About seven years ago at the American Dental Association's annual meeting, my husband, Stephen Robertson, DMD, and I were introduced to the reception area program, Smile Channel. We share a practice in Bowling Green, Ky., and are big believers in patient education. Stephen and I liked the idea of patients learning about dental procedures and the services we offer while they wait for their appointment. Shortly after the show, we purchased Smile Channel for our office and have been using it ever since.
Smile Channel, which was created by CAESY Education Systems, plays on a 90-minute continuous loop, showing 3-D graphics, full-motion video, and before-and-after photos that promote our aesthetic services. We run it about 80 percent of the time. The program can be customized easily by removing presentations. We did that when we first got it, but actually there were only a few presentations on services that we don't offer. We play the DVD with narration and music, although both are optional, and we keep the audio low so it doesn't interfere with conversation.
For several years, we played Smile Channel in the operatories as well as the reception area. Then we got CAESY, which is a multimedia patient-education program with presentations that cover diagnoses, procedures, and alternatives. It does a great job of explaining procedures to our patients, which saves us time. The multimedia presentations give comprehensive pictorial and narrative explanations that help patients understand our treatment recommendations. The presentations lay down the basics, and then if we add a two-minute blurb of our own, patients generally "get it." Since using this program, our case acceptance has increased.
Now we use the CAESY program in our operatories as a treatment education tool, and Smile Channel in the reception area to promote our aesthetic services. We removed most of the magazines from our reception area because we want patients to focus on the educational video. In addition to learning about good dental habits, Smile Channel also lets patients know the extent of our services. Many patients think we only do root canals and restorations. But Smile Channel lets patients know — especially the new ones — that we are a full-service practice. Often they say, "I didn't know about veneers before. Do you do that?" And they go on to get the work done. The DVD is a much more elegant way to promote our aesthetic business, rather than coming right out and bringing it up to patients.
Every December, Smile Channel is updated to reflect new dental technologies, products, and procedures. As Update Plan members, we automatically receive both Smile Channel and CAESY. Updating CAESY allows us to show patients presentations on the new procedures we offer, like our DIAGNOdent. Showing new Smile Channel programs every year keeps things fresh for the patients. No matter how many times they view the program, there's always something new.
Gina Davis, DMD
Dr. Davis graduated in 1991 from the University of Louisville School of Dentistry in Louisville, Ky. Past president of the Pennyrile Dental Society, Dr. Davis has co-owned her practice with her husband, Dr. Stephen W. Robertson, DMD, in Bowling Green, Ky., since 1992.