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Implementing the Complete Exam in your practice

So I want to talk today about a few ways that you can introduce patients into the complete exam in your practice. In our practice, we primarily have three doors that the patients can enter through.

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New Patient Exam Procedure

Some new patients call and they're ready to go, and we train the front-office person to talk with them about our complete exam process.

The patient on the phone may have some specific concerns that they want to see the doctor about, and so we schedule them initially, as their first visit, to come in and do the complete exam. And we actually have made a handout, a one-page handout that we'll put up on the screen for you shortly, that talks about all the things that we check at that complete exam.

And we liken it to a physical exam that they would have with their physician that helps them to kind of understand the amount of time that we're going to spend to go through this complete exam.

You do have some patients that call that aren't really ready to commit, maybe financially, to a complete exam, or to the amount of time, or even to the practice yet, so we offer them a short visit, about 20, 30 minutes, for a complimentary consultation or a quick-look visit.

And we go through their preclinical interview process, just like we teach you at The Academy, as if we were going to take them through the complete exam. And then actually have them back in the operatory to take a couple of photographs, and we're able, then, to show them some of the things that we might be seeing in their mouth that are concerns.

We can show them things like wear, migration, mobility, broken teeth, old silver fillings where they're very large, where the teeth are weakened. And if they can see what we're seeing, then it gives us the opportunity to give them that handout and tell them that we'd like to have them back to spend a little more time with them and be able to give them a really thorough physical, and go through and make some notes, and be able to come back and make some good recommendations for their treatment and their care.

The third door in our practice that some new patients come through is the visit with the hygienist.

They may be new to town and very conscientious about staying on track with their six-month hygiene visits, so they want to come in for a cleaning and checkup. And we take that opportunity, then, in the hygiene operatory to talk to them about the fact that we would like to invite them back, since they're a new patient in our practice, to do a really thorough exam. Again, likening it to the annual physical that they have in their doctor's office. And we give them the handout and explain all the different things that we're going to be checking for them, like the oral cancer exam, checking their joints, and their bite, and the health of each individual tooth. And that's a couple of ways that you can introduce new patients into the complete exam in your practice.

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Dr. Angela Gribble Hedlund completed her undergraduate training at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, where she received her Bachelor of Science Degree. She received her DMD from the Medical College of Georgia School of Dentistry in Augusta Georgia, and has completed an ADA-accredited program in Advanced General Dentistry at Baylor College of Dentistry in Dallas, Texas. Dr. Hedlund practiced with Goldstein, Garber, & Salama for 16 years, and have recently opened a private practice in North Atlanta. She has practiced dentistry in Atlanta since 1994. Dr. Hedlund has also received extensive training in esthetic dentistry. She has received her certificate in the Postgraduate Program in Esthetic Dentistry from Baylor, as well as completing the Comprehensive Esthetic Restorative Continuum at the same institution. During her postgraduate studies at the Medical College of Georgia, she was awarded the Goldstein Esthetic Dentistry Award, presented yearly to a senior student who has shown exceptional interest and talent in the area of esthetic dentistry. She is an active member in the Georgia Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry where she is currently an accreditation candidate. Dr. Hedlund is an active contributor to organized dentistry. This began when she served as the first female president of an MCG dental class, and a representative to the American Student Dental Association executive council. She is currently a member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, American Dental Association, Georgia Dental Association, the Hinman Dental Society, and the Academy of General Dentistry, where she has completed over 1,500 hours of continuing education in dental studies. She has received her Fellowship in the Academy of General Dentistry; this is an honor held by fewer than 2% of dentists in the country. In July 2006 she became one of the youngest women ever to receive Mastership in this Academy. Dr. Gribble also is on the dental advisory council for the Christian Medical Dental Assocation. Dr. Gribble has published articles in the Journal of Esthetic Dentistry and the Journal of the American Dental Association. She has served as a contributing editor to the Dental Study Club Journal, which contains reviews from leading clinicians on articles from over seventy-five international dental journals. She also lectures on the subjects of restorative and esthetic dentistry. Dr. Gribble paid for a large portion of her education and received lots of “smile practice” in the Miss America Scholarship programs. She was 2nd runner-up in Miss Augusta in 1991, and 2nd runner-up in Tennessee’s America Junior Miss Pageant in 1985. Dr. Angie Gribble Hedlund enjoys singing, scrapbooking, and is a master scuba diver. She is an active member of the Atlanta Women’s Medical Alliance and Bible Study Fellowship where she serves as the Substitute Teaching Leader for the Norcross Women’s class. She and her husband Richard are members of Roswell United Methodist Church. They volunteer regularly with the children’s program there with their 2 daughters Tori and Lexi.