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Can a thorough prophy or SRP be done in less than 30 minutes?

I have worked with different hygienists that finish most prophys in 10-15 minutes (debriding, polishing and flossing), as well as completing 2 quads of SRP with irrigation in 20 minutes or less. I feel that the patients on the receiving end of these treatments are being shortchanged (not to mention the lack of ethics involved), but the dentist has never remarked that they noticed any calculus was missed. Production goals seem to be the first priority for these ladies from their actions, as well as comments they have made. I understand certain goals must be met to run an office, but patient health is my first concern. Can treatment truly be effective if it is done in this short amount of time? Maybe I’m unusually slow…any insight is welcome!



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20 Answers
Best Answer

Through my experience (24 years) a thorough prophy cannot be done in 30 minutes whether you have an assistant or not. I am grateful that I have worked with a dentist that appreciates the value of a thorough hygiene appointment. I have 1 hour appointments scheduled for all adults. If radiographers are indicated, the appointment time can be overlapped so I am given 1 hour if needed. In that hour I am able to do a cancer screening and probe as well. That is done at every visit. I previously worked in a periodontal practice and gained great experience. I cannot tell you how many periodontal referrals for scaling and root planing were for patients that did go regularly to their general dentist and received 30 minute cleanings. As a hygienist, my responsibility is provide the highest care for the patient, not to allow the practice to increase profits by cutting corners. I am lucky to be in a practice where all new patients are scheduled first with the dentist for radiographs, intraorals, perio evaluation. At that visit the type of hygiene appointment is recommended. Then the proper time length is scheduled. In our office periodontal health is the most important part of dental treatment. The dentist will not do any restorative work until the patient’s periodontal health is stabilized. I wish this was the standard of care for every office.

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I think each patient is different and yes there are some patients where a 1/2 hour is sufficient amount of time for a prophy. 45 min is more accurate. I think a lot of perio maintenance patients can be done in 45 min and not all need a full hour. However each person is different and needs to be treated as such. I work in an office that is pretty lenient about how much time I need.

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It depends on if you are talking about the whole appt time being only sch. For 30 mins or an hour appt. I have an hour for prophy’s and there are some really healthy Pts that can be cleaned in 30 mins. I don’t think other hygienists should be so quick to judge others. Every pt and the circumstances surrounding the appt are different. If the pt and/or hyg talk a lot during the visit, they may not even realize it and it will take longer than 30 mins. If you have a healthy mouth with very little chit-chat a thorough prophy can still be done. Especially if you’re not waiting for exams and the doctor comes right in. #stopbeingsoharshtofellowhygienistspeople!

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I get 30 min…it is not ideal, however, I have an RDH asst. who processes my x rays, sets up /tears down..so I can go between two .,,, I do lots of OHI and pt ed. with a flip down mirror on my light, most patients are aware of my mantra…”the more you do at home, the easier your apt is :)” for SCRP I get 45 per quad.

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I don’t feel any hygienist can do the job we were taught to do in 30 minutes without other help. You would have to skip important steps like reviewing medical histories or patient home care . Patients will return for good quality care, but not for a job not done well:)

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I have been doing this for or almost 20 years. I see many hygienist who can do a cleaning in rapid time. I’m not one of them. I have cleaned behind many of them and found old tartar I know they missed. To clean thoroughly and educate the patient as you go you need an hour per patient or 45 minutes with 2 rooms and an assistant. Good dentist who put patients care first know this. I believe that because I started out in a Periodontal practice, patient education & through cleanings were instilled and ingrained in me. I have seen how both have changed the oral health of my patients and they deserve quality dentistry. Having the time to give each patient the care they need is vital to the patients oral health & the practice. I have too frequently seen patients change dentist because they felt rushed through. I am a temp hygienist and work for many dentist. I no longer work in practices where I get less than an hour unless I have an assistant and 2nd op.

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I typically can finish a 6mo recall patient in 35-40 minutes. I normally have patients every 45 minutes. If needed I have made longer appointments for particularly difficult patients. Some are also great on starting 4mo recalls so it also doesn’t take as long. I generally am explaining OHI as I am working with demonstration at the end and the patients ask questions while we are waiting a few minutes for the dr to come in. If I have to run over the time limit that is fine I will try my hardest to not make them return to complete. I will usually know this a few minutes into the appointment so I can catch the receptionist as she walks by to let her know to explain to my next patient that it may be a few extra minutes! Patients do not seem to mind because they like to know they aren’t being rushed out the door– that I actually work until I’m done, not until the clock says I’m done. They appreciate thorough work.

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There is no way you can give quality care in 30 minutes. Especially while performing SC/RP. I can’t believe how many hygienist I see post that they are only given 30 minutes for a prophy. I feel a responsibility to my patients. They have put their trust in us as hygienist to perform a service to the best of our ability, not as fast as possible. We are not a drive through fast food restaurant! Our patients are paying good money to have us professionally clean their teeth. It bothers me to leave a little spot of stain on someone’s teeth, I could not imagine knowing they left my chair with deposits left all over their teeth. I believe we as hygienist have to stand up to these dentists that see us only as money makers instead of colleagues. We working with them to create dental health and we should be proud of that!

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I feel like thirty minutes is not enough time for most adult prophys. I get a half hr for kids sometimes and I feel like that can be tough! I usually get an hr for adult prophys and an hr and a half for two full quads of srp which includes giving my own anesthesia. I can’t ahine doing a twenty minute srp. I feel like if you can do that then either you did a terrible job and left so much calculus behind or the patient didn’t really need an srp in the first place!

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No! Sounds like greed to me and a disservice to the patient.

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22 years of hygiene and I have done short (30 min) and long (1-1.25 hour) appointments. At my current office, hygienists schedule their own recare appts. Most patients 50 minutes, xrays 60 mins, new patients and SRP 70-80 mins. Being organized is key for me-I go through charts day before or early am to check who needs perio charting, xrays etc. I stay on time and I primarily hand scale (selectively use cavitron).

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I work in an office where we only get 30 minutes but that does not include xrays, the assistant takes those afterwards. When I first started here, I balked at the thought of only getting 30 minutes thinking it would never work out. However, at this particular office, the patients are pretty religious about coming on time for their recalls, many coming in on the exact three, four or six month mark somehow, so it somehow feels manageable. We are quick to refer to perio if we cannot manage someone in our office. I’m not saying it’s an ideal situation or even really advocating 30 minute prophys, but I do feel that my office in particular is a well oiled machine and it somehow works. We always stay on schedule too, so the patients appreciate it and I think it helps with compliance.
 
As for SRP, however, obviously we cannot do that in 30 minutes. In the case of someone needing SRP, they get put into the doctor’s schedule OR just very recently, have started to be scheduled with the hygienist for 45 minutes per visit.

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We get a full hour for pros and luckily I work in an office that allows me to adjust time as needed as well. I do work w/ a hygienist though that does 30min pros, never really any perio appts., she does pros on everyone. I have no idea how she does it….I’m lucky if I get them done in an hour!!

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We also get a full hour for prophys and two hours for SCRP…thats all four quads. In my opinion one hour for a prophy is great…gives us enough time to discuss all the many different things we offer to our patients, update needed xrays, debride and catch up with them along with exam. We typically complete all four quads at one time and it definitely takes me two hours for most patients.

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For a thorough SRP time may vary patient to patient depending how involved they are. I am use to being allowed 1 hour for half the mouth. Sometimes it may take 1/2 to 45 min. longer to do a complete job. Prophys should be given an hour for an adult. If your done early there is always something else that can be done. We never sit around filing our nails.

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I get 45 minutes for a prophy which includes xrays exam and tear down and set up. If it was for prophy only 30 minutes in most cases would be fine. However for scrp absolutely not. We get an hour or an hour and 15 minutes for 2 quads. The patients are always given anesthetic so that takes time and normally if a patient needs scrp they have enough tarter that it’s going to take a lot more time to remove it all. We also period chart afterwards since the tater is not there anymore to block the probe.

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We get an hour per patient and an hour per quad for SRP. I dont always need the full hour but its nice to have if needed. If I have extra time I try to do more with OH instructions and try to push the points home.

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I did assisted hygiene when I first graduated… and each patient was scheduled an hour but only a half got with me. The other half hour was with my assistant doing the Hhx, exam, and X-rays. Usually the first half hour was with the assistant. I has a solid thirty minutes to clean teeth…it was okay for most patients and the beauty of it was that if I ran behind I had two rooms and an assistant wiping my butt! I could actively “run behind” and take my time bc the next patient was getting the xrays and bp taken before I saw them! I would only run real behind if they had to wait for the doctors exam. And the beauty of this office was if I needed more time I was in charge of my own scheduled. Thirty minutes for prophy, 45 for perio main….but each patient was scheduled an hour time slot! In a reg private practice that I worked in after my first job I got 50 min for prophy, 60 minutes for bws and prophy (both including exams) and 70 minutes for new patients! Sometimes I felt like I had more time when I had my assistant!

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I get a half hour for true prophys. If they don’t have the best home care we bring them back for a second visit about 7-10 days later. This gives me time to see if they have improved their habits and to go over areas they are missing. I don’t have to do much with health history or take xrays. The front desk and assistants help a lot. I have one hour for 2 quads of SRP. I see all our new patients and probe them so decide what they need. If I think they’ll take an hour a quad then I schedule them for that. I change the length of their hygiene visit to what I think is appropriate.

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I think it all depends on the patient and the clinician. I’ve scaled behind hygienists who took an hour on one quad and when I go in to do another quad I check the one they did and there is sub calc still present. Either you know what you’re doing or you don’t. You may take an hour and do a Shitty job or you may take 30 and do a Shitty job. Like I said, time depends on the patient and the clinicians skills.

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