Megan Fairhall suggests that tooth whitening could help your dental practice recover after the impact of COVID-19.
For the past four months the world has experienced something we never quite thought possible. COVID-19 has greatly affected the whole of the dental profession and all of our patients.
But now, with the gradual return to routine dentistry and the world slowly returning to a new normal, it is time to start rebuilding our lives, economy and patients’ smiles.
Demand for tooth whitening
Practices are gradually working their way through the backlog of patients. Especially those in pain and with open treatment plans.
With the general public aware that dental practices have reopened, it is surprising how many are seeking out cosmetic dental treatments.
Perhaps all that free time during lockdown has given them time to ponder. Time to make lists about the things they have been putting off! Including enhancing their smiles.
So we can utilise this time to plan and be at the forefront for our patients’ needs and wants.
With teeth whitening treatments continually on the increase and the most requested procedure in dentistry, it is a good time to promote it as a profession. Give our patients what they are so obviously already searching for!
If you’re not already offering whitening treatments at your practice, then now is a good opportunity to start.
With that said, many practices are still not open to full capacity. This is mainly due to what we all know as the dreaded F word – fallow time.
So this is a moment for us to put our heads together and start utilising our skill sets as best we can in an attempt to recuperate the great financial losses we have all experienced.
Spreading the workload
Tooth whitening is within a dental hygienist’s and dental therapist’s scope of practice, under the prescription of a dentist. They are of a higher cost than routine hygiene appointments.
It is therefore more lucrative for both the hygienist or therapist and the practice to spend time performing whitening treatments.
In addition to this, whitening treatments are a non AGP and require no fallow time between patients. This helps prevent wasted surgery time and revenue, including additional AGP PPE costs.
If you haven’t had the patient demand back at your practice yet, whitening can be a great way to fill the books and the hygienist’s or therapist’s time.
Growing your waiting list
The COVID alert level is currently at level three (at the time of writing) and emergency treatments still take priority in many practices. But that doesn’t mean we can’t still reach out to patients about cosmetic dental treatments, such as teeth whitening. We can create a waitlist for when these cosmetics treatments can resume. Therefore, helping to build a full diary for the future.
To help create this waitlist you could advertise your cosmetic or whitening treatments online across social media channels. This can increase your practice or personal professional brands online exposure. It prompts those who may already know about whitening treatments to make an enquiry with you.
Also, with screen time up 50% in recent months, now is a good opportunity to market your cosmetic treatments. Interact with potential patients and grow your online professional presence.
You could even utilise your fallow time by creating marketing plans or posting on social media.
If marketing your treatments is something you need more assistance with, check out my newly released course ‘Let’s be social’.
It focuses on social media, branding and marketing for dental professionals.
Practices can also reach out to their existing patients.
Let them know you are offering whitening treatments and build a waitlist for those interested if you’re not able to carry out cosmetic treatments at present.
Another way to combat fallow time between AGPs is by carrying out online video consultations.
Schedule these into your diary and offer it as part of the patient journey when attracting new patients for whitening.
Again this is something you could advertise across your social media channels.
During an online video consultation, you could discuss the following with patients interested in whitening:
- Whitening treatment options available
- Talking them through the whitening procedure
- Dental history – reasons for wanting whitening
- Current sensitivity levels and ways to combat these
- Discuss any photos of the patient’s teeth
- Discuss the patient’s whitening potential
- Answer any questions the patient may have about treatment.
Online video consultations are proving more popular in the current climate.
I feel they are here to stay, even once dentistry returns to further normality.
We have all spent more time online more recently. It’s our only way to connect with friends and family during lockdown. So everyone is now conditioned and familiar with these online communication platforms.
Video consultations are a great time-saving tool for both clinicians and patients.
It also helps reduce face-to-face contact with patients at the practice, saving clinical time, additional PPE costs and adhering to social distancing measures.
Finally, if you’re not already offering whitening treatments to your patients, then now is the time to start.
If you’re a hygienist or therapist. it is a great way to utilise your skill set, increase revenue and give you variety to your job role.
If you are yet to complete any whitening training, then check out my online teeth whitening training course for dental hygienists and therapists. The course covers all aspects of whitening including take-home trays and the in chair Zoom! procedure. Both of these are non AGPs.
For more information on the course head to my website: www.livetosmile.co.uk/training-for-dental-professionals.