Solving Productivity Killing Start and Stop Dentistry

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Solving Productivity Killing Start and Stop DentistryI thought I was as efficient as I could be in my dental practice.

After investing in the Solea Dental Laser I remember going to training thinking, “I can’t possibly get more efficient.” During my training session, my trainer said, “just wait, you WILL get more efficient.” Boy was he right! Everything Dr. Jeff Rohde told me became true. Thanks Jeff!

Here’s one place I notice those efficiencies every day.

One at a Time

Like most dentists, I hated seeing my schedule littered with single fillings. Though they may require only 10 minutes of my time to complete, we always scheduled them for 30-40 minutes:

  • 10-15 minutes of anesthesia time
  • 5 minutes of prepping
  • 10 minutes to check hygiene
  • 5-10 minutes to restore

This is pretty typical…right? So what happens when you miss your block? Or get lost in your office checking email? Or the hygiene check turns into a 30-minute consultation? It ruins your schedule.

I know some will say, “I’m only gone for 5 minutes at a time.” I would challenge you to put yourself on the clock and test that theory. I started a timer on my Apple Watch every time I would get up and was amazed at how I distracted I got when I would stop and leave the operatory. All this time adds up.

I like to work out of one chair. So when scheduling these single fillings back to back, I could do at best 2 appointments per hour and that’s if the stars aligned and nothing went wrong. If we do the math, (I always use $200/filling when I do my math), that is $400/hour. That’s far below my average.

Adding Up the Savings

Then came Solea and my whole workflow changed! I quickly realized that a 40-minute appointment was about 30 minutes too much. When I sat down to do a single filling, there was no need to leave the room until it was finished. I instantly saved 20+ minutes per appointment by eliminating the anesthetic time and any hygiene interruptions, I mean checks. This saves 20 minutes per appointment, and I never leave the room once I’ve started.

My scheduling has changed tremendously due to the efficiency gains. Now my team routinely schedules me just 10 minutes a filling. This helps our block scheduling operate much more smoothly. The appointment coordinator knows to only put single filling appointments where she sees a gap of 20 minutes or less.

This was simply not possible before, because fillings had to be scheduled for 40 minutes to account for anesthesia time and hygiene checks. This strategy keeps my schedule from getting clogged up with fillings and preventing me from doing other procedures that require 1.5-2.0 hours of time. For every five 40 minute filling appointments I can shrink to 20 minutes or less, I free myself up an hour and forty minutes to do something more enjoyable and fun like a CEREC crown.  

So let’s redo the math, assuming I do four 10-minute appointments in an hour (I have to reserve 20 minutes/hour for my hygiene checks), my productivity doubles to $800/hour.

There is no way to avoid these single filling appointments, they will show up from time to time, but the good news is that they no longer kill my productivity.

For a Case Study demonstrating how Dr. Brantley completes a Class II restoration in 10 minutes, visit his blog.

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