PART 2-How To Increase Production-With The Medical History Interview

In part one of this series, I discussed how in increase production with radiographs. Now I want to address how to do this with the medical history interview.

I often get asked the question, “How can I increase the hygiene department's production?” There are two main reasons why this is being asked. The first is the hygienist is being told that they don’t produce enough or second, because you work on commission you would like to earn what you are worth.  In both of these scenarios, you HAVE to find a balance between producing and improving oral health.

I daily ask myself the question while reviewing my charts, “hHw can I help my patients today?” If you can provide high quality care, the finances will come.

You may see some form of the following questions on your health history. As I go through them, I will discuss the ways you will increase production while improving oral health.

Do you take any medications?

    This increases the patient's risk for caries and causes xerostomia. A full caries prevention protocol needs to be implemented. Consider a fluoride treatment, fluoride toothpastes, xerostomia products and electric toothbrushes.

Do you smoke, use alcohol, have diabetes, or do your gums bleed when you brush?

Prepare for a potential perio case, and lots of oral hygiene education, as these are risk factors for periodontitis.

Do you participate in high contact sports?

I had a friend get kicked in the face during a soccer game breaking his teeth right off at the gingival margin. I am now an advocate for athletic mouth guards to my patients involved in contact sports. These are as easy to make as a whitening tray. They just take a quick impression and pour up to make one in office. You can even create customized colors and designs. Check with your supply company to get some in your office.

Do you have any concerns with the look of your smile?

Does your office offer 1 hour bleaching like Zoom, Sinsational Smile or whitening trays? Patients love white teeth, so keep alginate and impression trays close by and offer to take the impressions that day to get the process started.

Do you grind your teeth?

You could go through the hassle of taking impressions and creating one in office or you could use the ones from NiteBite that you can quickly mold chairside. I know of an office who charges around $100 for one which is great production for the hygiene department. Use the code D9940 for this.

Are your teeth sensitive?

Use the dental code D9910 and place Gluma, Crest Pro Relief polishing paste or a fluoride treatment. Have a brainstorming meeting as an office to set a protocol and cost for desensitizing.