Question: What is assisted hygiene and does it really work?

QUESTION: What type of schedule have you seen work where the doctor incorporates assisted hygiene into their schedule? The reason they want to do this is because they are having trouble finding a good hygienist willing to see eight patients a day. They are in San Francisco and have a super competitive market for new employees.

ANSWER: What assisted hygiene means is the hygienist works with a dental assistant so they can see more patients per day. In this type of schedule the assistant is doing part of the duties during the appointment. Hygienists are the only ones that can actually do “hygiene or perio procedures” on the patients, but the assistant can seat the patient, review medical history, take X-rays, and in some states polish the patient’s teeth.[mepr-show if=”loggedout”]Members only resources[/mepr-show] [mepr-active memberships=”629,630,37388,37393,37672,37676,37670,37668,37674,44674″ ifallowed=”show” unauth=”message” unauth_message=”Answer hidden, please login or purchase a membership to view.”] Let’s say the normal appointment is 60 minutes long with assisted hygiene, the hygienist is only in for 30 minutes and the assistant handles the other 30 minutes. Now the hygienist can see more patients in a day and only do the tasks legally required to be performed by a hygienist. This type of schedule can definitely work and many offices do it very successfully.

Before switching to this type of schedule consider your team/employees first.

1) Do the hygienists want to do this? Not all hygienists like this schedule because it does not allow them time to talk with the patients, they literally go from one patient to the next.

2) How good are the assistants? Offices only see their patients some times two times a year and this way might seem like more of a “get them in and get them out” patient care mentality. It is important that the assistant takes the time to provide that great bedside manner, reminding the patients how awesome the office is and making sure they feel like they are important and not just a number.[/mepr-active]

To learn more about how to build a productive hygiene schedule and more about scheduling for your dental office, watch this training webinar and following course module! [wpcourse course=”2″ module=”6″ module_desc=”true” /]