Archive for May, 2013

5 Procedures Every New Dentist Must Perform #2

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

This is a continuation of my previous post on the 5 Procedures Every New Dentist Must Perform.  Whether you are an associate, the owner of a new start-up, or purchasing an existing practice, there are certain things you can do to maximize your production and keep busy even with a limited patient base. As a new dentist, there are five things that you must be comfortable performing. In our last blog we talked about Pediatrics.   The 2nd of the 5 procedures every New Dentist Must perform is Emergencies.

 
#2 Emergencies
As a new dentist, you are probably going to have holes in your schedule. That’s just life. If you can learn the skills of dealing with emergencies, these schedule gaps can be useful. If a patient calls in with a toothache, trauma, lost restoration, or any other sort of dental emergency, they want to be seen quickly. If you are an associate, odds are the senior doctor is booked up. That leaves you to see the patient during one of those schedule gaps. Sure, the patient probably hasn’t seen you before, but, due to the emergency, they will be thrilled to let you work on them. Learn how to quickly narrow down pain symptoms to a diagnosis.

 

Learn how to easily convey the diagnostic information to the patient to help them make a decision. With some polished efficiency, you will learn how to deal with almost any emergency situation in a timely manner.

Crack the No-Show Code

Saturday, May 18th, 2013

The clock on the wall says 2:10. The patient was scheduled for a 2 p.m. appointment. It’s “dead time” in the dental office. Mid-afternoon for many practices sees production slow to a trickle. These tend to be some of the most difficult times to fill and the most likely to generate no-shows and cancellations.

 

Take steps to keep the schedule full and patients in the chair. Educate patients about the impact on the practice of last minute cancellations and no-shows. Many are completely oblivious to the fact that the appointment time has been set aside specifically for them, or that the doctor and/or the hygienist have prepared specifically for this patient’s procedure, and that someone else also in need of dental care could have taken advantage of that appointment, if they had been given the opportunity.

 

In addition, politely remind patients of the practice’s cancellation policy on a regular basis. It should be printed on appointment cards, mentioned in conversations, as well as included in text messages and emails. And patients who are 10 minutes late for their scheduled appointment should be called promptly to confirm that they are on their way.

 

You might say for example: “Hello Mr. Frank. This is Abigail from Dr. Adams’ office. We were expecting you for your appointment at 2:00, and I was concerned because you had not arrived yet.” Listen carefully to the patient’s response. He may be on the way and stuck in traffic. He might have had a legitimate emergency arise. Life does happen, and it’s important for staff to be sensitive to that when contacting patients. However, it’s also critical to document all no-shows and last minute cancellations into the patient’s record to track if situations such as this are occasional or common.

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HEY! Have you had some really crazy excuses from late patients? Have you forgotten to call your patients? Feel free to share your experience right here on our blog! We do have hundreds of visitors who may want to hear from you too!

5 Procedures Every New Dentist Must Perform

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013
As another school year comes to an end, another class of new dentists graduates and prepares to enter the trenches of private practice. These new dentists all carry the weight of their own expectations, which can be crippling enough by themselves. We didn’t grind out four years of dental school just to graduate and struggle adjusting to private practice. We all expect to join or start a practice and immediately be greeted with schedules full of high-value production and more patients than we know what to do with. Unfortunately, this is a fairytale for most new dentists. Getting started in private practice is tough. Whether you are an associate, the owner of a new start-up, or purchasing an existing practice, there are certain things you can do to maximize your production and keep busy even with a limited patient base. As a new dentist, there are five things that you must be comfortable performing. Let’s review them!
#1. Pediatrics:
New dentists need to feel comfortable performing procedures on children. Parents prefer to have all their kids seen at the same time. It cuts down on the number of trips they have to make to your office. If you are an associate in a practice, the senior dentist or hygienist(s) might be seeing one child, leaving the new dentist to see the other. Spend 30 minutes on an exam, bitewings, and prophy. Odds are they need either restorations or sealants. Knock those out too, all of a sudden you’ve had a nice morning of production and hopefully had some fun with the kiddo. Now that child will want to see you from here on out, and everyone is happy!
Watch for my next blog post for the next 4 procedures every New Dentist Must Perform

Make Emergency Patients Your Biggest Fans

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

Embrace the opportunity that emergency patients bring and watch them become your greatest and most loyal fans. If you don’t already have one, create an emergency patient experience protocol. Obviously, this goes beyond triaging the patient to address the immediate oral health problem. This protocol also addresses how the patient is to be managed throughout the visit. Certainly, the priority is to get the person out of pain, but it is also a huge opportunity to provide a truly excellent patient experience that the patient will not only remember fondly, but will happily share with others. In addition, it’s the opportunity to educate the patient on what your practice can do for them so that they don’t find themselves in a similar situation in the future.  
 

The objective is to ensure that the emergency patient feels that the employees are understanding and helpful – not punitive – even when staff are under pressure. Pay attention to cues the patient gives. Does the patient appear anxious or fearful? Is the person concerned about the cost of the treatment or the pain or the time the procedure is going to require? Is the patient apologizing because it’s been such a long time since their last appointment? Has this person had a negative dental experience in the past? Does the patient appear angry or frustrated?  
 
Listening closely to the patient’s concerns will help you identify possible objections they may have to pursuing comprehensive care. Knowing these enables you to break them down with appropriate educational tools. Making the effort to understand patient concerns and show sincere kindness and compassion will enable you to convert far more emergency patients to comprehensive exams.