooth! Your job is to clean the remainder of that tooth they cannot .

Showing the patients intra-oral photos of the build up that they have in their mouth will speak volumes. Or, place the pieces of build up that you have removed from their mouth onto their hand! This will show them how necessary their hygiene appointments are! With healthy patients, show them stain or minimal plaque. Convey to them the fact they are healthy only because you are an effective “team”, each doing your part. If you continually tell them how great they are doing, they will feel they don’t need to be seen regularly.

Can you see some ways that your office may benefit from some hygiene role-play? In what ways do you inadvertently devalue the hygiene appointment? What can you do to better to educate your patients so they see the value of their appointments? Give it a try!