Dos and don'ts for increasing production: Comprehensive exams

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Perform comprehensive exams for all patients

I firmly believe that most patients represent more potential production than most dentists realize. True, you may have already addressed many of the dental issues your long-term patients had. But intraoral conditions change over time, as do patients' desires. Patients typically think of their dentists as expert advisors about oral healthcare. You owe it to them to develop a comprehensive picture of what's going on in their mouths, and what you -- and they -- can do about it.


Perform a five-phase exam. Rather than responding only to the immediate need of patients who present, take the time for a comprehensive exam that includes (1) periodontal, (2) tooth-by-tooth, (3) cosmetic, (4) implant, and (5) occlusal phases. This will serve as the basis for an ideal treatment program that you can review with patients, setting your and their priorities and perhaps establishing a long-term timetable.


Don't limit comprehensive exams to new patients. A number of dentists conduct five-phase exams for new patients yet neglect to provide this service for patients who've been with the practice for years. Rather than assuming they wouldn't be interested in cosmetic or other elective treatment, explain the possibilities and let them decide.

Roger P. Levin, DDS, is the chairman and CEO of practice management consulting firm Levin Group. You can connect with Levin Group on Facebook and Twitter (@Levin_Group) to learn more strategies and share ideas. Also, check out Dr. Levin's free practice management videos at

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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