Wendy Briggs on the future role of the dental hygienist

March 31, 2015
Jack Abrams
Issue 3

In the changing world of dentistry, it is only logical that the role of the dental hygienist will be growing and developing as well. Dental Consultant Jack Abrams sat down with Wendy Briggs, dental hygienist and president of The Team Training Institute to discuss the changing role of the dental hygienist.

In the changing world of dentistry, it is only logical that the role of the dental hygienist will be growing and developing as well. Dental Consultant Jack Abrams sat down with Wendy Briggs, dental hygienist and president of The Team Training Institute to discuss the changing role of the dental hygienist.

Jack Abrams: So Wendy, how will the role of the hygienist change in the future? 

Wendy Briggs: Hygiene is changing rapidly right now! We used to be defined as the ones who kept teeth clean so they could be restored. Now, we bring so much more to the table; it is both exciting and overwhelming at the same time. I have defined three roles that a hygienist must utilize to maximize their impact in a practice:

Trending article: 7 cool dental hygiene products you should know

Preventive therapist:  As the “preventive therapist,” the hygienist becomes the source of information regarding the menu of preventive services. When we use the full menu of preventative services (regardless of age and insurance), we are in fact providing a much higher level of patient care, and a level of care that our patients want and need.

Periodontal therapist: It’s not just about saving teeth anymore, it’s now about saving lives. Patients are at much greater risk of other serious medical disorders if we don’t address their periodontal health – and this starts while in the hygiene chair.

Trending article: Breaking the law, dental hygiene style

Patient treatment advocate: We are the ones patients look to when considering treatment options. The doctor leaves the room, and they turn to us. They often ask things like, “What do you think, do I really need to do this?” This is why I define “patient treatment advocate” as a key role. This key role is responsible for helping our patients accept restorative dentistry. When we focus in on our role, and teach valuable skills in this area, we see case acceptance skyrocket.

Continue to page two for more...

 

 

 

 

JA: Wendy, what are your top three tips for hygienists to increase efficiency and profitability?

WB: I would say the easiest role to start with is preventive services. We often will teach hygienists how to become more effective with a few preventive menu items on day one.  A few examples of goals we might help them accomplish:

Four characteristics dental hygienists need to become successful entrepreneurs 

Achieve 80% acceptance on adult fluoride varnish. We teach a simple three-step process that makes 80% acceptance possible. Many patients of today are high risk for decay. Once we have a caries risk assessment completed, this conversation becomes more powerful! When we have a risk assessment conversation with patients it’s like putting prevention on steroids. Most patients don’t SEE a need for the preventative services, and it’s our job to SHOW them the need.

Focus in on same-day bonded procedures. Helping patients accept sealants, or bonded desensitizing/protective services, helps protect the patient and increases production. Just four services a day means an increase of more than $35,000 per year.

The 5 new words of dental practice ... and what you should know about them

Achieve 30% acceptance on advanced oral cancer screenings. I just read a story about a 15-year-old boy that was diagnosed with oral cancer. Traditional risk factors aren’t enough in today’s world. HPV and other risks are real, and we should utilize technology to our patients’ advantage. We have specific systems and verbal skills that help hygienists to actually utilize these resources.   

These three examples are just three of many different strategies I could have chosen, which is exciting!

 

About Wendy Briggs

Wendy Briggs is the President of The Team Training Institute, an International practice management organization. For more than 15 years Wendy has helped thousands of dentists take control of their practice and uncover millions of dollars of unseen/untapped revenue by serving their patients at a higher level. In addition to her managerial expertise, Wendy has been a hygienist for more than 20 years and has one of the most highly regarded hygiene/perio programs in the industry. Dental Service Organizations and privately owned practices soar when they adopt her protocol.

In the changing world of dentistry, it is only logical that the role of the dental hygienist will be growing and developing as well. Dental Consultant Jack Abrams sat down with Wendy Briggs, dental hygienist and president of The Team Training Institute to discuss the changing role of the dental hygienist.

Jack Abrams: So Wendy, how will the role of the hygienist change in the future? 

Wendy Briggs: Hygiene is changing rapidly right now! We used to be defined as the ones who kept teeth clean so they could be restored. Now, we bring so much more to the table; it is both exciting and overwhelming at the same time. I have defined three roles that a hygienist must utilize to maximize their impact in a practice:

Trending article: 7 cool dental hygiene products you should know

Preventive therapist:  As the “preventive therapist,” the hygienist becomes the source of information regarding the menu of preventive services. When we use the full menu of preventative services (regardless of age and insurance), we are in fact providing a much higher level of patient care, and a level of care that our patients want and need.

Periodontal therapist: It’s not just about saving teeth anymore, it’s now about saving lives. Patients are at much greater risk of other serious medical disorders if we don’t address their periodontal health – and this starts while in the hygiene chair.

Trending article: Breaking the law, dental hygiene style

Patient treatment advocate: We are the ones patients look to when considering treatment options. The doctor leaves the room, and they turn to us. They often ask things like, “What do you think, do I really need to do this?” This is why I define “patient treatment advocate” as a key role. This key role is responsible for helping our patients accept restorative dentistry. When we focus in on our role, and teach valuable skills in this area, we see case acceptance skyrocket.

Continue to page two for more...

 

JA: Wendy, what are your top three tips for hygienists to increase efficiency and profitability?

WB: I would say the easiest role to start with is preventive services. We often will teach hygienists how to become more effective with a few preventive menu items on day one.  A few examples of goals we might help them accomplish:

Four characteristics dental hygienists need to become successful entrepreneurs 

Achieve 80% acceptance on adult fluoride varnish. We teach a simple three-step process that makes 80% acceptance possible. Many patients of today are high risk for decay. Once we have a caries risk assessment completed, this conversation becomes more powerful! When we have a risk assessment conversation with patients it’s like putting prevention on steroids. Most patients don’t SEE a need for the preventative services, and it’s our job to SHOW them the need.

Focus in on same-day bonded procedures. Helping patients accept sealants, or bonded desensitizing/protective services, helps protect the patient and increases production. Just four services a day means an increase of more than $35,000 per year.

The 5 new words of dental practice ... and what you should know about them

Achieve 30% acceptance on advanced oral cancer screenings. I just read a story about a 15-year-old boy that was diagnosed with oral cancer. Traditional risk factors aren’t enough in today’s world. HPV and other risks are real, and we should utilize technology to our patients’ advantage. We have specific systems and verbal skills that help hygienists to actually utilize these resources.   

These three examples are just three of many different strategies I could have chosen, which is exciting!

 

About Wendy Briggs

Wendy Briggs is the President of The Team Training Institute, an International practice management organization. For more than 15 years Wendy has helped thousands of dentists take control of their practice and uncover millions of dollars of unseen/untapped revenue by serving their patients at a higher level. In addition to her managerial expertise, Wendy has been a hygienist for more than 20 years and has one of the most highly regarded hygiene/perio programs in the industry. Dental Service Organizations and privately owned practices soar when they adopt her protocol.