In the spring of 2020 when dentistry returned to work after Covid19 lockdown, dental hygiene schedules were filled and productive getting caught up on back log of patients.
The public actually missed the dental office and thanks to the media and practice communication they were receptive to returning to dental care and were much more health conscious!!
Dental leaders made changes and the administrative teams worked tirelessly to communicate, contact and book hygiene for patients who were canceled due to lock down. This filled hygiene schedules again with minimal no shows and the 100% confirmation need of covid screening made hygiene a valued appt.
Fast forward to now , as we emerge from the 2nd wave, increased case counts and government stay at home orders with fear of new Covid variants.
Dental practices are now reporting patients seem driven by a fear of the new Covid variants, and are using Covid as reason to not attend hygiene.
As a Result of Covid19 exhaustion and confusion of safety and now we are back to short notice changes and patient procrastination to wait, delay or ignore their hygiene care.
What do we do?
Below are some pearls and verbal skills to help.
Begin with knowing how many active patients are NOT scheduled in the practice and those who are overdue for hygiene. Contact them and communicate and don’t stop staying in touch regularly to maintain loyalty and retention
Automate your recall by using a tool like recall max to know results of effort with patient contact and reactivation and track the Unscheduled % reducing.
Example of Email / Text example
Your health is important to us during the pandemic. Oral health is an important part of your immune response and part of your overall health.
Please contact us to reserve your time now or hold your spot in the future.
Communicate clearly with patients on 3 – 4 month perio maintenence and the importance of their interval for hygiene care.
“The sequence of your maintenance is critical to you staying in maintenance and prevent you from returning to an active infection status.”
Reinforce the value of investments made in the their past dental care .
“Delaying or postponing dental care could cause increase in costs and jeopardize your past investment.”
Get them in the schedule in the future. Communicate that an appointment can be reserved in the future when they feel safe.
“We understand now may not seem like the right time to schedule so we will reserve time in 1-2 months from now”
Encourage your patient’s to know you are safe and following all stringent Covid protocols and sterilization.
” Our dentist and practice has implemented all covid protocols of public health and made significant upgrades to our air quality, PPE and patient experience to keep us and you safe”
“In dentistry we have many changes for screening, arrival, equipment and strict guidelines. In dentistry there is a risk that every patient is positive and we have all protection in place for ourselves and you”
Identify in daily chart reviews for restorative patients who are overdue or have no future hygiene visit.
See if there are hygiene openings in the schedule today that allows them move over to hygiene.
Or schedule hygiene at their next restorative visit
“since you’re here now with covid screening complete, we have availability to do your hygiene visit today as well.”
“when you return for your next dental appt. to have your crown seated (etc)…we will reserve you with hygiene on the same day”
Pre schedule ALL patients who attend visits now… before they leave the practice.
Reinforce the patients hygiene status of health, disease or maintenance and the importance of their next visit that you will reserve now in the schedule.
Don’t give up on the relentless and repetitive messaging and communication needed and believe there is no safer place in healthcare then dentistry!!
We’d love to hear your feedback. If you have any great tips on reactivating patient’s back to hygiene, please submit them to [email protected]