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    Make a New Year's resolution to have healthier patients!

    What you can do this year to make sure that you're helping your patients be the healthiest they can be.

    After all the season shopping and holiday dinners, and cakes and cookies, as the New Year approaches, we are all making New Year’s resolutions. What about losing weight? What about finally buying that car? How about asking for a raise?

    Many hygienists use this time of year to reevaluate their options to make a fresh new start for the coming year. But these are all our own personal resolutions. As dental hygienists, let’s make a resolution to make sure every patient’s teeth outlasts them so they can take their pearly whites through those pearly gates.

    Read more: 5 dental New Year's resolutions

    “Taking your pearly whites through those pearly gates”—many seniors love this saying. I recently had a patient who was 95 years old, and I quoted that to her. She then said, “I am so happy, because it won’t be much longer. I am 95 now.”

    So I ask you, are you taking the time to review their dental hygiene? They may only need a little bit of coaching to change their oral hygiene from fair to great. I’ve tried this approach, and it has worked time and time again. Never complete a silent prophy, because if you do, every patient will come back with the same level of oral hygiene. If you are the new hygienist, the patient will simply say, “She told me that the last time,” and there will be no change at this appointment either. The moral of the story is that a little coaching goes a long way.

    Another patient I’ll never forget is Dave, who said he only flosses when he eats steak. After cleaning his teeth—covered in heavy plaque and tartar—I reviewed his oral hygiene and jokingly told him that if it meant he would floss more, he needed to eat steak every day! Fortunately, for his next appointment, Dave’s teeth were cleaner and healthier. He also noticed his gums didn’t bleed like before. While he didn’t eat steak every day, but he did take my suggestion to start flossing daily. This was just a little habit change in his hygiene routine that would last a lifetime.

    Make a commitment to learn more this year: 5 important facts about new code D4346 for a fresh start in 2017

    With that in mind, schedule your appointments so you not only have enough time do a thorough cleaning, but also enough time to instruct patients on their daily oral habits. Patients will always compliment you when they feel they have been given quality service—and that you care.

    Up next: More suggestions on how you can give your patients the best care in 2017

    Ethel Hagans, RDH, MBA
    Ethel Hagans is a dental hygienist first, and then, the author of the book Extraordinary Dental Care. She is obsessed with motivating ...


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