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3.24.06 Issue #211

Welcome to the World Wide Web!
Now What?

Sally McKenzie, CEO
The McKenzie Company

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You finally took the plunge and dove headlong into the communication sea of the 21st century. At long last, you have a website. You have content, you have graphics, you have educational materials and necessary patient forms. Your site is as flashy as it is informative. You are cruisin’ down that info superhighway. The only problem, no one seems to have spotted you in the fast lane.

You may be wondering: Where are the “hits”? Where’s all the demand that’s supposed to be out there for my site?  Where are the patients? Those are all valid questions. Now I have one for you: Have you told anyone that you have a website?

That may sound like a silly question, but it is not uncommon for practices to invest in developing a site with excellent content and information, only to never consider the need to market that site. They go along thinking they’re zooming along that information superhighway only to discover they haven’t even pulled out of the driveway.

Developing the site is only half the equation, now you have to promote it. Take the six steps below and before long your patients, the majority of whom are eager to access you and your practice via the Internet, and your prospective patients will know your website is the number one stop for oral healthcare information.

1. Spread the Word. Promote, promote, promote your website. Include the web address on all office materials, from appointment cards, to letters, to reminder notices, to brochures, to business cards, to yellow page ads, to hand mirrors, to toothbrushes. If it mentions the practice, it must include the website address – no exceptions.

2. Don’t Overlook the Obvious. Current patients are the single most important, yet most overlooked market for practice websites. Many doctors don’t realize they have to tell their existing patients about their website. How do you get the majority of your new patients now? Through patient referrals. Send a mailing to all of your patients and invite them to visit your new website. Ask them to email you with feedback and suggestions. Encourage them to forward the website address to their friends and family.

3. Rev Your Engines. Search Engines that is. Register the site with major search engines, including and so that the site can be accessed through these. It is important to be listed under both the word dentist and your location, such as Dentist San Diego.

4. Build your Address Book. Collect email addresses from patients and ask patients for permission to contact them via email. Considering that 85% of today’s patients prefer communicating via email they will likely be willing to encourage your efforts to reach them electronically. You can then use the Internet to remind patients of upcoming appointments and alert them to new services via email.

5. Keep in Touch. Send an email newsletter to patients on a regular basis. This enables the office to maintain contact with patients in between their scheduled visits. The practice can cover a topic or two and it does not carry the printing and mailing costs associated with hardcopy newsletters. Encourage visitors to your website to register online to receive the newsletter as well.

6. Increased Chatter. Consider hosting an email chat room periodically to answer various questions from patients online, particularly if you are launching a new service. This is a great way to educate your patients about it.

The Internet is the telephone of the 21st century. It is no longer merely a source for information. It has become an essential tool in your patients’ ability to managing daily life and an indispensable tool in your ability to communicate effectively with your patients. Make the most of your website and you’ll likely find that more patients are willing to make the most of your dentist.

Interested in having Sally speak to your dental society or study club? Click Here.

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Spring Cleaning: Make Room For Success

Dr. Nancy Haller
Executive Coach
McKenzie Management

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It’s spring. Nature’s way of saying that life will go on. A time of revitalization and renewal. A time for planting seeds, literally and symbolically. Spring also is a perfect time to review your life and your practice. Clear away the cobwebs. The ritual of cleaning ‘house’ is about to begin.

  • Take an inventory of your office and your business.

Even if you're stopping short of a total overhaul, everyone has some debris to sweep away. Start with your physical surroundings. Is your work space messy and unorganized? Is your desk in disarray? When you’re surrounded by clutter, your mind gets bogged down which prevents you from thinking clearly and being focused. By making room and space you will be more productive and creative.

I’ve coached many ‘pack-rats’. Although they really can find things in their many stacks and piles, even chronic savers admit that they work better when their physical environment is organized. If the clutter doesn’t bother you, it often irks people around you. Worse, you send a negative message to your employees. The excess that surrounds you reflects less about thrift and frugality and more about indecisiveness and lack of control. Live your life from a position of abundance rather than from a fear of scarcity where you need to save everything ‘just in case’. If you find it hard to know what to keep and what to throw away, hire a professional organizer to help you sift through the clutter and advise you. It will increase your efficiency, affect your bottom line, and leave you with more leisure time.

  • Just as you rid your life of physical clutter, it's important to spring clean your relationships too.

Analyze what is working for you and why. Then make a plan to weed out the people who are toxic and draining. Whether it’s a colleague or an employee, relationships need basic maintenance if they are going to be life-giving to you. Make a list of people who zap your energy. Identify the specific behaviors that create tension or stress for you, and what would need to change to lessen that source of irritation. Talk with those individuals and give them feedback about what you want for them to do. Avoid rehashing old problems and stay focused on your expectations for the future.

  • If feedback doesn’t remedy the problem, remove the dead foliage.

If a relationship isn’t working, you need to remove it to allow room for new growth to emerge. By surrounding yourself with positive staff and colleagues, you will get more of the results that you want. Remember that the goal is to improve and grow your practice. Who is contributing to that end result, and who is an obstacle to you?

Set up performance improvement plans with employees who are falling short of their job responsibilities. Schedule consistent individual meetings to review what they are doing. Keep a file on each person and document your discussions. If you do need to terminate an employee, you will have the necessary paperwork to move forward legally.

  • Throw out the bad business

You probably have patients who are high maintenance. Some are costing you more in aggravation than they’re worth. The same for insurance companies that drive you crazy. Get rid of them! You have the right to be picky. And you won't attract new business if all your time is spent with the energy drainers.

  • Be a stead gardener.

When the seeds of your efforts start to germinate, continue to cultivate what you’ve planted. Do you have employees who are root-bound? If a member of your team has outgrown their job, find new ‘pots’ for them and encourage them to blossom in new ways. The same applies to your own leadership. Make a commitment to learn new skills. Keep yourself sharp and honed. Then enjoy the harvest!

If you’re ready for more success, energy and confidence, contact Dr. Haller at She’ll help you and your practice bloom

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Implementing an Interceptive Periodontal Therapy Program

Jean Gallienne RDH BS
Hygiene Consultant McKenzie Management

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There are many offices that are not probing their patients, or they are only probing some of their patients. This article is not only for those offices that are wanting to start an interceptive periodontal therapy program and just do not know how, but for those offices that want to improve an already existing program.

One of the first decisions is regarding which probe should be used in the office. All the hygienist and doctors should be using the same probe. This will help with calibrating all of the operators in the office.
The office will also need to agree on a periodontal charting system that everybody can utilize. It should be easy to read and have a legend that is easily followed. In a “multi-hygienist” office, we need to standardize our documentation as much as possible.

It is imperative that every operator be calibrated when it comes to probing measurements. All operators will probe two people that have pocketing. They will all probe the same quadrant on each person, making sure they do not overhear or know the pocketed areas on the patient. Then the measurements will be compared. If there are not any discrepancies then the office is already calibrated. However, if one or two people are off on a few measurements then a consensus needs to be made using a probe as to what a three-millimeter pocket is compared to a four-millimeter pocket compared to a five-millimeter pocket. Once the consensus is made with all the operators, this will be the protocol utilized.  This should be done whenever a new hygienist or dentist is hired.

An informed consent will need to be created or purchased. According to the position paper, “Guidelines for Periodontal Therapy” in J. Periodontal November 2001, the informed consent should include diagnosis, etiology, proposed therapy, possible alternate treatments, prognosis, recommendations for referral to other health care provider as necessary, reasonably foreseeable inherent risks, and potential complications associated with the proposed treatment, and the need to have periodontal maintenance therapy after active therapy due to the potential for disease recurrence.

There should be an orderly sequence of treatment and appointments. This will allow the doctor and hygienist to be more thorough for each procedure. Also, a more methodical approach will prevent duplication of treatment. This will allow for a multi-hygienist practice to have continuity of care between providers. A well-planned protocol will adapt to the needs of the patient’s condition. The protocol should include procedures that determine results most often expected.

The amount of time needed for each procedure will need to be determined. Of course there will always be exceptions to the protocol and time lengths needed. Some patients may require more time while others in the same periodontal classification may need less time. This may be altered when special circumstances apply to an individual patient. However, the majority of patients should fall in the time allotted in the office protocol. Otherwise, the office protocol may need to be re-evaluated.

Informing the patients of new procedures incorporated in the office, starts with the Patient Coordinator, when appointing the patient. This can be done a couple of different ways.

When a patient telephones to make an appointment, the business staff should be excited to tell the patient about the new commitment the office has made to screen all patients for periodontal disease.

     “Ms. Jones, welcome to our practice. Debbie, our Hygienist, will be examining your gum tissues today during your professional cleaning. If you will fill out this questionnaire along with your new patient information, this will help both of you to more accurately evaluate the health of your gum tissues.”

Questionnaires and brochures addressing the signs and symptoms of gum disease, such as the American Dental Association’s, Gum Disease Are you at risk, could be introduced at this time.

Another suggestion is when you send the patient their invitation style notice in an envelope reminding them of the need for their next hygiene appointment, enclose a brochure having to do with periodontal disease.

This will lead to conversation in the treatment area regarding their periodontal condition. The questionnaires and brochures can be used on new or existing patients.

 Once you are preparing to probe, explain to the patient that pocketing greater than three millimeters is a sign of disease, as well as areas of bleeding and or exudates. This co-discovery technique enables the examiner to create value for the patient.
Now, you are on your way to the beginning and/or improvement of your interceptive periodontal therapy program.

If you are interested in enhancing the skills of your Hygienist or having Jean speak to your study club or dental group email

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2006 Location Sponsor Information Topic Speaker
Mar. 29 Long Island, NY Suffolk County Dental Society 312-440-2908 Breakdown Sally McKenzie
Mar. 31 Las Vegas, NV Dental Town Meeting* 877-777-6151 Pred. Empl. Success Sally McKenzie
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