I recommend that you start with an exact screening protocol for new and existing patients. Can you imagine going to see your physician and never having your blood pressure taken? How about leaving the office without someone telling you what it was? Patients coming to your office should receive full-mouth probing, and it should be documented. They should be educated about periodontal disease and the significance of the numbers as probing is taking place; patient numbers should be called out for them to hear. Patient records should include up-to-date full-mouth x-rays, an updated medical history, a comprehensive risk assessment, and full periodontal charting that is documented.
You should perform a chart audit in your practice to find out how many patients are coming in for a regular checkup and are rarely if ever, having their periodontal condition fully evaluated. Many practices are doing just prophies versus doing prophies and limited scaling and root planing on patients who present with isolated periodontal disease. When the former is done, patient care is compromised. Patients put their trust and faith in the dental team each time they come to the office. Don’t accept, “We don’t have patients with periodontal disease in our practice because we are taking such good care of them” from any member of your staff. Look further and you will find it. Pull the reports and learn what percentage of hygiene is 4000 codes. It will be an eye opener.
OPPORTUNITIES THAT ARE OFTEN MISSED
Every day in dental offices across the country, many opportunities are missed to provide better care to patients and increase revenues. Here are the most common missed opportunities:
Not utilizing the time in the chair for patient education.
• No standard-of-care protocol.
• No follow-up with patients when they don’t schedule or when they break an appointment.
• Not communicating to the patients on their level of understanding.
• Not utilizing CDT codes to the patient’s advantage.
• Not diagnosing properly.
•Not showing them what is actually occurring in their mouth