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686: Miranda Beeson & Dr. Barrett Straub - Cracking the Hygiene Code - How Many Days Are Right for Your Practice

Have you ever wondered how many days are right for your practice? Should you expand and if so, what are some best practices you can apply to succeed? Kirk welcomes Miranda Beeson and Dr Barrett Straub to answer these questions and more. They discuss the need to make decisions based on core values, the impact of PPOs on profitability, and highlight the importance of maximizing capacity and building effective systems. You’ll get a formula for calculating the number of hygiene hours needed, how to make data-based decisions, and make the best decisions for your practice.

Episode Resources:

Main Takeaways

  • Make decisions based on core values and what is best for your practice.
  • Maximize capacity and utilization to improve profitability.
  • Implement effective systems and block scheduling to optimize the hygiene department.
  • Create an ideal schedule and implement a strong re-care system. Create value for the hygiene visit to encourage patient commitment.
  • Pre-appoint the next visit to minimize administrative work and ensure timely appointments.
  • Implement a system for unscheduled patients to fill gaps in the schedule.
  • Personalize contact with patients to build rapport and maintain engagement.
  • Calculate the number of hygiene hours needed to optimize scheduling.
  • Make data-based decisions to improve practice efficiency and productivity.


00:00 Introduction and Overview

06:25 The Importance of the Dental Hygiene Department

10:49 Making Decisions Based on Core Values

13:01 Identifying and Focusing on Patients

14:26 Determining the Need for Additional Hygiene Hours

16:43 Understanding the Impact of PPOs on Profitability

21:29 Maximizing Capacity and Utilization

26:40 Building and Implementing Effective Systems

32:50 Balancing Scheduling and Future Appointments

36:07 The Importance of Block Scheduling

41:25 Creating an Ideal Schedule

44:41 Implementing a Strong Re-care System

45:04 Creating Value for the Hygiene Visit

46:03 Pre-Appointing for the Next Visit

47:29 System for Unscheduled Patients

49:23 Personalizing Contact with Patients

50:21 Importance of Listening and Learning

52:37 Calculating the Number of Hygiene Hours Needed

01:00:58 Upcoming Events and Opportunities

01:02:22 Closing Remarks



“A successful dental hygiene department is the backbone of a successful dental practice.” (6:40 - 6:45)

“Everybody's telling you to grow, add more ops, get a second location. And that's great. If that's your value system and that's where you want to go, but you have to do what's best for you. I don't like the idea of super sizing. I like the idea of right size.” (10:09 - 10:24)

“What you do is so valuable in dentistry. As a dentist or as a hygienist, you have to believe that money spent on dentistry is one of the best investments a human being can make. You should never say to yourself, well, we're just dentists or we're just hygienists. We should probably be cheap. No, that's not why you're listening to this webinar. You're really good at what you do. Charge for it.” (17:58 - 18:18)

“I want to make sure that people realize that the numbers really shouldn't be personal. We should take personal accountability for our impact on the systems that affect the numbers, but it's not a personal measure of you individually. It's a reflection of the systems that we have in place in the practice and how well they're working or not working.” (25:04 - 25:25)

“When hygiene utilization drops below 92%, you're dipping into profitability yet on average, 12 percent of patients miss their hygiene appointment across the United States. So this is a very dangerous thing. And it goes back to having the right patients. We’ve got to have a system in place and then we've got to be able to train our team on how to keep that schedule full.” (28:21 - 28:47)

“You also have to build value in your aligned language. So whatever's being said at the front should be said at the chair should be said by the doctor.” (28:49 - 28:58)

“Instead of building a great system, a great structure, when you build an amazing system where everybody's on board, I promise you you'll achieve greater things than you ever imagined. You'll wake up and go, this is crazy because systems reduce effort. They reduce energy and they improve profitability.” (38:33 - 38:50)

“A pivotal critical piece of this whole puzzle is making sure that we have an ideal day built out day after day for the hygiene team.” (43:44 - 43:52) 

“Creating value is kind of what we spoke to earlier when we're making the appointment. We're building value and the importance of that next visit, which is why it's also important to make it easy for them to schedule. But building value is going to help them to be more committed to showing up for that next appointment. We're reserving this time. And what are we going to be doing at that appointment? And what is the benefit to your patient? For that appointment to help them maintain and have value and show up for that visit. It's important to pre-appoint the next visit as often as possible so that we're minimizing the amount of work it's going to put in on the back end when they are due and having someone administratively  following up, following up, trying to move them into schedule.

And now, heaven forbid, we can't get them in for another six, seven or eight months. And they should be here now. So anytime we can, at the end of a hygiene appointment, reserve their next visit. And if they're coming in every three months or four months, we may be  reserving their next three months and their six month.” (45:46 - 46:42

Kirk Behrendt

Kirk Behrendt is a renowned consultant and speaker in the dental industry, known for his expertise in helping dentists create better practices and better lives. With over 30 years of experience in the field, Kirk has dedicated his professional life to optimizing the best systems and practices in dentistry. Kirk has been a featured speaker at every major dental meeting in the United States. His company, ACT Dental, has consistently been ranked as one of the top dental consultants in Dentistry Today's annual rankings for the past 10 years. In addition, ACT Dental was named one of the fastest-growing companies in the United States by Inc Magazine, appearing on their Inc 5000 list. Kirk's motivational skills are widely recognized in the dental industry. Dr. Peter Dawson of The Dawson Academy has referred to Kirk as "THE best motivator I have ever heard." Kirk has also assembled a trusted team of advisor experts who work with dentists to customize individual solutions that meet their unique needs. When he's not motivating dentists and their teams, Kirk enjoys coaching his children's sports teams and spending time with his amazing wife, Sarah, and their four children, Kinzie, Lily, Zoe, and Bo.