We all know that trained Dental Team members are still hard to find, the one area of your office where you can hire a team member who doesn’t have dental experience is on your admin team. This is a great option, especially, if you have the option to have a very patient team member train them. The new team member needs to have great customer service skills and a willingness to learn. Very often we teach these team members the mechanics of the position, but we don’t teach them about what happens in the clinical area of the practice, we just assume that they will learn by osmosis. You will be doing your practice a disservice if you neglect training them with clinical knowledge.
One of the areas that these team members are first trained are usually hygiene calls as it is easy to describe this task and then leave the team member on their own to complete it. This is a great idea but if the team member is speaking with a patient and the patient provides resistance when asked to book by saying “I brush regularly at home/They just want my insurance/The dentist barely looks in my mouth” this team member likely doesn’t have the appropriate verbal skills to speak about the importance of the appointment.
For each type of appointment in your office you should have a list of what happens in the appointment so that everyone is able to convey the same message to the patient. I am going to provide you of an example for hygiene appointments and then challenge you to create your own list for other treatments so that your entire team can discuss the procedures of the office.
- Your mouth will be checked for oral cancer by examining your mouth, throat, and neck for any signs of cancer. Early detection is crucial for successful treatment.
- You will be examined for any signs of decay, gum disease and any other oral health issues.
- Your tongue and bite will be checked to ensure that they are working the way they were intended and nothing has changed.
- If the timing is appropriate there will be x-rays taken to allow views inside your teeth and under your gumline to detect any problems that are not visible to the naked eye so that they can be treated before they become bigger problems.
- Plaque and tartare buildup will be removed as these can cause tooth decay and other problems.
- Using a probe and mirror, you will be checked for any signs of cavities or tooth decay.
- You will be offered tips for maintaining good oral health between appointments such as brushing and flossing techniques.
- You will be checked for wear and tear on your teeth which would be signs of clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth.
You may also want to provide your new administrator some verbiage for patients who don’t want to adhere to the perio intervals diagnosed for them. If you aren’t providing your team with all the tools needed you can’t expect the same results, verbal skills are one of those tools. Have the hygienists in the office write up some suggestions that they use to help patients understand the need for keeping to their hygiene intervals.
If you do this for all procedures in the office you will find your new admin team member will be able to represent your office in an effective manner sooner than expected.