Just the Facts
Whether the motivation is to help patients achieve their best oral health and smiles, to be as successful as possible, or hopefully, both, dentists understand that maximizing case acceptance is critical. This month's cover story examines methods to increase case acceptance, particularly during COVID-19, but more importantly, it stresses the need for establishing trust in the dentist-patient relationship because trust is the foundation required for these methods to work.
At my practice, we educate patients about the pros and cons of each treatment option, especially regarding the predictability and longevity of the outcomes, so that they can make the most informed decisions. We offer them financing to help make it easier to make their decisions, and then let them make them without being pushy or delivering ultimatums. Remaining as conservative as possible with recommendations and helping patients understand the potential need for future treatment also goes a long way toward showing them that you have their best interest at heart. "Selling" treatment can really put some patients off. And why wouldn't it? As dentists, we are in the business of providing oral healthcare, not marketing widgets. Goals are good for business owners, but doing things like having staff huddles to push production goals can create an environment that patients perceive as profit-driven instead of patient-centered.
In 34 years of practice, I've never set production goals, and each year, I outpace the previous one. The secret is that there is no secret. You don't need to sell dentistry; the opportunities are there for you to capitalize on by giving your patients what they need. If you always recommend the ideal treatment, explain all of the options and potential results, and let patients make the decisions without pressure, increased trust will follow along with increased case acceptance, ultimately benefiting both your patients and your bottom line.
Robert C. Margeas, DDS
Editor-in-Chief, Inside Dentistry
Private Practice, Des Moines, Iowa
Department of Operative Dentistry
University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa