How to Get More Out of Hygiene Appointments | Schiff & Associates Dental Accountants


Dental hygiene appointments are a major revenue driver for most dental practices. They are responsible for about one-third of total production numbers for most practices. Making the most of these appointments can help to improve profitability. 

A recent study shows that there is room for improvement. Just 17 percent of dentists say most of their active patients keep hygiene appointments every six months, and at least one in ten appointments are no-shows. 

The department can train to increase case acceptance and promote elective services. In fact, hygiene numbers could increase as much as five times among current, active patients with some diligent planning. 

How Much Does a Hygiene Department Contribute to a Dental Practice?

Numbers vary, but one industry benchmark suggests that each hygienist should produce around three times their wages, or about 33 to 35 percent of the practice total. If you want to improve your margin, your department could benefit from systemization. 

Start with a hard look at the numbers. Each month, analyze the hygiene department’s finances. Look at the collection to production ratio, no-shows, and the time spent with each patient. Studying these numbers will help to identify ways to maximize the department’s productivity. 

It can be a challenge to keep prophylaxis appointments moving while giving each patient maximum attention. The average time spent on scaling – 20 to 30 minutes – can present an optimal time to educate patients on oral health, focus on case acceptance, and discuss elective procedures. 

Make sure your team educates patients on the importance of dental hygiene exams and the consequences of skipping them. Some patients view these appointments as mere teeth cleanings; they likely don’t have a grasp on all of the benefits of cleanings and examinations. 

Emphasize the need for regular oral cancer screenings as well: how one person dies every hour of an oral cancer and how simple, painless exams can detect a problem early enough to treat it successfully. 

Improve Case Acceptance and No-Shows 

After analyzing your hygiene department, scrutinize and revamp your appointment confirmation system. Some practices set up their hygienists to schedule next appointments chairside or escort patients to the front desk. 

Another way to decrease no-shows is by sending multiple reminders through a variety of mediums such as phone calls, texts, emails, and physical postcards. Some practices call or text a day or two before the appointment. 

While some of your patients might balk at multiple messages, they are less likely to ignore them. Make sure patients understand that a missed appointment robs another patient of an opportunity to receive care and treatment. 

When you boost hygiene production, you are likely to improve your bottom line. If you’d like to gain greater financial insight into your practice’s profitability, contact our dental CPA firm today.

How Team Morale Impacts Your Practice | Schiff & Associates Dental CPA


The days seem to fly by in a dental practice, barely leaving time for you to check in with your team. Do you really know how they are feeling about work? Dental practices, like any healthcare organization, can be stressful and busy environments, but as a leader, you need to ensure patients receive positive, professional care. 

Team morale is vital to patient satisfaction and retention – and it makes good financial sense to invest in. According to a recent Gallup poll, there are roughly 22 million actively disengaged employees costing the economy up to $350 billion dollars a year in lost productivity. Key factors cited in the report included illness, absenteeism, and attitude.

When you are working inside a person’s mouth – a most intimate act – you can imagine how quickly they will pick up on a poor attitude. 

Servant Leadership 

Morale can be improved through a concept known as servant leadership. It is centered around getting to know each team member on a personal level, recognizing their contributions, and thus creating a feeling of pride within the team. A harmonious work environment flows from the top and engenders trust in the organization. 

In 1970, the late pundit Robert K. Greenleaf coined the phrase servant leadership saying, “the great leader is seen as servant first, and that simple fact is the key to his greatness.” 

Get to Know Your Team 

Learn what motivates each team member and plan rewards accordingly. Some might enjoy a photo and thank-you post on social media, others a private, hand-written note, and almost everyone would enjoy a paid day off. Think about what makes sense for your team and budget. Your efforts, no matter how small, will serve to energize your employees and make them feel good about serving patients. 

Recognize Contributions 

Group recognition is also important. Plan a catered employee luncheon or hand out gift certificates. Create an employee recognition week and include it in your patient newsletter. 

Practice self-awareness 

Check in with your own state of mind each day and be mindful of spreading sour vibes. Hold yourself accountable for following through on promises; handle conflicts quickly; adopt an open-door policy that makes your team feel comfortable. 


Holding morning huddles and team meetings keeps everyone on the same page and fosters easy communication. It also makes you aware of potential job satisfaction roadblocks, such as an overwhelming caseload or uneven work distribution.

Pitch in 

Finally, employees always appreciate a leader who rolls up their sleeves and helps when the going gets tough. 

The trust, appreciation, and support you give your team can make a tremendous difference in office harmony, patient experience, and your bottom line. To ensure a thriving practice, make morale a priority. 

If you’d like to learn more about creating a harmonious work environment, get in touch with our team today!