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What’s Your Advice?

Issue: Fall 2009
By Olivia & Kerry Straine


Did you come close?


A dentist barely produces enough to cover his overhead and have anything left over for him. His appointment book is rarely filled. And those are just a few of his headaches.


The general dentist has been in practice for 15 years. He has four treatment rooms in his facility. His practice-management software report shows 2,356 patients have visited at least one time in the last 24 months, with more than 90% of his patients over 25 years of age. He claims to have 10% of his patients in periodontal therapy. He has one hygienist four days a week with eight appointments available per day. His schedule is booked out one week, but that’s short of his goal; beyond one week, the schedule has significant openings.

The practice currently has 150 patients appointed in hygiene. The staff has a hard time keeping both the hygiene schedule and the doctor’s schedule filled and they always seem to be scrambling to do so.

If he truly has 10% percent of his patients in periodontal therapy, his one hygienist can only service 698 patients. This is derived from 32 appointments per week times 24 serviceable weeks in a 6-month period. The total number of appointments available is 768. The dentist’s healthy patients will be coming once every six months for their cleaning and each will take up one appointment during this time. His patients in periodontal therapy will be coming every three months and will each need two appointments in the next six months. This is 698 patients with 70 of those coming in twice (698+70=768). Consequently, 1,658 patients cannot get a hygiene appointment.

The dentist doesn’t have an effective reappointment system; patients are leaving the office without their next hygiene or restorative appointment. And he doesn’t have a solid recall program since most patients are not scheduled for their next hygiene appointment and they aren’t booked out very far in hygiene. Of the patients that he diagnoses and for which he recommends treatment, only 20% actually schedule the next appointment and complete the treatment upon his recommendation.

Please contact your local Sullivan-Schein Sales Consultant to arrange a complimentary Straine Practice Analysis, valued at $995, or call Straine Consultants at 800-568-7200