Keys to increasing dental compliance - DVM
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Keys to increasing dental compliance
Combat low dental care compliance rates with these five easy-to-implement strategies.

DVM Best Practices

Figure 1. A dental report card combines visual elements and educational information for a more effective handout.
It's also important to take advantage of office technology, which allows you to advertise services in your newsletter and on your Web site. In addition, change reminder messages and postcards to read, "Your pet is due for a yearly physical and dental exam."

Another way to spread the word: Call industry representatives and ask them to provide free product samples to clients at the clinic.

3. Establish a script—and stick to it. The idea is to create a pattern that reinforces itself with each visit. Here's an example of how the script might look:

Receptionist: Identifies the files of new puppies and kittens and all patients arriving at the clinic for routine physical and dental examinations.

Technician: Discusses the importance of oral healthcare with clients in the exam room before the doctor arrives.During puppy and kitten visits, he or she provides clients with tips on dental care (e.g., which treats and toys are good for teeth and gums) and reviews proper brushing techniques.

Figure 2. A sample estimate.
Veterinarian: Performs the examination. During the dental portion, he or she provides information that helps clients understand their pet's individual needs. For example, a Maltese with a small mouth might lose teeth at a younger age because of overcrowding and a breed predisposition to gum disease. Similarly, a Labrador retriever may break more teeth on bones and sticks while playing, which calls for safer toys and regular exams to check for damage.

After the examination, the doctor completes a dental report card (Figure 1). If the teeth are stage 1 or higher, he or she adds the appropriate code for the recommended dental treatment to the travel or charge sheet, prepares a long-term individualized treatment plan, and notifies the technician to prepare an estimate (Figure 2).

Technician: Reviews the report card and treatment plan with clients, reinforcing follow-up home care. He or she also reviews the estimate for the next recommended treatment. Owners of patients that have undergone teeth cleaning should receive full discharge instructions and a handout with their pets' before-and-after photos (Figure 3). The technician then escorts the client to the receptionist.

Receptionist: Asks the client to schedule an appointment for the recommended dental treatment. If clients decline, he or she inputs a computer code that will trigger a monthly letter (Figure 4), which includes photos of the pets' teeth, if possible. If clients don't respond, the receptionist adds their names to a targeted marketing list for February's Dental Health Month campaign.


Source: DVM Best Practices,
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