Incorporating Oral Systemic Health In Your Practice
Educating patients on oral systemic health helps them to understand the connection between oral health and overall wellness. When patients connect these dots they become more empowered in their health and are more open to accepting treatment.
How can you incorporate oral systemic care into your practice? Where do you begin?
This 5 step process is one that Next Level Practice invented that engages the patient in a way that makes them feel heard and understood not just by offering treatment but by enrolling patients in their oral health. In these steps, we shift from a sales model of selling dental treatments to offering service and support to our patients so they can lead healthier and happier lives.
STEP 1: LOCATE YOUR PATIENT’S PERSONAL MOTIVATOR
The personal motivator describes what is most important to the patient, what they value most and why they made an appointment. It is the emotional reason that brings them to your office and the reason they would want to accept treatment. In this step, you locate this emotional source of desire that already exists within the patient by asking them questions, building rapport and connecting dentistry to that.
STEP 2: HEALTHY MOUTH BASELINE™
Most patients don’t know what a healthy mouth truly is. If you don’t establish a healthy mouth benchmark with the patients at each visit, they are more likely to think you are paying off your student loans by working on their mouths. Connect with your team and identify what is healthy from a soft tissue, hard tissue, lifestyle and whole-body perspective. Create a graphical Healthy Mouth Baseline representation and use it to begin each re-care visit as well as in your new patient protocol to review interactively with the patient. As you practice this step, you will dramatically increase case acceptance and reduce hygiene no-shows. Establishing your practice’s Healthy Mouth Baseline and implementing this powerful tool in your practice is a game-changer in the health of your patients and in the profitability of your practice.
STEP 3: PROBLEM → CONSEQUENCE → SHHHH
Patients don’t buy solutions to problems they don’t think they have. Using the intraoral camera to educate every patient on every visit is a must. Patients process health information mostly through visual representations. When a patient grasps the long-term health implications of oral-inflammatory disease, you are better able to enroll them into asymptomatic care. The patient also can’t see what you see so having your assistant or hygienist take photos and graphically explain the patient’s oral health situation raises awareness. The patient is then able to focus on the problem and understand the consequences of taking no action. In this step you wait for the patient to ask about next steps in treatment so that they become part of the solution.
STEP 4: THE TRUST TRANSFER
One of the biggest “bleeding points” in a practice is the conversation that happens in the back office, when there is no step-by-step system to hand off the patient to the front office. It is essential that the team member up front knows the patient’s personal motivator and has an the overview of the discussion that happened during treatment to help navigate any front of desk objections the patient moves through.
STEP 5: FITTING TREATMENT INTO THE PATIENT’S LIFESTYLE
No one has a budget for dentistry, so it’s misleading to claim that you can fit all the needed treatment into a budget framework. We all find the time and money for things we value. When you follow the first four steps in this process, it becomes less challenging to achieve this final step. You have enrolled the patient into the idea of investing in something they want, as opposed to something you told them they need. As an option, patients can connect with your CareCredit representative and download the financial options sheet. This is a tool that breaks down the total investment, the insurance portion and then the patient’s responsibility. It automatically calculates a pay-today courtesy for full payment at presentation, and it also breaks the total payments down into bite-size monthly payments that take a $5,000 investment – less a $1,000 insurance estimate – to as low as $199, interest free per month. This lets your patient know that they can afford dental care and that you are there to support them.
These 5 steps are powerful actions to start incorporating oral systemic care in your practice today and begin to transform the lives of your patients and your practice.
About the Author
Advocate, Author, and Documentarian, Gary Kadi is the CEO of NextLevel Practice and the founder of the Complete Health Business Model. More than 5,000 practices implementing this model have achieved over 6 million healthier patients, over $1 billion in increased collections and thousands of extra true vacation weeks.
Image © Matt Madd/Dentist