December 05, 2019

Alicia Owens, Henry Schein One Practice Consultant

The first time I consult with a practice, we review the key areas that all offices should track. One of them is dentist vs. hygienist production. Many times we find the hygiene production is not consistently meeting the following industry standards:

  • A general practice should have 30-35% of their hygiene production coming from perio procedures
  • Open time percentage should be between 8-10%
  • Hygiene production should equal 3x hygienist salary + benefits
  • The ratio of prophy (D1110) to perio maintenance (D4910) procedures should be 3:1

If you find your hygiene department isn’t performing as expected, how can they increase their production? Here are four things you can do:

  1. Increase the number of patients in Perio. This is typically an area that is deficient in numerous practices. Confirm that you are coding what you are doing. Set a standard of care protocol, include the perio criteria, and review the perio maintenance and prophy code definitions.
  2. Make certain you are tracking X-ray due dates properly. Missing X-ray opportunities leaves money on the table. Set up and use a continuing care type for X-rays to track when patients are due (or overdue) for those procedures.
  3. Sell additional at-home products. In-office dispensing has been very effective for a number of practices, but many hygienists are still not comfortable offering products for sale. Talk to your team about the possibility.
  4. Improve verbal skills. Create scripts and practice role-playing how you would talk to a patient. Scripts should not be memorized—they are a guide, and the language used with patients should be natural. Here are a few things to consider:
    • Use words like disease, pus, and infection.
    • Use the term “professional cleaning” instead of “cleaning” or “prophy”.
    • Inform them which areas of the mouth have bleeding and what the bleeding indicates.
    • Educate them regarding what the pocket depth numbers indicate.

Implementing these few changes for the hygienists will help to increase their individual production, and it will provide additional revenue for the practice.