I’m often asked about the “summer slowdown.” “Do you take off in the summer when everyone goes on vacation?” “Do you force your team to take off as well?” My answer is always the same: What summer slowdown? In the 15 years that I have been practicing, I have no data to support the idea of seasonality in dentistry. In the United States, the average vacation is 1-2 weeks in duration. Very rarely do patients eave for an entire summer, and if they do, their destination is a vacation home relatively close to their permanent residence. Here in Northern New Jersey, patients often have homes at the Jersey Shore. They leave after the kids finish with school and spend the summer at the beach. However, they come back North occasionally to take care of important issues – like dentistry!
With a healthy practice, at any given time, only a percentage of your patients are on vacation. The rest of them are working like you are. They wake up in the morning, go to work, and do it all over again the next day. If you have a strong recare program, and have been effective in communicating the importance of regular dental visits, patients due in the summer should be more than happy to come in for hygiene. Hygiene visits generate dentistry, and are the foundation for a strong restorative practice. Toothaches never take the summer off!
Million Dollar PPO Coaching and Consulting has always suggested that offices reevaluate their schedule for efficiency. Our experience has been that Fridays and Saturdays are typically the least productive days that a practice is open. We often suggest condensing the schedule to Monday through Thursday. If you have done this, or are considering doing so, this will also help deal with any summer issue, as you take the weekend traveler out of the picture. We work Monday through Thursday, and are closed for the long weekend.
In addition to creating an efficient weekly schedule, we have found that Same Day Dentistry, and Single Visit Dentistry have helped us to avoid the slowdown issue that so many outdated, traditional practices face. With the incorporation of technology and optimization of efficiency we are able to move a patient from diagnosis through treatment planning and financial arrangements to treatment completion in as little as one visit. We focus on completing as much treatment as possible in as few visits as possible. This reduces the likelihood that a 1- or 2-week summer vacation will significantly interfere with a patient’s ability to complete any necessary treatment.
Using CAD/CAM has helped tremendously in avoiding our patients’ objections to multivisit, multi-week treatment. No temporaries and no follow-ups for advanced restorative treatment plans eliminate one of the more common seasonal objections: “I don’t want to be in a temp on my vacation!” CAD/CAM facilitates single-visit treatment and is a great tool for staying busy during the summer as well as the entire year.
If your office has experienced a slowdown in the summer, start preparing now. Create some clever marketing campaigns to encourage patients to seek treatment in the summer months. Plan your vacations and start a list of important tasks that need to be completed so that, in the event of a slowdown, your team has a clear understanding of what they can do to improve that practice. Dr. Matthew Krieger is CEO and founder of Million Dollar PPO, a dental practice consulting and coaching company serving dentists across the United States. Its core philosophy is increasing profitability through increasing efficiency. It works with its clients through various programs to ensure that they have the understanding and the tools to create the practice that they’ve always dreamed of.
Dr. Matthew Krieger is CEO and founder of Million Dollar PPO, a dental practice consulting and coaching company serving dentists across the United States. Its core philosophy is increasing profitability through increasing efficiency. It works with its clients through various programs to ensure that they have the understanding and the tools to create the practice that they’ve always dreamed of.