With every year that passes, as a dental practice management consultant, I see more and more dentists enrolling in clinical aesthetic courses. When I return to their office I see the new technology they have spent thousands of dollars on this past year.
It is exciting to know that dentists all over the world are seeking out the latest dental technology and products to improve their patients smile.
Once you have completed your CE course, your next step (and also an important goal) needs to be a system to introduce these new services to your patients. How do you know if the service you just spent a few thousand dollars educating yourself to provide your patients is something they are willing to pay for?
Of course one simple answer can possibly be to ask your patients if they want this treatment for themselves.
My question to you is “Have you ever or do you consistently ask your patients what types of services they desire?” have you asked them “What does that mean for you if we can change the appearance of your smile?”
It is the summer and many of your patients probably want to look good for their son or daughters graduation, a wedding or reunion. They may be thinking that they can’t afford to change the way their smile looks. Your patients probably assume it is not possible for their smile to improve due to money, time or even how old they “think” they are.
If you never ask, the answer will always be a “NO.”
At Dental Practice Solutions, we educate your client offices to annually inquire about their patients smile. We call this a smile evaluation. It’s a simple, one page survey, given to the patient upon check in at the front desk. The patient completes these questions in about 60 seconds and then when the hygienist is reviewing the patient medical history she or he will smoothly transition into the smile evaluation. While the patient is seated in the treatment room, the hygienist reviews the patients answers and together, they look at the patients teeth in a mirror. This is not meant to be time consuming but can efficiently be completed with some simple training.
What I see NOT What I have Found
After the hygienist has reviewed the smile evaluation with their patient, they should tour the patient’s mouth with the intra-oral camera. This allows you to show the patient the following:
- Decay, missing teeth, large amalgams, aged resins that are stained/chipped
- Old bridges which are no longer aesthetically pleasing,
- Cracked /or misaligned teeth
- Poor home care (excessive plaque and YES – even green teeth!)
- Heavy calculus and/or stain
When talking to patients about what you see, be sure not to say for example:
“Mrs. Dalton, I have found…” This seems to leave a negative feeling with patients who think “My dentist always finds something!”
Instead, when looking at the patients teeth and gums say words phrases like “do you see ____?” or “Mrs. Dalton today we saw ________.”
Always keep the door to improving every patients smile. It works best for everyone if you don’t presume or prejudge a patient’s values or pocket book.
If you don’t ask “the answer will be NO” so keep the open door policy and begin to ask every patient “If there is one thing they could change about their smile what would that be?”
One Simple Tweak in What You Say
There are so many twists on this simple question and if you will take time to annually update each patients smile, it will go a long way to making patients leave feeling very happy about the services you have provided them and your will see an increase in your profits.
Continuing education courses can do a lot to support a successful dental practice. The important piece here is to have a goal to use this. Decide how you will begin to offer this new service to your patients and write the date on your calendar, when you will begin asking patients what they want to change about their smile.
Now you can reap the benefits of that expensive aesthetic course and new technology you just paid a lot of money for! One small shift in what you say to patients can increase dental practice profits by thousands each year.
ABOUT DEBBIE AND DENTAL PRACTICE SOLUTIONS
Are you looking to improve profits in your dental hygiene department? Debbie has an innovative and successful way to educate you and your team to create the small tweaks mentioned in this blog. Many dentists today request a 1 or 2 day workshop or find it valuable to participate in the online membership program offered by Dental Practice Solutions. This can mean your highest ROI for this year when you get everyone on the team to that next level of success. Check our her services section on the website to find one that meets your needs. Consider getting your team involved in her 12 week Case Acceptance Program. You won’t need to stop your day of work at the office or pay for a consultant to travel to your office. The program is at your fingertips 24/7 indefinitely.
Debbie writes for many of the major dental conferences in the world. She is recognized for the past 8 years as “One of Dentistry Today’s Top Consultants.”
Many of her clients span from not only the United States but Brazil, Australia, India and the UK, just to mention a few.