Ways To Relate Treatment to Patients
If all patients had a high dental I.Q. and knew exactly what was available to them, treatment presentations would be a painless process. The fact of the matter is that many patients aren't entirely sure of what they want, what is available to them, and the nature of the procedure. Most patients aren't sure how to address — or are uncomfortable in approaching — their doctor with these questions. By the same token, some dentists have difficulty explaining a procedure in layman's terms, particularly when the patient asks, "But what is that?" "What does that involve?" and "How is it going to look?"
To solve this dilemma, restorative treatment teaching tools are available from several sources including marketing companies, photographers, and even dental laboratories. For example, MicroDental Laboratories has created this very entity in its Practice Development Package. With more than 40 years in dentistry, MicroDental has listened to clinicians' concerns in a multiplicity of case-planning situations. In a proactive bid to bridge that communication gap and help doctors increase their case acceptance rate, the company created an innovative collection of practice tools. Titled "Teeth. The Ultimate Accessory," the package is comprised of several components designed specifically to help dentists market their practices and help patients become better acquainted with today's most common cosmetic procedures.
The Smile Guide is a 16-page booklet that can be kept in the reception area for patients to thumb through, or given to the patient while anesthesia is taking effect. Each page depicts a different cosmetic application: replacing posterior, silver amalgams; chipped front teeth; anterior restoration replacements; and gray margins at the gumline. The pictured options are described in patient-friendly terminology, which taps into the patient's emotions as to how his smile can be an impetus to make him the person he wants to be. Moreover, the pictures give patients the opportunity to point to any page and say, "I want this!"
Similarly, the Patient Education Video (VHS or DVD) showcases several real-life patients discussing what they want in a smile. Seven minutes long, this visual presentation provides insight and testimony to the difference their personal smile enhancement has made in their lives. The auto-looped presentation can be used in either the reception room or the operatory.
The Patient Education brochures offer easy-to-understand details regarding anterior veneers and cosmetic posterior restorations. The "Porcelain Veneer" brochure guides the patient through many of the indications for which veneers are prescribed. Likewise, the "Posterior" brochure describes a variety of cosmetic choices for any posterior application, including direct composites. Each brochure delves into the progression of appointments and what the patient can expect at each appointment. Both brochures briefly touch on the importance of caring for a new smile.
Also included in the complete package are a cap, a latté mug, a poster, and a case checklist. The checklist is an excellent tool to ensure all necessary items for a successful case are sent to the lab the first time, which ultimately saves time and enhances the patient's dental experience.
Each element of the Practice Development Package offers dentists an indirect way to market their dentistry with tools patients can immediately identify with. Each item carries the logo "Teeth. The Ultimate Accessory," which is an excellent, nonverbal cue to patients who begin to associate how their teeth and smile can accessorize their overall look. Clinicians who have the Practice Development Package in their practices have enjoyed an increase in patient communication, case acceptance, and productivity. The bottom line is, after all, your bottom line.
Ms. Eppstein has been a member of the dental community for 14 years. A former practice manager, she has authored articles in various publications and is currently the technical writer and communications editor for MicroDental Laboratories. You may contact Ms. Eppstein at [email protected].