When you walk in the doors as an employee as Spear you are greeted by a quote:
Through these doors walk people committed to lifelong learning.
To fostering a culture of Great Dentistry.
Their daily work makes it possible for doctors to practice their profession at the highest levels, and ensures that patients throughout the world are offered an exceptional standard of care.
Inspiring healthy smiles is the best work we can imagine.
While we have always been known for our clinical education, we have become more aware in recent years of the need to continue to help dentists improve their case acceptance.
When presented with these ideas, many clinicians instinctively pull back saying, “But I am a doctor; I shouldn't be selling dentistry.” Our response is, “Yes, you're right.”
However, while you shouldn't have to “sell” dentistry, you do need to think about how to communicate with patients in a way that evokes an attitude change for the benefit of their oral health. The attitude change that the dental professional is trying to affect is simple: persuade the patient that they value the treatment being presenting over alternatives for the allocation of their time and money.
As dental professionals you know that the investment in one's oral health can be life-altering, and you have probably never had a patient come back regretting the decision to move to a place of greater health. The reality of modern dentistry is that you are selling yourself and your practice to every patient who walks in the door. Every clinician we talk to can speak to that patient (in all reality, the hundreds of patients) whose life was changed by the work that you do every day.
From the person who is out of pain for the first time to the one whose entire being changes when they have the smile they have always dreamed of – if you cannot convince a patient to say yes, they will not have that experience.
So yes, you are selling – against the impressions the media puts out, against doctors who do not share your values and against apathy. The more comprehensive the care you provide, the better you will need to be at communicating the value to the patient.
This is not a new idea. In his book “A Philosophy of the Practice of Dentistry,” L.D. Pankey said:
“Along with technical mastery, it is imperative to build your communication skills. In fact the key to a successful dental practice, one that allows dentists to use their technical ability to their greatest potential is the ability to communicate.”(Pankey 1985)
This has been the mission of our entire suite of case acceptance tools – from our research-driven patient education platform to our team trainings on effective patient communication. We are constantly working to help clinicians apply what they have learned by restoring patients to health.
With these ideas in mind, we put together our newest white paper, “How Patient Perception of Care Affects Practice Growth and Treatment Outcomes.”
This white paper began with a question: What more can a dentist or their team do to help improve patient satisfaction? In the end, a practice is only as amazing as the patients say it is. In fact, we have seen remarkable clinicians with dedicated staff struggle professionally because the patients don't always see or understand what the practice can do for them. This paper works to pull together research on patients' satisfaction both inside and outside of dentistry to pull together several key takeaways that each practice can implement to help ensure that they are working to improve patient satisfaction.