“Bloody Prophy” – US vs. England


“Bloody Prophy” – US vs. England

George Bernard Shaw once said “England and America are two countries separated by a common language,” and that applies to dentistry too! Read on to find out why, and to learn why this is so important for the health of your practice. 

Most of us know that “chips” means a different form of greasy, unhealthy, and delicious fried potatoes here and across the pond. If you’re not sure – in England “chips” are what we would call “French Fries,” and our potato chips are “crisps” to the Brits.

While “shag” is a deep-pile carpet in the US, over there it’s something you might want to do on that plush flooring!

On the dental front, we all know that “braces” are orthodontic devices – but in the UK they are what we would call suspenders.

And here’s the main topic for today. Depending on which country they are in, a hygienist yelling “I just did a bloody prophy” would have an entirely different meaning!

In England, “bloody” is a mild curse word, so this would kind of be our equivalent of “I just did a damn prophy.” But in the US…..well, that’s a different story. Here at The Madow Center, we use the term “Bloody Prophy” to mean a hygienist is improperly doing some kind of treatment on a person whose gums are quite inflamed, causing them to bleed. In other words, the patient has perio disease, the hygienist is, in reality, doing perio therapy (and usually not doing it well due to time constraints), and then the procedure is billed as a prophy.

So who wins with a “bloody prophy?” Let’s see…

Not the patient. In many cases they are not even being told they have periodontal disease due to fear that we’ll “scare them away.” Bacteria thrive, bone levels go south, and the patient comes in every six months being told they need to brush and floss better. This is an unacceptable situation. We would never do this with blatant decay – why is perio disease any different?

Not the hygienist. She should be a periodontal therapist – one who truly helps people keep their teeth and achieve optimum dental health. Instead she is being demoted (in many cases self-demoted) to “the cleaning lady.” What a waste of knowledge and skill.

Not the practice. Besides the fact that the practice is falling short of their mission to enhance the patient’s health, they are losing revenue. And oh yeah – this is incorrect coding, which some may say is insurance fraud.

So unless you are in the UK, the time to stop doing “bloody prophys” is NOW! Unfortunately it’s not as easy as it seems, as we have trained our patients, our teams, and even ourselves that this is normal and acceptable. IT’S NOT! Let’s make a commitment to turn this around once and for all!

We help practices all over the US turn their hygiene departments from “Bloody Prophy Central” to “Periodontal Therapy Inc.!” If you’re a practice owner, let me know if you want to have a no-charge, no-pressure chat. Send a text to 443-312-2014. And please stop the bloody prophys!

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