Over the last few decades, researchers, physicians, and the general public have become more aware of how oral health impacts total body health. We now know how poor oral health can actually speed up the progression of kidney disease, how it can cause malnutrition and dementia symptoms in the elderly, and how oral health plays a role in heart disease, premature births, heart attacks, and strokes. Dentists are often the first practitioners to see signs of osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s, GERD, and bulimia.
Yet even as society begins to understand how oral health affects total wellness, many dental practices are stuck with 20th century branding. Are you ready to bring your practice into the 21st century with a total branding transformation? Here’s how to get started.
New brand: Dental wellness center. Old brand: Grinning tooth
You’ve had the grinning tooth mascot for a long time. It may even hold a toothbrush at a jaunty angle. You may feel affection for it, but a tooth with teeth does nothing to set you apart from other dental practices. The fact is, you’re not just in the business of cleaning teeth and improving smiles. You recognize the link between oral and systemic health and it’s time to share your knowledge with employees, patients, and the community. Rebranding can help make your message more effective and connect you with patients who need the full range of services that you provide.
You’re ready to rebrand if you and your employees:
• Recognize the link between oral and systemic health—Make sure everyone in your office understands that what happens in the mouth affects the entire body. Bacteria in the gums can lead to inflammation in the heart. Decaying teeth can cause problems with nutrition, digestion, and ultimately brain function. Chronic conditions such as diabetes become harder to control when oral health falls by the wayside. Your office does important work in protecting your patients’ health, and you should take pride in that.
• Diagnose and help patients control chronic conditions—Many Americans see their dentists more often than they see their primary care physicians. This means that the signs of conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, allergies, sinus issues, and GERD may be obvious to you before a patient even thinks of making an appointment with his or her physician.
• Work with your patients’ primary care providers (PCPs)—Because you care about total health, you’re willing to work with your patients’ PCPs in order to coordinate care, develop treatment plans, and improve compliance.
• Take patients’ mental and developmental health needs into account—You’re not just treating teeth, you’re treating people. Most dentists today offer options for patients with anxiety or developmental disorders to help them receive appropriate treatment.
• Go beyond cleaning and tooth restoration—Do you do tests, imaging, cancer screenings, and more? You’re already acting like a dental wellness center. It’s time to let your community know.
• Bill medical insurance for some procedures—If you’re working with patients to use medical coverage to pay for certain procedures, you’re going beyond the grinning tooth. You’re providing medical care, and you should let prospective patients know about this valuable service.
You’re a dental wellness center, not just a dental office. How do you get the word out about the services you provide?
Organic rebranding for dental wellness centers
The most important part of your rebranding effort means involving your staff, explaining what you’re doing, and getting them excited about the role they each play in the total health of your patients. Once your staff understand what makes your office unique, they’ll act as brand ambassadors. They’ll share their enthusiasm with your patients, their friends, and their family. Your office will get a reputation as a place that cares about total health.
Educate your staff about the medical procedures that your office performs. They probably don’t realize that things like x-rays, CT scans, oral cancer screenings, saliva tests, TMD treatments, oral surgery, and treatment of infections are actually medical care. Help them see how the health information you have them gather from patients helps you link oral health to total health. Let them see how your office doesn’t simply fix smiles; you’re improving quality of life and helping people stay healthier longer.
After you introduce your staff to the oral-systemic link, you’ll have employees who are medical-minded, not just tooth-minded, and who are concerned with saving lives and not just smiles. At this point, you’re ready to proceed with a total rebranding of your office.
Help for a successful rebrand
A successful rebrand may seem like an impossible undertaking. After all, you need to educate your staff, change some routines, and rework your advertising, signage, and promotional items. You’re busy running a practice and taking care of patients. You don’t have time for extra commitments.
Links2Success can help you establish new routines, educate your staff, and complete your office rebranding. Our staff has experience training employees so they can become active participants in the rebranding process. You can make the change from a 20th century dental office to a 21st century dental wellness center with help from our oral health and wellness doctor, hygienist, and billing experts. These professionals can explain the ins and outs of intake interviews, treatment planning, and medical billing in ways that will transform your staff into a focused, efficient dental wellness team.
You’re already taking care of your patients’ total health. Isn’t it time to make sure everyone realizes it?