The hygienist’s blog – zoning your appointments

Claire Berry explains why zoning appointments is importantZoning appointments can help change the behaviour of your patients and change attitudes, Claire Berry says.

Newly qualified dental hygienists who have finished university with high hopes often contact me. A few stressful years dash these hopes as they try to adapt to time constraints while dealing with pressures from practice owners, pressure from patients, essays for notes and therefore not carrying out the same standards taught at university. All whilst worrying about the risk of litigation.

It’s hard for them to see how to use their time to create behaviour change effectively in their patients. This is probably the most important aspect of our treatment. Particularly if hygienists are focusing on ‘cleaning’ (we very much hate that term by the way) and the pressures placed upon them as mentioned above.

It seems like an obvious statement but…change doesn’t happen unless you change something. The definition of insanity is widely known as ‘doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results’.

Zoning appointments

To develop behaviour change in your patients you need to break the cycle you may currently be treating in. Zone your appointments differently.

One of the difficulties being a hygienist is meeting the high expectations of the patient. They attend wanting stain and calculus removal. Adding insult to injury, this is the belief of a lot of referring dentists too.

As hygienists we know the real issue is something else entirely. But we continue to treat both simultaneously in order to keep everybody happy.

The common scenario for hygienists is that we feel forced to focus on treatment patients pressure us into thinking is important. That is to ensure every last fleck of calculus is removed (the pressure of which…

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