The Value of Your Dental Hygiene Team

Measuring hygiene team key performance indicators can help you improve patient care and practice revenue.

Updated 4/22/21

Your dental hygiene team may very well be holding the key to growing your practice or dental group this year. Do you know the value of your hygiene team?

The most successful dental practices recognize that the hygiene team brings tremendous clinical and financial value to the practice. Some of the team’s value can’t be represented with a number or a statistic, but much of it can. Quality patient care always drives dental practice revenue.

The key performance indicators, or KPIs, related to hygiene are often misunderstood. When the topic of statistics comes up, hygienists often react adversely. They immediately think the management team or the consultants are pushing production and using the numbers as if they were a “do or die” mandate.

While production is a part of the equation in a dental hygiene department, there is so much more we can learn by measuring KPIs. Tracking KPIs can tell you a lot about the health of your hygiene business and about the treatment philosophy and clinical parameters you are executing within your practice.

Here is a simple example about the impact of one KPI and how this one indicator can magnify a huge opportunity within your practice.

I was recently working with a dental group (10 locations) from Ohio with 22 doctors and 28 dental hygienists. They were completing either perio scaling and root planing (D4341 or D4342) or perio maintenance (D4910) for 18 percent of their patients. With further examination, I discovered that of that 18 percent, 15 percent of those patients were coming in for maintenance, leaving only a small number of patients that were being seen for active perio treatment. Based on this information, it was clear the hygiene team was struggling to identify and communicate active disease to their patients.

With further assessment, we discovered they did not have a consistent philosophy and needed a strong clinical protocol in place to support their team. During our work with this group we discussed what they believed about treating periodontal disease–and guess what they discovered? They were not properly assessing their patients. In fact, they were only collecting a PSR and not completing a comprehensive periodontal assessment on their adult patients. They also admitted they would overlook bleeding on over 80 percent of their patients. This was a huge eye-opener for them and motivated them to make a change.

This hygiene team made a commitment to a comprehensive periodontal protocol and implemented all the essential items needed to provide top-level care to their patients. Within six months they increased their periodontal care to 31 percent of their patients. Can you guess what this did to their revenue? They added just over $1 million in revenue in only six months.

Not only are their patients receiving better care, the business is winning and the team feels more confident than before! It’s a win-win-win. By examining one key performance indicator, the team identified a gap in their clinical care, made an essential shift in their hygiene protocol, and improved patient care and practice revenue.

Do You Know How Your Dental Practice is Performing?

If not, it’s time to examine your KPIs. Once you uncover your KPIs, I recommend that you start setting some reasonable and clear goals for your dental hygiene team. Provide benchmarks for performance so that each hygienist can measure their progress and success. I like to benchmark and set goals based on current industry standards.

Here are some guidelines you can use within your practice:

Learn More

To learn about hygiene key performance indicators and other KPIs you should be tracking, read the Master the Metrics that Matter article or watch the free webinar.

Sign up for a free 30-minute practice assessment to get advice about your KPIs from an experienced Dentrix business advisor. Visit for more information.

By Heidi Arndt, RDH, BSDH

Heidi Arndt, RDH, BSDH has been training and coaching dental hygiene teams for over 13 years. She is an expert at improving dental hygiene profits through development of the dental hygiene team. Her focus on improving leadership, teamwork, organizational systems, patient care, patient service, verbal skills and sound business strategy makes her one of the most well rounded hygiene coaches in the nation. For a free analysis of the health of your hygiene department, contact Heidi at

Originally published in Dentrix Magazine, Summer 2018