4 simple tips for inspiring more whitening procedures

by Jody Catalanello and Linda Valencia

Practice culture affects a team's ability to be passionate about dentistry and be motivational with patients. The right team, when excited about a practice's vision, has endless potential.

Synergy creates a productive, fun environment, and patients respond by accepting necessary and elective treatment. Clarity is the first step toward a successful practice culture. The thriving practices we work with have leaders who are clear about their values and vision for their practices and communicate this consistently to their teams.

Team members who are on the same page and enthusiastic about the services and products their practice offers are more effective at patient education. As they see the positive results from patients' experiences with recommended services and products, they gain confidence to further promote and support the doctor's advice regarding products or services.

If one of a practice's values is to create an environment in which patients ask for a beautiful smile, promoting the benefits of teeth whitening is a part of that culture. Try the following four simple tips to highlight the significance of a beautiful smile and promote whitening services and products in your practice:

Tip 1: Use smile quotations, poems, and statistics about the importance of smiles in your practice and as part of patient giveaways. Put them on statements, use them as screen savers, or have them run as part of a digital photo frame picture sequence in your operatory.

Life is like a mirror; we get the best results when we smile at it.

63% of people say they look best in photos when they show their teeth.

Tip 2: Office décor that is supportive of health, longevity, a beautiful smile, and a quality life subtly reinforces the message that a beautiful smile matters. Hang photos of fabulous smiles and families enjoying a healthy lifestyle in the reception area, the patient bathroom, and the operatory.

Tip 3: Inspire your patients to consider whitening with two easy steps:

1. As part of the cosmetic evaluation portion of the new patient experience, record a shade to have as a baseline. Use this evaluation to introduce the benefits of tooth whitening and the results you see in patients who have chosen this treatment.

  • Have shade guides in each operatory
  • Match the shade as closely as possible.
  • Record the shade in a designated spot in your patient chart system.
  • Take an intraoral camera photo of the patient's smile with the shade guide.
  • Show the patient where he or she falls on the shade spectrum.
  • Educate the patient about changing tooth color due to nutrition and aging.

2. Annually, record his or her shade and compare to the baseline. To encourage the desire to whiten, discuss the shade and any changes with the patient.

Tip 4: Create tasteful displays of whitening products on shelves in the operatory, on retail display shelves in the reception area, and at the checkout counter. Present-type packaging is attractive and complete, easy to purchase, and no work for the gift giver. Use social media such as Facebook to promote gift certificates for teeth whitening. You might say something such as, "Teeth whitening is a great gift for a new grad." Include a picture of the beautifully wrapped package.

Get started now by brainstorming the benefits of teeth whitening at a team meeting. Discuss your personal philosophy on whitening and the services and products your practice offers. Review the tips presented in this article with your team.

What could you do in your practice to illustrate the importance of a beautiful smile? Bring in a sales rep to ensure the team is educated about the products and services you provide. Make sure your entire team has personally experienced the benefits of whitening, especially the doctor.

When time, money, and energy are spent on developing team members, they gain an understanding of the life-changing benefits dentistry can offer. When a team embraces its practice culture, productivity and profitability will soar.

Jody Catalanello and Linda Valencia are co-owners of Mosaic Management Group, which provides coaching and consulting to dental practices. (http://www.mosaicmanagementgroup.com/). They are also founding partners of International Institute for HealthCare Businesses (http://culturerules.com/), a company dedicated to educating practice leaders about the fundamental impact the proper organizational culture has on a team and its patients.

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