What do you focus on when your patient is in the dental chair?
I consider it likely that most dental providers will focus on the same things:
- providing the best possible treatment
- the creation of a friendly and professional environment
- efficient and thorough processes to retain control over the day
However, there is another key component that, if incorporated into every one of your appointments, will result in more bookings and a higher treatment plan completion rate: Talk up the next appointment.
Whether it is a six month recall, a filling replacement or an implant, tell patients why the next recommended appointment is important for their oral and overall health.
Despite accepting a treatment plan, your patients sometimes allow their busy lives to distract them from the compelling reasons they agreed to further dental appointments. They can forget the finer details of the need for treatment, other things may take a higher priority in their lives or they ‘seem to be doing fine without the additional treatment’.
From your perspective, you believe that you fully informed your patient after the examination and received consent to progress further. Now it’s time to focus on the treatment.
To generate a stronger commitment from your patients remind them of the value of their next appointments.
Rather than this: “We are all set for another six months.”
Say this: “John, I can still note some gum inflammation here on the upper left side. It was bleeding during the cleaning, and that indicates it’s not completely healthy. I’m going to show you how to brush and floss there more effectively and then I want to check the health of that area in March.”
Rather than this: “We have completed the fillings on the upper right. Next time we will do the ones on the lower right.”
Say this: “The upper right side treatment has all been completed now, so you can feel happy that it is healthy in that region. Next time, we are addressing the lower right. I want to remove that active decay as soon as possible, to avoid your nerve becoming infected by the bacteria in that decay.”
Rather than this: “We are now ready to book you in for the implant. Janet on reception knows what to schedule.”
Say this: “Now that you have achieved a good standard of gum health with your hygiene visits, you can finally get your implant. Having a tooth placed in that gap is going to make a big difference to how you enjoy eating. It will also relieve the current load on your other teeth, so you are putting a halt to that unnecessary destruction. Let’s get the process started.”
Identifying areas of concern and the benefits of planned treatment can be discussed anytime during the appointment and upon completion of the current service. The important step is to build value in what is coming up for the patient.
Talk up the value of what is to come and guarantee that patient’s next appointment!