How do we Track Hygiene overhead and products?

Post from a user:

How do you deal with hygiene products and overhead? My hygienists have requested tongue scrapers, end tuft brushes, proxabrushes, biotene, etc to have as available handouts in addition to our oral b brushes (.93 cents/pt). Those products range from .67 cents to $1.37. On certain prophies, the fee is $65 and the hygienist is getting $46/hour at 1 pt/hour.”

Here’s some input from our experts across the country:

  • Have them in the office as a display for the hygienist. Let them (the hygienist) show them online where they can be purchased or make recommendations. If needed carry them in the office for purchase if needed as a convenience. Only problem is that you will have to account for the sales tax in your state”
  • “Sounds like the way their compensation is set up they aren’t really playing for your team. At that hourly rate, low price prophies in addition to auxiliary handouts, unless they are killing SRP, they aren’t likely earning their 3.3x production salary.”

→ Original Poster response: “definitely not earning 3.3x production salary, which I learned at the summit but is that strictly hygiene procedures or does that include x rays? It’s tough in southern california. A lot of hygienists are requesting $50/hour, even new grads. Thanks!”

  • “Can you give each hygienist a certain allotment every month? For example give each hygienist 5 proxabrushes. They can show patients what they look like and selectively choose who they give them to? Explain to them the concern about the low reimbursement and why you have to limit the freebies. You could also incentivize them with more products with higher production.”

→ Original Poster response: “This is kind of the route I’ve been going and really ordering the bare minimum and I’ve told my lead assistant not to keep their rooms stocked. The hygienists been complaining to my assistant that they need product but I do the ordering for the office”

  • “We show them links on Amazon rather than stock products for our hygienists to give away…same products you mentioned. Many times we’ll copy the link and send them a text message via Yapi. We find that the recommendation and extra time it took for our team to send them the links or even show them that these products exist was a WOW factor that exceeded the actual physical gift of the free toothbrush – which has become an expectation without a value proposition.
  • “Want to blow away a patient? Try bringing up something on Amazon that you recommend for them…I did this with a gum stimulator rubber tip for an ortho patient. Then straight up order it for them right in front of their eyes. Was probably the most expensive gum stimulator I’ve ever purchased at $10 but the ROI in referrals and a 5-Star review was worth it. Obviously don’t want to do this for all patients but I’m working on an internal marketing campaign that has a set monthly budget for our team. They can spend whatever they want as long as 1. It adds to the health of the patient 2. It innovates the patient experience 3. They need to share in a video on our secret Team Facebook site what, why they did it with the rest of the team. The goals are to improve patient health and experience as well as engage team members. “

→ Original Poster response: “Do you give the regular toothbrush at all or just recommendations and links?”

→ Commentator Response: “We do still currently offer the toothbrush. The hygienists noted that they see an increase in those that have electric toothbrushes (haven’t tracked this so just going by their word of mouth) so for those patients we offer the toothbrush for them to gift to someone else.”

  • “Have your recommended products bundled according to their risk assessment and diagnosis. Patients will pay for this convenience. Our product list also shows amazon pricing for transparency purposes.”
  • “ I’m getting tongue scrapers for free from my Sonicare rep. I’m using TePe proxy brush and have them on auto ship which really brings the cost down. Start with a practice box and then see what they use the most. Henry Schein brand end tuft brushes ftw on those. GSK owns Biotene and that is not sampled any longer. Write your own handouts and print in house to keep costs down.”
  • “What if you unleash your hygienists as goodwill and case acceptance rock stars? What if you give them autonomy, give them the tools to take awesome care of patients and train them to be fellow leaders in the practice? They can drive reviews, referrals and doctor treatment. If they help you eliminate external marketing expenses, drop PPOs that only pay $65 on a prophy, and keep your schedule packed with treatment . . . doesn’t that make the cost of the potions and gum gadgets irrelevant? I’m just saying you can turn most any “expense” into an “investment” if you play in a slightly different manner. What if you see them as not just producers, but as a marketing and sales department?”


As dentists and business owners there’s a great deal to consider and balance. In this situation the DSN member is attempting to balance their hygienist’s happiness without spending heaps of money. The feedback this DSN member received was extremely valuable. There wasn’t just one solution to the issue. Some members suggested carrying displays in their practice in order for patients to physically see the product but would then provide them with the location to purchase the product. Others said that they set up auto shipping in order to cut costs.

With this feedback the DSN member will now be able to make an educated decision on how they would like to proceed within their own practice. If you’re looking for more actionable information like this, join DSN!