While some patients think dentistry is inconvenient, expensive, and uncomfortable, many are open-minded and ready to move forward with the care they need. The reality is, improving case acceptance is not very difficult. You just need to have the right strategies.
To help you get started, here are three strategies Delivering WOW Platinum Coaching Program coach, Dr. Chris Bowman shares to improve case acceptance.
Present the Problem, Not the Treatment
Often, the issue keeping patients from moving forward isn’t money. Sure, money might be tight. But if you have flexible financing options, that can be overcome.
Many times, the issue keeping patients from moving forward is a lack of a perceived need. Patients simply don’t think they need the care we recommend, so they don’t consider moving forward a good use of their time and money. That’s why Dr. Bowman says doctors should focus on presenting the problem, not the treatment. This way, patients know the consequences of not moving forward with treatment. If they understand the gravity of their issue, they’ll understand the importance of moving forward with the treatment they need.
Additionally, explaining treatment might sound like a foreign language to a patient. Telling them they might need their tooth extracted if they don’t get their cavity fixed, on the other hand, will be much more persuasive.
Do a “Gloss Over” for Patients Who Need a Lot of Care
Avoid overwhelming patients on their first visit. To do so, get a sense of how much thought patients have given to their care before coming. Some patients—typically cosmetic patients—will have thought about getting the care they need for quite sometime before they come in. With those patients, you can generally tell them about all the care they need without overwhelming them. For patients who haven’t mulled over treatment options, however, you’ve got to do what Dr. Bowman calls the “gloss over.”
For example, you might have a patient come in with a broken tooth. Upon examination, you might notice four cavities they had no idea about. To avoid overwhelming the patient and putting them off, get them started incrementally by taking their care one step at a time.
Help them fix their broken tooth and identify any urgent care that’s needed. If some of the cavities are less urgent, mention those to them but let them know they can wait to fill those. Go back and revisit each tooth that needs treatment, develop a comprehensive plan, and go as fast or as slow as the patient wants. The key is to relieve the pressure of telling your patients they need lots of care and treatment by doing a “gloss over” of their needs and moving forward very deliberately.
Take Digital Photographs of Their Teeth and Compare Their Photographs to Other Patients' Photographs
Dr. Bowman suggests creating different folders for each type of dental problem you’ve faced as a dentist. You can have one folder for cavities under fillings, another for cavities under crowns, another for broken or split teeth, another for periodontal disease, etc.
For each dental problem, have digital pictures of before, during, and after the treatment of patients who had those dental problems. Show these pictures to patients who have the same problem. This will show them what treatment can do for them.
Taking digital photographs of the “during” phase and showing those to patient’s is especially important. Before and after pictures don’t sell dentistry, unless it’s a cosmetic treatment, Dr. Bowman says. When a cavity is under a filling, for example, it’s hard to see the cavity because the filling is on top of it. If you did a before and after picture, they might not look very different. If you show a “during” picture, however, the patient will see the tooth once the filling is removed. Thus, they will see all of the decay going on under the filling. They’ll be much more convinced to move forward with treatment when they see all the decay.
Are Your Patients Moving Forward with the Treatment They Need?
It’s our jobs as dentists to help patients maintain healthy teeth and enjoyable lives. Thus, it’s important for our patients to moving forward with the treatment they need.
These three strategies can help you get more patients to say yes to your treatment plan. For more strategies to help you increase case acceptance, plus coaching for you and your team, and more, join our Delivering WOW Platinum Coaching Program today.