In a typical consultation, a full-time hygienist sees between 8 and 10 patients per day. Just reading your letter made me begin to feel that old knot of tension in my upper back that I remember so well. For me, as a hygienist, being late was the most stressful part of clinical practice. My first impression is that you haven't learned to keep up.
This is one of the most difficult aspects of clinical practice for recent graduates. The programming is very different in the real world compared to the way you viewed patients at school. However, in practice, one year seems sufficient for an adequate adjustment period. In my first position as a hygienist just out of school, the schedule was organized so that I didn't see more than seven patients per day for the first month.
The question of how many patients a hygienist should see per day can be a tricky one. Having a lot of patients can be beneficial, but it can also be overwhelming. It is best to keep it to a reasonable number.
Accelerated hygiene vs traditional hygiene
If you've ever seen or heard about accelerated hygiene, you're not alone. It's a practice that speeds patients through an examination, but can cause quality care issues. Plus, it can also lead to burnout in hygienists.
Accelerated hygiene can be an effective solution for Medicaid practices that have a high prophy based patient base. This type of scheduling system offers an opportunity to see twice as many hygiene patients as you would in a traditional practice. However, this is a very expensive and inefficient practice model. You'll need to hire a dedicated hygienist and assistant in order to implement the system. Additionally, your operatory must have the capacity to support at least two operations for each hygienist in the accelerated hygiene model. In the post-COVID-19 era, you may also find yourself with a high cancellation rate.
Whether or not a particular method is the right fit for your practice depends on the circumstances. If your practice has high volume and low reimbursement rates, it makes sense to consider a scalable system.
Setting reasonable and clear goals
Setting reasonable and clear goals for how many patients a hygienist should see per day is important for both individual hygienists and dental hygiene teams. This goal will help you and your team determine your productivity and profitability. It will also allow you to stay motivated and on track. Having a goal in place is the best way to overcome any challenges that you may face.
A good way to figure out what your daily productivity goal should be is to map out the ideal eight hour work day. You should design this with the help of your dental hygiene team. If you need further information, check out the Ultimate Guide to SMART Goals.
Another SMART goal that you should set is to improve your patient wait times. If you can decrease the average time a patient spends in your office, you can increase the revenue you generate from each client. By doing this, you can earn more money and improve the health of your patients.
Accommodating an extra patient
If you are in the position of accommodating an extra patient per day for a dental hygienist, you need to know how to handle the situation. You need to know how to keep the patients satisfied with their appointments and also ensure that they have access to the dental hygienist in case they have any questions.
The dental hygiene department must have a good team of people who can work well together. This will improve the efficiency of the practice and increase the profitability. A positive workplace culture will also alleviate stress and raise the morale of the employees. Also, it will make the dental team more receptive to changes in the practice.
The dentist and the hygienist should respect each other's time. This means that the dentist should not put the hygienist behind schedule. It also means that the dentist should not give the hygienist more work than they can handle. As a result, they will take initiative and will become more effective in the office.
Paying a hygienist
Dental hygienists are in high demand and can be paid a salary. The salary can be an hourly rate or a combination of a salary and commission. Regardless of the payment, a hygienist should see a sufficient number of patients to make it worth his or her while.
Most dentists pay a hygienist a base salary. This base salary is guaranteed. However, it may not be enough. If your practice is slow, you can be forced to work many days without a paycheck.
You may want to set a daily production goal for your hygienist. A good rule of thumb is to increase your productivity by 20 percent if you increase your patients by 10 minutes. For example, if your daily goal is $900, you should increase your productivity by $250.
You can then increase the amount of money you are paying your hygienist by a percentage of the excess production. The most common commission is 25-30 percent.
I then gradually increased the number of patients as my speed increased. I developed a routine and felt quite comfortable with nine to 10 patients per day. Let's explore the main reasons why hygienists have trouble sticking to the schedule. This is the number one hygienist complaint I receive.
It's a major problem in some offices, especially in offices where the doctor has such a busy schedule that he literally runs from one operating room to another trying to stick to the schedule. At one of those offices, the doctor told me that checking hygiene was the most stressful part of his day. Consider what it would be like if you had to get up from each patient and go do something else. Added to the stress is the fact that many hygienists will use all the scheduled time for the patient and will call the doctor only when they are finished with the patient.
Doing so will ensure that you are left behind. Few, if any, doctors can check hygiene immediately after being summoned. The method of summoning the doctor is important. Many offices have lighting or doorbell systems that may or may not be effective.
Some doctors get so used to hearing the beep or buzzing sound that they actually turn it off. In addition, for a lighting system to be effective, it must be placed where it can be easily seen. In the absence of an automated system, I prefer hygienists to use a discrete method of calling the doctor. Smith is prepared within the patient's hearing range, which can make that person feel like they're not getting all of the doctor's care.
In addition, the sticky note method is not very convenient, since the sticky notes may not stick well and end up on the floor or somewhere else. Disorganization is very common among recent graduates. In the early stages of adapting to the real world of clinical hygiene, new hygienists waste time not deciding which instrument to use. Every time the hygienist changes instruments, time is wasted.
I've noticed that new hygienists go into the routine of picking it up and dropping it because their clinical skills aren't fully developed. Experienced hygienists don't waste time changing instruments or cleaning excessively. Maybe you need to work on your organizational skills. Make sure you arrive at work well in advance to organize things.
I especially like tray systems where all disposable items are retrieved and placed on a tray ahead of time to reduce preparation time. All you have to do is stick your hand in the closet and pick up the next tray. I watched the hygienists during the setup, opening numerous drawers to retrieve the items, when it would be much easier if these items were retrieved early and placed in individual trays. Being the sociable person that I am, I enjoy a bit of socializing with patients.
Knowing a little bit about their lives helps you build a strong relationship with the people who are waiting to come and see you. However, as with almost anything, socializing can become excessive to the point of causing doctors to delay. There's nothing wrong with chatting a bit on social media, as long as it doesn't cause delays. Keep the social conversation light and informal, and avoid topics that could provoke lengthy diatribes in the patient.
However, none of these suggestions will work if you don't keep up. You must have a great knowledge of the watch and be disciplined to stick to the schedule. You must first determine what is causing you to fall behind and then develop a solution. Continuing to practice as you are now with maximum stress and frustration will cause physical and emotional exhaustion.
The longer you practice, the better you are at what you do. One-size-fits-all solutions won't work here. Take a step back and try to objectively analyze the problem you described. Once you've defined the problem and determined its cause, you should be able to find a solution.
Implementing a solution will reduce your stress by helping you arrive on time, and most importantly, patients and office staff will be happy. Kind regards, Dianne. There are only two reasons why a dentist should perform hygiene procedures. First, if the office is a starting office with too few patients, the dentist may need to perform hygiene procedures just to keep himself busy.
It takes 800 to 1000 active patients to keep a full-time hygienist busy. Therefore, in the initial stage, the office may only need a part-time hygienist until it is large enough to employ a full time hygienist. If a dentist spends even 25% of their time performing hygiene procedures, they lose hours that could have been spent performing more productive restorative procedures. A general dentist sees an average of 10 to 15 patients per day and each dental hygienist sees about 8 a day.
The average number of patients in an office with two hygienists and a full-time dentist is 31 per day. If dentists or dental hygienists do not meet the standard of care, they may be held responsible and their license will be in jeopardy. It's not uncommon for a general dentist to make 1 to 2 crowns, 10 to 20 fillings, extract (remove) some teeth, perhaps do a root canal, and check and examine about 15 patients who had their teeth cleaned with hygienists. Many variables must be considered when determining the amount of time allotted to each patient, such as the planned procedure, the patient's age and whether an assistant is used, to name a few.
Sufficient time must be allotted to follow these rules or dental hygienists may not meet the standard of care established by law. A dental office will lose approximately 10% of its active patient base per year due to desertion, such as a move, death, or loss of job or dental insurance, so it's very important to continue marketing to attract new patients and retain existing patients. The dentist confirms what the patient is doing and begins a small talk to try to relax the patient. A dentist usually sees more than twenty patients each day while running a business and providing clinical care to patients.
A dentist should always hire enough dental staff to ensure that an increase in patients can be treated. An example of not meeting the standard of care is when a dental hygienist does not have enough time to perform a periodontal mapping or if there is not enough time for complete and comprehensive prophylaxis. The maximum limit on the scale for the number of active patients a single dentist can see is 2300 patients. Once patients are seated in the treatment rooms, the dentist enters the room to begin treating the patient.