Written by Cindy Rogers, RDH
A potential new patient calls your office and says that he has a tooth ache and would like to be seen as soon as possible because he is in pain. Excited at the opportunity to fill a hole in your schedule, you gleefully say “we have some time available today to do an exam and x-ray and get you out of pain.” Great, that is all the guy wants, right? Well not exactly.
This patient has to this pain because he has not had comprehensive dental care in a while; maybe even years. His dental care has consisted of seeking relief from toothache to toothache. He would get a toothache, go to the dentist, get out of pain and then repeat the cycle of limited exams, PA’s and limited treatment. He was never offered the option of having a comprehensive exam and full mouth x-rays.
You see, this guy is a general contractor, he does not work in dentistry and does not really know much about it. All he knows it that he is in pain and he needs dentistry to help him get out of it. It is our job to educate him on dentistry and what is best for him. It is also our job as a business to determine what is best for us. This is a win-win opportunity.
Why is a Comprehensive Exam and FMX Best for the Patient?
- The patient has an active infection spreading throughout his body and it needs to be treated. Caries and periodontal disease are infectious. If one area is infected then it is likely that others are as well. Bacteria travels throughout the blood stream to vital organs.
- The patient is valuable as a person and a patient in your dental practice. They need to get as much treatment completed as possible in one appointment to eliminate returning to your office and leaving their job. A limited exam and Periapical are usually scheduled for 30 minutes in your day. A comprehensive exam is usually scheduled for 60 minutes. The patient will have a diagnosis and treatment plan for his whole mouth in one appointment instead of retuning numerous times.
- This patient works hard and wants to get the most out of his insurance and the almighty pocket book. The majority of insurance companies only cover two exams of any type per year, regardless if they are a comprehensive or a limited exam. Most insurance companies will cover preventative services at 100%. To the patient, with insurance, there is no difference in cost for a comprehensive or a limited exam. They will get the most savings and a valuable benefit by having insurance pay for a comprehensive exam and Full mouth x-rays.
Why is this best for the Practice?
True, you could possibly add a little bonus in production by doing emergency treatment. Let’s take a look at the bigger production picture. Here is a possible scenario of the opportunity to increase production.
|Scheduled Time||30 minutes||60 minutes|
|Possible Treatment Plan||$500||$5000|
By doubling the initial appointment time, you will at least double the production. You will also be able to present him with a “whole mouth comprehensive treatment plan.” The patient will be so impressed that you took the extra time with them that they will refer their friends and family to your dental office.
What to Say to the Patient During the Initial Phone Call
Dental Office: “Mr. South, I understand that you have a toothache and it is our priority to get you out of pain. Let me explain how we can do that and prevent you from suffering again in a few months, all while saving you time and money. How does that sound?”
“Mr. South, I understand you are trying to save money by only fixing one tooth at a time. Let me explain why this is actually costing you more money and keeping you from using the insurance benefit that you pay for.”
“Mr. South, did you know that cavities are contagious? We are concerned that if we only fix the one tooth, that many others in your mouth are still infected and will be causing you pain in the near future. Let me explain how we can help prevent this from happening.”
Getting the patient out of pain is indeed a priority, but, let’s not forget about the big picture. The big picture for him and for your practice.
Your Goal: No more pain for the patient and in return you have a patient for life in your dental practice.
Cindy Rogers, RDH, BS is a dental consultant, coach, speaker, and author for Dental Practice Solutions. Cindy coaches in the areas of front office systems and processes as well as the hygiene department. People love the calm ZEN vibe that comes with Cindy but don’t be surprised at her “Inspiring and Motivating” ability when working with your team! Please contact Cindy for a complimentary Profit Boosting Session: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 949-351-8741 Visit the website for valuable resources and schedule your complimentary session today: https://www.dentalpracticesolutions.com/