They still want whitening

March 21, 2012

Bad economy or not, patients still want to look good. And with so many options and more awareness about what it can do for their smile, many patients are turning to professional whitening to give their smile that little something extra. In the September 2010 DPR Cosmetic Survey, 55% of dentists said chairside whitening is the cosmetic dentistry procedure that has been most profitable for their practice.

Bad economy or not, patients still want to look good.

And with so many options and more awareness about what it can do for their smile, many patients are turning to professional whitening to give their smile that little something extra. In the September 2010 DPR Cosmetic Survey, 55% of dentists said chairside whitening is the cosmetic dentistry procedure that has been most profitable for their practice.

“Patients still want to feel confident and good about themselves, and that’s what these kind of products (whitening) deliver,” said Gabrielle Minkus, Global Product Manager, In-Office Whitening at Discus Dental. “Patients want something safe and recommended by their clinician, and I think that’s particularly why take-home whitening has held strong even in a down economy. With depressing news constantly surrounding us, teeth whitening is a simple procedure, a small investment and an easy way for patients to feel better about themselves.”

They have options

Whether it’s take-home, in-office or over-the-counter, there are plenty of different, and affordable, ways for patients to get whiter teeth, said Steve Clark, Senior Brand Manager for Ultradent’s Opalescence line. “They don’t have to pay hundreds of dollars to get it done, and it’s easy to find an option that fits into their lifestyle and meets their needs,” he said.

It’s all in the approach

Many dentists are using whitening as an incentive to get patients to their practice, Clark said, which is another reason that more patients have inquired about whitening. “We’ve recommended that offices offer free or reduced whitening as part of a loyalty program or a new patient special to make it more affordable and accessible.

“Tooth whitening opens up doors to so many other dental procedures,” he said. “If patients have a whiter, brighter smile they’re more concerned about the overall health of their teeth.”

They're more educated

People used to think whitening was bad for their teeth, or that it was painful and expensive. Today’s more informed consumer knows that these factors aren’t always true, Clark said. “They understand what’s involved in the procedure so they’re more open to trying it,” he said. “Combine this with affordable and effective options such as what brands like Opalescence offer, and you have patients who are ready to whiten.”

Tell them about it

Even though patients know about whitening and are excited about it, you and your staff members still need to talk with them about the benefits. Discus Dental Director of Global Marketing John Bernhard and Minkus recommend making sure everyone on staff has their teeth whitened to show patients exactly what it can do for their smile. Have patient brochures and posters in your waiting room to let patients know you offer it. Look at it as educating patients about whitening rather than trying to sell it to them. Include testimonials on your website. Take shades with every patient. Find a way to get the conversation going.

It’s a great revenue source

Whitening is something patients want. They know it’s available and they know there are plenty of options. Talk with them about it and let potential patients know you have it, Bernhard said.

“It’s a great practice builder,” Bernhard said. “It’s a great way to get patients in the chair you otherwise wouldn’t see. If you don’t offer whitening you’re losing out on a percentage of patients who want their teeth whitened, which can turn into other restorative work.”