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3 Tips to Fill Your Hygiene Schedule

The hygiene schedule is looking dangerously thin for many dental practices this Fall. That’s because the general dentistry shutdown from mid-March to early June threw many people off their regular dental hygiene schedule.

The people who should have had their teeth cleaned in the Spring would typically be pre-appointed to return in the Fall for their next hygiene appointment. Now many teams are scrambling to fill the empty schedules.

Christine Diehl and Sarah Varney, the co-founders of DSO Hygiene Excellence, have been talking to hygienists across the country. In this video with Patient Prism CEO Amol Nirgudkar, they share three tips that dental practices can take today to fill their schedules.

Use Periodontal Guide to Staging/Grading & Treatment

Varney and Diehl created a Periodontal Guide to Staging/Grading and Treatment based on the periodontal classifications for The American Academy of Periodontology. Varney said she refers to it when she’s talking to the doctor about what she’s found.

“When the doctor comes in, we’re talking about where we found recession or bleeding, and where the patient fits according to the guide,” said Varney. “We’re elevating the level of patient care and moving patients from a six-month recare schedule to a three-month recare schedule to address their infection.”

For a copy of the guide, visit www.dsohygieneexcellence.com and click Resources.

Ask Current Patients to Refer Friends & Family

Here’s another way to fill your schedule: dust off your referral cards and give one to every person who comes into the practice.

“A lot of practices have closed or limited hours, so there are people who need a new dental home,” said Diehl. “We ask our current patients to let their friends and family know we’re open, we’re available and we’re here.”

Work Your Recare Schedule

Many practices have been short-staffed and may not have had the resources to work their recare lists. Hygienists can help by pulling the lists, identifying the high-priority patients, and either make calls or pass along the list to the team member responsible for scheduling recare patients.

For More Tips

Patient Prism also asked Rachel Wall, RDH, founder of Inspired Hygiene for her tips to fill the hygiene schedule this Fall. Click here to download “5 Ways to Avoid a Hygiene Schedule Nightmare.”

Dental Practice Resources

For our guide to Converting More Calls During COVID-19, click here

For Patient Prism’s guide called Comeback Strategies for Dentists, click here.

For Patient Prism’s guide for Marketing Strategies During COVID-19, click here.

For Patient Prism's guide on Teledentistry Options, click here.

For Patient Prism's guide on Staying Safe in the Dental Practice, click here.

About the Industry Leaders:

Minal Sampat, BA, RDH - Profile Pic

Sarah Varney, RDH, BSDH

Co-Founder, DSO Hygiene Excellence

Sarah Varney is a Registered Dental Hygienist with more than 30 years of experience working at Kendall Pointe Dental, which is part of DecisionOne Dental. In 2019, she became the Program Director for CE2 at the Chicago-area DSO.

She is also the co-founder of DSO Hygiene Excellence, an organization of dental hygienists that focuses on leadership, business skills, and national collaboration to elevate the hygiene profession and patient outcomes in the DSO space.

Varney holds a Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene from University of Bridgeport and an Associate Degree in Applied Science Dental Hygiene from Parkland College. She is in the Executive MBA program at University of Notre Dame, Mendoza School of Business.

Her certifications include: Local Anesthesia for Dental Hygienists, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry in 2003; an Associate Fellowship and Dental Laser Certification, World Clinical Laser Institute in 2004; Ultimate Soft Tissue Laser Certification, World Clinical Laser Institute in 2013; Administer and Monitor Nitrous Oxide, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry in 2010; Inspired Hygiene Mastermind Member and Advanced Periodontal Coach in 2011. She is a member of the Illinois Dental Hygiene Association and the academic honorary society, Phi Kappa Phi. In 2008, she was named a charter recipient of the Irene Newman award.

Minal Sampat, BA, RDH - Profile Pic

Christine Diehl, RDH, BS

Co-Founder, DSO Hygiene Excellence

Christine Diehl is a Registered Dental Hygienist with more than 25 years of experience. She founded CE2 at DecisionOne Dental, a dental support organization with more than 25 practices in the Chicago area. She is also the co-founder of DSO Hygiene Excellence, an organization of dental hygienists that focuses on leadership, business skills, and national collaboration to elevate the hygiene profession and patient outcomes in the DSO space.

She practices hygiene with a patient-centric approach and a strong emphasis on the oral-systemic connection. She has a Bachelor’s of Health Sciences degree from Northern Illinois University and holds a dental hygiene degree from Parkland College. She’s attended continuing education at the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies and the University of Illinois Chicago College of Dentistry, and received an Associate Fellowship from the World Laser Institute. In 2007, she co-founded White Velocity, a tooth-whitening company.

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