The focus of all dental practices is to have satisfied patients that keep returning. Since disease prevention and oral health education are a large part of that satisfaction, the hygienist is uniquely positioned to be a leader in this area, simply by being there and doing their job to the best of their ability.
But there are steps a dental hygienist can take to increase traffic or services too. All coworkers should respect and be glad of thee efforts.
Intraoral cameras are handy for this purpose. Use them to show a patient how their smile appears to others. They might decide they want a whitening treatment or that it’s time to consider getting a crooked tooth fixed, a space filled or maybe some bonding.
Of course, you can and should also use the camera to take shots of problem areas. Ask the patient what they see. By doing this, you’re engaging them to take an active role in their own treatment, which will build trust, strengthen your relationship with them and also make the dentist happy when the patient readily agrees to a treatment plan.
Often, the dental hygienist can pre-diagnose a condition that the dentist will need to act upon. Again, the heads-up for the dentist can only make their own job easier.
If you’re really great at establishing patient rapport, start asking for referrals. You might speak to the dentist or office manager about creating incentives for the patient who does refer others. They’ll be happy to receive that incentive, whether it’s an amount off their bill or a gift certificate or a goodie bag of dental supplies that the office can purchase much less expensively than the patient can on their own.
Ask your patients for testimonials and then ensure they make their way onto the office’s website or targeted social media or dental practice rating sites. Again, the end result will be more traffic, increasing your own appointments as well as the dentist’s.
When your patient visit concludes, don’t just say goodbye. Walk them out of the operatory and straight to the front desk to book their next scheduled visit, whether it’s just for a regular cleaning or further treatment. You’re helping the front desk staff by doing this and positioning that appointment in the patient’s mind, leaving less chance they’ll forget about it or neglect to make their own appointment.
Learn how various insurance plans work by asking front desk staff to educate you on such matters. They should welcome the opportunity because the more questions you can answer for a patient when asked, the more you help the front desk with their own tasks. It’ll only inspire more confidence in the patient too that you are a “go-to” person with their questions. Everybody benefits.
Staying on schedule will make everyone happy – you, the patient, dentist, assistant and front office workers. Develop good time management skills by learning exactly how long each part of your exam and procedures take. Time yourself and work accordingly.
Keep abreast of new trends, products and procedures. Ask sales reps for product samples or equipment demonstrations. If your office is the first to try something new and it’s successful, then advertise it. You will be growing demand for these products or services among the public as well as positioning your office as a leader in the community. It all translates to increased foot traffic through the door.
There are many more ideas you can take advantage of but once you start brainstorming, you’ll be coming up with your own. The dental hygienist who wants to help grow the practice will be enriching the environment for everyone. That’s a total win-win situation.