Only you, the dentist, can recommend treatment, but in cases that aren’t immediately accepted by patients, members of your staff can have significant influence over dental case presentation. This is especially true for the hygienist.
A Unique Combination of the Professional and the Personal
Patients know that hygienists have received special clinical training—second only to dentists—in oral health care. For this reason, when they express their point of view regarding clinical matters, it carries a lot of weight. This credibility, along with the fact that they are very familiar with the condition of patients’ teeth and gums, means that hygienists can exercise considerable influence over decisions patients make.
Hygienists can play an equally important role in forming and maintaining practice-patient relationships. They typically spend more time with patients than anyone else in a dental office. Although they must perform many tasks during a hygiene appointment, they also have the opportunity to converse with patients—not only educating them about oral health and home care but also person-to-person. With the assistance of scripts and training, hygienists can learn about patients’ lives and interests, making the kind of personal connections that strengthen confidence and loyalty.
How Your Hygienist Can Motivate Case Acceptance
When your patients readily accept the treatment you present, there’s nothing for the hygienist to do except congratulate them on making the right decision and praise you as an excellent dentist totally committed to patient well-being.
On the other hand, if patients don’t agree by the end of your initial presentation, your hygienist can play a greater role in winning eventual consent. To make the most of this opportunity, follow these steps:
Your hygienist may not be able to recommend treatment, but she can certainly influence acceptance if you and she approach it the right way.