Question: We have added about 4-5 hours per week, per hygienist to fit in urgent patients who missed an appointment while we were closed. I’m wondering if you would recommend that we schedule in 6 months with our pre- COVID 19 schedule, or plan on keeping this schedule for six months?
Answer: As new regulations continue to develop daily, we are not sure of what the next six months will bring. For now, my scheduling recommendation would be to go ahead and schedule the way your team is currently booking appointments for recalls and then adjust the schedule accordingly, as more information evolves. I would continue to make sure that every patient that checks out at the office, leaves with an appointment that is scheduled with hygiene. We want to make sure that we are meeting our patients’ needs. We do not want them to fall behind schedule and possibly put their oral health in jeopardy, especially those that we care for with periodontal disease. If we let them go without scheduling, you will end up with a long list of patients who will need recare appointments and holes to fill later on. It will be a lot harder to get a hold of patients if we don’t get them scheduled while they are in the office. Most patients will have a general idea of what days and times work best for them and you can schedule accordingly so that there is less of a chance that they will need to reschedule when it comes time for their next visit. In due time, things will eventually go back to normal, but for the time being it does not mean we should alter the way we schedule our patients. Our approach to making sure our patients have an appointment before leaving the office should always remain the same protocol. I have also attached some helpful videos on how you can approach your hygiene patients and give them the reason to return.