Harvey Silverman, DMD
Would you like to expand your elective cosmetic dentistry practice? If your answer is “YES!” then you will enjoy reading this series, Silverman On Smiles: Cosmetic Dentistry SOS. In each article I will share time-tested management, marketing or technical simplification tips taught to other dentists during on-site cosmetic dentistry consultations. The goal of this series is to provide protocols that will have a positive impact on your practice and the patients you serve, therefore, each tip has been designed to be easy for you to incorporate into your private practice.
You might be wondering, “Why is there a need to develop a separate cosmetic management or marketing system? What’s not just keep doing what I have always been doing?” For the general dentist the reason is apparent. Elective cosmetic dentistry is want driven and general dentistry is need driven. Therefore there are distinct differences that allow you to be more effective when you are addressing elective issues than health oriented ones.
In many of the articles, I will share simplified technical skills that will provide long-lasting, beautiful, natural-looking results. However, since procedural skills are not the primary focus of these articles, I will not always provide step-by-step protocols. This series is being written for the dentist who already takes great pride in his/her aesthetic work and wants to find a professional way to inform, power educate and motivate patients about their cosmetic services.
Suggested tip: Each article will take less than 5 minutes to read. For maximum benefit please print the articles and have an informal discussion about each article during team meetings. This will stimulate conversation and energize your cosmetic program. You may even want to start with this article to “set the stage” for other future team meetings about elective cosmetic dentistry.
First let’s start with an assessment of your cosmetic case presentation style. When doing a cosmetic consult do you raise questions to your patient? Or do you describe the procedure, including the benefits and limitations, and wait for your patient to ask a question and then respond? To put it another way: Are you a proactive or reactive presenter when it comes to bringing up commonly asked questions?
If you are like many of your colleagues, you probably use a reactive style. This means that you address questions as they are asked. You might end your cosmetic consult by asking your patient, “Do you have any questions?” You should feel right at home if you use this approach. Dentists do this all the time.
If your approach is proactive, that does not preclude asking for questions at the end or answering questions as they are asked of you. However, the proactive presenter intentionally raises and answers commonly asked questions as they consult, before the patient even voices any concerns.
Think of it this way. From doing hundreds of consultations you intuitively know almost every patient concern about cosmetic dentistry. The benefit of the proactive approach is that you literally remove these concerns from your patient’s potential list of worries.
At the Silverman Institute of Cosmetic Dentistry we found the proactive approach results in patients saying, “Yes, I was just thinking about that.” Once this happens, we observed that patient’s become more attentive and actively engaged about the possibility of moving forward with treatment.
I hope you and your team are ready to enjoy the journey as you prepare to take your elective cosmetic dentistry practice to the next level. Cheers!
Disclosure: Dr. Silverman is the developer of and receives compensation for the LifeLike Veneer System and the EasySmile Tooth Whitening System. He is not a salaried employee or constituent to any dental company.