Dos and don'ts for hygiene success: It all starts in the hygiene department

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Dental hygiene is a key driver of practice production. Many practices overlook the value of the hygiene department. Remember, the hygiene appointment is often the gateway to other types of treatment. A full hygiene schedule drives practice production.

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Keep active patients active. Levin Group finds that practices usually present with fewer than 90% of active patients scheduled and often less than 70%. Obviously, if patients aren't scheduled, you can't provide them optimal oral healthcare. Scheduling the next hygiene appointment should occur before patients leave the office. In addition, practices should confirm all appointments 48 hours in advance via cellphone, text message, and/or email.

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Don't forget at-home products. If hygienists are encouraging patients to use at-home oral health products, it can have a tremendous impact on how patients feel about the hygienist and the practice. It is one thing to say you care and another to demonstrate it. Many practices offer in-office dispensing of at-home care products, giving patients the opportunity to purchase these items at a reduced rate without having to find them at a store. This approach demonstrates a higher level of customer service, while generating increased revenue for the practice.

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