Persuading the Patient to Say “Yes”
DenMat’s Smile Discovery Program® attracts and converts
Paul Homoly, DDS
Paul Homoly, DDS, spent the first 20 years of his professional career striving to provide the best oral care possible to his patients, and he has spent the past 28 years helping other dentists to do the same. After finishing dental school, Homoly was a dental officer in the Navy for 2 years and then practiced in Hildebran, North Carolina—a small town that he notes did not have access to fluoridated water. "I was making dentures for high school students," he says. "Very early in my career, I realized the seriousness of the medical and psychological impact of tooth loss. I got a great sense of the value of good dental health when I saw the absence of it in young people." As Homoly's career progressed, he moved to Charlotte and built a thriving practice. When dentists were first permitted to market directly to the public in 1979, the demand for implants increased dramatically, and Homoly was working on 20 to 40 new implant cases per month. He was involved with the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, The Pankey Institute, and the Dawson Academy, and he also helped with the founding of the Misch International Implant Institute.
While working with Carl Misch, DDS, MDS, Homoly observed a shortcoming in dental education. "I told Carl, ‘We are teaching the technical and clinical aspects, but we are not talking at all about the behavioral aspects,' and he asked me to tackle that," Homoly says. "I had always enjoyed that part of the dental experience-—meeting patients and getting them to imagine what great dental health would be like-so I began assembling my thoughts about what made it easy for patients to say ‘Yes' to complicated, risky, expensive procedures, which implant treatments are, even to this day." And with that, Homoly set off down a new path; however, he had no idea at the time that it would become a full-time career.
In 1995, a problem with one of his eyes forced Homoly to give up clinical practice. "That was a real shock," he says. "I had to figure out a plan B at 45 years old. That was when it was suggested to me that I expand my work on patient experiences." He joined the National Speakers Association and National Storytelling Network and immersed himself in education and instructional design. Nearly 3 decades later, Homoly has written three books on the subject, developed six online programs, and given speaking engagements worldwide. His work contributes to millions of dollars in collections every month for his clients. "It has been a great journey," he says.
Homoly is very particular about endorsing products and services, but when DenMat's CEO Dave Casper asked him to review the company's Smile Discovery Program® (SDP), he was impressed and inspired. "It was very similar to what I had explored myself: How do I make it easy for patients to say ‘Yes'?" Homoly says. SDP delivers more patients to member practices and increases case acceptance by leveraging a social media advertising program, a mobile smile design application called LumiSmile®, and an online dentist locator.
DenMat's web-based social media ad generator allows practices to easily create targeted ads, and the company's Smile Discovery Program staff manage ad targeting and provide monthly ad performance reporting. Patients who search for dental care at Lumineers.com, SnapOnSmile.com, and DDSLocator.com are referred directly to SDP practices. "SDP attracts specific patients who are seeking the benefits of a better appearance, better confidence, and the ability to speak with better clarity—all of the cosmetic and functional aspects of dentistry," Homoly says. "That is critically important for practices that are serious about providing an advanced level of care because you really cannot practice contemporary dentistry if you do not do enough cases to become good, fast, and profitable."
Once patients are in the chair, the LumiSmile app helps gain case acceptance by showing them the benefits of whitening, veneers, and orthodontia within minutes. Simply take a patient photograph and receive a patient-personalized smile design that can be shared with the patient during the consultation. "The LumiSmile mobile smile design app is one of the best-kept secrets in dentistry," Homoly says. "Dentists can attempt to assure patients that they can fix their problems by showing them photographs of other patients or teeth on models, but LumiSmile allows dentists to show patients exactly how they will look with the reconstruction. That is the piece that provides the hope. That is the inspiration that patients sometimes need more than education." Additional components of the program include free continuing education (CE) courses, discounts on laboratory services, and access to third party resources such as patient financing and credit card processing.
Nonetheless, Homoly wanted to speak to actual users before making a final judgment on SDP. One practice told him that they were receiving two to four new full-mouth rehabilitation cases per month through SDP's social media marketing. Another said that they had a dedicated team member whose job included using the LumiSmile app on every patient. "After speaking with dentists who are members of DenMat's Smile Discovery Program," Homoly says, "I can say that if I were still in practice, there would be no question that I would enroll in it. What I am all about is making it easy for patients to say ‘Yes,' allowing dentists to perform more of the dentistry that they enjoy, creating stress-free cultures in practices, and helping dentists pursue fulfilling careers. When I see something that fits into that paradigm, I want to recommend it to others, and the Smile Discovery Program is one of those things for me."
After all, helping other dental professionals has been Homoly's primary passion for the past 28 years. "I am frequently asked whether I've enjoyed clinical practice or my current career more," he says. "I love both. Clinical practice was fun, but helping dentists is fun in a different way."
SDP’s targeted social media advertising connects patients with member practices.
The LumiSmile mobile smile design app allows dentists to show patients the benefits of treatment.
SDP membership includes laboratory discounts, access to CE courses from DenMat’s extensive catalog, and other benefits.