There’s no denying patients are more technology savvy than ever. And if they aren’t, they can easily Google “intraoral camera” or “CAD/CAM” and walk into their next dental appointment “experts”. It’s understandable why 55.2% of Canadian dentists are concerned of the demand for dental technologies by patients. But relax, it’s not as bad as you think.
In fact, 39% of Canadian patients are not aware of new dental technologies at all. Only 29% are aware of digital impressions technology and 20% aware of intraoral cameras, and those are the among the more recognized pieces of technology.
Now that you’ve taken a moment to relax, take the next to recognize the problem. Patients are not aware of dental technologies. Whether it’s because they don’t care, or they’ve never been told about them this presents a golden opportunity for you. Nearly ½ of patients consider it important to have a dentist own new technology, but also explain it to them. So maybe the 55.2% of you concerned about the demand have a right to be, but also have a responsibility to your patients.
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Patient education needs to be taken seriously. It’s the cliché, but patients are anxious about going to the dentist, whether for a cleaning or a procedure. Understanding what and why tools an easy step in calming and comforting patients. In fact, half of them are willing to pay a premium to have these technologies used in their procedure, so take a few moments to explain why they’re important. It will be well worth it to your practice’s success in the end.
The public love to educate themselves (like checking WebMD for every symptom they have), but they’re not always getting reliable information – so inform them! Prove to your patients why they should trust you: because you’re an expert in your field and you have the best technology to assist and enable you. The more confident you are with your equipment, regardless of how much research and Googling your patient has done, the more confident they will be in trusting your judgement… all helping lead to treatment acceptance.
Ways to Educate Patients In/Out Your Office:
- Educational materials at reception
- Educate your staff to refer questions to you
- Take time to talk with anxious and curious patients
- Offer your patients an e-mail address/online form to submit their questions
- Create a “Dental Technologies 101” page on your website – a hub of information that is accessible 24/7
- Offer a printed or online page of trusted resources for them to review in their spare time
- Stay educated yourself! Never be thrown off guard by a question about new technologies
These are simple steps to take towards educating your patients while they’re waiting, when they’re with you and when they’ve left the office. It’s these steps that will increase patient loyalty and practice growth.
The process of buying a new piece of technology can be burdensome – you’re taking the plunge on something you know is worth it to your patients but convincing them can be a challenge. Find ways that work for you, your team and your patients to understand the benefits. The results (apart from a happy, healthy patient)? You’ve gained trust and respect from the people who work for you, go to you for help and spread the word about your practice. Having the technology is great, but being able to explain it is the part that will separate you and your practice from the rest. Take the time and take the edge on your competition.
The number one reason patients stay or leave a practice is the dentist themselves. Be the reason they stay by being the source of information they choose to go to. Don’t overwhelm them with information, but if a patient wants to know more about the technology being used, explain it!
Don’t worry about patient expectations of the latest technologies – if you have made a connection with your patients and earned their trust, they won’t question your choices. They’ll believe you have the best because you are the best.