Wednesday, April 01, 2020

There are a lot of different ways to discuss periodontal disease with the patient. You can read more about how and what to say when discussing your treatment recommendations by clicking here. (insert link). The main thing you should realize now is that you are no longer in school and whereas someone could have done 4 quads of SRP for $35-$100, now you are in the real world and money is now an issue for our patients. Currently, our office charges $86.00 for a 04342, which is periodontal work involving three or less teeth. We charge $172.00 for a full quadrant of 04341 coding. As you can see, someone can easily spend $1000 for 4 quadrants of scaling and root planing. Throw in irrigation, chlorhexidine, fluoride, electric toothbrushes, a Waterpik, and the fee goes up even higher. As a new hygienist, you are faced with several issues that could arise. If it is a new patient, you have better chances of getting the patient to understand your treatment because they are new to the office and your office policies on disease classification. On the downside, nearly 95% of new patients expect their "two free cleanings a year". Did you know that the dental profession started the "two cleanings a year" based on an old Colgate toothpaste commercial? There is no scientific basis behind that blanket statement, however our society lives and dies by insurance, it seems. Literally. We will always face those difficult patients who only want what insurance will cover. I've encountered several questions and statements that are hard to respond to as a new hygienist, like myself. (As I am typing this, I have been a hygienist for four years, but depending on when you are reading this, I graduated in 2002. I don't claim to be an expert, in fact I actually claim to NOT be an expert because I still have so much to learn and experience. I do, however, feel that what I have learned in the last four years is far and beyond what dental hygiene school has provided me. Yes, I value the education I received and know that I was as prepared as anyone who would be graduating, but there is only so much you can learn in school. School starts the seed and the foundation of your education. It is up to you to water that seed with continuous education by becoming a life long learner.)

Here are some of the responses I have heard, that you should be prepared to answer when the moment comes:

1) I just want what insurance will pay for; can't you just do a regular free cleaning?

2) Maybe I can get that type of cleaning one day, but all I can afford right now is what insurance pays for. Can't we just do that in the future if I still need it then?

3) How can I have periodontal disease? I don't even feel any pain.

4) I can't need that type of treatment. I floss all the time and brush all two times a day.

5) I went to the dentist every six months my entire life and my last dentist never said anything about it. Why are you telling me I have periodontal disease now and they never mentioned it?

6) My gums always bleed. No matter what I do, they still bleed. I don't think they are in bad shape since they've always been that way. I also take aspirin, so that's probably why they are bleeding. Just do a regular free cleaning.

7. I don't floss, but I use Listerine. They said it helps that gingivitis stuff right? Why do I still have gum disease when I use Listerine?

8. I don't have money right now. Can't you just clean some of the teeth a little bit? Maybe flick that stuff off down under my tongue? I'll say its okay if anyone asks.

9. My dentist/hygienist has never said that to me before and it's only been 6 months since my last visit. Why didn't they say anything to me about this?


Are you prepared to answer these statements and questions? When put on the spot, you have to respond with an educated response and be able to handle objections professionally.


Click here to learn how to overcome objections

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