Smile makeovers can completely change patients’ lives.
A little tweak to their smile can drastically boost their confidence and self-esteem. Which, in turn, benefits other aspects of their day-to-day life.
However, not all patients are convinced of the efficacy of a smile makeover. Or, they may be anxious about entrusting the proportions of their precious face to their dentist.
Roadblocks to case acceptance include patient anxiety, financial concerns, and a lack of patient education.
Moj Noroozi, Evident’s trusted lab technician who’s been working in various dental settings including labs and practices for almost a decade, shares how dentists can boost their case acceptance for smile makeovers. This general guide applies to orthodontic procedures, veneers, fixed implants, and other smile-altering treatments.
Engage with the Patient Throughout the Journey
Dentists should keep the patient engaged throughout their treatment. This establishes a relationship with patients, builds trust, and reduces any anxiety they might have.
But more importantly, engaging with the patient educates them and improves case acceptance.
One of the ways to level up patient engagement is through a digital workflow.
Use Digital Tools
Use digital tools, such as an intraoral scanner, to get into a digital workflow.
Once dentists adopt a digital workflow, they can show patients how their smile will look even before treatment starts.
This can be done through:
- A digital mock-up. This is a 3D render of a diagnostic wax-up that can be viewed from different angles. A digital diagnostic wax-up is usually presented on screen.
- Smile-design mock-up photos. These are photos of the patient’s face and smile. Following the best aesthetic practices, dentists may mock up a proposed smile on these photos and show them to the patient.
Having these engaging visual aids allows patients to properly visualize the results of the procedure. It also has a greater “wow” factor than if dentists didn’t have any visual communication tools at all.
Another benefit of digital tools is that dentists can show patients their current smile using an intraoral scanner. They may then project the patient’s mouth on a screen and discuss with them what and where the issues are.
This educates the patient on the severity and urgency of their mouth’s issues, prompting them to get a smile makeover sooner.
Communicate With the Patient
In addition to utilizing digital tools, best communication practices are also essential to improving case acceptance.
This includes sitting down and talking with the patient.
Inform and educate them on the benefits of a smile makeover. It helps to discuss the long-term health benefits of improved occlusion.
There will be anxious patients who don’t generally like going to the dentist. So, it’s always a good idea to create a welcoming atmosphere for your practice and make patients feel at home. Answer any questions they might have to eliminate all reservations.
Clear Treatment Roadmap
Some smile makeovers will be more complex than others. Certain patients may need orthodontic procedures before jumping into any restorative options.
Whatever the case may be, dentists must provide clear expectations for their patients. This means laying out the proposed treatment plan so they can prepare for what’s coming.
For the patient, this may mean mentally preparing for future dental visits or scheduling off days from work.
In addition, dentists should also lay out the expected timeline. Patients shouldn’t be left in the dark on things like how long they’ll be wearing appliances, for example.
Providing clear expectations for treatment will help ease anxious patients. Clearer expectations result in heightened trust and, as a result, improved case acceptance.
Cost is a huge bottleneck for patients wanting to undergo a smile makeover.
Patients may be fully convinced of the benefits of a smile makeover, but if they don’t have the means to afford treatment, then it won’t benefit case acceptance.
There are various ways dental practices can address the cost issue:
Partner with finance companies
Partnering with reputable finance companies, such as Care Credit or Lending Club, will give patients friendlier and more accessible payment options. This includes little or no interest payment terms for patients.
Partner with Healthcare Savings Programs
Healthcare Savings Programs are different from insurance.
They’re high-deductible, low-premium plans that patients contribute to pre-tax. When the time comes for patients to use their Health Savings Account (HSA), the plan can pay partially for, or 100% of, the cost of the treatment.
Unlike most insurance plans, healthcare savings plans can cover cosmetic procedures, such as smile makeovers.
Flexible payment plans
It also helps to offer flexible payment plans in-house.
By having in-house payment plans, dentists can tailor payment plans for their patients as they please. This means dentists can make payment plans for patients who don’t have insurance, for example.
There are some risks involved with offering in-house payment plans, such as patients being late on their payments. Or, if a practice is relatively new, the dentist may need to cover lab costs from their pocket.
Avoid Hidden Charges
No one likes surprise hidden costs.
If patients’ budgets are tight, the last thing they want is hidden charges.
So, be upfront about costs, especially for long-term treatments like all-on-x.
If dentists discover new issues in the mouth, such as a tooth needing root canal therapy, they ought to inform patients immediately and communicate the cost accordingly.
By educating the patient, providing flexible payment terms, and utilizing digital tools, dentists can drastically increase case acceptance for their smile makeover cases.
A digital workflow can benefit case acceptance tremendously, as well as make business operations more efficient. However, investing outright in all the equipment necessary can be hefty.
It helps to outsource to reliable partners, such as labs.
Here at Evident, we work with any workflow or system. So, whether your practice is using an Aoralscan or a 3Shape TRIOS, we can design a ready-to-fabricate restoration in as little as 30 minutes.
We can also design digital diagnostic wax-ups and 2D smile mock-ups to optimize your case presentation.
Give us a call now.