How to profit from . . . Bleaching

April 1, 1997
As we make our way through the 1990s and close in on the 21st century, the power of the visual image continues to carry more weight than ever. The growing influence of the media has forced us to look not only within ourselves, but at ourselves, as well.

Beaming the News

Broadcasting the availability of whitening services is as easy as smiling

William Dorfman, DDS

As we make our way through the 1990s and close in on the 21st century, the power of the visual image continues to carry more weight than ever. The growing influence of the media has forced us to look not only within ourselves, but at ourselves, as well.

The old adage about "making a good first impression" could not be more true than in this day and age. In this sense, people need to feel good about themselves. More than ever before, they need to look in the mirror and like who is looking back at them.

I feel compelled to write about this topic because we, as dental professionals, are in a position to help people feel better about themselves. We can help them boost their self-esteem. We can put smiles back on their faces!

So, you ask, how do we do it? It`s really quite simple. Sometimes, it`s so simple, you`ll wonder why you hadn`t done it earlier.

Valuing Your Opinion

It is important to remember that every patient entering your office places an absolute sense of faith in your opinions and abilities as a skilled dental professional. Your knowledge is trusted and revered. In fact, dentists are listed consistently as being one of the most trustworthy professionals - ranking right up there with clergy. In other words, when you, as a dentist, endorse a product or procedure, your word is heavily-weighted.

So, it is only natural for your patients to trust you when discussing the topic of tooth-whitening. You and your dental staff have the distinction of being known as unqualified dental experts.

As a result, you have a unique opportunity to recommend a service to your patients that can do wonders for their appearance and self-esteem. Most people simply want to feel better about themselves. You can recommend this simple, effective, and reasonably-priced procedure, packed inside a professional tooth-whitening kit.

The ease of use and incredible effectiveness of whitening products are quite amazing when carefully examined. Also, your recommendation carries a lot more weight than a clerk at the local grocery store, pointing toward the aisle where the over-the-counter, glorified, whiteners are sold. You can recommend a product that is highly-revered by those in the dental industry, instead of something that is cheap and easy to find on the shelf.

Simple Marketing

Perhaps the most amazing part of incorporating tooth-whitening procedures into your practice is that you do not have to be a marketing genius to make it work.

Promoting your services is essential to reap the full benefits. The beautiful thing is that manufacturers of tooth-whitening products have marketing tools available for your utilization. They will enable you to market your bleaching services through pre-existing devices: color posters, counter cards, brochures, direct mailers, videos, and more.

If your patients do not know that you offer tooth-whitening services, these tools will take care of informing them. People are willing to pay for something that will make them feel better about themselves, especially when it is something as simple as whitening their teeth. Best of all - it`s affordable!

The first and easiest step to marketing this service is displaying the information in your reception area. A beautiful, full-color, counter-card display, with accompanying brochures, enables your patient to do the initial investigation and then seek further information. Both counter cards and brochures can be personalized with your office`s information, as brochures often are passed on to additional parties.

The easiest way that I have found to determine a patient`s interest in tooth- whitening is to ask one simple question, "Would you like to have whiter teeth?"

Yes, it`s that simple. You don`t even need to ask your patients first-hand. This is a question that can be incorporated into your Health History Form. If patients express interest in having whiter teeth, you can approach them knowing about their interest. This can even be done by the hygienist during their hygiene appointments. Who better to discuss this simple process than the person doing the cleaning?

If you get a positive answer, then you have all of the information on hand to further educate your patient on the whitening process. In addition to brochures and counter cards, videos can take prospective patients step-by-step through the tooth-whitening process. They can actually see how effective and simple the procedure can be.

You and your staff can let the tooth-whitening procedure speak for itself. The proof of the effectiveness of tooth-whitening is literally in front of their eyes. The before-and-after shots of your staff are sure to be a terrific focal point in your reception area, as well as a topic for discussion with all of your patients. There is no doubt in their minds because they know you and trust you.

Marketing is a word spoken more and more in the dental office. However, if you are going to offer something new to your patients, you have to let them know that you are offering it. In fact, manufacturers are more than able to assist you in spreading the word. They know that dentists are not marketing gurus, and have developed programs that are easy to take advantage of.

To make the whole promotional process as simple as possible, there are preprinted-recall postcards that allow you to personalize them for mailing to your patients. Specialized mail pieces can be personalized and included with all patient correspondence.

Once you have executed your initial marketing thrust, you can get involved in special promotions directed toward both existing and prospective patients.

If you would like to take part in community-education programs, arranged through social groups, local organizations or beauty salons, you can incorporate tooth- whitening into your discussion through in-depth slide presentations.

You also will be surprised how effective a word-of-mouth campaign can be. Your patients essentially will be walking spokespeople for your practice. People who are proud of their whiter teeth are sure to share their discovery with friends and family.

People want to look and feel better. Tooth-whitening is a simple, safe, effective and cost-efficient way of achieving such desires.

The bottom line is that your patients can enhance their self-esteem. Everyone benefits from whiter, brighter smiles. The "win-win" situation makes people feel good about themselves and their dentist.

Imagine that - people going to the dentist to boost their self-esteem. And it can happen for you, too.

The author is a general and esthetic dental practitioner in Los Angeles. He is the founder of Discus Dental, Inc., producers of the Nite White(tooth-whitening system. He also is a noted author and lecturer in the arena of public education, regarding general and esthetic dentistry. To find out about the Nite White tooth-whitening system, call (800) 422-9488.

The staff smiles with authority after undergoing whitening themselves

It starts just inside the front door. It is important that your receptionist be knowledgeable about the whitening procedure. In fact, it is best to have everyone in your office whiten their teeth. They will then be able to speak to your patients as informed patients themselves.

Your staff whitening their teeth will provide you with a perfect opportunity to create your own "before and after" shots. Simply have a staff member whiten just one arch, then take your pictures.

In fact, tooth-whitening is a service that your staff can promote independent of you. Thus, your attention can be directed toward valuable chairtime. With a brighter, whiter staff smile, the literal meaning of word-of-mouth can be seen first-hand by every patient walking into your office. Your patients already trust your opinion, so it makes sense for them to be open to further suggestions you may have regarding their dental esthetics.

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