Encouraging Patients Toward Orthodontic Care
Everyone wants a perfect smile, but sometimes it takes a little bit of encouragement to get patients to begin their orthodontic treatment. Orthodontics is a major commitment, both timewise and financially, so patients want to feel confident before starting any long-term treatment that will affect the way they smile, eat, and bite. There are a few ways that you can make your patients feel more comfortable so that they get the orthodontic care they need and deserve.
1. Show before-and-after case studies.
When potential patients can see high-quality photographs of other patients who received orthodontic care, it can encourage them to go through with treatment. Seeing others who used to have a crooked smile or gaps between their teeth shows them that treatment as an adult is feasible and they can end up with a beautiful smile too.
It is worthwhile to keep detailed records and imaging of previous patients because many patients who suffer from bite problems, self-esteem issues, or TMJ pain feel that they are alone. When they see the number of patients who have successfully undergone orthodontics, it can provide a boost of confidence in their decision to commit to orthodontic treatment.
Many patients may want to pursue braces but are nervous about the discomfort, appearance, or cost. This is the time to show patients the amazing outcome they can have if they begin their orthodontic journey with you.
2. Create a well-designed treatment plan.
Documentation is everything in dentistry, and the way you present your treatment plan is one of the first steps in demonstrating your training, organizational skills, and confidence to your patients. If you begin explaining your proposed treatment in an unorganized manner, you can expect your patients to be more confused and less confident in you.
Explain your treatment plan from beginning to end, highlighting all the phases and how they will correct the person’s malocclusion and create the smile they desire. Review their radiographs, intraoral photos, and projected treatment cost. Patients prefer transparency so there are no surprises, and your approach will encourage them to begin treatment because they feel you have their best interest at heart.
3. Explain the benefits of orthodontics.
Orthodontics is not just about straightening teeth. The way your teeth come together can affect your entire quality of life, from your confidence while smiling to your nutrition and sleep. Take a detailed medical and dental history of your patients to review areas in which they can benefit from orthodontics.
Many patients feel dentistry and orthodontics is just about their teeth. We know all too well that orthodontics looks at the patient as a whole and not just their mouth. Patients who have chronic sleep and grinding problems, TMJ pain, biting problems, cracked teeth, and more can benefit from orthodontics, but they may not even be aware it is an option.
Inform your patients of all the ways orthodontics is beneficial to both their dental and overall health so they understand how it can not only reduce their chances of tooth decay but also help them breathe better and reduce symptoms of TMJ disorder.
4. Let patients know about your training.
Dentists are a dime a dozen in saturated areas, so patients sometimes feel discouraged to begin a costly treatment if they are a new patient. For existing patients, the last thing you want is to come across as pushy or feel like a salesman when presenting an orthodontic treatment plan.
One of the greatest things you can do for your professional career is to take an advanced CE course in orthodontics and join professional orthodontic associations. Start by having discussions with your patients about how you have been investing time in learning more about malocclusions and how they affect a person’s breathing and sleeping patterns. Consider asking detailed questions about their bite comfort and grinding habits and inform your patients of your orthodontic training so they know you’re experienced and well educated.
When patients know you have the training and expertise to treat orthodontics, they are more likely to feel comfortable beginning treatment and getting the care they need.
5. Become familiar with your patients.
Dentists’ day-to-day schedules can be a tad intense at times. Between performing hygiene checks, interpreting radiographs, and completing restorative work, dentists sometimes have little time left to spend conversing with patients. Your clinical evaluation is not only a chance for you to examine and discuss patients’ dental needs but also a time for you to get to know them better.
Get to know each patient on a personal level so they feel more like family and less like a patient chart. When you understand your patient’s lifestyle, needs, and wants, you can better meet their expectations. Not every orthodontic treatment plan has to be the same. In fact, it is when you treat each patient individually and get creative that your practice numbers will soar because patients crave personalized care.