Monthly Archives: October 2019

Keeping Patients Committed with a Membership Plan

According to a McKenzie Management Survey, of every ten new patients that visit a medical practice, seven will never go back. Thats a lot of not-returning patients!

In his recent Dental Economics Article “Membership plans keep patients committed to your practice,” Dave Mohan writes that a world of endless choices has created a new level of fickleness among consumers.

“Loyalty to one brand or one entity is becoming rare,” he writes. “It’s no different with your patients. If you aren’t doing it already, now is the time to implement a patient loyalty and retention program.”

So, where do you start? Monahan suggests with the uninsured.

“The most vulnerable patients in a practice are those who are uninsured and pay out of pocket,” he writes. “They truly have endless choices and often shop around for oral care. They are also typically the most profitable patients for a practice and the patients a practice can least afford to lose.”

Monahan goes on to write that research from the Fitch Brand shows the uninsured are patients who are uncomfortable not having dental coverage, avoid hygiene visits and are skeptical about accepting additional treatment recommended by the dentist.

“The great news is that 89% of uninsured patients are interested in purchasing a dental care plan if it’s simple, transparent, and affordable,” Monahan writes. “They have looked at dental insurance, but they do not buy it because of the long, complicated agreements that include limitations, exclusions, annual maximums, and other terms that make it difficult to understand.”

And this, he writes, is where a membership plan comes in. 

A membership plan is a dental care plan that you offer directly to your patients. Patients pay a monthly fee directly to your practice for preventive care and discounts off other treatment. Membership plans eliminate the cost and hassle of an insurance middleman, enabling patients to get the oral care they need at an affordable price while enabling dentists to run a successful, profitable practice.

Monahan writes that his research has found that the cost or fear of a high cost is the number one reason patients with no insurance avoid the dentist. However, membership plans allow patients to understand the costs up front, and that kind of transparency builds trust because they know they will not be surprised by bills during or after the appointment.

“When uninsured patients get access to the oral care they need at an affordable price they want, they feel a sense of relief and appreciation,” he writes. “They visit more often, become more committed to their hygiene visits, and accept more restorative treatment. As a result, membership plan patients are loyal to your practice and will become your best patients.”














Dental Horror Stories

Have you ever been totally grossed out by something that happened at work? 

Whether it be something in a patient’s mouth or the way instruments are cleaned, there’s kind of a lot that could make hygienists feel sick to their stomachs at dental practices. 

Dental Practice Management compiled their best (or worst, depending on how you see it) finds from hygienists all over the country in their blog “Your top scariest dental horror stories,” and we’re here to share them with you.


1. Pennsylvania 

“I worked in a small dental office back in 1992-93 where the dentist did not autoclave the instruments. Everything was cold sterilized. Once I came back from lunch and was advised to take the morning instruments out and prepare the trays with them for the afternoon! Once I tried to use the autoclave but was scolded by the office manager! I worked there three months before moving on.”

2. Texas

“A lady arrives at the dental office and walks directly at me at the “check in” area to ask a question. Willingly and with a smile, I was very eager to help her until she then puts a tooth (root and all) onto the counter and begins to spin it. It was like she was playing “spin the bottle” with her index finger. I awkwardly stared as she said, “My husband’s tooth fell off. Can this be placed back in his mouth?”

What!? How?! Really?! She was very serious! I stood explaining how that couldn’t possibly happen. She didn’t quite believe me, so she picked up her husband’s tooth and left. I sprayed CaviCide all over that countertop, door handle, window door, and everything she touched. I went back and wiped down all the areas until I started to laugh and explain to my staring coworkers what had just happened.”

3. New Jersey

“I worked for a guy who used to put HVE suction tips in the cold sterile! Ugh! I wanted to die! I always threw them out. He never knew.”

4. North Carolina

“Toothbrushes with coarse pumice were used on heavy plaque/food debris in mouths prior to dental treatment (fillings, crowns, whatever) then rinsed, put in the ultrasonic, then in cold disinfectant, and REUSED!!!! YUCK!!! I was reprimanded for throwing some away.

Needless to say, I wasn’t there long. There was no way I could be a part of that and sleep at night. The doctor felt he was OK in doing this and was not going to make any changes. I cringe at this memory.”

5. Michigan

“How about a dentist finding old extraction instruments at an antique sale bringing them into the office, then soaking them in ultrasonic sterilizing? Even still rusted, they were used on a patient.”

6. Texas

“I filled in for another assistant. She had prepped the room before leaving. Well, when the doctor used the mirror to retract the lip for the injection, we both noticed that the back of the mirror was covered with impression material. The doctor became angry and I had to dodge the instrument as it came flying across the patient’s head and hit the window behind me.”

7. Oregon

“I worked for a dentist who would give a drunk patient nitrous. He said it was OK. One time, she inhaled a crown and gagged on us. Another time, she puked all over me. I left the practice and I heard she died. Not sure of the real reason, but I have my ideas…”

8. Ohio

“My boss was being divorced and was an emotional mess. He hires a woman who said she was a certified assistant with 15 years experience. She was certified to take X-rays, but was insubordinant, incompetent, sexually provocative with our male patients, unwilling to learn, and rude to the hygienists. Ultimately she whispered to a patient that he should leave the office because the doctor was just trying to get money from him. The doctor finds out and fires her.”

9. Texas

“I once worked in a pediatric clinic that had a dentist who proudly sported a “No crying” button on his jacket and wore earplugs during procedures. One assistant had to leave the operatory in the middle of a procedure because she didn’t want to vomit in front of the crying child. Of course, we assured the parent (who was not allowed in the back) that her kid was well taken care of!”

10. Michigan

“An older guy came in and wanted his niece’s dentures to be relined to fit him. … what?!”

11. Florida

“The doctor’s mother had come in for dental treatment. The patient had generalized advanced periodontal bone loss. To relax while in the chair, she would place moist 2×2 gauze squares over her eyes and meditate. The doctor asked me to obtain a maxillary preliminary alginate impression.

As I removed the impression from the patient’s mouth, I realized both maxillary central incisors were now missing. I quickly checked the impression, and to my absolute horror, there were the doctor’s mother’s two maxillary central incisors, sitting in the alginate impression!”