Do you know what drives a patient back into your hygiene chair after being past due 6 to 12 months? Is your front office prepared when following up? Is your dental team passionate about helping your dental patients improve their health? 

There are several ways to build a sense of urgency with the patient. Before picking up the phone, read the chart notes and pay attention to the details, scanning for useful information to discuss WHY it is important. Many times, you will be leaving a message and NOT be able to leave personal details in a voicemail (for obvious HIPAA reasons, unless they have signed a release). Now what? Leave a message that will peak they're interest by saying less while sounding urgent, "I just found something concerning in your chart, can you please call me at your earliest convenience?". What is so concerning is that they are overdue in their hygiene and you are passionate about your patients being healthy! If for some reason the patient calls back and is upset with you that the call was regarding a hygiene appointment, what are the chances they were going to be a good patient to begin with? They may have moved on anyway but the point is CURIOSITY DRIVES BEHAVIOR! The goal is to get the patient to call you back so that you can express your concerns about their overall health, here are some examples;

  1. Family Health history- building the value of treatment by correlating oral health with body health; diabetes is a great example; "if you have any of could be exacerbating your condition"

  2. Common symptoms of periodontal disease;
    1. Bad breath – when bacteria is allowed to build up it doesn't smell GOOD!
    2. Low energy – if your body is constantly fighting a bacterial disease it's working too hard just sitting still! No wonder your winded playing with your kids!
    3. Sick a lot – when your gums are bleeding from brushing or flossing, it leaves a direct open source for diseases to get in.
  3. Point out the research correlating secondary illnesses
    1. Heart disease – High Blood Pressure
    2. Diabetes
    3. Stroke
    4. Erectile Dysfunction- both female and male patients are motivated to fix this condition. Also, periodontal disease can be passed through saliva (even to children). This might get the MOST attention because it's the one that can affect you TODAY, not 10 or 20 years from now. Planting THAT seed will have that person thinking twice about themselves and their partner's oral health!!!

Bottom line, take the time to educate the patient as what is normal and abnormal. Bleeding gums, for example, is not normal."If your arm started bleeding for no reason, would you be concerned?". The patient does not understand until we take the time to educate them.

Think about it...

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