U.S. practices conducting more exams

Source: DrBicuspid.com, By: Alitta Boechler

When looking at the numbers of exams done per month in each practice, there are some interesting findings. Overall, practices throughout the U.S. are performing about five more evaluations per month than they were five years ago. Other data show that recall effectiveness has grown (a trend that we'll be touching on in an upcoming column). More evaluations per month and a higher rate of recall effectiveness work hand in hand to ensure that a steady stream of patients are walking through the practice's doors.

To look at total exams per month per practice, we combined comprehensive exams (CDT codes D0150, D0180) and periodic exams (CDT code D0120) for the final number. The codes focus on both new and established patients:
  • D0120: Periodic oral evaluation -- established patient
  • D0150: Comprehensive oral evaluation -- new or established patient
  • D0180: Comprehensive periodontal evaluation -- new or established patient
Upward trend
To find the average number of total exams in a dental practice, we extracted data from Sikka Software that has been collected from more than 12,500 dental practices from around the U.S. since 2010 until the end of 2016.

Let's take a look at the numbers compiled by the data over the last seven years.

Total Exams

The good news is that total number of exams is going up as we've seen an upward trend over the last four years. This indicates that practices are doing a better job of bringing in new patients and also emphasizing to their existing patients the importance of returning. During the economic downturn, many patients were putting other things ahead of their oral health. These numbers seem to indicate that trend has turned around.