Running Your Perio Numbers

Many dentists believe they have a vibrant periodontal program in their practice. To properly determine whether this is true, a simple analysis can be used as a barometer to determine just how much periodontal therapy is occurring in a given dental practice. Simply print two separate monthly reports: for simplicity’s sake, I’ll call these Report A and Report B.

• Report A includes all the following codes: 4341, 4342, 4910, and 1110.
• Report B includes codes 4341, 4342, and 4910.

Now, divide the total number of codes from report B by the total number of codes from report A; this will provide your periodontal percentage. A percent level above 60 percent means you are providing an excellent level of periodontal services to your patients, and you are to be congratulated. This result represents 1 to 3 percent of all dental practices.

If your percentage is between 40 to 60 percent, then you are average: better than some, but still substandard. If your percentage is less than 40 percent (the range in which more than 90 percent of all dental practices fall), then your periodontal program is on life support and needs immediate assistance. Dental practices are losing hundreds of thousands of dollars per hygiene chair every year due to a lack of a structured periodontal program.

For years, I have told dentists that, if given a mere twenty minutes to view randomly the progress notes in a dental office’s file cabinet, I could easily add $200,000 per year to that practice’s bottom line. It requires no more time than that to identify the lack of periodontal therapy in the practice. There is absolutely nothing comparable to the instantaneous results a properly established and presented periodontal program can have on the quality of care and bottom line of a dental practice.

Eighty percent of all patients who are writing checks for $80–$100 prophys instead should be writing checks for $1,500–$2,200 in order to treat a disease that ultimately is contributing to their own shortened life expectancy.