7 steps to give your patients the best smile makeover in any economy

March 21, 2012

Has the economic downturn negatively impacted patients’ ability to afford smile makeover procedures? If you work on Main Street the answer is most likely, “of course it has!" In this edition of Best Cosmetic Dentistry Practices, I will share with you seven action steps that will help your patients understand how recent advances in cosmetic dental technology directly benefit them. The result will be more patients leaving your office with renewed self-confidence and feeling empowered when they are in business or social situations.

Has the economic downturn negatively impacted patients’ ability to afford smile makeover procedures? If you work on Main Street the answer is most likely, “of course it has!" In this edition of Best Cosmetic Dentistry Practices, I will share with you seven action steps that will help your patients understand how recent advances in cosmetic dental technology directly benefit them. The result will be more patients leaving your office with renewed self-confidence and feeling empowered when they are in business or social situations.

1. Think Non-Invasive Dentistry.  Let’s face it – patients’ don’t want to have their healthy tooth “filed down” just to have a nicer smile. Dentists hear that comment all the time. The solution:  Non-invasive veneers that are carefully designed to create a seamless emergence profile and a brighter, more natural looking veneer. I know that this can be done. Feel free to check out examples of how I have been achieving this at www.DrHarveySilverman.com/gallery

2. Redefine what is the best cosmetic dentistry in your mind. In a previous article in the Best Cosmetic Dentistry Practices series in DPR I shared how I ask patients what they consider to be the best cosmetic dentistry. My feeling has always been the best cosmetic dentistry is the least cosmetic dentistry that provides patients with the enhanced self-confidence they are looking to achieve. Knowing how to provide only one or two premium in-office veneers combined with in-office tooth whitening can often achieve that goal for you and your patients.

3. Step outside. Literally. I recently did that at an office where I conducted a Cosmetic Dentistry Boot Camp program.  The entire team toured the office, starting from outside to visiting every room – opening their eyes and seeing the office as a patient.  Now do that tomorrow when you are back at the office.  What is the message that your office is conveying about your cosmetic dental practice?  Let me re-phrase that.  Is your office even conveying a message to your patients about your cosmetic services that can transform their smile?  Once you have gone through this exercise, take 2-3 photos of your reception area and send them to me in jpeg format. I will be happy to give you some recommendations on how you might be able to enhance your message.

4. Remove the clutter. Magazines are in every office but they tend to distract your patients.  Instead of reading patient education materials regarding recent advances in technology they spend their time distracted by popular magazines.  Test this out yourself.  Do a quick time and motion study this week at your office.  Here’s how to do that.  While your office manager is at the front desk, watch what engages your patients.  Set aside a 20-minute period of time and make a list of the activities patients are doing.  Next remove the clutter and all magazines.  Only leave out strategically placed patient education materials with a few smile art posters.   Set aside one more 20-minute period and observe your patients.  The results will be self-evident.  More patients will ask about your cosmetic dental services.

5. Enhance your patient’s experience. This does not only mean that you should offer them coffee, tea, juice or water.  Once your patient asks about the different cosmetic transformations described in the patient education materials - don’t hold back.  Enhance their experience and share your pride and enthusiasm about the doctor’s cosmetic dentistry skill set.  Share testimonial stories that help distinguish and differentiate the doctor as not only a talented, caring general dentist – but as a skilled, artistic cosmetic dentist who has positively impacted many patients’ lives.  Needless to say this must be based from sincere feelings.

6. Only show examples of work you have done. While there are some beautiful albums that are commercially available, dentists who want to take their cosmetic practice to the next level show their own before and after photos.  Why?  It establishes and builds your credibility.  For example when a patient with a diastema is looking at your photo album, your hygienist or assistant can easily describe how you treated that patient and the impact it had on their life.  This third party testimonial enhances your cosmetic skill set level with your patients.  When based upon sincere experiences you can never go wrong.

7. Re-evaluate the information not obtained from the Smile Enhancement Form. Recently I talked to a dentist who had me visit his practice as part of our Cosmetic Dentistry Boot Camp Program.  He told me that he was obtaining great success with patients responding to our Smile Enhancement Form.  However he was having a challenge motivating patients to have a Smile Preview done on their teeth.  He did not know what to do.  We discussed what was going on and my recommendation was to re-organize his case presentation and address the “hidden objection” that was creating this obstacle.  To do this he needed to pro-actively share “good news” with his patients.  By proactively including the good news about fees and the benefit of offering minimally or non-invasive veneers when appropriate, patients become far more receptive to having a Smile Preview.

Performing a Smile Preview on the teeth demonstrate what changes are possible – while determining if a patient is a candidate for bread and butter cosmetic dentistry.

One more suggestion: take photos of EVERY case you do. Sometimes subtle transformations have great impact and are relatable to your other patients. Within a short period of time you may find that the best cosmetic dentistry in any economy are bread and butter cosmetic transformations – requiring in-office whitening with only one or two in-office veneers. If you want to take your cosmetic practice to the next level and feel that our Cosmetic Dentistry Boot Camp might be valuable to you please feel free to contact me at incrediblesmiles@aol.com or call me at 216-256-4599.

Dr. Harvey Silverman has been consulting / coaching on cosmetic dentistry for over 25 years. If you want more information about how the Silverman Institute Of Cosmetic Dentistry’s Boot Camp Program can benefit your practice, please contact Dr. Silverman at 216-256-4599 or e-mail incrediblesmiles@aol.com.