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Dr. John Halmaghi is in private practice in Southfield, MI, and has been a pioneer in cosmetic dentistry and complex dental care. A graduate of The University of Michigan, Medical College of Ohio, and University of Buffalo, he has maintained over ten times the national continuing education credits, and has written and published numerous articles and textbooks sold internationally. He loves to take on challenging cases. Visit his website.

As a practice veteran with over 13 years of experience, I have read and tried just about every management and marketing principle possible. Many dental practices look for ways to increase new patient flow by different means of advertising and marketing. Many consider using breath treatment as a way to bring new patients through the door, or as an alternative means of improving profit and increasing production. One of the most common questions I have been asked by my readers is: “Do those fresh breath clinics really make any money?” That’s really a great question if you are considering adding this service for your practice. But let’s take the time to dissect the answer.

I have seen many so-called Breath Clinics come and go in the last few years, and I have also seen some very profitable practices that have used the concept of treating bad breath improve their profit margins. I think that if anyone wants to open up a stand-alone breath clinic, it may not survive financially; however, I believe that each and every practice in this country should and must have a system in place to treat halitosis. Even if you end up losing money doing these treatments for patients, you will gain from increased traffic flow and goodwill.

Here is what I mean. If you are going to operate a breath clinic, then you should plan on spending at least half an hour with these patients at their first visit. The protocol is usually the same, and it should follow a scripted format. During this half hour, the staff starts with a Halimeter® reading and continues with other necessary steps such as X-Rays and periodontal diagnosis.

If the patient denies diagnostic measures it is still possible to educate the patient about the basics of halitosis treatment, but the key to success is to get the patient committed to a complete examination. Of course, some patients may be coming from other offices, and they are not ready to switch practitioners. These patients should not be denied treatment, because many may come back in the future if their relationship with their existing dentists suffers.

It only takes a few minutes to show any patient the basics of curing halitosis. The Halimeter® is an integral part of showing the patient the severity of their problem! The fees that you charge for this service can vary, and it is entirely up to the practice owner. Some offices sell products such as Oxyfresh for around $27 and give away the visit as a marketing avenue for diagnosing other treatment. Other offices charge up to $500 for the basic visit and necessary supplies.

In a future article I will address the benefits and drawbacks of what you should charge for this service.

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