Did you know that 65% of all production completed in the Restorative Department in a dental practice is referred from hygiene?
This is why my first question is always… “Is your hygiene team trained in case presentation skills?” followed by, “How do you create the environment in which patients say ‘yes’?”
The old paradigm for Case Presentation was to educate, educate, educate the patient. While I think educating the patient is important, it’s the way in which we educate them that has changed.
Have you ever heard the saying KISS in salestrainings? It stands for Keep It Simple Salesman. The worst thing that we can do is talk so much that we actually talk our patient OUT of the services that they need. If presented correctly and in the right order, all we should have to do is stop talking, and let the patient respond.
A confused buyer does not buy. Giving to many choices and to much information has the opposite effect. When we use complicated and technical terminology to ‘educate’ a patient we end up driving them away.
Here are 3 rules to follow in the NEW PARADIGM for case acceptance;
Talk in terms your patients understand. Often it’s not what you say, but how you say it. In Case Acceptance, what THEY SEE is so much more important than what YOU SAY!
This is why I love to use my tools! There are several things I can’t live without when talking with patients about opportunity for treatment in their mouths.
The Diagnodent, or as I like to refer to as my “Cavity Detecting Laser” helps patients see things for themselves. They hear the alarm signal, they see the number (I have the patient hold it so they can participate) and they know without me having to say anything that there is a potential problem.
Follow this up with another powerful tool, your intra-oral camera. Show them exactly what that reading of 34 looks like and why you are concerned. The value is in the patient seeing for themselves. A cracked tooth in the mouth, and a cracked tooth up on the monitor or television look like two different things. I prefer my patients see it as big as life on the screen. This way, there is urgency without me having to create it for them. The images from the camera take away any doubts the patient may have about their mouth.
“Seeing is Believing” is what it’s all about! Comments from the patient prove how powerful the camera is. I can’t tell the patient that their teeth look terrible, but once they see it with the camera, often they are the ones that will say, “It looks terrible!”
Many practices have these amazing tools, but they sit collecting dust. Lack of systems, perception that there “just isn’t enough time” or lack of confidence on the part of the hygiene team often are the cause of us not utilizing these valuable resources.
Our Team Training Institute clients have learned that properly using these tools, and presenting opportunities with the right verbal skills actually SAVES time. If you want more success with case acceptance, dust off the Diagnodent, take out that camera and get going!
Patients will ﬁnd a way to pay for what they WANT. So we need to focus on helping them want to take care of their teeth. Why should they want to have this done? Why would YOU do it? Talk about this with your patients! I often will say, “if this was in my mouth, this is what I would do to ﬁx it.”
They are looking to you for guidance. They value and want your opinion (you are the experts). So, to be more effective when talking with patients about what they need, don’t be afraid to tell them what you would do.
Focus more on the direct beneﬁts … the WIIFM (what’s in it for me (them)). Instead of telling the patient how we place implants, tell them the beneﬁts of having them.
“When we place implants in your mouth, you will be able to chew without pain, almost like natural teeth. There will be nothing to take out and clean, you will be able to brush and ﬂoss these teeth as you did before. By the way, have I told you that implants have porcelain crowns on them that look incredibly like natural teeth?”
Building Value while keeping things simple can revolutionize your case acceptance. Avoid your natural tendency to make things too complicated. Focus on the benefits for the patient, and they will be interested in learning more.
You will be amazed at what your patients accept when they understand what you are recommending, and WANT to have it done!
We MUST be the Patient’s Advocate:
Have you ever heard the saying “It’s not the customers job to know what they want?”
This holds true for us as well. Most of our patients don’t know what is possible, they don’t know that they can have it, and they don’t know if they are a candidate for it. Therefore, it is our job as a patient treatment advocate to know.
Not every patient is going to want to treat a missing tooth the exact same way. Dentistry has moved from a needs-based to a wants based profession. Talking to a patient about what they need is no longer effective. They don’t want what they need, they want what they want.
I’ll be honest, it’s very easy for us hygienists to get into the trenches, get in the treatment room and start focusing on the tissues. Changing our focus to the full scope as a treatment advocate is a change and something that will take conscious effort, but when applied has a HUGE impact for your patients, your team and your case acceptance.
We have an opportunity every time a patient comes through our practice… what are you doing every day to ensure that your patient receives the best care possible and is making the best choices for their dental health?
The face of case presentation has changed, are you changing with it?