HOW DID YOU CELEBRATE DENTAL ASSISTANTS RECOGNITION WEEK?

This year the week of March 6-12 was designated as Dental Assistants Recognition Week for the United States and Canada.
DARW
One clever dentist, Dr. Mark Boukzam of Deerfield, Florida,  gave his team a reward that will last a lifetime. He trained his loyal team in Dental Sleep Medicine. “We realized that many of our patients were suffering from sleep apnea and I wanted to be able to help them.”, Dr. Boukzam said.  After receiving training in the Sleep Group Solutions’ seminar, he implemented a program where every staff member could benefit from helping their patients enjoy healthy, life-supporting sleep. “By involving every member of my team in screening and interviewing our patients,” Dr. Boukzam adds, “I am able to show them that I view them as total health care professionals. They helped me build this dental practice and I want to share the success with them.”
Liz, the practice’s Patient Care Coordinator says, ” After 15 years in dental practice this is the most rewarding service I have participated in. I feel I am truly improving the quality of life for my patients.. and in fact, saving lives.”
12-28-11 THANK YOU
There is no greater gift we can give ourselves than to help our fellow men and women.
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  The theme for this year’s event was “Our mission is to serve, our passion is to care,”
Dental Assistants’ Recognition Week
  Each year, dentists take a week to honor dental assistants for their role on the dental team, recognizing their broad spectrum of duties and highlighting their often unheralded contribution to quality dental care. The American Dental Assistants Association, American Dental Association, Canadian Dental Assistants Association and Canadian Dental Association jointly recognize the observance. Dental assistant associations, dental assisting schools, and U.S. Army and Air Force dental clinics all join dental offices in honoring dental assistants during this designated week.
2-9-12 FIT YOU IN

Insurance companies are paying with Medical Codes, too. Learn how!

Wouldn’t it be nice to get paid for an “Office Visit” like an MD?

Presenters:      Dr. Marty Lipsey and Mr. John Nadeau

Dates:                    February 21 and 22, Friday and Sat., 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Location:              The Glidewell Technology Center, Irvine, CA

Sleep Apnea from A to ZZZZZZZZZZ  

7-14-12 SNORING

 Dr. Lipsey is a recognized and highly respected authority on electronic medical billing and successful insurance coding and processing for Sleep Apnea services.

February 22nd is George’s birthday. Look at the appliance he wore and be thankful we have progressed to modern dental sleep apnea appliances.
2-18-12 GW         2-22-12 washingtonteeth_hmed_630a.grid-6x2

  This 2 day course, on 2/21 and 2/22 is designed to provide you with the knowledge to confidently return to your practice and immediately begin implementing new screening and treatment protocols.

After the Seminar Dr. Lipsey will continue to Mentor you and your team, giving you the confidence to be a Sleep Medicine Doctor.

1-21-13 LOGO DENTAL PROS SHARING

Meet them here, read the course description, and register here:  http://sleepgroupsolutions.com/2.0/modules/piCal/index.php?action=View&event_id=0000003036

About Dr. Marty Lipsey :

Dr. Marty Lipsey

Dr. Marty Lipsey, received his DDS degree from UCLA and a Master of Science from Northwestern University Dental School. Dr. Lipsey is the founder of Dental Sleep Med Systems, offering dental teams assistance in implementing and/or improving their dental sleep medicine practices, including electronic medical billing and successful insurance coding and processing. Dr. Lipsey is also a Sleep Group Solutions Instructor, and teaches Dental Sleep Medicine regularly.

Question: How do you fill a dental schedule hole caused by a last minute cancelation?

2-9-12 FIT YOU IN
Situation: The scheduling coordinator comes into the office on a Monday morning and hears messages on the answering service that the 2nd patient in the AM and the 2nd patient after lunch have canceled. What can she do to fill those openings?
6-10-12 MONEY PIT
 
 
 
Answers?

What’s wrong with this greeting?

 “Are you here for your cleaning? Take a seat in the waiting room, Mrs. Smith. The Hygienist will be with you in a few minutes.”

 What’s wrong with this greeting?
 
EVERYTHING!!
 
1..It’s not a welcome in any shape or form. No enthusiasm, no appreciation, no rapport, no engagement. no love. There might as well be a robot and a clipboard.
2. Why ask a patient what they are “here” for?  Did your computer software crash?
3. I am tempted to “take a seat”, as you say, and put it in my car.
4. “Waiting room”? So that’s what we do here- “wait”.
5. “The Hygienist”? She has a name, too.
And YOU may please add your “pet peeves” to this list.
 

We’re not finished yet!

Now suggest your best professional, friendly, and elegant substitutions for these archaic dental terms, and feel free to add to the list.

 
LET’S CREATE A MORE ELEGANT DENTAL LEXICON

cleaning                  [The janitor will give you a cleaning today]
probe (noun)          [“Is that going to be with that pointy thing that you stick in my gums?”]
probe (verb)           [“You are going to do WHAT to me?”]
waiting room           [“…. for how long?”]
Hygienist                 [“Hygienist” is correct, but aren’t there more services and skills offered by this professional?]
front desk (inanimate object)    [It’s usually wood and formica, but can’t we call that area something more elegant?]
Front Desk (the human at the inanimate object)    [With this one, I cringe! How can a dentist show so little respect to someone who is so important to the image and success of the practice?]
Assistant
drill (noun)
drill (verb)
 

Thank your Dental Assistant this week!

From the American Dental Association news.

It’s that time of year to thank the assistants who help your practice succeed.

Dental offices throughout the world will celebrate Dental Assistants Recognition Week March 4–10.    The theme for this year’s event is “Key to Productivity: The Professional Dental Assistant.

 Each year, dentists take a week to honor dental assistants for their role on the dental team, recognizing their broad spectrum of duties and highlighting their often unheralded contribution to quality dental care. The American Dental Assistants Association, American Dental Association, Canadian Dental Assistants Association and Canadian Dental Association jointly recognize the observance. Dental assistant associations, dental assisting schools, and U.S. Army and Air Force dental clinics all join dental offices in honoring dental assistants during this designated week.

“Dental assistants are valued members of the dental team. The role of assistants has become even more important in recent years with the advent of expanded functions,” said Dr. Mark Zust, chair of the ADA Council on Dental Practice. “More than ever, assistants achieve professional growth by studying and receiving advanced training. Dentists delegate more procedures and assistants take pride in their accomplishments.”

Dental assistants will celebrate their contributions to the profession by participating in educational and charity events and other team activities. Dentists typically show their respect for dental assistants’ diverse contributions to the dental profession and the public by providing perks such as luncheons, flowers or treats.

“Dental assistants show their value by providing everything from supportive procedures to direct patient care through expanded functions, which boosts productivity. The assistant provides a valuable connection with the patient; it is often the assistant that the patient turns to when they have questions, the assistant who explains the finances and the assistant who keeps the patient calm during treatment,” said Claudia Pohl, president of the American Dental Assistants Association.

CAN A DENTIST WALK AND WHISTLE AT THE SAME TIME?

Can a Dentist talk to a patient while concentrating on the job at hand?
 
Dentists reach a point, after varying degrees of experience, where we know the clinical procedural sequence so well, that we are able to do the job and educate at the same time.

Some patients are quite “detail oriented” and they would like you to tell them what you are going to do, tell them what you are doing, and then tell them what you have done.
Then there are the “big picture” people (the vast majority of our patients) who only want to know how long. how much, and the end result. We can get to know who they are by learning body language and verbal cues… or even asking our patient. They will tell us.  In all cases it is helpful to find some subject to talk about (a one-way conversation, of course) to keep the patient distracted and thinking positive about the treatment, their comfort, and the outcome. The chairside assistant can play an important role in this.
Still interested? Please read my article on case presentation: http://wp.me/p1OXM3-5R
 
NO-ONE will disagree that any patient must be treated as a whole. I have never seen a tooth or a mouth walk into a dental office without a human attached to it.   A dentist must be a lot more than a clinical robot. To REALLY help a patient, we must serve them as a teacher, psychologist, caring person, and primarily, a LISTENER.
 
Here’s my formula: “ALF
Ask the right questions,
Listen carefully,
and give Feedback so the patient knows you understand.
“There is no such thing as a ‘bad’ question from a patient.”
 
Everyone on the team should be educators, on the same “channel”, and knowing how to fully support the dentist.

DENTAL CASE PRESENTATION- a K.I.S.S. for your Patient

You can kill a good presentation by trying to explain too much. You know what the patient needs and he/she probably knows too.

Most of your patients will be big picture” processors. They will want to know the BASICS- how long, how much, and the result. They may even tell you that. You can determine that from their metaphors and body language. The few “detail oriented” patients will be the accountants, engineers,… and other dentists. If you give too many details in your presentation, you will open Pandora’s Box for even the “Big Picture” patients to start a litany of questions. Avoid such statements as, “…then the Hygienist will scale, root plane and irrigate….”, or “… after I prepare your teeth, I’ll take some impressions, and….”

[ The Hygienist “removes disease” and you are “creating a great new smile”. It’s that simple! ]

There’s a time and a place for those detail explanations, but it is not during the case presentation. For now just concentrate on the value and the benefits. KISS. “Keep It Simple, Stupid.”      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KISS_principle

Make your presentations well planned-out and concise. Utilize visual aids and social confirmations.

Picture your desired OUTCOME, then trim away the excess like a Michelangelo:

A 15th Century admirer looked in awe at one of Michelangelo’s sculptures and asked the maestro how he could create such a magnificent sculpture from a block of marble. Michelangelo said, “I saw the angel in the marble and I carved away the excess until I set him free.”

Here’s a humorous example:

The young doctor had just completed his first Treatment Plan Presentation for a big cosmetic makeover. He followed all the rules given by his coach. He demonstrated with study models, radiographs and photographs, and clearly detailed to his patient every situation requiring treatment. His presentation was planned, orchestrated and smoothly presented.

He explained an ideal treatment to his patient which the doctor had estimated at $22,500. The young doctor did not yet have a financial coordinator and had to present the investment himself. It was his first case over a few thousand dollars. He went into great detail then froze and could not give the fee.
 
The patient seemed impressed with the understanding that the doctor showed of his dental condition, and the benefits from the proposed treatment and told him that. “Doc, I realize that I neglected my dental condition for a long time and that I need a lot of work………..but honestly, I have no insurance and I can’t go over $25,000.”
 
With that the doctor snapped back, “That’s exactly what it will cost!”

KNOCK KNOCK! It’s a New Patient….

Do you hear that sound? That’s more than your phone ringing- that’s OPPORTUNITY knocking at your door.
 
The way your telephone is answered often determines whether the caller will take the next step and schedule an appointment……. or not.
 
How important is that first contact that a patient has with your office? In four (4) seconds a caller will determine if she/he likes YOU, if YOU are friendly, if YOUR office is professional, if she/he will have fun… or fear, if she/he is making the correct choice. All the greatness in skill and service you offer will be judged by the caller in the first contact with the person who answers the telephone for you. Your entire image, and all you worked to achieve, will be projected there and then. YOU are reflected in her/his image.
It should be pre-determined whose job it is to be the first person to answer the telephone, and when that’s not possible, who’s next and so on. Any team member that can answer the phone must be trained in the telephone protocol of the dental practice. Give them the training! And make that “phantom call” every once in a while to hear what your patient hears.
 An office has to have a “script” for answering the telephone. Whomever does answer the phone must follow the practice’s telephone protocol.
 

Here is a complete, professional, and friendly protocol:

1. The Welcome (Make it fun, unique, and memorable.)
2. Identify the Office (Office name and doctor(s))
3. Identify the Speaker (Sound like you are happy and excited to take the call.)
4. Call to Action
 
And here is a simple example you can adapt (customize):
“It’s a great day here at Dr. Smiths’ ‘Healthy Smiles’.
This is Susan; how may I help you today?”
 
This seems so obvious that you may wonder why I bother to post this. I post this because nine out of ten dental offices I call still answer with something as mundane as, “Doctor’s Office”.
 
THE NEXT STEP
1. “Would you spell your name for me please?”
2. "In case we get disconnected may I have your phone number?"
 After giving you this information, a rapport will be established and the caller will feel engaged.
 3. "Which one of our patients referred you?" (Useful information and a subliminal promotion.)
“That’s great! They’re one of our favorites. We’ll have to thank them.'"
We ask that question because so many of our patients are referred by others." "We hope you will be doing that, too."
 
 4. Ask the REASON FOR THE CALL
  "Are you seeing us to establish a new relationship or do you have a specific concern or problem?" 

5. Get the INSURANCE INFORMATION

 6. Get any Needed MEDICAL INFORMATION

"Is there anything in your medical history that would influence your dental treatment?"
 
7. End the call on a high note, telling the patient how excited you are to meet them.
 
No matter how "busy" you may be, there will always be enough time to create a great memorable FIRST IMPRESSION.
 

WHAT’S IN YOUR WALLET? Third Party Dental Payment Plans

Third Party dental payment plans are a very good option for patients to obtain needed services. There has been an “evolution” in this industry. Five years ago there was “good old American competition” between companies that financed dental services: CapitalOne Health Care finance, Dental Fee Plan, Unicorn Financial, CareCredit, and Wells Fargo.
 
Through bank mergers and economic changes it seems like today CareCredit is as synonymous with 3rd party dental lending as Kleenex is with facial tissues. Most dental personnel don’t use the term “Third Party Lender” anymore. It makes me smile a little when I hear one of my clients tell a patient they can “help them apply for a CareCredit Loan”. The Power of Branding! We have to speak a language that the patients understand.
 
Here are some of the main “pros”:
1. Quick payment, up front, for large cases.
2. CareCredit has one of the highest approval ratings.
3. Patients may be eligible for 12-24 months non-interest loans
4. “Patients that have paid you, will like you, and they like your dentistry.” Did you ever notice that dentures that are fully paid for fit better than those you are owed money for?
5. These patient financing plans are non-recourse. This means that if the patient does not pay off their credit line as promised, these companies cannot come back to your office and demand the payment.
 
Interview the Reps from several companies- they will be happy to meet with you. Look them up.
Enroll in several plans. You may able to do a “wrap around”. If your patient accepts a Treatment Plan of $10,000 and is approved by Company “A” for $8,000, Company “B” may lend another $2,000.

You can do some shopping around to see which of the existing companies can provide your office with the best services.
 
These companies will provide your office with applications. The patient fills out the application with all the necessary information, and the form gets faxed over to the company. Usually within 10 minutes you will have an answer from these financing companies as to whether or not the patient can receive financing, and what their line of credit will be. You can even apply over the internet and literally have an answer within a minute.
 
Some “Cons”:
1. A major consideration is what it costs your office to provide these plans. There are many fees that can be involved with these financing companies; you must look carefully at these so you can get the best deal. Some charge up-front fees as well as a percentage of the credit line used.
2. Care Credit can charge a fee of up to 14.9% to the practice (YOU) for some interest free financing to the patient.

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Remember that Visa, MasterCard, Amex, Discover, and Credit Unions are also “THIRD PARTY LENDERS” and most patients carry one of those cards in their wallets.

Monitoring and Maintenance of Dental Implants

Here is a brilliant paper on Monitoring and Maintenance of Dental Implants.
 
Dr. Boris Pulec, Dean of Students at Toronto College of Dental Hygiene, presents an essential reading for Dentists, Hygienists, and implant patients, in a comprehensive, understandable format, with excellent illustrations.
 
 
 
 
 
“As more and more patients are opting for dental implant treatment, it is essential that both the general dentist and hygienist understand how to properly monitor and maintain the health of the peri-implant tissue. Natural teeth and dental implants differ not only in surrounding anatomy, but also in surrounding disease; the traits of which require a keen awareness to distinguish.”