A dental practice is a business and should be treated as such. If it fails to turnover a profit, it will not succeed. To ensure the longevity of your practice, there are, of course, many avenues you can turn down, but one sure-fire way of increasing profitability is by improving the services and products you offer and sell.
One example of such services would be teeth whitening, which, as a treatment option, is an excellent practice builder.
Tooth whitening is becoming an increasingly popular treatment, and one that not only benefits patients, but practices as well. From the dental professional’s perspective, tooth whitening can prove a powerful source of extra income. The treatment can keep appointment books full and some practices may even experience an influx of new patients as a direct result of their teeth whitening services.
Ways to market
As a treatment, tooth whitening is relatively easy to sell. Patients recognise and understand the treatment, and because of an increasing media focus on the topic, there is a clear and obvious market for it.
After a check-up, you could suggest the treatment to your patients by addressing the shade of their teeth and asking them if they have ever considered having a brighter smile. This will lead to probing questions and an opening for tooth whitening methods to be discussed.
However, this is not enough to promote the service effectively. Patients need to be aware that tooth whitening exists within your practice. Internal marketing options that could prove advantageous include posters and information leaflets around the waiting room, special offers on treatment packages or promotional events.
Your team could also act as walking advertisements, so why not offer to whiten their teeth for free to promote the treatment? This will also give you the chance to try out the products before using them on your patients.
External marketing could also prove effective. Advertising the treatment and any special offers on social media sites or your own website will let patients know of the service before they step into your practice.
In addition, patients who have had their teeth whitened are great adverts for your practice. Happy patients will discuss their teeth whitening with friends, family and work colleagues, and this is likely to increase interest in the services you offer.
Every patient has different needs and expectations when it comes to tooth whitening. Regardless of the patient, there will be a whitening option available to suit individual needs and meet any budget.
For those patients who are seeking to have their teeth whitened quickly in time for an important event, or for those patients who are looking to take that first step into tooth whitening, systems such as Whitewash Professional Whitening Strips from Whitewash Laboratories are ideal.
The patient only has to apply the strips for one hour a day, for 14 days, to achieve whiter teeth. Prior to the treatment, the patient should be asked of their expectations and advised of the outcomes, so they can fully understand the procedure.
One step further
A simple whitening treatment can be a great stepping stone for other forms of oral healthcare, or for further teeth whitening. Once the colour begins to fade, the patient may consider top-up whitening treatments.
Patients who are concerned enough about the appearance of their teeth to choose to have them whitened are also more likely to be open to other forms of treatment, such as short-term orthodontics or oral healthcare products, to keep their teeth sparkling.
Add-on products, such as sonic toothbrushes, mouthwashes or whitening toothpastes are ideal to sell to your patients. But, when it comes to stocking and supplying oral healthcare products, many dental practices make the mistake of locking these items away in a glass cabinet and relying on the team to sell.
Why add a barrier to a potential sale? As a dentist, you have the knowledge and the skills to tailor advice to your patients and ensure they are using the products correctly. Patients will receive recommendations better from you than they will by simply picking up a toothbrush from a supermarket shelf.
The best way to promote these great add-on products is to allow enough time at the end of each appointment. Stress the importance of maintaining a good oral healthcare regime at home, encouraging the use of products that you stock and can only be bought from you.
If marketed effectively, tooth whitening and all of the add-on products associated with the treatment will prove to be a great source of additional revenue for your practice.
The provision of tooth whitening will allow your business to grow and increase profitability, ensuring the long-term success of your practice.
Matthew Lloyd qualified from Leeds University, where he won the restorative dentistry prize in his final year. He has since worked in mixed practices around west Yorkshire, and has recently completed six months working in an Australian hospital. Always keen to enhance his learning in dentistry, Matthew is currently undertaking an advanced restorative course with Tipton Training.