Introducing cosmetic dentistry

Introducing cosmetic dentistry into your practice takes time, effort, and focus. There is no magic formula. Just because you know how to do the procedures or because you want to do this type of dentistry doesn't mean it will happen.

Cathy Jameson, PhD

Introducing cosmetic dentistry into your practice takes time, effort, and focus. There is no magic formula. Just because you know how to do the procedures or because you want to do this type of dentistry doesn't mean it will happen. Rather, organization preceded by intentional planning is necessary. The efforts put forth are well worthwhile.

A popular television program that addresses and illustrates facial enhancements includes smile makeovers. The popularity of this program demonstrates the extreme interest in this type of care. If you intend to introduce cosmetic dentistry into your practice, several important steps will prepare the way for your success.

1) Surround yourself with positive, supportive people who are interested in working toward the fulfillment of your vision and goals. If there are people on your team who are not interested in turning your dream practice into reality, these people will hold back your progress. You want enthusiastic team members who love the challenge and opportunity that accompany growth.

2) Clearly define the vision and goals of your practice. These become the strategic business plan for your progress. Decide what goals you want to accomplish, how you want to accomplish them, and who is going to do what. Consider time frames and evaluation methods.

3) Develop descriptions of position responsibilities for each team member. Orient these descriptions toward your desired end results. Help each team member fully understand the importance of his or her role. Appropriate training and education is essential if outstanding performance is to be demonstrated.

4) All management, communicative, clinical, and technical systems must be in place to handle this evolution in your practice. Attend continuing- education courses and access excellent coaching to remain on a path of continuous improvement. Hands-on courses created for the entire team will help you to improve your clinical, management, and marketing skills, as well as heighten team confidence.

5) Open the door to cosmetic possibilities by using a smile-evaluation form with all your new patients and returning hygiene patients. With this evaluation form, ask questions about the patient's smile. Then, listen carefully to what the person says, and focus on areas that seem to be of interest. Open the door. Then, listen.

6) Upgrade equipment, technology, and patient-education programming to support your vision. If necessary, give your office a facelift, redesign your space, or alter your location. Your facility — both inside and outside — must support your ultimate vision. You don't have to spend a fortune, but make sure your facility supports your aesthetic vision.

7) Market your cosmetic services internally and externally. A few proven internal techniques for marketing cosmetic dentistry include:

* Before-and-after photos
* Cosmetic books and literature
* Patient-education programming in reception and clinical areas
* Videos, brochures, newsletters
* Communication and verbal skills
* Cosmetic-imaging
* Take-home photos of the possibilities

External techniques include:
• Speeches to civic organizations and public presentations
• An effective Web site
• Newspaper, magazine, radio, and television advertising

These sophisticated external techniques will benefit from the guidance of a professional. Careful design of your marketing program will assure its cost efficiency and effectiveness.

Introduce cosmetic dentistry into your practice. The joy and fulfillment that come with this type of care are rewarding in numerous ways.

Dr. Cathy Jameson is president and CEO of Jameson Management, Inc., an international dental practice-management consulting, lecturing, seminar, and product provider. An accomplished speaker, writer, and workshop leader, Cathy earned a doctorate in organizational psychology, focusing her studies on effective stress-controlled management. Cathy's books, Great Communication = Great Production and Collect What You Produce are top sellers for PennWell Books. You may reach her toll-free at (877) 369-5558, email her at info@jamesonmanagement.com, or visit her Web site at www.jamesonmanagement.com.

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