Hygienists Stuck in the ‘Prophy Trap’? – Take the Quiz

Imagine a day as a dentist where your schedule is filled with surface composites…all day long.  How would you feel at the end of that day? Tired? Frustrated? Unproductive? Not to mention, an occlusal composite is NOT in the best interest of all your patients.

The same thing is happening when your hygienists are stuck in the ‘prophy trap’, seeing one prophy after another. It’s no wonder they can be frustrated and burned out. And it’s no wonder you aren’t seeing the profitability you expect from the department.

While your high production procedure may be crowns and implants, hygiene’s high production procedure is perio therapy.  This level of care can dramatically improve the bottom line of the hygiene department when it’s provided in an efficient manner for patients with active disease.

The first step in refining the perio protocols and systems in your practice is to determine the level of Perio Awareness in your practices today. We’ve developed this short quiz to help you get a sense of the current state of the perio systems and philosophies within your practice.

Periodontal Awareness Quiz

1) Do you have a written periodontal therapy diagnosis and care plan in all your offices?

a. yes          b. no           c. don’t know

2) Are there clearly written standards in your practices which outline when x-rays are taken and when periodontal probing is recorded?

a.yes         b. no              c. don’t know

3) Are the hygiene schedules booked out more than 4-6 weeks?

a. yes          b. no              c. don’t know

4) Are there times in the hygiene schedule reserved for periodontal therapy?

a. yes          b. no              c. don’t know

 5) What percentage of the adult patients seen each day for routine preventive care have moderate to heavy bleeding during scaling?

a. 5-10%     b. 30-50%     c. 60-100%

 6) How often is a complete full 6-point periodontal charting completed on each adult patient?

a. once a year     b. only when they need it    c. once every 2 years

 7) Do you currently use local antibiotics, like Arestin, in your offices?

a. yes          b. no


Grade Yourself:

#1 a=10       #2 a=10     #3 a=5     #4 a=10     #5 a=10       #6 a=8     #7a=10

      b=4               b=4             b=7             b=5              b=5                b=2          b=5

      c=2               c=2              c=2             c=2              c=2             c=5


Score = 17-20 points

Take Action Now! Chances are your hygienists are performing perio therapy but aren’t identifying it or the treatment planning appropriately. Provide your team with a comprehensive perio course and support them in developing a plan of action. Discuss what is holding them back from identifying periodontal disease and delivering non-surgical therapy. Do the hygienists feel that there is no time in the schedule for periodontal therapy? Are they feeling so rushed in the hygiene appointments that they are just trying to keep their head above water? If so, take a step back and evaluate what can be done to make things better. Seek the help of a hygiene consultant.

Score = 21-54

Refresh & Refine! Revisit your existing perio treatment protocols. Refine protocols to include latest therapy recommendations such as local chemotherapeutics, laser therapy and the use of ultrasonics as the primary scaling tool. Evaluate the hygiene schedule. Is there time set aside for perio treatment? Attend a workshop, CE course, or seek help from a consultant to fine tune and refresh your plan. Be sure all patients receive a comprehensive periodontal exam including recording 6-point probing at least once a year. This may open your eyes to the periodontal disease hiding in your practices.

Score 55-65

You are flying high! Great work! Continue to support your team in attending cutting edge CE courses to help keep you on track. Read research and professional journals for updates on the standard of periodontal care. Work with the hygiene leaders on your team to evaluate your perio care plan each quarter to ensure it meets the current standards.

The next step is to determine the Perio Percentage in your practices. Download our free, simple Perio Percentage Calculator Tool at http://www.inspiredhygiene.com/periotool . Take a few minutes to run these numbers on all your practices. Then compare that percentage to Question #5 in the Quiz. If there’s a large gap between the two numbers, there may be a great opportunity there to raise the level of care, while also improving your bottom line.


wallFounder of Inspired Hygiene, Inc., Rachel Wall leads a team of Hygiene Profitability Coaches to help dental practices improve their hygiene services and systems while increasing profitability. Rachel has presented at ADA, Hinman, AACD Annual Session, RDH Under One Roof, TDA and in 2016 will present at Yankee and CDA among others. Rachel has written for, and been featured in, numerous industry journals including Dentistry Today, Dental Entrepreneur, Progressive Dentist Magazine. She recently received 2012 Dental Excellence Award from DrBicuspid.com for “Most Effective Dental Hygienist Educator” and was named one of the Top 25 Women in Dentistry in 2013 by Dental Products Report magazine. Email Rachel@InspiredHygiene.com to discuss how the Inspired Hygiene team can take your group to the next level of Hygiene Service and Profitability.