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Practice production, prioritized: Diagnosing ideal treatment

June 23, 2022
Dental practices are exceptional at diagnosis, but not necessarily at comprehensive diagnosis. Dr. Levin explains the distinction and how it can boost production.

Author's note: Levin Group has reviewed and prioritized hundreds of strategies to increase practice production. Each month, we highlight a powerful idea ranked in order of priority.

Dental practices are exceptional at diagnosis, but not necessarily at comprehensive diagnosis. “Comprehensive diagnosis” refers to identifying all possible dentistry that would be beneficial or interesting to patients. This includes both need-based dentistry and elective services.

More "Practice Production, Prioritized": 

Diagnosing and presenting comprehensive dentistry is one of the top practice production factors that can be incorporated as a step-by-step system. To diagnose comprehensively, there are two sets of patients that require a new focus:

New patients

New patients are often open to learning about all possible dental options that apply directly to them. Consequently, dentists are typically more liberal about identifying comprehensive treatment for a new patient when compared to a current patient, simply because the new patient hasn’t had previous diagnosis or treatment in the office.

Current patients

Although current patients may have heard about treatments, a great deal of treatment identification can still take place during dental hygiene visits after the hygienist receives proper training. Then the dentist can confirm and discuss all comprehensive options.

Whether patients are new or current, many of them aren’t aware of all the elective services that can be provided. They’ve heard about different services more from television than their dental practice, and those services have never been explained in a comprehensive context. Whether it starts with whitening or includes orthodontics or implants, practices must become comfortable with identifying all possible treatment, presenting treatment in a conversational manner, and creating a learning process for patients. Even if patients don’t accept the full comprehensive presentation right away, they are more likely to pursue comprehensive treatment over time.

Practices that identify comprehensive treatment often outperform average practices by 100% or more. The reason is that they can increase the average production per patient as well as the average production per hour in the practice. Practices have a limited number of hours, chairs, and available appointments. The more dentistry that can be identified, the greater the opportunity to maximize efficiency for improved practice performance.

Almost every dentist would agree that there are numerous patients who have not accepted recommended treatment in the past and others who may not accept it in the future. By offering comprehensive dentistry and becoming skilled at presenting it with excellent financial options, practices will have a unique opportunity to increase production, build higher levels of value, and add more loyal patients. 

Editor's note: This article appeared in the June 2022 print edition of Dental Economics magazine. Dentists in North America are eligible for a complimentary print subscription. Sign up here.

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