Cosmetic dentistry has increased in popularity during the last few years. The development of new materials, products and technologies has been a boon to the dentists who perform aesthetic services. It is hard to believe that only 25 years ago there was very little that could be done for most patients cosmetically without a great deal of tooth destruction.
In addition to improved technology, several factors are converging that bode well for practices that perform cosmetic dentistry. More patients are interested in aesthetic procedures than ever before, thanks to the popularity of makeover shows, multi-million-dollar marketing campaigns of at-home whitening products, and people’s healthy obsession with looking good. The demand for cosmetic dentistry has been building for years. The question is – are you ready to take advantage of it?
Implementation of the following effective long-term strategies will help you grow your aesthetic practice:
1. Conduct a cosmetic exam on every patient. Every patient should receive a complimentary cosmetic exam. As part of a practice’s commitment to comprehensive dentistry, cosmetic exams will help more patients achieve their goals for personal improvement and practices achieve (or even exceed) their production goals for cosmetic dentistry.
2. Institute a two-appointment consult process. Cosmetic dentistry involves largely elective procedures, and the decision-making process for the patient is different than for need-based procedures. The best way to introduce patients to this process is by making a complete diagnosis and then discussing general treatment possibilities with the patient. During the first appointment, make a diagnosis and present your patients with general information about the particular cosmetic procedure that may benefit them. However, do not begin the comprehensive treatment presentation as it maybe too overwhelming at this point. Patients return to the second appointment motivated, open-minded and curious about the benefits of cosmetic procedures. At this time, treatment presentation is appropriate.
3. Emphasise patient benefits. During case presentation for aesthetic services, practices should emphasise emotional benefits. Providing clinical information is important but the primary emphasis should be on how the treatment will improve the patient’s smile and appearance. Rather than just wondering how the procedure will be performed, most patients want to know how the results will benefit them. Accepting a cosmetic case is an emotional rather than a logical decision.
4. Create a cosmetic atmosphere. The atmosphere of a cosmetic practice should be attractive and aesthetically pleasing. For example, a cosmetic practice should be filled with posters of people with beautiful smiles. Treatment coordinators should have brochures, handouts, software and visuals that explain the different types of cosmetic procedures. Your entire team also should have beautiful smiles. These strategies can help patients observe the benefits of cosmetic dentistry and recognise its value.
5. Evaluate cosmetic fees. When practices expand into cosmetic dentistry, they sometimes raise their fees dramatically. This often has a negative long-term effect and eventually results in lower production and profitability. Having the right fees for cosmetic services will increase case acceptance and boost practice profitability. The bottom line is not how high your fees are, but how profitable your practice is. If your fees are too high, you turn off patients, lower production and decrease profitability.
6. Schedule blocking. To increase cosmetic dentistry, practices need to block time for aesthetic services on their schedules. When practices fail to block time for cosmetic procedures, frustrated patients who must wait weeks for an appointment lose the motivation to accept treatment and may never schedule.
Cosmetic dentistry provides a wealth of opportunities for growth. A combination of patient education, treatment planning and motivational techniques will have a dramatic effect on building the cosmetic component of your practice. By following these six simple steps, dentists can create sustainable growth and increased profit.