"It's just a cleaning!" I have heard this phrase uttered many times by patients over the years. And for many years, I also believed it to be true. It wasn't until I started learning and implementing Pete's ‘Concept of Complete Dentistry’ when my belief changed.
Pete refers to the dentist as the "Physician of the Masticatory System." I believe the hygienist is the "Physician's ASSISTANT of the Masticatory System." It's so much more than "just a cleaning!"
Why Broken Hygiene Appointments Happen
Broken hygiene appointments are a challenge in many practices today. Loss of employment, difficulty getting time off from work, and the fact that people are just plain busier than ever are a few of the reasons patients call to reschedule. Many patients don't think twice about calling to reschedule because they think it's just a cleaning! Creating VALUE for these appointments is the key to minimizing this challenging problem.
In my experience, the most effective way to create value in the patients mind is to help them understand that their prophy appointment is so much more than just a cleaning. Just as the dentist performs a complete exam, the hygienist performs a complete mini exam at each prophy appointment.
Understanding the Masticatory System
The hygienist's ability to identify signs of instability and clearly explain these findings to the patient is solely dependent upon his or her knowledge of the masticatory system. Knowing how the system works in health, the hygienist will understand when it is not working properly. The key is helping the patient understand the significance of the problems and what can happen if the problems are not treated. Getting the patient back into the dentist's chair for the restorative treatment they need, not only creates a stable and healthy system for the patient, but also generates significant revenue for the practice.
Typically, patients see their hygienist more frequently than any other health care provider. The loyalty and trust that develops is immeasurable. No wonder the hygienist has a key role in the success of a complete care practice! It really is and should be so much more than just a cleaning.
For more information on dental hygiene ce, click here.