Dentists Cut Hours of Dental Hygienists

Dental hygienistsOne dentist in three has cut their dental hygienist working hours, with the slow economy leaving less demand for dental hygiene services.

Another 11% have reduced the number of dental hygienists they employ, and 5% have cut compensation.

“Hygiene is the fuel that feeds the fire,” said a California dentist.

How much hygienists are paid is an important dental management decision. “Upon doing a practice analysis, we found we overpaid our hygienist by $13,000,” said one dentist. “We paid more in hourly plus benefits than we collected!”

“Our hygienist was paid salary and now she is paid hourly,” said one doctor. Offered another, “Instead of any raises, we put our hygienists on a bonus system based on achieving a minimum daily production.”

Here’s more of what dentists had to say on hygienists and tooth cleaning appointments:

  • “Hygiene at our office, which has a dentist and a prosthodontist, has remained strong throughout this economy. We are very thankful.” (Ohio prosthodontist)
  • “We have not cut hours, but we have worked very hard at activating past due patients, with good success.” (General dentist)
  • “We have at least two cancellations in hygiene daily. Most tell us to reschedule their dental cleaning later into the year. Other simply say they are not coming.” (Bermuda dentist)
  • “Hygiene is the one aspect of the practice that hasn’t shown lower numbers. I’m glad we instituted a good recall systems several years ago.” (Pennsylvania dentist)
  • “We are seeing more no-shows, and some people are wanting to wait a year instead of 6 months for their next dentist cleaning.” (Dental hygenist)
  • “If things slow down more, I will cut my dental hygentist days or time and do the dental hygiene myself.” (New York dentist)
  • “They have to take on more responsibility.” (Massachusetts dentist)
  • “We have a very periodontal oriented office. A lot of our patients are switching themselves to twice a year for teeth cleaning. They only want what the dental insurance will cover.” (Utah dental office worker)
  • “The gross receipts were down about 1% last year, but the profits were slightly up.” (Pennsylvania dentist)

Read more about dental practice management: Dental Hygienists – How the Recession Affects the Dentist

Hygiene Is About the Whole System

Incorporating Systemic Immune Support into Hygiene Treatment
by Valerie Williams, RDH

If you look at the treatment of periodontal disease, a simple visual would be a 3-legged stool: one leg for instrumentation, one for behavior modification and the third for systemic immune support. Over the years, clinical skills have been perfected with specialized instruments and lasers. In addition, dental teams have become very adept at motivating patients. The one area that has been missing is systemic immune support — assisting the body’s natural immune system to fight inflammation and infection. The main reason this has been overlooked is because of a lack of scientific research. That, however, is changing.

Recently a clinical study was conducted at a major West Coast university to determine the effect of the nutritional supplement Periodontal Formula 3 (PF3) on the management of periodontal health in 85 participants. This double-blind placebo-controlled study was specifically designed to determine the effect of a nutritional supplement on gingival index score, probing depth, attachment level, carotenoid antioxidant level, and serum C-reactive protein level. PF3 showed a significant increase in the skin carotenoid score (increase in antioxidant levels). The results of this study also showed that PF3 significantly decreased gingival index score and showed a decrease in indexes of periodontal health parameters.

Collaborating scientists will be submitting the full results for an upcoming dental meeting. However, the following highlights make us feel it is time to incorporate systemic immune support into periodontal therapy treatment plans:

 

  • Gingival inflammation was reduced significantly in the experimental group
  • Skin carotenoid increased in experimental group
  • Significant decrease in bleeding score for the experimental group
  • Pocket depths showed no significant decrease, which was expected for the short amount of time (8 weeks) the experimental group was followed.

 

 

Overall, the scientists involved were very excited about the results. Along with Dr. Mike Milligan, AHC has been involved in conducting an in-office field study utilizing systemic immune support in periodontal treatment. Very promising results are coming in! What we are seeing so far is:

 

  • 6mm pockets decreased 47%
  • 5mm pockets decreased 67%
  • 4mm pockets decreased 48%
  • Overall, 4-6mm pockets decreased 52%
  • Bleeding points decreased 58%

 

 

The time is right to incorporate systemic immune support in hygiene treatment. Based on the studies, PF3 is the neutraceutical to incorporate. If you are interested, please contact Advanced Hygiene Concepts for more information!

Valerie Williams, RDH

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