Dental Practice Management: Scheduling a Comprehensive Exam

Dental Practice Management: Scheduling a Comprehensive Exam
What is the best dental practice management policy on length of a new patient exam?

51% schedule a minimum of 40 minutes for comprehensive dental exams, this survey found.

Only 27% of dentists said they perform comprehensive exams in less than 30 minutes.

“Actually, I schedule an hour and sometimes it takes longer The compete exam is THE single greatest internal dental marketing technique,” offered one dentist, a subtle comment for comprehensive exams being a part of an overall dental marketing plan.

Here’s how dentists responded to this survey asking what length of time they schedule for an initial comprehensive exam:

  • 4% 10 minutes.
  • 10% 15 minutes.
  • 10% 20 minutes.
  • 3% 25 minutes.
  • 22% 30 minutes
  • 51% 40+ minutes.

Here are some further comments on scheduling comprehensive exams from dentists:

It should be one hour …

“One hour. It’s COMPREHENSIVE. That cannot be done in less than 45 minutes. It means you are looking at radiographs, perio probing, restorative, occlusion, TMJ, health history, and oral cancer exam. I defy anyone who says that a “comprehensive” exam can be done any faster.” (Georgia dentist)

“For new patients, an hour max, but if I only give them 20 minutes of my time, I don’t get the case as often.” (Illinois dentist)

“Really should schedule 50 or 60 minutes on adults.” (General dentist)

“We schedule one hour initial exam for perio charting, radiographs, photos, models, charting restoration, and for getting to know the patient.” (Michigan dentist)

“We schedule an hour, but sometimes it takes even longer.” (California dentist)

It should be more than an hour …

“We schedule 1 1/2 hours for initial medical history gathering, interview, complimentary Velscope cancer screening, necessary x-rays and comprehensive exam. NO cleaning at this appointment.” (Minnesota dentist)

“I actually spend and hour and a half for each new patient examination. Not one gets into hygiene without a NP exam.” (Washington dentist)

“My first appointment is 1.5 hours in length with a pre-paid reservation fee.” (California dentist)

“My patient is scheduled for 2 hours. In that time we take photos, x-rays, models and intra-oral images as well as the full exam, interview and charting with the doctor.” (New Jersey dentist)

“We schedule 90 minutes. 45 minutes for the exam and 45 minutes for records.” (Florida dentist)

Note: Survey sample included 100 respondents.

Cosmetic Dentistry Still Tops the List of Services Dentists Offer

Cosmetic Dentistry Still Tops the List of Services Dentists OfferWhen asked what services their dental practice offers, the dentists who responded with cosmetic dentistry were the clear majority in this survey.

More aging baby boomers are turning to cosmetic dentistry to improve the appearance of their teeth, which may explain the increase in demand for cosmetic dentistry services.

Dental implants are the most popular dental treatment among this demographic for the replacement of damaged or missing teeth.

A California dentist shared, “More than half of our practice is dental implants now!”

Here at The Wealthy Dentist, we were curious what services dentists are currently offering. The top services offered by dentists who responded to this survey are cosmetic, tooth whitening, dental implants, dentures, and children’s dentistry.

Here’s a breakdown of the services dentists are offering —

List of Services Dentists Offer

Dentists were disappointed that other services were not included in this survey, like Botox, oral cancer screenings, or offering custom mouthguards for patient athletes.

One prosthodontist noted, “Oral cancer screening and testing was not on the survey list. Also, it would be interesting to know how many offices provide Botox.”

A general dentist responded that he now offers same day service for CEREC restorations as part of his dental practice services.

Another dentist answered tongue-in-cheek, “I don’t offer gum disease, I treat it.”

What dental services does your dental practice offer? Has the demand for cosmetic dentistry increased?

Where is your dental marketing focused?

Dental Sedation Survey Results Are In

Dental sedation surveyOur dental management survey this week asked dentists if they offer sedation dentistry.

We also asked what fees doctors charge for various types of dental sedation.

All of our survey respondents offer sedation as a service in their practices, and fees vary widely among those who offer it.

Fees ranged from a low of $45 for nitrous oxide to highs of $500 for IV sedation and $600 for pediatric sedation.

Fees average about $300 for oral conscious sedation that helps lower dental anxiety.

When we asked which types of dental treatment prompted the most sedation requests from patients, we found that the type of dental service was not the deciding factor.

Patients who suffer from fear of dentists and dental anxiety request dental sedation for everything:

“All phases from prophies to impacted extractions,” said a New Jersey general dentist.

“All procedures if need be,” said a general dentist who practices in Canada.

Sedation dentistry can be a useful tool for treating patients.

It can also be an effective dental marketing opportunity for dentists who want to differentiate their practice by offering additional services.

However, offering sedation dentistry is major commitment to undertake, due to the additional training involved, state licensing requirements, and the availability and costs of dental practice insurance.

Have you considered offering dental sedation in your practice? Why, or why not?

Periodontal Examinations: Dentists Recommend More Than 1 a Year

periodontal disease Dentists perform periodontal examinations once a year, we found in our recent survey, with some dentists preferring to do this procedure twice a year or more.

In fact, 14 percent of the dentists we surveyed are likely to recommend periodontal exams every three months.

“It should be done every time the patient comes in even if they see the dentist,” advised one dentist, “Generally, the patient should be seen 4 times a year.”

The respondents to this survey tended to perform periodontal examinations at least once a year.

43% recommend periodontal examinations once a year
33% recommended periodontal examinations at least twice a year
14% recommend periodontal examinations four times a year
9% recommended periodontal exam frequency on the need of their patients

Here are some comments from dentists:

“For periodontal maintenance complete charting should be done every three months.” (Florida periodontist)

“We probe at each cleaning visit, so the frequency varies based on the needs of the patient, ie: either 4x, 3x, or 2x per year.” (Arizona dentist)

“I recommend 3 to 4 times per year depending on the patient that I have diagnosed with having a case type III or higher.” (Illinois dentist)

“For the average healthy patient – once a year. For the patient with active periodontitis – every appointment.- For the patient with perio who has been been controlled for at least a year – annual full probes, and spot probes at other appointments.” (General Dentist)

“This all depends on the patient’s periodontal health. We do periodontal probings at each new patient exam and all recall/recare appointments with the RDH.” (Kentucky dentist)

“A four-month recall for adults is best!” (Virginia dentist)

“If a patient has aggressive periodontitis, we probe more frequently, and have the periodontist check the patient annually as well.” (Texas dentist)

“My hygienists probe at each hygiene appointment –every 3-4 months for perio patients.” (General dentist)

Read more: Periodontal Exams Should Be Done Every Time A Patient Sees The Dentist.

How Dentists Feel About Dental Peer Reviews (video)

How Dentists Feel About Dental Peer Reviews (video)When there is a conflict between dentist and patient, peer-review boards often mediate the dispute.

This means that dentists frequently end up on the losing side of the peer review equation.

Said one dentist, “Review boards are not impartial and fair, just interested in giving money back to patients.”

One endodontist professed, “It’s far better that getting involved in the judicial system!”

These are just two of the comments dentists offered The Wealthy Dentist when surveyed about the dental peer-review process.

Click on Play to hear more from dentists on how they answered the survey question: Have you been disappointed by dental peer-review?

What are your thoughts on dental peer-reviews?
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