Dentistry is a business. Even if we love our job it’s still a job. And in any business increasing revenue pays the bills and produces the profit.
It’s easy as a new graduate to get caught up on the numbers. Without a doubt the numbers are important however early on the most important thing is doing the job right.
Group procedures together: Quadrant Dentistry
For me, in the first year I found the biggest increase to my production had nothing to do with me increasing speed.
It was simply trying to group procedures together.
Imagine you are doing a few fillings in a row on different patients. For each patient you greet them, briefly chat, discuss what you’re doing, give LA, place rubber dam, do the filling, check the bite and finally dismiss the patient.
If you do another filling for the patient, if it’s adjacent tooth the only thing you need to do is the filling! Saving a lot of time while providing the same quality. If it’s in another Quadrant you have to do a few more steps but it is still much quicker to do them together.
If I’ve planned restorations (fillings or even a crown/filling) on 16 and 46, i’ll suggest we do them together. To do this efficiently, I will do the infiltration for 16, block 46, rubber dam 16 and its numb and ready to go. Bonus is you leave the block plenty of time so it’s more profound.
This concept is equally important when there’s a simple filling to do at a check up appointment, or a regular patient comes in with an emergency, does it make sense to do the check up now as well? If you’re fully booked this may save a check up appointment down the track so you can see someone else and saves the patients an extra journey!
How long is too long?
One thing I have learnt is that one long appointments for restorative work can really strain your focus. If i’m working on the same patient for multiple restorations then I find my limit is about 3hrs.
Personally, I’ve found that both patient and I tend to get tired and this may impact on quality, something I want to avoid.
Everyone is different, find your, and the patients, limit and work within that to provide efficient optimal dentistry.
Doing an Arch of work that changes the occlusion is an exception and a situation where I really have to be focused to get through it.