Does it still ring true after 10 years?

A couple weeks ago, I was preparing one of my videos for this newsletter and my friend Diane said to me… ‘Do realize you’ve been doing this e-zine for 10 years’?

See, Diane has helped me with Inspired Hygiene since Day ONE. She built the first website and she helped me understand this email thing way back to when we were first out of college. She’s a programmer. I’m a hygienist. Need I say more?

Anyway, I started this e-zine back then to get the word out and launch Inspired Hygiene nationally…and it worked! We now have readers in over 20 countries!

Diane sent me the first e-zine article we published and I thought it would be fun to share it with you today. I wasn’t sure the concepts would still be current but while we have certainly expanded on these over the years, I believe you’ll see the core message is tried and true.

I am SO VERY grateful for the IH team without whom this endeavor would NOT be possible and for YOU for giving your precious time and energy to learn and share with us.

THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for following us and for all you do for your dental team, your clients and patients!!

After more than 10 years of coaching dental teams to refine and boost the effectiveness, efficiency and energy of their hygiene departments, these core concepts still ring true. I hope you enjoy this article from the first issue of this e-zine in 2005.

Top 5 Tips to Boost Hygiene

#1 Invest in Time
In an attempt to increase hygiene production, teams sometimes make the decision to shorten hygiene appointment time to squeeze in more patients. What often happens is that as days get busier, critical steps in diagnosis and treatment may be unintentionally short-changed. This results in lower levels of care and productivity.

In real terms, investing in time means reserving 60 minutes for most adult hygiene visits. Over the last 10+ years, every team we have coached to increase their hygiene appointment time has increased their effectiveness in delivering high quality care and increased hygiene production when they put in place an outline for what takes place at each hygiene visit and commit to using every minute for intentional care and conversations.

#2 Increase the effectiveness of your perio program
The most common reason for low hygiene production is a low level of perio care. Just like a dentist that does single surface fillings all day long, a hygienist that does one prophy after another is going to get bored and frustrated and won’t be maximizing his or her potential for taking care of patients.

First, make a commitment to do complete periodontal charting (recording every number and bleeding at a minimum) at least once/year. Any changes in periodontal health will be caught early and treated conservatively. Next, be sure you have a clear protocol for periodontal treatment that is based on science and that everyone on your team feels good about.

#3 Reserve time for priority care
How can you create a sense of urgency with your patients to move forward with perio care when the next appointment is 6 weeks away? It sends mixed messages and can create a “Now or Never” philosophy. Treat it now (as a “prophy”) or never.

The result is often hygienists running over and patients never really knowing they have disease. Set aside time in the hygiene schedule each day for perio therapy. This way, when you talk with patients about the urgency of the needed treatment, your schedule will support it.

#4 Increase the level of hygiene co-diagnosis
Talented, empowered hygienists are very qualified to use their skills and knowledge to educate patients about their restorative dental needs. What about that cracked tooth that Doctor has already treatment planned for a crown? Share the problem along with the benefits of treatment before your doctor comes in. This makes for efficient doctor exams, builds your credibility and helps patients complete needed treatment before they get into an emergency situation.

#5 Invest in technology
There are lots of high tech tools out there today that will boost hygiene. When used effectively tools like intra-oral cameras and perio charting software will increase your case acceptance. Create a plan to work this technology into the current hygiene exam and get committed to using them on every patient.

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