Dos and don'ts for the hygiene department: Raise patient awareness of periodontal problems

2016 08 12 10 54 04 370 Practice Success 400

It's estimated that half of American adults have periodontal disease. Clearly, as part of your commitment to maintaining optimal oral health for your patients, your hygiene department should be monitoring disease symptoms, educating patients about how to care for their gums, and alerting you when treatment may be necessary.


Encourage hygienists to become the perio experts. Professional cleaning -- as performed by hygienists -- and preventing periodontitis are closely connected. Hygienists should also be probing pockets and tracking their depth from visit to visit. This means that they can become your patients' greatest ally in preventing periodontal disease. What's more, hygienists are in the best position to teach patients about what to watch for and how to care for their own gums.


Don't focus strictly on severe cases. Preventive care is always best, so your practice should respond proactively when even mild symptoms of periodontal disease are spotted. Patients will appreciate the attention, and it will enable them to recognize that a hygiene visit is more than "just a cleaning."

Roger P. Levin, DDS, is the founder and CEO of Levin Group, the leading dental practice consulting firm in North America. For the complete list of dates and locations where you can attend his latest seminar, visit

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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