April 13, 2022

3 Strategies for Hygiene Teams to Tackle Inflation Challenges

By Jennifer LaRocca, RDH Production Coach at Polished & Profitable Advisors

You’re not just imagining it; your money was squeezed tighter last year. We’re experiencing the largest December to December increased inflation percentage since the early 80s1. Consumer prices for all items rose 7% from December 2020 to December 20211. And this isn’t on “elective” goods, grocery prices increased 6.5% in 2021, the largest over-the-year increase since 20081. How can your practice compensate for this hike?

Maximize Case Acceptance

You may think, “easier said than done, my patients are also feeling the sting of inflation”. That may be true, but one thing this year has shown is the importance of good health.

A CDC report published in 2012 found that 47.2% of adults age 30 and older have some form of Periodontal disease. 2 If you have a more mature patient base, that number jumps to 70.1% in those age 65 and over. 2 Take a look at your Perio Percentages, how in-line are they with the national averages?

I’m not suggesting finding something that isn’t there, be real with yourself and your practice. By diagnosing and treating Periodontal Disease and Gingivitis accurately and consistently, you will grow your bottom line.

Expand Hygiene Treatment Offerings

What can hygienists offer patients that adds financial value to the hygiene appointment? Common add-ons are fluoride and whitening syringes which take little to no time away from the hygienist. How often do your patients say “yes” to fluoride or whitening? If it’s not 30% of the time, you might want to consider reframing how it’s being offered.

To take it a little further, chemical irrigation with chlorhexidine post-scaling and root planning can also add to your bottom line without requiring any additional training. If your hygiene team is certified to use the laser, kick it up a notch and add in laser treatments during non-surgical periodontal procedures. Not using your hygienists’ certification in laser is a missed revenue opportunity.

Evaluate Fees

If you know you’ve treated all the periodontal patients in your practice and you’re offering fluoride and whitening at every visit with higher than 30% acceptance rate, there’s only one thing left to do. Evaluate your fees. If you are a fee-for-service practice, you should have a process already in place for evaluating your fees. I congratulate you on this! If you’re a practice bound by insurance reimbursement, consider bringing in a professional. Shelley DeGroff and her team at PPO Advisors know their way around insurance negotiations. They are the only PPO management company that offers a free PPO analysis with negotiations being done up front. They are able to help increase your profits without having to increase you production. Do yourself a favor, contact Shelley and her team.

Creating more revenue for the practice helps the bottom line which ultimately can increase incentive for employees. If raises aren’t your thing, we’re here to help create an incentive program that works for everyone. And if you’re tired of hearing about Perio percentages, empower your hygienists to help increase your restorative case acceptance. Life is better when we all work together.

So, stop blaming the economy and start taking back control! If you’d like help training your team on increasing “yesses”, contact Polished & Profitable Advisors at hello@polishedprofits.com or schedule a phone call here. Happy revenue building!

1 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Consumer Price Index: 2021 in review at Visit Here (visited January 31, 2022).

2 Eke PI, Dye B, Wei L, Thornton-Evans G, Genco R. Prevalence of Periodontitis in Adults in the United States: 2009 and 2010. J Dent Res. Published online 30 August 2012:1–7.