#AskT-Bone – Ep21 – How Do You Incentivize RDH to ‘Sell’ Dentistry


Welcome back to another episode of Ask T-Bone on the T-bone speaks podcast!

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So today we’ve been submitted a question and the question reads:

On your payment plan podcast you mention that your hygenist starts the discussion with the patient who has the teeth worn about a guard. How do you incentivize your employees within your practice to help out with dr. production. Thanks.

So the question it seems to me read that we you know certainly have a hygienist talk to patients about their warranties and the benefits of a occlusal guard and the question is is how do you incentivize a team members, so philosophically I would say to you that if you have to incentivize people to offer what’s right for your patience and what’s necessary and what’s in the best interest, honestly you probably have the wrong people. And certainly we have incentive programs in place but I will tell you that the number one incentive is keeping your job, and I think too often as dentist or dental practice owners we allow ourselves to feel a hostage to our team members. And, I feel that sometimes I’m not going to lie to you but, at the end of the day what I know is that I have firm principles and I have non-negotiables and one of my non-negotiables is that we are a team and that each one of us will always do what’s in the best interest of the patient, and what we would want to have done for ourselves. So what I would tell you is: If your team members aren’t talking to patients about various overall aspects of various procedures then they may not understand the value of the benefit of that for the patient. So maybe it’s a time to look at a guard for one of your team members or for one of their spouses or maybe it’s time to look at Invisalign for on of your team members of one of their spouses, preferably a team member not a spouse, so that they can see the benefit of those things. So too often we’re asking people to “sell” Dentistry that they themselves do not have or would not value or could not afford, so I think you have to cross that barrier first. Secondly, in terms of incentive plans I’m in the camp that we have an overall office incentive. I do not incentivize people individually in the dental practice in the sense that if your department, for example of hygiene achieves this, then you will get this. We have an overall office goal because ultimately it’s a team approach. The front office people have to do their part, they have to answer the phones, they have to schedule properly, they have to help to reconfirm calls I have to keep patients coming in the door. The clinical team we have to do good Dentistry, we have to take care of patients, we have to follow up with them, make sure they’re clean clear our margins are good and then, our hygiene team, we have to be presenting treatment, we have to be taking care of a patient, we have to be talking about their overall oral help not just their plaque and perio Health, what the overall health. And then, our “sales department” which is a treatment coordinators, they have to be making from Financial Arrangements in finding ways to find out what’s battling the patient so what’s holding them back from being able to do dentistry. And then, as the practice leader you have to implement ideas and strategies that make it easy for patient to say yes, that break down barriers. Things like third party financing, in office financing, you know, all these different things, a payment option, Financial menus. You know, spacing treatment all these things that can make the difference in a practice. I think one of the most disservices that has been done to our profession and when it comes to hygiene is, the use a commission structure for hygenist. I am firmly against. Hygenist getting a cone beam paid based on their individual production. I think what it does is a create pro females, it create hygienist that’s solely focus on Perio Treatment, and it create a divided in the practice between the hygiene team and the clinical team and the front office team. There’s no incentive for that person to participate in confirmation calls, or sit at the front when the front office person needs to do something or help in sterilization. The only incentivize to see patients and do profits, and be as fast as possible, so they can turn over patients. So I am absolutely against the use of a production structure for hygienist.

So, you know, that’s alternately the way I look at it, is we incentivize as an overall office, we incentivize ultimately by, you know, I don’t want to use the word threatening their jobs but, you know, listen, at the end of the day these are the things we have to do. We have to take pictures, if you’re not taking pictures there’s a reason that’s another reason why our team members aren’t suggesting Dentistry, because then we come across the selling. When you can show a picture and show you exactly what you’re concerned about, and show them the warranty and then have a book or sample pictures that shows what natural teeth look like, or what happens to teeth over time as they wear. Maybe have an animation, maybe you don’t have fancy software, but we all have the YouTube. So get on YouTube and find an animation of wearing down a teeth, so that you can have that on your desktop and you can quickly show that to your patient. Or better yet, if you have an iPad in each operatory, you can show it to your patient, let your patient hold it and see it. Do you have samples of night guards in your operatories? So that when you’re talking to patients about it, they can see what your gard looks like. Now when it comes to night guards, specifically on the clinical end, I look at two forms of treatment for wear and tear a teeth. One is a protection type treatment and for me we are using the NTI from Keller Dental Labs, we’ve been exclusively using that for nearly ten years now, great results, we’re not a bite changes, we are not having a lot of those issues come up, and 98% of the time we’re not creating more pain for patient. The second way I look at it is more therapeutic treatment. That’s somebody that’s looking not just to protect their teeth but looking for a long-term solution. These and more patients are there in the TMD Arena, you know, that having debilitating pain or they say, hey I want to get rid of my headache so I want to get rid of some of these things, and then we start looking at TMD appliances and Orthotics and long-term orthodontic treatment or long term restorative treatment, and that’s a totally different thing than putting somebody in a occlusal guard from my perspective. So I hope this helps and it’s not just about guard it also about feelings and it’s also about, you know, everything there.

So I wish you luck and if you have additional questions please don’t hesitate to visit www.tbonespeaks.com and submit your question, we love getting these questions.

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