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Why You Should Promote Your Practices’ Same-Day Services

Posted Aug 05 2010 8:43am

You are driving on a nice vacation and need gas. You stop at a gas station and go inside to buy some snacks while you gas is being pumped. How much do you spend while in the convenience store? The national average is $5.00US (US = American Dollar).

This month Nordstrom (A major and very popular US department store) is having their Anniversary Sale. I know all the stores were mobbed. How much do you think the average shopper spent this year at the sale? The sale just ended so I am not certain about the exact number but I just read that sales this year for Nordstrom Department Stores are up 35%!

Have you ever taken time to monitor what the average patient spends at a dental appointment in your office? If not, then please take time to run this report in your office. Studies say that patients will spend $300-$500.00US at each dental visit the same day they are offered the treatment or product! This means that if we communicate with powerful words, patients will complete and pay for treatment and products we recommend – the same day.

What type of services do you have available for patients to buy right now?

Do you have a complete menu of services? – – And – – Do your patients know exactly what these services are? Do you have categories of various services available? Where can patients read about the services you provide? Are they written down somewhere in the office and on your website? Plan to offer these services on your social media sites. There are so many ways you can get the word out about the services your dental practice offers.

Take time this summer to meet with your team and discuss what services you offer in these three categories: Preventive Treatments, Restorative Treatments and Cosmetic or “Elective” Treatments. Discuss, as a team, how patients currently find out about what you offer and share as a team, ways that patients may be able to read and learn about your services more easily. How can you create in patients, the desire to buy what they want not just want you tell them they need?

Here are some suggestions to discuss at the team meeting:

  • How can you make your “same day” – – cosmetic (elective) services seem and feel more appealing?
  • How can you create urgency for patients to begin getting impressions taken “same day” for teeth whitening, fluoride treatments, etc., instead of making an appointment?
  • Do you have desensitizing agents available for patients?
  • Do you recommend fluoride varnish?
  • Do you recommend Xylitol products?
  • Do you recommend Power toothbrushes, toothpaste(s), mouth rinses, etc.
  • Do you utilize the intraoral camera while patients are in the chair?
  • Is there something more you can add to educate patients while they are in the office?(In the reception area, consult room and operatories)
  • How do you educate patients about your services when they are on your website?
  • What type of photographs do you use on the website to show off your valuable services?
  • Do you show off before and after photos for patients to view while they are in the office? (In the reception area, the back office and consult room?)

There are so many “same day” preventive services that you can offer patients. Even “same day” cosmetic services and products can be recommended and provided to patients that day, while they are already there for an appointment. People will buy on the spot (“Impulse buying”) when you communicate with powerful words that add value to the recommended and/or diagnosed service(s) and products. People are thinking: What’s in it for me. “WIIFM”

When you meet as a team to discuss various services you provide patients, make time to discuss ways to educate and communicate these valuable services to your patients. You can now add over $100,000.00US in production to the dental practice in 2011, when you add “same day” services. Additionally, have patients leave the office with their recommended dental products and the knowledge about how to use these properly.

One easy way to guide your patients to live a longer, healthier life and build practice revenue is to ask questions during the 1st five minutes a patient is seated in the chair.

A few of these questions are:

  • Do you ever notice your mouth feels dry?
  • Do you feel the need to frequently sip water?
  • Do you have sensitive teeth?
  • Do you like the appearance of your teeth?
  • Do you like the color of your teeth?

CAMBRA (Caries Management by Risk Assessment) recommends that patients be categorized into risk levels for managing decay. When patients are at moderate to extremely high risk for caries it is recommended they have a fluoride varnish treatment every 90-120 days. Patients may say: “Insurance doesn’t pay for it.” “I don’t want it if my insurance doesn’t pay for it.” Many insurance companies will pay for fluoride varnish under the CDT code D1206. (This code is used in the United States for billing purposes.) There are insurance companies paying for this service every three months. If patients don’t have insurance or if their insurance will not cover this benefit then we have a responsibility to communicate the risks, benefits and the value of this preventive treatment to the patient. (The WIIFM part) Many patients come into a dental office and spend over $1,000.00US on restorative and even cosmetic (“Elective”) treatment. Many of these patients qualify (Meaning this is a necessary preventive treatment.) under CAMBRA for a fluoride varnish every 90-120 days and they will benefit by spending just as little as $100.00US annually to prevent decay. This service is a huge savings when a patient spends maybe $100.00US annually for prevention vs. $250.00US for possibly one mandatory restoration, a few times each year.

What about over the counter products for preventive care? This is another area, which will benefit the patient and the practice. Research tells us that 70% of patients who leave the dental office to fill a prescription for 5% Sodium Fluoride or Peridex, etc., return to the dental office and say they did not get the prescription filled. When we have these products available to our patients, not only are we able to have them take the products home and utilize immediately, but we can have a team member in the office teach the patient how to use the new product so self-efficacy is at the highest level possible. (Yes, even someone at the front desk can be available and educated to show the patient how to use the new power toothbrush, whitening product, or fluoride, etc.)

For those patients who are in the dark and refuse to see the light (The truth!) and say, “Fluoride is a poison!” they may benefit by using Xylitol products. Xylitol products need to be available for patients to purchase in your office and utilize daily. Many dental companies sell 100% high quality Xylitol. (Read labels and find out how much Xylitol is really in the product.) The patients who are at risk for caries need 5g of Xylitol daily and the dental companies that sell Xylitol have tablets, gum, mints, etc., in a form, which allows patients to monitor their daily intake and effectively prevent decay.

Did you know that over 1,000 medications cause dry mouth? Xerostomia (Dry mouth) sets up patients for cervical decay. Fluoride treatments in the office and at home can prevent patients from spending money on mandatory restorative treatment. This also adds value to the patient appointment and revenue to the practice.

Many years ago, patients spent 4 minutes with a bulky tray in their mouth to receive a fluoride treatment. Patients were only offered a few flavors to choose from and it was an unpleasant experience. Now, we have fluoride varnish that can be applied in less than 90 seconds. You can offer patients various flavors and no tray is used. No one needs to worry about the patient swallowing fluoride varnish. No time is spent suctioning the mouth or drying teeth. This can be applied in a wet environment with the swipe of a tiny brush over the teeth. Fluoride varnish will creep into the interproximal surfaces so there is no need to attempt applying into the interproximal surfaces.

Fluoride varnish usually costs less than $2.00US per application and the patient cost is anywhere from $25.00 – $50.00.00US per treatment; 3-4 times a year. The cost benefit ratio to the patient and the practice is huge! Think about how happy 100 patients will be, this year, if you offer just this one service. Patients may now save $1,000.00US next year on restorative treatment if they prevent decay. Choose just 4 patients in your practice each day, beginning this week, who you know can benefit from a fluoride varnish treatment. If you charge $25.00US, (A very conservative fee for this treatment.) for each treatment this increases your revenue $100.00/dayUS. This is just the tip of the iceberg when adding profits to your practice and improving patients’ health.

During your morning team meeting (“huddle”) tomorrow I challenge you to pick 4 patients who you believe can benefit from a fluoride varnish treatment. Discuss ahead of time, what the cost will be to the patient. What will you say to the patient so they can understand why this is necessary? In addition – – What will you say to communicate the benefit to them financially? How will this affect the health of their mouth and their overall health? This is the WIIFM. Think about this with regard to each patient you offer this one service to, beginning this week.

2 Tips to take away today:

1. Create a list of questions to ask patients and discover their desires, wants and needs, etc., regarding dentistry.

2. Offer “same day” treatments and products for patients to take home with them.

We are the healthcare professionals – “The Experts”. When we share, the scientific evidence and understand how to communicate effectively, patients will sit up, listen and take action. These are just a few suggestions so you to tap into same day Preventive and Cosmetic, (“Elective”) treatment, add value to the patient appointment and profits to the practice.

If you have not read the information about CAMBRA and the benefits to patients and your practice, visit dentalpracticesolutions.com and click on the Membership Center link. It is free to all of you. Once in the Membership Center click to Register. We have a lot of information about CAMBRA right there for you!

Which same-day services are you offering your patients? Which have proven to be successful in your practice?

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