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Preparing for the Return to Oral Health Routines

Posted Aug 30th, 2021 in 2021, the wire, thought leadership

With the end of summer nearing, many Canadians are settling back into a routine with an increased focus on healthy habits. Numerous patients have delayed care for quite some time, and the demand ahead for treatment plans will be significant. As such, dental practices must be ready to support a return to packed patient schedules.

Below are three tips to help your practice teams prepare for the influx of patients as they return to their oral health routines.

Create well defined patient care protocols. Comprehensive Oral Exams will likely be necessary for patients with lengthy recare absences. Patients may be a little more anxious about the fact that they have neglected their oral care routines and the impending treatments that may subsequently be required. Therefore, it is important to focus on the care to be provided in the moment while looking to a healthy future with a solid prevention plan in place. Dedicated appointments for the dental evaluation are the ideal time to reconnect with patients and carefully review prospective treatment plans in a judgement-free manner. Leveraging frameworks such as the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) classification for periodontal and peri-implant diseases can help with consistency in records and patient education across the team. It can also help simplify communication to the patient and have them take ownership for their own oral health.

Optimize scheduling. Factoring in new protocols for the turnover of operatories and cross-training the team so everyone is familiar with these protocols and can pitch in when necessary, can help improve the flow of the day. Ensuring effective procedures are in place for patient cancellations will minimize openings in the schedule. Managing schedules appropriately with time for emergency visits and breaks to give the team time to breathe and move about seamlessly, is critical to ensuring a positive patient experience.

Maximize availability. A plan on how to service the substantial backlog of patients who are due for an appointment will be a significant concern for the remainder of the year. Ensuring adequate supply of appointments by adjusting operating hours may be helpful in this regard. The most challenging aspect of this equation will be ensuring you have team members available during these operating hours. Effective management of staff vacations and having temporary positions available will be essential to ensuring your practice is set up for success.

 Originally published in Oral Health

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