As every dental professional knows, one of the biggest battles we’re always fighting is the battle to increase case acceptance. Sometimes, conflict over the best way to discuss treatment plans with patients adds to this struggle.
Conflict in the office leads to burnout, which is one of the biggest problems in dentistry right now. With a staffing crisis currently raging in the dental profession, making the workplace happier and more harmonious can help keep your practice running smoothly. Bonus: it can also help increase case acceptance. Here’s how.
The problem with case acceptance
More than 47% of U.S. adults over age 30 have periodontitis, according to the CDC. Converting these patients to the appointment books can make a huge difference in both their dental health and your practice’s revenues.
Patients with advanced gum disease are easy to persuade, as they can see and feel the effects of their problem. It’s the “in between” patients who are harder to convince.
Unfortunately, many practices approach this the same way: The responsibility falls on the dental hygienist to tell patients, “You have gum disease.” Often, the doctor is not involved in the conversation or may even disagree with the hygienist, causing confusion for patients.
To convince periodontal patients to commit to treatment, dental hygienists often overload them with information, including complicated charts and reports that only dental professionals can read. What happens when a consumer is confused? They do nothing. (Think of the last time you shopped for something online and got overwhelmed with all the choices.)
What’s the solution?
Instead of telling patients they have gum disease, help them come to that conclusion themselves. People are more likely to do something if they think it’s their idea.
How? Start by having dentists and hygienists review the patient’s health assessment together so they can agree on the stage of periodontal disease and the desired treatment. Perform a five-step health assessment and then show the patient each part of that assessment in a simple way that’s easy for them to understand.
Review the information objectively and answer any questions. Then sit back and ask them what they think should be done. If you’ve done it right, patients will draw their own conclusions: “It looks like I might have bone loss pretty soon. What can I do to prevent that?”
When patients make their own decisions about their health, they’re more likely to follow through with treatment, both in the office and at home. Patient will return to the office with healthier mouths; appointments will go faster; and patients will be happier with their care.
Boost case acceptance with Lighthouse 360
Hold everyone in the office accountable for working together to increase case acceptance. Make sure dental assistants and even administrative staff know the basics of home care for periodontitis and can answer questions patients may have.
Follow up after the appointment with a text offering to answer any questions. You can text back and forth with patients directly from your computer in the Lighthouse 360 dashboard. Lighthouse also makes it simple to send targeted emails to patients with periodontitis, explaining the risks and how to care for their teeth at home.
Think of Lighthouse 360 as another member of your dental team. Lighthouse can automatically send patient recall and reactivation messages, as well as appointment reminders and confirmations, by phone, text, email or regular mail. Keep patient care on track and run your practice more efficiently. The average practice saves 16.8 hours per week by using Lighthouse. That’s 16.8 hours a week you can spend with patients, improving case acceptance.
Want to learn more about improving periodontitis case acceptance? View our recording of dental consultant Brandi Hooker Evans’ webinar, “Stop It! Just Stop It!,” free at this link.