HOW TO PROFIT FROM... esthetics

Nov. 1, 1999
Many dentists still suffer from the "fear of rejection." As a result, they will say only what they think the patient wants to hear. Often, the clinical assistant can help the patient understand the problems that exist, as well as the best solutions. Afterwards, all the dentist has to do is to confirm what the assistant has told the patient and the case is then "sold."

`Selling` quadrant dentistry

Rhonda K. Hunt

Many dentists still suffer from the "fear of rejection." As a result, they will say only what they think the patient wants to hear. Often, the clinical assistant can help the patient understand the problems that exist, as well as the best solutions. Afterwards, all the dentist has to do is to confirm what the assistant has told the patient and the case is then "sold."

The easiest way for me to explain the benefits of quadrant dentistry is to share an anecdote about a patient who recently visited our office. Mr. Downer came in as an emergency patient. The facial cusp of tooth #4 was fractured, but it was still attached by the gingiva to the root. Mr. Downer described the pain as occurring when "I bite down on anything" or when "I touch it with my tongue."

I greeted him by saying, "Good morning, Mr. Downer. It looks like one of those large silver fillings finally gave out on you, doesn`t it? Let`s take an X-ray so we can get a close look at the bone support around this tooth. Then we`ll get a picture with our camera so Dr. Blaes can see it real good, OK?" Notice how we ended each statement with a question.

The chairside assistant takes the X-ray and obtains two intraoral photos. The first photo is of just one tooth (#4, in this case) and then one of the entire quadrant. Let`s say that teeth #2, 3, and 5 basically are in the same conditions, having overly large amalgam restorations. The restorations are in various stages of breaking down. Once the photo of tooth #4 is displayed on the monitor, you can easily explain how and why this tooth "broke."

The assistant`s explanation could follow this pattern: "All of these teeth on the upper right have large silver fillings that have served you well. They are starting to break down and expand. It looks like the tooth right next to this one will be the next one to fracture. I bet you have a hard time keeping this area clean, don`t you? Do you tend to pack food up here and always need to go in with a toothpick or floss when you are done eating? You probably had most of these fillings done about the same time, and they are starting to really show signs of wear and tear after all these years.

"Maybe we should start thinking about replacing all of them together. That way, you won`t have to worry about them fracturing while you are away and while they still can be saved.

"I noticed that Pam, our hygienist, had these places marked as bleeding points at your last recare visit. Have you noticed this as well? When we replace these fillings, you will be able to keep this area clean, and it will no longer be a food trap.

"We can do all four teeth in just about the same amount of time that it takes to do one, with only two appointments. This will save you more time and money in the near future. With everything being made at the same time, the shade of the teeth and the fit will be perfect, as opposed to doing them one at a time. Our lab gives us a discount for doing multiple units, and we will pass the savings on to you as well."

This explanation to the patient does not involve high-pressure sales tactics or anything of that sort. We simply are telling the patient about the conditions in his mouth and how they can best be treated. He has the option of either doing the teeth one at a time as they break, or he can be proactive and treat all of the teeth in that quadrant. After all, the benefits described above are true facts. It becomes a win-win situation.

It is much easier and more productive to prepare quadrants rather than single teeth. This is an extremely cost effective way to produce dentistry. You have only two appointments instead of the eight you would need to do single preps. Other savings include turnaround time and fewer expenses in the operatory, impression materials, and sterilization. Pass the savings on to your clients and let them receive the benefit, as well as give them one more incentive to do quadrant dentistry.

The next time the patient is in for a recare appointment, suggest another appointment to look at the conditions in the rest of his mouth. The patient already knows how much better the restored quadrant feels and will be open to doing additional quadrants to prevent fracturing teeth in the future. He will join your "Quadrant of the Year" club. This truly is a win-win situation!

DentistryOnline.com making a splash on the Internet

If you think you`re seeing more and more exit ramps for DentistryOnline.com on the information superhighway, you`re right.

DentistryOnline.com is making its presence felt on the Internet, reserving more than 90 percent of Excite.com`s search engine on dental topics, and guaranteeing itself more than 500,000 banner ads over the next year on AOL.com. Individuals checking out VirtualRelocation.com and Moving.com also will see DentistryOnline.com banner ads, helping them to find a new dentist to go along with their new home.

"We are on the eve of launching a public relations campaign to raise patient awareness of this invaluable resource," said Bob Rondeau, DMD, president of Dentistry Online, Inc. "Our primary goal is to promote positive messages and information about dentistry."

The Smile Channel, one of Dentistry Online`s subsidiaries, will unveil The Smile Channel 4.0 in December. New graphics, animation, and photos will rejuvenate various presentations on veneers, white restorations, and more.

"Because The Smile Channel plays on a continuous loop, it`s important that the information is refreshed and updated," Rondeau said.

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