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Christine Diehl and Sarah Varney, the co-founders of DSO Hygiene Excellence, have been talking to hygienists across the country. In our September 2020 Zoom call, they shared three tips that dental practices can use today to fill their Hygiene schedules.


The hygiene schedule is looking dangerously thin for many dental practices in the Fall of 2020. That’s because the general dentistry shutdown from mid-March to early June threw many people off their regular dental hygiene schedule. The people who should have had their teeth cleaned in the Spring would typically be pre-appointed to return in the Fall for their next hygiene appointment. Now, many teams are scrambling to fill the empty schedules.

These three tips are excellent for coming back strong during Coronavirus and long into the future. Even though Christine Diehl and Sarah Varney focus on DSOs, these tips apply to all dental practices, whether they be a private practice, a group practice, or associated with a dental service organization (DSO).


Use Periodontal Guide to Staging/Grading & Treatment

Hygienists Varney and Diehl created a Periodontal Guide to Staging/Grading and Treatment based on the periodontal classifications of The American Academy of Periodontology. Varney said she refers to it when she’s talking to the doctor about what she’s found.

“When the doctor comes in, we’re talking about where we found recession or bleeding, and where the patient fits according to the guide,” said Varney. “We’re elevating the level of patient care and moving patients from a six-month recare schedule to a three-month recare schedule to address their infection.”


Ask Current Dental Patients to Refer Friends and Family

Here’s another way to fill your schedule. Dust off your referral cards and give one to every person who comes into the practice. “A lot of practices have closed or limited their hours, so there are people who need a new dental home,” said Diehl. “We ask our current patients to let their friends and family know we’re open, we’re available, and we’re here.”


Work Your Recare Schedule

Many dental practices have been short-staffed and may not have had the resources to work their recare lists. Hygienists can help by pulling the lists, identifying the high-priority patients, and either make calls or pass along the list to the team member responsible for scheduling recare patients.


For More Dental Hygiene Scheduling Tips

Patient Prism also asked Rachel Wall, RDH, founder of Inspired Hygiene for her tips to fill the hygiene schedule this Fall. Download Rachel Wall’s PDF of tips, 5 Ways to Avoid a Hygiene Schedule Nightmare.


More Covid-Related Dental Practice and DSO Resources

Patient Prism offers multiple PDF guides related filling your appointment schedule with dental patients now that regular scheduling has been interrupted by the Coronavirus. You can download these PDFs here.

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