Same-day dentistry inside the dental jungle

December 15, 2016

How offering same-day dentistry can have big returns for new dentists.

There are hundreds of stories in the dental jungle. This is only one of the hundred stories.

Today we will follow a dentist named Dr. Alan Medford and he will be our guide through the dental jungle. Dr. Medford, will be providing sage advice to his friend, a dentist named Dr. Blair Boyd. Dr. Boyd is a recent dental school graduate.

Same-day dentistry: Say yes

Dr. Blair Bennet took her first giant step a few months after leaving dental school. She became a new dental associate at Essex Family Dental.

Luckily Dr. Boyd has a guide, Dr. Medford. Her question to Dr. Medford today is, “If you were me and just beginning your career as a dentist, what is the first thing you would do?”

That’s an easy question to answer, thought Dr. Medford. The need to get busy fast was imminent.

Young dentists don’t generally have a book of patients on which to work. They have no history in the practice. They are basically an unknown. This means they don’t have a consistent stream of referrals from satisfied patients. There is no backlog of people waiting to come in. There are no overdue hygiene patients to return with possible treatment. What is a new associate to do?

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All new dentists must work on strangers in a nutshell. They have to be creative and be able to handle the dental emergency well. They have to be able to convert a dental shopper into a satisfied patient. With all patients being new they have to learn to “wow” them on the spot or risk losing them to the practice down the street. Patient conversions become a vital skill for every new dentist to learn.

Dr. Medford expanded this concept: “One of my biggest mindset shifts of the last decade was focusing on “saying yes” and “same-day dentistry.” Whatever I can do for my patients today, I will do it. When there is a willing patient and we can create time in the schedule, we say, “yes” and care for their needs on the day they are in the office. We discover what the patient wants and we look for ways to complete that on the same day they are in our office.

For instance, a doctor might say during the hygiene patient exam, “If we can work it into our schedule, Mrs. Johnson, would you like to get that done today?” 

Each morning we have a team pod meeting. Our team meets for no more than ten minutes so everyone on our team knows what is happening on that day. We know where the holes are in our schedule and if we are on track to meet all of our daily goals.

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When we know there is a hole in the schedule we can ask patients this question about scheduling same-day dentistry.  Our team is well trained and capable of spontaneous changes in our daily schedule so I know I can use this line with our hygiene patients when there is an opening.

We build throughout the day to fill in the holes that show up in our schedules, both in the doctor and hygiene treatment rooms. We work as a team to engineer the best production possible to not only reach but many days we exceed our daily goals. Every player on our team has embraced a mindset of abundance and opportunity, not scarcity and limitations.

Our team is patient-focused and everyone will say yes to do what is necessary for meeting our production goals. Everyone on the team participates in asking for new patient referrals. 

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Can-do attitude

It takes a can-do attitude from the entire team to ensure the needs of the patient are met. The team who completes same-day dentistry must have a flexible mindset and they must be cross-trained.

The positive side of patients who don’t need to return again and again for future treatment is that you now have more openings in your schedule for new patients as your practice grows. These patients who don’t need to continue returning are typically happy patients.

Patients who are most likely to say yes to your care are the ones who trust you. Patients who have to take off an hour or two off of work to come to their dental appointment no longer need to take more time off because you were able to accommodate them on the same day. This creates more happy patients and happy patients are more likely to refer their friends and family.

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When you have a practice filled with happy patients, over time your referral base begins to grow and you no longer have to rely on external marketing to expand your practice. Everything is connected. There are no insular events in a well-run dental practice.

Once gestalt of the new patient’s experience is understood, the pace of advancement accelerates. Gestalt is a set of things such as a person's thoughts and experiences considered as a whole and regarded as amounting to more than the sum of its parts.

When the entire team of the dental practice has bought into the vision, mission and culture of the practice and utilizes the tools and techniques of good communication, the experience that the patients receive goes beyond what is normal in dentistry. It is this perception of excellence that creates the wow factor.

For experienced dentists with a solid base of patients this opens the door to higher productivity. For young dentists with little to no patients this is the means to survival. Excellence in communications, listening and gaining instant rapport are skills all dentists must learn.

Have you looked carefully at the barriers to delivering same-day dental care? Your first step is to discover what these barriers may be and then create systems to eliminate them. The next step is to watch your productivity flourish.

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