Doctor and patient discus dental care

How expanding your services can increase patient satisfaction and drive business growth

Date: June 2022

Author: Louise Sinclair

As any dentist and practice owner knows, patient satisfaction and business growth go hand in hand. One reliable way to achieve both is to continually add services that provide value to your patients. Here, we explore popular services that could pay dividends for your patients and your practice. 

1. Tooth whitening

According to a survey published in the Journal of the American Dental Association, tooth color is the biggest source of smile dissatisfaction, with 81.8% of respondents expressing a desire to undergo teeth whitening treatment. North America already accounts for 33% of the world’s multi-billion dollar teeth whitening market and demand is predicted to grow by 40% by 2026. 

Products like Colgate Optic White Professional are making it easier than ever for dentists to meet this demand and deliver superior whitening results to patients. The in-office format uses breakthrough technology to deliver seven shades of whitening improvement in just one 30-minute session. The take-home whitening kit uses a rechargeable LED whitening device to deliver dramatic whitening results at home, requiring just ten minutes of wear time over five days. 

The choice of two formats allows you to offer your patients affordable whitening on their terms – without compromising your bottom line. For those who prefer the convenience and comfort of home whitening, the take-home kit offers considerably faster results than the four to six weeks typical of other home whitening kits. For you, it provides the opportunity to bring in revenue without taking up space in your schedule. Meanwhile, the in-office option allows patients to visit the practice just once and walk out with dramatically whiter teeth, with minimal time and no additional investment in equipment or materials on your part. Either way, it’s a win-win for your patient and your practice!

2. Aligners

Not so long ago, teeth straightening was mostly associated with our younger patients. Now, with the widespread availability of discreet orthodontic devices, more and more adults are choosing to straighten their smile. The U.S. market was valued at $2.41 billion in 2020 and is rebounding strongly after a brief pandemic-related dip. 

There are various options available for patients of all ages, budgets and needs. Invisalign clear aligners are among the most popular thanks to their barely visible appearance and their ability to tackle even complex alignment issues. For minor adjustments, options like C-Fast aligners can provide subtle movement at the front of the arches. Even traditional braces are becoming more discreet, with the option of clear or tooth-colored fixtures. 

3. Bonding

Bonding is emerging as a popular option for restoring minor imperfections like cracked, chipped, stained or misshapen teeth. By applying and shaping a tooth-colored resin directly onto the tooth surface, you can give your patient the appearance of natural, healthy teeth in as little as 30 minutes. For patients who don’t want or need more complex (and costly) restorative work like veneers, bonding is a simple way to see big improvements.  

4. Smoking cessation

Cosmetic dental treatments are not the only way to increase smile satisfaction for your patients. Smoking is associated with tooth staining, halitosis, periodontal disease, dental caries, oral cancers and a host of other ailments that can impact the patient’s oral, systemic and psychosocial health. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say that the mouth is often the first place the adverse health effects of using tobacco will start to become apparent. For that reason, dental professionals are uniquely served to provide interventions for smoking cessation. A review published in the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Dentistry found that considerable evidence supporting the effectiveness of such interventions, which include strategies such as: 

  • Behavioral counseling

  • Nicotine replacement therapy

  • Pharmacological support 

The main barriers to providing intervention were time constraints and a lack of smoking cessation training for the dental team. These are valid challenges, but considering the long list of potential benefits to your patients (and by extension, your practice), a robust smoking cessation program could be a very worthwhile investment. Visit the CDC’s Tips campaign site for helpful information and resources, and consider reaching out to a local service to form a multidisciplinary partnership. 

5. Sleep apnea screening

According to the American Sleep Apnea Association (ASAA), approximately 22 million Americans are believed to have sleep apnea, a condition in which the patient repeatedly stops breathing during sleep. The condition can severely impact daytime functioning and is associated with an increased risk of hypertension, cardiovascular disease and stroke.

The ASAA estimates that as many as 80% of people with moderate or severe sleep apnea are undiagnosed. As the dental professional, you may be the first to see the signs, which might include evidence of jaw grinding, receding gums, a scalloped tongue, or redness in the throat. 

As well as facilitating detection and diagnosis, you may also be an essential part of the solution. Oral anatomy or disease can contribute to sleep apnea, and so you may be able to help your patients find relief by treating the underlying cause. 

The American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) specializes in the use of oral appliances to treat sleep apnea and other related conditions. You can find a wealth of education, support, and networking opportunities on the AADSM website to help you build this valuable service into your practice.  

Happy patient, healthy practice 

When your patient is happy, you can bet they’ll want people to know! Whether they’re showing off their straighter, whiter smile on social media, or telling a loved one how much better they feel after working with you, a satisfied patient means more referrals and more revenue for your practice. And that’s just the start...

When a patient has invested time and money in their smile, they’re more motivated to take good care of it. That means better home oral health care, frequent hygiene visits, and improved oral health outcomes. And of course, that means a better relationship with you and your practice. 

Cosmetic treatments in particular are great “introductory” treatments that can lead to more business. Teeth whitening, for example, is among the most affordable and accessible esthetic treatments and allows the patient to see rapid results with very little effort. If they’re happy with the results, they will likely return frequently for top-up treatments, and may even be motivated to take the leap and invest in other esthetic work. 

The demand for accessible and affordable cosmetic treatments is growing by the day. And as people become more aware of the dental professional’s role in overall health, the demand for holistic, integrated dental care is rapidly growing, too. Expanding your services to meet that demand is a smart way to keep your patients and your practice thriving.

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