As a dental hygienist myself I know how important it is to empower hygienists to take on an expanded role in the dental office and pride themselves on the ability to identify and discuss treatment opportunities is crucial to the success of integrating orthodontics into your general dental practice.
The Professional Opportunities for Dental Hygienists
We all know that dental hygienists do much more than clean teeth: they’re experts in identifying a broad range of oral hygiene problems in the early stages. Plus, they have a unique relationship with their patients. The average recall appointment is 60 minutes, and if this time is used efficiently, it allows hygienists spend time understanding patients concerns.
Although dental hygienists can’t diagnose or come up with treatment plans, they can ask the patient questions about their dental goals and spend the time educating patients about their oral health.
This provides a tremendous professional opportunity for dental hygienists, both as employees and team members, to discuss the technologies and services their office has available.
That is why at the company I co-founded, ClearEdge Innovation, we recommend that dental hygienists start playing a more active role with patients by discussing short-term orthodontic treatment. Keep reading for more info on why Dental Hygienists should start embracing the idea of talking to their patients about straightening their teeth with short-term cosmetic braces.
Dental Hygienists: Discussing Short-Term Ortho from the Hygiene Chair
Short-term orthodontic treatment is not comprehensive orthodontics; rather, it focuses on the patient’s chief cosmetic concerns. It’s not a replacement for full-mouth treatment either, but it can be an excellent solution to address aesthetics, especially in adult patients that are not happy with their smile and have relatively good posterior occlusion.
Advances in technology and orthodontic materials make it easier than ever for patients to get the smile they’ve always wanted. Many patients with crooked teeth feel that their smile has an adverse impact on their life they can often feel trapped or a lack of self-confidence. They may wish for straighter teeth but are not motivated to see an orthodontist because they are not interested in a long treatment schedule. Plus, providing short-term orthodontics such as Six Months Smiles can be a more affordable option than comprehensive ortho, aligner treatment, veneers, or other anterior aesthetic restorations.
Short-term ortho can be an attractive option for patients who aren’t interested in having braces or aligners for over a year. Patients can have the results they’re looking for in just a few short months.
Given that in today's climate, people are increasingly interested in quick results, suggesting short-term ortho means giving your patients options that pique their desires and interests. For this reason, case acceptance is usually much higher for short term ortho than for full-mouth treatment.
Ultimately the only way for a patient to find out if they are a good candidate for short-term ortho is to visit a qualified dentist or hygienist. Dental hygienists who are apprehensive about blurring the lines between educating and selling should set those worries aside. There’s tremendous professional satisfaction to helping patients get the treatment they need. And when patients realize their oral health goals, they’re never hesitant to show appreciation for your help. That it itself is well worth overcoming your fears of selling.
Jennifer Murphy, RDHBS, MBA is one of the founding partners of ClearEdge Innovation along with Nicole Foster, MBA. ClearEdge Innovation is a dental consulting business designed to help dental professionals create the thriving practice they’ve always dreamed of. They specialize in - Online Marketing, Patient Experience, Clear Aligner and Orthodontic Integration, Leadership Development, Dental Photography Training and Video Production Services. They can be reached at http://www.clearedgeinnovation.com on Facebook @ClearEdgeInnovation or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org