The Naked Dentist uncovers hygiene productivity

2015 03 10 14 43 22 538 Marshall Curtis 200

I have to be honest -- I didn't do my homework. In a previous column, I discussed how dentists stay up late worrying about overhead, new patients, and cash flow. I was wrong! In a recent poll that my team did with our dentists, we discovered that dentists stay up all night for a reason that blew me away. That will teach me to not use numbers when discussing metrics.

Who is the Naked Dentist?

Curtis Marshall is the vice president of marketing at Dental Intel.Curtis Marshall is the vice president of marketing at Dental Intel.

People call me the Naked Dentist, yet I am not a dentist nor do I practice dentistry naked. I have the coolest analytic tool that plugs into a dental office and it removes all the clothes, makeup, accessories, hair, and emotion to reveal the true problems within the practice. Sometimes we just have to tone those areas, and other times we must perform surgery.

This week we are going to tone the office of my good friend in Maryland. He has been practicing for 18 years and was staying up all night, for the same reason that other dentists stay up. When we discover how to fix this problem, he is going to sleep better at night.

The Naked Dentist was wrong

Like I said, I messed up. By looking at emails that were sent to dentists, I knew that they were staying up late, because I saw that the emails were opened between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. After doing a poll with the question, "What keeps you up at night?" to my surprise the answer was the same every time: employees, team members, and staff. So let's get this Maryland practice naked and find out how to solve this problem.

Dr. Maryland

It is another Monday morning and the staff meeting is about to begin at Dr. Maryland's office. As the owner, this doctor has stayed up all night worrying about what to say to his staff.

  • How can he let the staff know how much he appreciates what they do every day in the office?
  • How does he motivate them to do more?
  • What does he train them on to increase performance and get rid of bad habits?
  • How does he know if he has prepared the right subjects to talk about?

5 benefits

The best way to figure out what is going wrong with the employees in the office is to track and monitor! Does that sound like a pain? It can be if you do it manually. But it doesn't have to be if you track and monitor two or three metrics, or even better, if you have the right analytic tool, you can track and monitor all your numbers with ease. You will never know what is truly going on with your practice and your team members unless you monitor and track.

Here are just five of many benefits that come from monitoring and tracking the performance of each individual team member:

  1. The employee knows exactly what is expected and, at the same time, performs at a higher level.
  2. The dentist is able to visually see the progress of each team member, not to mention being able to sleep at night.
  3. The office is able to exceed far past set goals.
  4. The office manager or doctor can now train on areas that improve the team, instead of doing boring meaningless trainings.
  5. The whole team is happier, and patients are treated with better care.


When the office is running smoothly, it is easy to have a staff meeting and offer cheers and congratulations to the staff for a job well done. When the office is not doing well, the first thing we do as humans is blame others: "Jane is not collecting from the patients," "The doctor doesn't care about us or the patients," "Sarah didn't order enough 2 by 2's."

Everyone in the office feels it, yet all the weight is on the owner-doctor to figure out what needs to improve.

Reappointing hygiene

For 18 years, Dr. Maryland has blamed the hygiene department for a stagnant office. He told me that patients like the hygienist, but he was positive that she is not reappointing her patients. So we took three minutes and installed our intel tool. Turns out that his hygienist was doing much better than he thought, she was reappointing more than 60% of her patients.

With excitement, he took this number to the hygienist. She looked at that percentage and she was shocked that it was only at 60%, thinking it was much higher. So, she started to track her patients daily. By simply tracking this small number, for just one week, she was able to raise that percentage to 90%. When she showed this to the doctor, he was floored! With her taking an extra two minutes a day, a domino effect happened.

  • She was stoked about her job.
  • She was treating patients better.
  • The doctor stopped worrying about her performance.
  • The whole team was energized about the success.
  • The doctor-hygienist relationship improved.
Dr. Maryland's practice was able to reach its goal of 90% of hygiene reappointments, up from an initial reappointment level of 60%.Dr. Maryland's practice was able to reach its goal of 90% of hygiene reappointments, up from an initial reappointment level of 60%.

Extra income

What is even more exciting is that the office was able to produce an additional $46,000 in hygiene alone. Instead of Dr. Maryland stressing about his hygienist, he now feels as though she is underpaid. Currently, he is looking at ways to show his appreciation.

This is just one metric. With an analytic tool like mine, you can see the metrics that need to be measured within your office, and when you monitor and track these numbers, your office will improve, your lifestyle will be better, and the future will be secured.

Let's get naked together.

Curtis Marshall serves as the vice president of marketing at Dental Intel. If you would like your practice to be in the next Naked Dentist column and have your practice undressed, contact him at or 801-380-7070.

The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.

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