#2 – Stay on schedule


Clients hate to be kept waiting.  When you start an appointment more than 5 minutes behind schedule, you have either announced to your client that you:

  1. Don’t care about them
  2. Are incompetent

Either way, you lose.  Here is what you are expected to do if you run behind. Be prepared for the day. You should arrive 10‑15 minutes before huddle. This will give you time to accomplish 4 things.

  1. Get your mind organized for the day.
  2. Get your instruments organized for the day.
  3. Review the charts of the clients you will see that day so you are treating people not teeth.  What discussion topics are important to each client?  What level of health have they achieved?  What are your motivational goals for him/her?  What recent treatment have they received that you want to follow up on?
  4. What’s been happening with the rest of the staff?  You need a few minutes to share who you are with the rest of the staff.

Be on time for every client!  Many hygienists will say this is impossible ‑ and it will be for them!  Find out the problems with holding your schedule and deal with these problems creatively.   There can be a long list of reasons for falling behind.  Here are the ones that have come up so far.  If you hear any others add them to the list (with solutions!)

  1. The client was late.  Tell the client how sorry you are they couldn’t arrange their schedule so that you would have all the time necessary to complete their treatment, but that you will do your best to finish before the next client is appointed. Then, do your thing!  Keep an eye on the clock.  Stop, finished or not, in time to be ready for your next client.  If this means this client needs to be reappointed, well, that’s the way it goes!  They are charged a complete fee for that second appointment.  You shouldn’t be penalized for their problem.
  2. The doctor was late checking.  Make sure you have everything ready for the doctor.  Explain to your client that the doctor will be a few minutes.  Ask them if they would like to read a magazine.  Can you get them anything else to help them be comfortable?  Then excuse yourself.  Tell the doctor where you will be.  Get your next client and move to another room set up   for hygiene and begin with that client.
  3. You need a few more minutes.  Excuse yourself.  Go to the reception room and bring your next client back to your second   room.  Seat the client, make sure s/he is comfortable, excuse yourself, and return to your original client.
  4. Scan your schedule during the huddle.  Do you have 3 adults, 45 minutes each and none has been in during the past 5 years? Locate these problem areas in your schedule and let the rest of your team know during your huddle.  Ask for the chairsides or flex assistant to seat/dismiss, take notes, x‑  rays, or wait on the dentist’s exam.
  5. Set up more than your trays ahead of time.  Have Cavitron, x‑rays, etc. ready in advance.
  6. Keep notes on why you think you are running behind and discuss these ideas with your teamleader.

Questions Clients Ask

American Dental Association Seal of Approval ‑ This seal indicates the product is safe and effective.  As of 1995, 450 over the counter products and 1300 dental practice items have received this seal.

Mouthwashes – Antiplaque/ Anti‑gingivitis

How do they work?  These mouthwashes kill the bacteria that produce plaque.

Are they effective?  Two name brands have the seal of acceptance from American Dental (ADA): Listerine (many generic versions also have the seal) and prescription‑only Peridex (or Perigard).  All other rinses, including those that claim to loosen prior to brushing, have not been shown to be effective.

Who needs them?  People with gingivitis or a physical disability such as arthritis that limits their  ability to brush and floss.

Are there side effects?  Peridex contains chlorhexidine, which can cause temporary tooth stains increase tartar, and alter the sense of taste.  Most have shown sanguinaria, an herbal extract in Viadent, causes tissue sensitivity in some clients.


How do they work? The fluoride in this type of mouthwash binds with tooth enamel, making it more resistant to decay.

Are they effective?       When used after brushing with a fluoride toothpaste, ADA‑approved over‑the‑counter rinses, which contain .05% fluoride, reduce cavities up to 40% more effectively brushing alone.

Who needs them?  Adults who have receding gums, eat a high‑sugar diet or have scant saliva flow as a result of illness or medication. (Saliva contains many antibacterial agents and helps rinse away cavity‑causing food particles.)


Are there side effects?  No.

Anti‑Bad Breath


How do they work?  Mouthwashes contain flavorings that camouflage bad breath.  (Some claim to contain ingredients that kill bacteria and other causes of odors.)

Are they effective?  They reduce bad breath for 10 minutes an hour, but as soon as the bacteria return, so does the odor.

 Who needs them?  People with gum disease, a major cause of bad breath. Persistent bad breath may also be caused by medications /uncontrolled diabetes and sinus conditions.  Clients will need to see their doctor to determine the cause.

Are there side effects? No.

The mouthwash we use is: _________________.  The active ingredient is: ____________________. Make sure pt. is practicing good flossing, brushing and tissue brushing (tongue, cheeks and roof of mouth). Our mouthwash is stored: _________________.  The Cost is:  _________________.